Category Archive 'Bernhard Goetz'

14 Jan 2008

Rock Bottom For New York City

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Thomas J. Lueck, one of the New York Times’ professional chin-strokers, contemplates a recent case of self defense against New York City crime, draws comparisons to history (Bernhard Goetz shooting four subway muggers in 1984), consults “expert” authorities, and concludes the incident must have been a meaningless aberration.

Law enforcement experts looking for parallels between Mr. Parks’s confrontation and that of Mr. Goetz 23 years earlier said there were few to be found.

Malcolm Gladwell, a staff writer for The New Yorker, included an analysis of the Goetz case in his 2000 book, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” …

“These two events are just not comparable,” Mr. Gladwell said. “The Goetz incident was when we hit rock bottom.”

“There was a spontaneous outpouring, with people calling him a hero,” he said. “We are so far from that now.”

There’s the classic liberal perspective. The shooting of four criminals in the process of attacking and robbing him by a New Yorker was widely publicly applauded. Consequently, Bernhard Goetz’s self defense rose from the level of an incident to a historical event. The Goetz shooting was an intolerable assertion of individualism, one potentially capable of effectively politically challenging the principle of the state’s monopoly of force. Thus, from the statist perspective of the left, it was the Goetz self defense incident, not the crime level, which constituted the nadir of history for New York City.

The routine, daily use of force by criminals against innocent people was not the same level of problem at all.

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