Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

A white culture of lawlessness?

July 31, 2013

white culture of crime

Click on Video of Violent, Rioting Surfers Shows White Culture of Lawlessness for more.

Click on “…the most violent ethnic group in America” for an earlier post of mine.

Just to be clear, the cartoon and my post are intended to be a satirical comment about how certain types of crime and criminals are treated more leniently than others.  I don’t actually believe that white people as a group are criminal.  Some of my best friends are white people.  In fact, I’m a white person myself.

Click on Mat Bors Archive for more of his cartoons.

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Baltimore: casualty of a failed drug war

August 28, 2012

Watch this documentary if you want to see an example of the failure and futility of the war on drugs.

The rise of poverty, crime and drug-dealing in Baltimore is related to the decline of high-wage manufacturing industry, such as the big U.S. Steel plant at Sparrows Point.   Black people had a narrow window of opportunity between the time that good-paying union jobs in industry were open to them, and the time that U.S. manufacturing industry started to decline.  A high-wage, full-employment economy is the best thing that could happen for poor people in cities such as Baltimore.

The talk that the so-called war on drugs is actually a war on black people may seem exaggerated, but statistics indicate that there is little difference in rates of drug abuse or use of illegal drugs among white and black Americans, and yet blacks are incarcerated for drug crimes 10 times as frequently as whites.  I think this probably is more a result of indifference to the plight of poor black people in urban slums rather than a deliberate policy.

I see little immediate hope of change.  President Obama is committed to the war on drugs on many fronts, from waging low-level war in Colombia to overriding California’s medical marijuana laws, and I don’t see Gov. Romney changing anything if elected.  The most important national figures criticizing the war on drugs are ex-Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, and Rep. Ron Paul, the Republican gadfly.

Click on Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco Use Broken Down By Race, Ethnicity for statistics from the U.S. government’s latest National Study on Drug Use and Health.

Click on Race, Drugs and Law Enforcement for a report on U.S. drug enforcement by Human Rights Watch.

 

Victor Lustig’s 10 commandments for con men

March 6, 2012

Victor Lustig, born in 1890, was one of the world’s most renowned con men.  In 1925, he posed as a French government official, took five businessmen on a tour of the Eiffel Tower and sold it to one of them as scrap metal.  This scam worked so well he did it a second time.  He once tricked Al Capone out of $5,000.  He had 25 aliases, spoke five languages and, by the 1930s, was wanted by 45 law enforcement agencies worldwide.

The following was his advice to aspiring con men.

  • Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).

    Victor Lustig

  • Never look bored.
  • Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
  • Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
  • Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.
  • Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
  • Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
  • Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.
  • Never be untidy.
  • Never get drunk.

Click on The World’s Greatest Con Artists: Victor Lustig for more about his career.

Click on Victor Lustig wiki for his Wikipedia biography.

Hat tip to Lists of Note.

Why is the American homicide rate declining?

June 7, 2011

Click to view

Violent crime is on the decline in the United States.   The rise in crime during the 1960s and the continuing high violent crime rate in the 1970s and 1980s was an important issue during those years, despite the effort of some liberals to imply “law and order” was a code word for something else.  But current statistics indicate a violent crime rate as low as in the 1950s.

Nobody really understands why.

Some popular theories:

(1)  The United States has a high proportion of violent and potentially violent criminals behind bars and not on the street.

(2)  Legal abortion means there are fewer unwanted children to grow up to become alienated, violent adults.

(3)  Violent crime is a young man’s game, and the aging of the baby boom generation means a smaller proportion of the population in the crime-prone years.

I don’t claim to know the answer myself, but I wonder whether the ban on lead-based paint is a factor.  Scientific studies indicate that lead in a child’s bloodstream is linked to lower IQ and loss of neural motor functions, leading to impulsiveness, lack of self-control and anti-social behavior. Children in poor areas of large cities are prone to touching walls with peeling paint, and then licking their fingers, and they are exposed to environmental lead in other ways.

Somebody wrote a letter to the editor some weeks back in City newspaper, Rochester’s alternative weekly, saying that a principal of one of Rochester’s elementary schools once had the children in the school tested for levels of lead in their blood.  Every single one had elevated levels of blood.  I wonder what a test would show today.  I hope it would show improvement.

Another factor may be the religious revival of the past 20 or so years.  Religion, especially the more strict and conservative versions of religion, give people a sense of meaning, a community to belong to, help in maintaining self-control and self-respect based on something else besides violence.  Some historians credit religious revivals for the decline of crime in 19th century Britain and the United States. The same thing may be going on today.

Some people suggest that local police departments have simply become more restrictive in the way they report violent crime, and that actual crime may be higher than the figures indicate.  I don’t see how this would be possible.  There is leeway in deciding whether to report a crime as grand theft auto or unauthorized use of an automobile, but a killing is a killing.  I don’t see how selective reporting could mask it as something else.

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How to start a crime wave

June 30, 2010

Lincoln Steffens, who flourished around the turn of the last century, was possibly the greatest American investigative reporter who ever lived. His Autobiography is still relevant to understanding how American politics and government worked. In one chapter he told how he and his chief competitor, Jacob Riis, started a crime wave when Theodore Roosevelt was chairman of the New York City Police Commission.

It seems that Steffens was taking a nap in one summer afternoon in the basement of police headquarters, where the detectives like to play poker because it was cool. Because they thought he was asleep, they told a story about how a naive young policeman helped some men load up a wagon because their stuff was cluttering the street, and the men turned out to be burglars who had cleaned out the house of a Wall Street broker.

He wrote up the story for the New York Post. His main competitor, Jacob Riis of The Evening Sun, was reprimanded by his editors for being scooped, and he then came up with a crime story that Steffens’ didn’t have.  Both redoubled their efforts, and soon the New York newspapers were full of crime stories.  This was embarrassing to Roosevelt, because he was supposed to be a reformer.

Roosevelt called the two reporters into his office.  Riis confessed that he had unauthorized access to police reports because they were pigeonholed in a certain desk. Steffens told about his naps. They called a truce, and the “crime wave” ceased.

Perception about crime is still different from reality.  Many people think crime is on the increase in the United States, but it actually is declining.  Many people think illegal immigration has created a serious crime problem in Arizona and the southwest border generally, but the crime rates in Arizona and in major southwest border cities also are declining. An analysis by Ron Unz in The American Conservative magazine indicates that Hispanics as a group are as law-abiding as non-Hispanic whites.

The United States is making good progress in reducing crime.  We have a right to feel good about this accomplishment.  We don’t need to scare ourselves with reports of an illegal Hispanic immigrant crime wave.