Posts Tagged ‘crime’

The Homicide Rate in the Context of Medical Advances

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Here is an obviously important point that I have nevertheless not contemplated before: The homicide rate is a function not only of attempted homicides but of health technology. When doctors get better at fixing people, the homicide rate goes down simply because fewer people die of attempted homicide (other things equal). So the homicide rate can go down even if the rate of violence remains constant. “Murder rates would be up to five times higher than they are but for medical developments over the past 40 years,” claims one 2002 paper.

The 1873 Colfax Massacre

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

Another bit via Timothy Sandefur’s book on Frederick Douglass: In 1873, in the midst of a political clash in Louisiana between rival governments, the April Colfax Massacre ended in the death of some 150 Black people. Wikipedia has an entry with numerous references. Smithsonian also has an article on the matter.

A Death in Atlanta

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

An 8-year-old girl died after she was shot during a night of violence across metro Atlanta. . . . The girl was riding in a car “confronted by a group of armed individuals.” This was one of “multiple other shootings across Atlanta.” See more about the other shootings.

Senseless Violence

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Most people who have participated in the mass protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd have been peaceful and focused on needed reforms.

Some hanger-on rioters have hurt people and destroyed property.

In Wisconsin, rioters badly beat self-described “Gay, Progressive, Democratic [State] Senator” Tim Carpenter.

Scapegoating Is Not Justice

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

CNN has the headline, “Atlanta protester explains why only the Wendy’s was burned during protests.” Joseth Jett “explained,” “I do feel bad about people who have lost their job, but at the same time, we burned this building and not any other building around here. We burned this one specifically because of what happened here. . . . This goes back to what our mission is, making sure that there is justice served for the person that died over here at this Wendy’s.” That is totally insane. Burning down a restaurant that is incidentally where police fatally shot a man (a man who violently attacked the police) is not achieving justice for anyone. This is straight-up scapegoating. And it is exactly the mentality by which white mobs used to riot in black neighborhoods. And we’re supposed to somehow think well of these domestic terrorists because they didn’t burn down even more buildings? (Note: I have no idea whether Jett actually was involved in burning down the restaurant; I refer to anyone who was involved.)

I don’t know who called 911. “A 911 caller had alerted police that a man had fallen asleep in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Maybe the caller worked at the restaurant, maybe not. Regardless, it was a perfectly reasonable call to make.

Those interested can watch the bodycam footage of the event. The suspect admits to driving after drinking alcohol, and he violently attacks the police as they attempt to arrest him. I am willing to entertain that officers could have handled the situation differently at that point, but to pretend that this is fundamentally an event about racism is insane.

Incidentally, one video (the authenticity of which I have not independently confirmed) purports to show video of a black protester saying, “Look at the white girl trying to set s**t on fire. Look at the white girl trying to burn down a Wendy’s. This wasn’t us. This wasn’t us.”

Chicago’s Horrific Violence

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

In Chicago, “18 people were killed Sunday, May 31, making it the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The lab’s data doesn’t go back further than 1961. From 7 p.m. Friday, May 29, through 11 p.m. Sunday, May 31, 25 people were killed in the city, with another 85 wounded by gunfire, according to data maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times.”

Here is what Reverent Michael Pfleger told the paper, “I heard people saying all over, ‘Hey, there’s no police anywhere, police ain’t doing nothing. I sat and watched a store looted for over an hour. No police came. I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere.”

This is horrific. I don’t pretend to have the answers to this. End the drug war, yes. Clearly deep socio-economic problems are at play. But it does seem obvious that the people most at risk from inadequate policing are those in the most distressed neighborhoods where violent crime is high. We need reformed policing, not no policing.

Property Destruction as Violence

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

Nikole Hannah-Jones said, “Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. To use the same language to describe those two things is not moral.”

It is obviously true that murdering a man is a much higher order of moral crime that breaking someone’s shop windows, vandalizing a building, looting a store, or even burning a store down. No doubt.

But obviously destroying someone’s property is a type of violence against the person. As I replied, “There have been many, many white riots to destroy the property of African Americans, Asian Americans, and other racial minorities. That was violence, because destroying a person’s livelihood or home undermines the person’s life.”

Thankfully, today insurance covers much of the damage of the rioting and looting, which means simply that the rioters and looters impose the costs of repair and replacement on their neighbors via their insurance premiums.

Rioting and Vandalism

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

If you want justice, be just. Hurting innocent people and destroying their property is anti-justice.

For over a week now, huge numbers of people have peacefully protested the death of George Floyd and abusive policing more broadly.

A few people have instead turned to rioting and looting. Following are a few examples.

A black woman in Brooklyn condemns the looting and vandalism of a shop that she co-owns. She says to the looters, “You tell me, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ You lie. You wanted to loot a store. You needed money. Get a job, like I do. Stop stealing. This is the neighborhood. We’re trying to build it up, and you’re tearing it down.”

Looters attack groceries in impoverished neighborhoods.”

Vandals damaged a Winston Churchill statute. Whatever Churchill’s flaws, he played a major role in defeating the Nazis. He is arguably the greatest “antifascist” of all time.

I have no idea who is placing bricks at various protest sites, but my top two guesses are leftist provocateurs and racial nationalist provocateurs.

Denver Rioter Smashes Windows of Reformer’s Shop

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

A Denver man, the son of a Sudan immigrant, gave out “out free chicken wings to protesters.” A rioter “thanked” him by breaking the man’s shop windows.

Previously, vandals also damaged the memorial to the Armenian genocide and the History Colorado museum.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis: “‘Seventeen years of work is gone,’ said the owner of an Ecuadorean eatery” burned to the ground by rioters.

Police Injured in Riots

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Although I loathe citing the Federalist, it publishes a useful article cataloging police injuries and deaths during the recent protests.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “A retired St. Louis police captain and municipal chief [David Dorn] was shot to death by looters at a St. Louis pawn shop early Tuesday, and his killing apparently was broadcast on Facebook Live.”