Interesting piece in the City Journal discussing one of the real roadblocks to the rebuilding of New Orleans- murder:
New Orleans has two more pressing—and much simpler—problems that need fixing right now.
The first is obvious: “Gulf Opportunity Zone” or no, businesses won’t invest in New Orleans again, and workers won’t live there again, unless the government protects the city with the best flood barriers that technology and money can provide. This job is hard—but civil engineering actually works, unlike the social engineering that Bush has invited with his lament about urban Southern poverty.
The second job is less obvious. New Orleans’s immutable civic shame, before and after Katrina, is not racism, poverty, or inequality, but murder—a culture of murder so vicious and so pervasive that it terrorizes and numbs the whole city.
In 2003, New Orleans’s murder rate was nearly eight times the national average—and since then, murder has increased. In 2002 and 2003, New Orleans had the highest per capita city homicide rate in the United States, with 59 people killed per year per 100,000 citizens—compared to New York City’s seven. New Orleans is a New York with nearly 5,000 murders a year—an unlivable place. The city’s economy has sputtered over the past generation partly because local and state officials have failed to do the most elementary job of government: to secure the personal safety of citizens.
I had no idea New Orleans was that dangerous, although truth be told, in the parts of New Orleans that you and I would visit, it probably isn’t that dangerous. This is probably just more brown people killing brown people, so you and I never hear about it.
And while we are at it, make sure you read this lucid John Aravosis piece on Washington, D.C.:
This is your nation’s capital. A crime-ridden cesspool.***
The problem? We have a mayor who cares more about baseball than crime, and we have a police chief who likes to tell us it’s hard work keeping a big city safe. Yeah, we know it’s hard work, but why does most every other city in the nation always do better than us, even when their inner-city and socio-economic problems are just as bad if not worse than ours?
It’s sad, and its pitiful. But it’s only a matter of time before all the fools who bought half a million dollar condos in horrible parts of the city start to realize that just because half your block is rich yuppies doesn’t make it safe to walk around at night and doesn’t stop people from getting murdered on your corner – in fact, you’re quite tempting targets. When that happens, the mayor and the chief are in for a rude awakening, as are the fools who spent that much money on condos in the middle of a ghetto.
Yesterday, when I saw the news of Rosenbaum’s murder, I was joking with Tim that I was going to start screaming ‘Quagmire!’ and ‘Withdraw our troops’ just to tweak some of the commentariat. Then I realized, there simply isn’t any way to make what is happening in some of our cities funny. That we have places like New Orleans and Washington, DC, and other urban cesspools where crime is rampant, is such a collossal failure of leadership, willpower, and imagination at every damned level that it isn’t possible to joke about it.
I think New Orleans is fairly dangerous even in the tourists areas, as the poorer areas are bordering the tourists areas, which is kind of a long strip up the river. You take your chances there, depending on what time it is and what street you are on. The singer from the Kinks (I believe) had a good article in the London Times that was spotlighted for a while (or was it the Gurdian?) about getting shot in New Orleans after he was mugged and still suffers effects from it years later. He recounts how the doctor told him at the hospital something like “Don’t worry. New Orleans is a good place to get shot. We have lots of experience here with it.”
It’s funny I just saw Bowling for Columbine on TV last weekend and that was the issue Moore dealt with. He kept asking why is the US so much more violent than Canada, and he never got an answer to that.
The Other Steve
Crime is tied to poverty. If people had jobs, they wouldn’t have as much free time to commit crimes.
But we can’t deal with poverty in this country, because of politics.
A college girl from apparently a wealthy family got shot and killed in Savannah Ga on a well traveled street downtown around the time I was visiting there a week ago, when she was walking home with some friends at night. Apparently she was mugged and resisted giving her purse, as did the singer from the Kinks. Maybe that reporter resisted too. I think the lesson from that is when mugged, give your purse or wallet as quickly and politely as you can. Maybe even with a smile on your face and a “yes sir”. Muggers are just looking for signs of “disrespect” as an excuse to kill someone, so don’t give them that excuse.
Gold Star for Robot Boy
I work in a city which is coming off a record year for homicides: 32, for a per 100K rate of 7.1
For this city (Mesa, Ariz.) to equal New Orleans, there would have to be 267 homicides.
Indirectly. I think it is more of a culture worshipping physical “power” and “respect”. Poverty over time can lead to this kind of culture, however, as that is the way to make it to the top of your group, if there are no other good ways such as education.
This is just my guess, of course, so feel free to tell me I’m full of it. But look at Canada’s land mass and population compared to the U.S.’s land mass and population. I’m pretty convinced that human beings were not meant to live jammed together like sardines, and that when they are, molehills can quickly turn to mountains. Violence then easily ensues. Then, you add that to a society that glorifies violence in its media, but abhors cussing, sex and nudity. Lastly, a dearth of social programs results in many people feeling stuck in a cycle of hopelessness and poverty, feeling like they have nothing to lose and hoping for quick riches by way of drug trafficking and robbery.
We’re starting to see some increased violence here, in our larger cities, mostly in the form of youth gangs. Our current Prime Minister suggested a handgun ban, which is laughable (yeah, like that’ll stop someone from getting a gun.) The leader of the Conservatives, while a creepy-looking douchebag, did have the good idea of heavily increasing penalties for crimes committed with guns. I think more policing is also the answer. My country, for the most part, is pretty safe. But a lot of people have their heads in the sand and seem to think that the whole country is like a small town where everybody knows each other and people can leave their cars unlocked without worrying, and fund police services accordingly.
Gold Star for Robot Boy
Remember, in many inner-city cultures, getting that education is looked down upon.
No, reports are that he was wearing headphones during an evening stroll, and likely never knew anyone was behind him. The mugger(s) bashed him on the back of the head and he died from the head wound.
The lack of opportunity is more due to the low-quality of the education offered than due to peer pressure.
Well if you drive around the US, it is pretty empty too. I am always amazed at the road trips I have taken with my family (it’s almost a yearly tradition) and at how darn empty this country is. I grew up in eastern PA, and visited and or briefly lived in DC and New York for a little while, and that eastern seaboard is pretty crowded. Some other areas are also pretty filled up- for instance. NC is prety crowded in the middle there. But beyond that this country is a ghost town. Travel to the non-coastal west and the south and see what you’ll find there. Lots of land. And then more land.
Of course the inner cities, where most of the violence occurs, are usually pretty crowded and poor, so maybe your theory holds for that. As some people here consider violence here mostly an inner city issue and a ‘black’ issue, I travel to S. Georgia occasionally, and pass through a lot of very small, poor, mostly black towns. They have the same demographic make-ups as inner cities except that they are kind of rural. From what I’ve seen briefly, I think the vibe there tends to be more friendly and relaxed in these towns. I don’t know what the crime rate is in these towns, but that might be a good way to check out your theory.
I have my suspicions about this story. How do we know it is not a set-up? Perhaps he was writing some dirt on somebody and they took a contract out on him.
Gold Star for Robot Boy
It can be both.
Like Don Bolles but less… explosive.
Is that really true? How do we know this? Are there any studies qualifying the differences? As a person who did not pay attention throughout most of school but still managed to learn things anyway, I kind of wonder how much this “low quality” eduction has to do with it. After all, they probably all use the same state school books right? And probably go through it chapter by chapter, in any school. I just can’t imagine how bad or how different the education can be.
Speaking as someone who grew up one of those “urban cesspools”, the whole controversy about black kids afraid to get good grades for fear of “acting white” is extremely overblown in my experience. Kids who get good grades and are seen as geeks get beaten and intimidated in white schools, as well. I wore Marine-style BCGs and got good grades throughout my public school career, but because I was big, quiet, and didn’t hesitate to swing, I never got hasseled for much of anything.
I notice that most of CITY JOURNAL’s examples of NO post-Katrina violence are press clippings of the type that have been widely discredited since. This article is yet another reason to laugh at anyone who trusts CITY JOURNAL.
A better article from the NEW YORKER:
Meanwhile, violent crime rates decline to the lowest point ever recorded by the DoJ:
A quick googling reveals that Montreal has a murder rate of 1.9 homicides/100000 people in 2002, for a total of 66 murders for the year. This is an ethnically and economically diverse city with a population of over 3,000,000. Canada is definitely doing something right.
scs – Ha! I love how you included “I’m full of it” in my blockquote. If that was intentional, it was very cleverly done. If not intentional, it’s even funnier.
Its all peer pressure. People will try to tear you down to their level. If they can’t get with ‘book learnin’ either by choice or mental capacity they don’t want you to either. I got so much shit from friends and other people on my school bus or my neighborhood becaus eof my grades. It was constant and it eventually got to me. I basically took 1/2 years ‘off’ in high school just to hang with the cool kids. I let me grades slip to thier level. I figured being smarter than them pissed them off and having no friends sucked so thats what I did. Very stupid thing to do. Peer pressure is real, it has nothing to do with the quality of education being provided, thats a cop out. Some people don’t want to be educated, common sense is all they need they say. Lucky for them there is a political party that ‘agrees’ with them. Even helps them come to the conclusion that common sense is macho and education is for liberal pussies.
We are so fucked as a nation.
Yeah, I wondered the same thing.
The places in Canada where people actually live are more densely populated than the US as a whole, and on a city level, on par with the typical urban area/sprawl around American cities.
Manhattan is by far the most densely populated area of the US and it has very little crime these days.
Clearly, population density is not the strongest correlate to crime rate.
Then I must be a comic, because it wasn’t intentional. I saw that after it posted. Sorry.
When I first moved to the NYC-area for college it was in the late 80s. Not the best time for the City. I used to always make sure I had cash on me when I went into the City in case I got mugged—I didn’t want to get caught empty-handed. I made sure there was nothing of too much personal significance in my wallet and a few bucks in it so when I handed it over to a mugger, he wouldn’t get pissed and take it out on me, and I wouldn’t be tempted to do something stupid like resist.
By the time I lived in the City years later, things had calmed down considerably, but I would still usually carry the cash I needed in my pocket, and a smaller amount in my wallet.
Oh, and I never had a problem in those ten or so years. Make of that what you will.
Unfortunately, I have no studies to point you to, though I am quite sure they are out there. But do you doubt that a 4.0 GPA earned at an inner-city school is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA earned at a suburban school?
scs, I think you need an adjustment in your tinfoil hat. If somebody took out a contract, they certainly must have gotten a cut-rate hitman if the target was just hit on the head and died a couple of days later.
See I don’t get that. How do they know you had good grades? Just don’t tell anyone if you know it’s a problem.
He didn’t die a couple days later; he died within hours.
The peer presure has a lot to do with it. When I moved back to the LA area I went from a place where it wasn’t uncool to do well to a place where it was.
I’ve also had friends who worked in South Central and Compton who said that it was a big problem. Parents are a problem as well because they refuse to push their kids.
why would I hide my grades from friends? Besides most of my friends were in class with me and while they didn’t pay much attention they certainly noticed me raising my hand and answering questions and stuff. Also I lived in a tight knit neighborhood, there weren’t many secrets.
Maybe. My suspicions have a good track record though. First of all, I know the neighborhood there and I remember it being safe. Then I just think most muggers like the confrontation. It is part of the fun of mugging for them and it seems strange to me that he would get hit in the back of the head. Also wouldn’t a mugger just hit hard enough to knock him out? A little unusual he would die from that. Sounds like an overly determined mugger. Also strange that he “just went out for a walk”. Could he have been set up as well? As in, ‘meet a source at this location’? The fact that he was hit on the head could be part of the idea, make it so that no one would suspect. It worked with you so far. But I admit, just a guess anyway.
I think the answer to the Canada/US thing is something Michael Moore pointed out in Bowling for Columbine. Americans are taught to be afraid – afraid of other races, afraid of terrorists, afraid of the police, afraid of atheists and feminists and homosexuals and anything else that could disrupt life in Mayberry.
The results is a well-armed nation of jumpy people with itchy trigger fingers.
I’m an urban Canadian, and I would never dream of owning a gun to protect my family; they’re much safer without me shooting holes in the walls while I clean it.
Well from what I remember in highschool, no one really discussed their grades. Maybe we knew about the top 2 kids in class who got the stragiht A’s, but other than that, we didn’t discuss them much. And I went to a supposedly “good” highschool. Maybe that was part of your problem, you should have kept them more private.
I did not completely discount peer pressure. As a nerdy teenager, I went through my own personal bullying hell which I only recently resolved in therapy (almost 25 years later…*SIGH*). But please let’s not discount that lack of quality education plays a significant role in cumulative poverty and crime.
Nikki, the Post article says he was attacked Friday night, operated on Saturday, and died on Sunday. But even if it was hours, my argument remains the same — that hardly looks like a hit.
feral1 – it’s all the potent weed. :)
Seriously, I don’t know what it is. Like I said, the only cultural difference that I’ve consistently noticed is that U.S. culture appears to have a real hang-up with sex and nudity (while having a thriving porn industry – go figure), but seems to have little problem with violence. I personally find it appalling that realistic-looking mangled corpses are shown on network TV before 10pm, and thought that the whole Janet Jackson nip-slip was much ado about nothing.
I could be wrong, and I’m sure there are always exceptions, but that’s a fairly pervasive impression about the U.S. – that your society glorifies violence. I wish I knew what it was exactly that our society is doing right – or if it’s just sheer luck.
We don’t have to be taught. We just have to observe what goes on around us. And that is reason enough to be afraid.
I’m thinking I might be a bit of Typhoid Mary – grew up in NOLA and live in DC – just kidding.
Both cities have something in common though it is less obvious in DC. On average, NOLA has people of all incomes living in the whole of the city and right next door or around the corner. Obviously in the areas of Uptown, the Garden District, and out by the lake you are talking more money, but these places lie close geographically, and in the case of Uptown and the Garden District, to the crime havens which are literally just around the corner or within a few blocks of some fabulous mansions. There are area- especially parts (and parts only) of the 9th Ward which are economically depressed and where crime is more intractable on a wider scale.
Some of this can be seen in DC. There are areas, that abut the more affluent areas (Dupont/Thomas Circle,Capital Hill – though that is becoming less obvious) and there are areas in northeast and on the other side of the Anacostia (8th Ward) which still struggle.
DC has some advantages that NOLA will likely never have, a bunch of wonky government types, lawyers, a lot more money and the will to be noisy. Some of those people are in NOLA but from what can tell, they don’t seem very active. Also, DC has a steady stream of big money that NOLA doesn’t have. NOLA’s only industry is tourism/convention business. The port, lawyers, small retail, restaurants, and the Universities (Tulane was the largest employer in the city) don’t bring in as much money as the huge (and not so huge) law firms, lobby/consulting/association firms, and other office type businesses.
NOLA has always been bad for crime and frankly the police have frequently been part of the problem. There is a great New Yorker article this month that might help in the understanding of that area. The early days of the NOPD are not positive. There was a great book I read called the Carnival of Fury (about an early race riot in the city) that talked about it’s early days. Basically, their theory was hire a criminal to catch a criminal, after all who would know better.
As someone from NOLA, there are many, many things (crime, education are two examples) that people from the city don’t take seriously – or at least serious enough to expend money, time, and creative energy on. They talk about it and talk about it but nothing gets done – lack of will, interest, whatever. NOPD was for many years one of the worst paid police forces in the country. You don’t always get quality when you pay crappy wages. Pennington did some good things and made thing better, but he rode the deartment hard, Compass was a lot more laid back and the force seems to have regressed. NOPD needs lots of oversight.
After writing all that you would think I hate NOLA, but I don’t. I have some real issues with the pathologies of the city and they don’t have to do with crime, but as a place to live it has a lot to offer. I miss the rhythem of the city, the food, the ambiance, and the architecture.
I used to live in a slightly seedy neighbourhood, and would have never dared carry a gun, for fear it could be easily turned against me, or that an innocent bystander would get shot. I just learned how to carry my keys in between my fingers (ersatz brass knuckles), throw a good right jab, and run like hell. Strangely enough, not once in my 10 years of living there was I ever mugged, pursued, or bothered. (And believe you me, I was dumb enough to walk home alone after a night at the bars many a time.)
The only people I know now who own guns are in the rural area where I live, who use them to go hunting. And they respect the hell out of those guns, know that they’re dangerous, keep them locked up tightly, and when it’s time, train their kids how to safely handle them.
I’m not denying it. But another thing my friends told me that taught in those areas was that as soon as they fullfilled they would be out of there. Some of them received scholarchip money for college with the stipulation that they would teach for a few years in the inner city. A few years was all they could take.
Poverty of values. That might explain poor and rich crime. I think our leaders worship power and respect as much as any inner-city youth.
Think nothing of it. It gave me a good chuckle. (It’s funny, ’cause it’s true.)
Yes that seems to be a problem in a lot of the historical cities. The close proximity of rich and poor breeds resentment. You know I noticed New York, even in the past, (like the 90’s) before it got all gentrified, never seemed to have this racial tension that I noticed in other cities. I wonder why that was.
I’m sorry but I have to completely disagree with tha assumption that lack of education and the poor quality of education has anything to do with violence. It is all about making the right decision. For people who are poverty stricken they actually have a better opportunity to go to school and make something of themselves. With student loans and funding designed to give poorer kids a chance to get an education they turn it down. For one, most of these kids, sadly enough, don’t have great rolemodels. They don’t have that strong family figure pushing them to succedd and make the right decision. People can say I have no idea what I am talking about but I actually grew up in a very poor community and was able to witness this first hand. Growing up I didn’t have anything and it would have been very easy for me to turn to drugs and violence but I had great parents who helped me to make that decision to get an education instead of turning to the streets. Maybe we should focus our attention on the parents in these areas.
I’m talking about ‘physical’ power. The power that violence can bring.
When you find a US city with a murder rate greater than say 900 per 150,000 citizens then by all means utilize it in your “quagmire” taunt.
Frankly I don’t think you’ll have much luck in such an endeavor.
Funny you should say that.
Yeah, you definitely see that borne out here in Canada. There has been an increase in gun-related homicides in Toronto in the last year, and everyone is panicking. There were 78 homicides in Toronto last year, of which 52 were gun-related. Most of these were gang and drug related, and almost exclusively in localized pockets of Jamaican communities. To me, this means that it should be possible to target solutions. I’d be far more worried if it weren’t localized. Toronto is a city of 3.3 Million people, so we’re talking less that 3 homicides/100,000 people. Having lived in Manhattan for 5 years, lemme tell ya, the only reason people are so scared here is that *every* murder is news here. In NYC, you almost never heard about murder unless it was particularly bloody or the victim was of particular note.
The city with the highest homicide rate is Winnipeg. In the vast middle part of Canada, rates are higher. I cite this from an article in the globe which is now only viewable with a subscription but is archived here.
In Manitoba, the rate (of violent crime) is 4.3 for every 100,000 people; it’s 3.9 in Saskatchewan and 2.7 in Alberta and British Columbia. In Ontario, the rate is 1.5, the same as in Quebec, a province with a much smaller population.
Maybe I’ve missed something, but you think most people in this country have a good reason to be afraid (from just observation)?
Most of this is conditioning (concious and unconcious). IMHO, someone like Krista looks at our ‘culture’ and sees it alot more clearly than we do.
NO is just as vicious as it is charming. It’s my favorite city, but I’d never live there. My friends there, who live in a nice residential area, carry a gun with them just to take the groceries in from the car. My hubby and I go to a conference there every year, and every year but one, a conference attendee is attacked in the Quarter because they’re naive and think they’re safe in the tourist areas.
Houston’s homicide rate during the fourth quarter of 2005 was up 23 percent over 2004, but the mayor is doing everything he can not to point the finger at Katrina refugees.
DC is much better than it was 15 years ago. Want to lower the murder rate? Get rid of the guns. Want the guns? Accept that they will be fired and that the bullets will go somewhere, destructively. Don’t, please don’t, tell me it is just a matter of more intensive law enforcement.
NSA surveills and deploys WMD team to Quaker protest
Uhh, yeah. Did you ever read the local crime reports in your local paper? Rapes murders and roberies every week in a neighborhood near you. (Not all of us live in a large suburb you know). That is enough reminder to keep your doors locked.
You want to elaborate?
That’s cause it’s a DisneyLand for yuppies now. Same as New York.
It plays a very significant role. At least top 5 IMO. My point was that a quality education is possible in the inner city. It only seems innattainable because so many opt out of it. The teachers , for the most part in my experience, are teaching but hardly anyone is listening. I went from one of the best high schools on the east coast to one that was a day care for children to young to drop out. We had the same textbooks, same curriculum for the most part and the teachers were experienced and knowledgable but the student body was night and day. It was the difference in the students that contributed to the quality of education.
Ah hah. You confirmed my ideas. It’s the peer pressure, not so much the teachers. They should maybe have smaller schools for inner cities to reduce this negative peer pressure.
Ok Tim F, I will answer for you. Violence, sorry to say, can bring power. Look at the mafia or dictators. You can scare your opponents into submission. I would imagine in a poor area, violence tends to be the shortcut to obtain group power. I just observed that, fact of life. Your point? Or maybe it was an indirect Bush observation. Well violence can bring power against dictators as well. Everything has it’s time and place I suppose.
Anyone who has ever been to Mardi Gras in NO and isn’t aware that there is a very thin line between racous debauchery and Very Bad Things is lucky to still be here. I say this having done Bourbon street many times. The starkest reminder was when my friends and I parked near the quarter, and as we (5 Liberal-Arts white kids) got out of the car and were offered Crack, X and pot before we walked half a block.
ImJohnGalt – you left out the Atlantic Canadian stats. Now I’m curious. :)
Unbelievable. You could not pay me enough to live there.
It would still be made up of the same students, just in smaller numbers. How would that make students who don’t want an education, want one? This would aslo make it extremely difficult to field a quality football team.
See I don’t get that. How do they know you had good grades? Just don’t tell anyone if you know it’s a problem.
They kinda figure it out after you’ve been promoted once or twice while they’re still in the original grade.
Seriously though, it can be as easily recognized as someone who studies every day on the school bus because they work after school and don’t have time. Or this good student is one of the few in class that the teacher doesn’t have to badger for their work. And sometimes it’s because of that great big poster they hang in the lunchroom with the honor roll listed on it. By name.
Yep, those things happened to me. There are lots of ways that shitheads find to pick on the good students. Growing up isn’t easy, growing up in the projects is harder yet. Not fitting in with your peers while you’re growing up is hell. Been there, still have the scars from it.
What? You mean the Democratic machines that control these cities haven’t stopped the murder and mayhem? Well wonders never cease.
Hmm…that looked perfect in the preview screen.
Nonetheless, my comments start third paragraph down with “They kinda figure…”
I’m very surprised many of you are bypassing the posts of scs and trying to actually engage her in some sort of conversation. Her opinions are exceedingly juvenile, showing many ideas that are clearly not very well thought out, yet you all just let them slide on by.
For instance, her insistance that doors are locked only because of fear. Habit plays a part, as well as just common sense.
Cities rise, but cities don’t fall in America. They may have issues and as long as citizens arn’t too afraid to deal with them, good things will happen.
Yeah maybe we should ban the honor roll. Okay, you might think I am terrible for saying this, but I deep down I also thought a little less of the kids who were all kiss-ass to the teachers and studied at lunch and on the bus. I didn’t bully anyone over it though, and was as nice to them as anyone else. The kids who were respected the most however, had good grades but also made an effort to be social as well, including during lunch and study and on the bus. And didn’t flaunt their academics.
Your post responded to a comment about our leaders, violence and power.
Think about it this way. Is a government capable of committing violence? You reply seems to exclude that. On the contrary, one of the very definitions of a functioning government is that is has a monopoly on violence. That doesn’t make such violence ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the general sense, in some cases it’s necessary and in others it’s regrettable. Further, one could fairly describe neoconservativism as the worship of the sort of power that violence brings. It stems from their origins as followers of Trotsky. For that reason I found the specific wording of your dismissal ironic.
Lines, I am pretty sure you are DougJ. So don’t waste our time.
Darn. You are so right Lines. That is so juvenile for me to claim people lock doors because of fear. When I grow up, I’ll realize it’s all just a nasty habit.
I live in a dense, urban area. Not far from alot of finacially challanged people. My doors are almost always unlocked. I can’t imagine living somewhere where I was afraid. Maybe some (a small percentage, IMHO) have absolutely no choice, but the vast, vast majority do.
Maybe I live in a bubble, or maybe those that read the paper, TV news, radio and believe the gov’t are the ones living in the bubble. People die all the time, everywhere. Statistically, I know I’m at a higher risk, but it really isn’t that great.
Alas, it is becoming more common than not. Sooner or later, the sane people will not have anyplace to live.
Hey, your chance of being in a car accident is not all that great either (depending how you drive) but everyone drums it into your head to wear seat belts. Your chance of catching AIDS is not all that common, but people wear condoms. Why not lock your doors as well?
By the way, did you hear about that VA family who was murdered a week ago or so? (He used to be an indie rock star) You know why his family was murdered? Police now say it was because the murderers went around looking for an unlocked door. And they found one. Sorry, I’m locking my doors.
There’s a difference between being aware that dangers exist, and being afraid that dangers lurk in every shadow and around every corner. Awareness is what causes us to keep our doors locked, our condoms on, our moles examined and our social security numbers private. But when you take sensible precautions, and are still jumping at noises, and thinking that most people should be afraid, then you are ruled by fear.
I used to live in a neighbourhood with a fair bit of crime. If I read the crime stats, then I would have scared the bejeezus out of myself. But I knew that most of the crime was due to the drug trade, and that in most cases, the victim and perp knew each other well, and had been financially entangled, involved in a feud, or some other such thing. Very little of the violence was random. A bit did exist, but I knew that the odds of it happening to me were low. So, I stayed aware, and didn’t take foolish chances. But was I “afraid”? No.
I agree there is a middle road to this. Locking your doors is not extreme at all though, in my opinion, like Michael Moore potrayed it in his movie, and is good common sense. Besides, even without the crime, who wants people just barging in? It shouldn’t be too difficult for visitors to knock first.
I don’t think locking your doors is extreme. But it depends on what you’re used to. For me, and for most of my family, it’s always been a habit. But for a lot of people, the only time they lock their doors is at night, or when they’re away. We’ve started doing that, now that we’ve moved to the boonies, but I still don’t really like it. Not ’cause I’m scared of someone coming in and robbing us, but because…well, what if I’m naked or something? “Hello, Reverend! So nice of you to stop by!”
So is that fear by observation or conditioning?
Statistically, my memory is that anyone who drives 20K/yr can expect to have an accident every 10 years or so. I’d guess that risk to urban home burglary is about the same. That said, I had alot friends killed in car wrecks when I was a kid, and while I think 18 years olds should be able to drink, requiring them wear seatbelts for a few years is probably a reasonable idea.
Birkel – by your comment I wouod surmise you obviously know nothing of LA/NOLA. Sure the city is by and large Dem, but the strong “tendencies” corrupt and/or incompetent are not party specific.
There you have the decline and fall of the West in 5 words. The idea that knowledge and learning are things you should shut your mouth about, so people don’t think you’re uppity. The honour roll kids should be showered with trips, free days, game consoles, anything to show kids that knowledge is valued, and they are worth more to society than the third-string placekicker.
The common trait I see between the two cities I think’s been the largest contributor to the general lawnessness has been the rampant and deep-seated corruption of the city governments that manifested itself greatly in the police departments.
In DC, for instance, the Barry administration spent 20 years enriching itself, aggrandizing itself with the thugs and what now-Councilman Barry calls “hustlers”. The police department was consistently underfunded, undermanned, and, in one instance, hired dozens of officers who had lengthy criminal records and were members of street gangs. It’s only been the last ten years that subsequent mayors decided to break the explicit association between the government and the drug gangs and to build the police department into a respectable organzation.
The city still has a long way to go. Its education system is a routine embarassment, spending more per student than any major city in the nation producing the poorest educated students as well as not being able to open school on time due to construction or because they were just simply not fit for students to inhabit. Still, the city has come a long way from where it was 15 years ago.
I would hope that New Orleans would use the lessons it was shown from the hurricane and work to clean up its government also.
I would hope that America would use the lessons it was shown from Iraq and work to clean up its covernment, also.
KCinDC, you are correct. My apologies.
scs: no, I’m sorry, as much as you’d like to be able to write off my commentary as DougJ, alas, its not true.
Krista summarized it very well. Attributing fear to reasons to do common sense things is a just an excuse method. It leads to limited thinking, such as “I’m afraid of all blacks because so many of them are criminals” or homophobia induced attacks on gays. When you allow yourself to use fear as a reasoning, you are relying on your lower-functioning reptilian-brain to begin your reasoning process. Many juvenile/immature minds work this way.
A little deeper than your typical DougJ post, don’t you think?
re: Canada’s low murder rates.
I wonder what the numbers would be if you took just the canadian summer months, and adjusted for the entire year.
It gets damned cold up there. It gets cold early fall and stays cold till late spring.
I was in toronto for a week in september a couple years ago, and it was damned cold. Lows in the 30s F. Highs around 50.
Point being, not as much hanging out on the street corners at night. Studies have shown violent crime rises sharply during the summer months – dog days and all – heat causes tempers to rise.
I’m not saying it’s the only factor, but certainly seems like it could be a big one.
gosh, if only most of the crime was in the Mayberrys of the country, you might be onto something.
sadly, this is not the fact of the matter.
folks in the inner cities are afraid because of real circumstances, real people, real crime and real violence. not some fantasies they were ‘taught’ to be afraid of.
mickey moore is the last person in the world I would expect to say anything profound. you would do well to take that attitude as well.
Wow, I want what you’re smoking
New York City has had tough anti-gun laws for as long as anyone can remember, and they had a horrible crime/murder rate.
Enter Rudy. He didn’t change gun laws (except for higher penalties for using guns in crimes), yet the murder/crime rate has dropped every year since.
it’s now 1/5th what it was in 1990.
Its not about nerds not being picked on. It isn’t about excelling at academics. I wasn’t a pocket protector wearing geek. I was a jock. All I did was do the work assigned and get good grades on tests. My point is that you aren’t really allowed, in our macho anti-intellectual world, to stand out from the crowd in a non sports way. On the ice or baseball diamond my friends who had no talent were happy when I did well. But in the classroom if I could do something they couldn’t do they acted like what I could do had no value, almost like it was a bad thing. They didn’t like me for it. I can accept that people want to see themselves as equals to others so they ‘tear down’ accomplishments. But when I see a national movement based on and exploiting the national macho anti-intellectualism that should be made fun of I get worried.
I was a closet nerd. I did not get good grades, and rarely took homework ‘home’. If I didn’t get it done in class, it didn’t get done. But I listened in class, absorbed the material and I’ve always tested well. no one would look at me
But I know from experience that this particular ability of mine was an exceptional gift, and not at all normal. I didn’t have to work hard to learn. I’m not saying I was or am smarter than others, I just had a gift for absorbing what the teacher was saying.
It is not that easy for many others. Most have to work hard to learn, and working hard is not something that is easily hidden from your peers.
If i could only finish a sentence….
no one would have looked at me and thought I was a nerd. a slob, a hood, a pothead, yes – nerd, never.
When it comes to you being a black hole for good arguments you could hardly pick a better example than the Trotskyite origins of neoconservatism. Don’t blame us if you remain uneducated.
Right. Its easier to opt out. Then you drag others down to the middle with you so you don’t feel lonely.
Some might take Lines as being mean here (and maybe he is), but “Lizard Brain” reasoning is a real theory attributed to human behavior. It also provides insight into teenage behavior.
You should be getting enough of it from the likes of Ledeen. Ever bother reading their writings?
I don’t want to say Rudy’s effort were minimal, but the early 90’s was an orgy of violence for many major cities. There was a phrase “it’s the economy, stupid”. Not the only reason, but it wasn’t about gun laws and it wasn’t all about Rudy.
Darrell: Define neoconservatism for us since we all do it wrong.
Tim F has already done so with his genius: “neoconservativism as the worship of the sort of power that violence brings. It stems from their origins as followers of Trotsky”
In addition to their worship of violent power, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, etc proudly sport their WE * heart * TROTSKY tee-shirts and bumper stickers. Haven’t you seen them?
The Other Steve
The DOJ stats, Tequila posted are interesting…
They show a pronounced decline in crime coinciding with 1993. Well what happened in 1993? The COPS program. Bill Clinton put at least an extra 100,000 boots on the ground across America. Also, law enforcement adjusted tactics, relying less on reactive and more on proactive. Interfacing with the communities, identifying problem areas ahead of time, more cops on bikes, horses, whatever.
While the chart does show a continued downward trend, after 2001 it starts flattening out.
What I’m curious to see is 2005 statistics. I know Minneapolis had an increase in murders, and I’ve read similar things from a variety of cities across the country.
What happened? Good question, but at least in the case of Minneapolis, those officers hired under COPS… they went away. The Federal government canceled the funding, and the state and local govt wasn’t able to come up with the extra cash and so they had to layoff officers.
We’ll have to see further trending, but it’s looking more and more like Bill Clinton was right. That’s what I believed in 1993, but it’s nice of Bush to confirm it.
The Other Steve
neoconservative thought can be traced back to Leo Strauss, who was a Jewish refugee from Germany. Now some have claimed that he had pro-Nazi leanings, except for that dreadful anti-Jew policy. I don’t know, but Strauss was a fan of Machiavelli and that has influenced neocon thought.
The Trotsky references go back to Trotsky’s argument for constant revolution. This has also been a hallmark of neocon thought.
Hard to say for sure. I don’t believe neocon is a card carrying club, it’s more just a state of mind. Over the past 30 years it has done more damage to America than any other political movement in the past century.
scs, ChristieS, moflicky, etc:
Some people can slip under the radar, and others can’t; I imagine some of that has to do with personality types. When I was very young, I just sort of assumed that I was of average intelligence, because that would be statistically likely. Much later, I realized that the mere fact that I had that realization back then pretty much guaranteed that I wasn’t even close to average. If you’re in the 99th percentile for your age, and you’re in a classroom with, say, 30 kids, other people are bound to notice sooner or later.
Amazing that all of the most violent cities, like New Orleans, D.C., Detroit, Newark, Philly, and so on have all been run by Democrats for decades, yet it is somehow Bush’s fault for all of their crime and degradation.
The Other Steve,
Re: crime and the COPS program… this is practically rhetorical at this point, but… guess who had a plan… d’oh!
Welcome to the wonderful world of demographics. Amazing how all those cities continue to provide welfare to the vast ‘self-reliant’ areas of the country with their tax dollars. etc.
I’m not sure Lines. You haven’t sold me. All I know is, I assume infrequent posters, with short posts, who are aggressive, and who usually appear in a DougJ neighborhood, are DougJ.
But really, I still don’t understand what the hell you are saying. You are confusing irrational fears from rational fears, I believe. That is a common trait of a juvenile mind, to paint theories with a broad brush. Okay, to explain. Many fears are justified based on a realistic appraisal of the statistical probabilities of a certain harmful act happening. Rational actions that are taken to protect from these dangers are a balance of cost vs. benefit. For instance, locking your doors is a minimal effort protection that could result in a large benefit and hence is rational. Not leaving your house ever because you think a meteor might fall on your head is an example of an irrational fear. The chance of that happening is so small, and the cost to protect against that is so high, that it is not worth it. So what you consider “fearful” actions are really rational actions based on someone’s reality. You know I shouldn’t even have to explain this, as it is common sense, but apparently I do here.
The one thing these urban centers have in common beside their violence is Democrats in charge. Yes, there are occassional RINOs like Giuliani and Bloomberg in New York and Reardon out here in L.A. but overwhelmingly U. S. urban centers are run by Democrats.
Tim demonstrates the Democratic mindset. Dismiss your opponents as Trotskyites and smugly blame crime on poverty as is usual with leftists like, ya know Lev Davidovich Bronshtein. American liberals have far more in common with Trotsky than any conservative, neo or otherwise.
Mayor Nagin is a Democrat. His city is run on Democratic principles. Blame the rich, drive them out with insane taxes then call the departure racist while vigorously enforcing racial quotas, especially in the police and fire departments.
Oh, and Pb.
The businesses that you are driving out of the cities are finally able to relocate. Twentyfirst century communications and transportation will allow the urban business tax base to escape. The demographics that create the illusion of wealth in the cities are not going to survive long. Leftist government is making the cities unlivable and will soon destroy their economies.
Well I don’t know about that. I’m not a guy (okay, I’ll admit it) and I didn’t go to a bad highschool, so I don’t know what someone who did went through. But I also was in the top sections and got good grades (well at least through half of highschool) and I never had a problem from blue collar types at my busstop or in the school. I mean the subject of grades never even came up. I don’t know, maybe it’s a guy thing.
We had plenty of people who got good grades and studied throughout lunch and study and those who also got good grades and didn’t study throughout lunch. Come on, I hate to be rude here, but studying through lunch was a little anti-social. If out of necessity fine, but most of the people I know who did that didn’t need to, they just wanted to. I guess if that’s what they wanted to do, good for them. But it sure wouldn’t make them socially popular. And it’s not about anti-intellectualism, it’s about striking a balance in your life between being social and being intellectual.
I think a little modesty is in order here. People should get good grades because they enjoy the work, not because they want “rewards” and honors. I don’t think an athlete should flaunt his rewards or a girl who models in highschool should talk that much about her good looks. It’s the same reason people hardly ever tell other people their IQ or tell others how much money they make. It’s the kind of stuff you’re supposed to keep to yourself, because it’s your own business.
While we’re looking at possible reasons for violence in the U.S., let’s agree that at least one of the factors is the huge increase in households where there is no male role model. I’m female and a feminist, so believe me, I’m not saying women cannot be strong and competent parents, but study after study (and no, I cannot, off the top of my head, cite one) has shown that boys and young men from homes with no father or an absent father are much more likely to commit violent acts than those from two-parent households. Girls from fatherless households are far more likely to get pregnant early, take drugs, drop out of school. The percentage of children born “out of wedlock” in the U.S. has increased steadily since the ’60’s. If I remember the statistics correctly, it’s now something like 35% of white children and a whopping 70% of black children. I’m betting Canada’s statistics don’t even approach these numbers, and that may be at least one of the differences between the two countries.
One of the reasons why violence exploded was crack cocaine, and easy access to guns.
As for strict gun laws those don’t work if you have an iron pipeline bringing in hundreds of guns from states in which lax gun laws and loopholes allow a person to buy dozens of guns in a day without any background checks.
That is what happened with New York.
Poverty is something almost impossible to get out of. Poor people make more poor people without access to sex education they reproduce far more then those who did receive such education.
The same crime rates would have happened under Republican mayors heck they would more likely be worse if the typical Republican measures went into the police forces.
It’s not lack of male role model it’s lack of education in sex.
Moflicky: Things other than effective gun control may also lower the crime rate. Whatever gun laws NYC (or DC) have, they clearly aren’t effective at getting guns off the street.
So here is your explanation: the current guns laws are not a serious impediment to gun possession, so they might as well not be on the books. I said get rid of the guns, not pass ineffective laws.
Well if not for guns flowing into the cities with strict gun laws from states with lax gun laws allowing people to buy dozens at a time at cheap prices then the strict gun laws would be effective wouldn’t they?
Most of the guns used in crimes in NYC or DC weren’t sold there they were sold in other states with lax gun laws from crooked dealers or oblivius dealers who just didn’t care about the money they were lining their pockets with.
Heh. Real estate prices, I might believe. “Leftist government”? Please. I do like how you show zero examples to back up your ridiculous claims, by the way–it really helps your case. Anyhow, suburban sprawl has a way of being recaptured by cities–it’s how they grow, really.
That’s what Google is for. I believe you, anyhow, but I bet there’s a *strong* correlation with poverty to adjust for there as well…
Beej wisely added:
I agree totally.
Hopefully you’ll agree with me that what would be even better than one male role model would be two male role models.
I’ve seen a lot of studies (sadly I’m too lazy today to be able to give any urls) that has shown that kids growing up with two dads will be much more peaceful than kids growning up with only one dad. The same studies also shows that kids growing up with two mothers are 317% more likely to commit murder.
What should be done is obvious, heterosexual marriages should be banned and we should only allow men to marry each other.
Ken Hahn , Brian and all others making the claim that NOLA’s problems are there because the cities are run by Democrats. Please don’t speak to things based on assumptions you have about Democrats without knowing a cotton damn about the local culture/pathologies. That is a lazy way of thinking.
So freakin’ what if Nagin (and previois mayors) is a Dem….. Incompetence crosses party lines – and to think otherwise is silly. The problem of leadership or lack thereof in NOLA, is not a Democrat v. Republican thing. Nagin in a NOLA boy, though not a politician (he was a cable executive prior to running for mayor). He got a good bit of the rich (i.e. Republican Uptown, Garden District, Lakefront vote) because he was a cable executive (i.e. not a typical NOLA politician). Talking about NOLA’s political problems in terms of party affiliation is missing the real picture. If you define NOLA’s problems in terms of it being a Democratic government’s fault – and proceede to “fix” things based on that you are going to fail, and fail big time.
In no way am I defending the city or the mayor – there are reasons I don’t live there anymore, but if you are going to harp on the “its the Democrats fault” line I will give you my 2 cents.
And as an FYI for those that don’t know, there is no legal gun ownership for residents of the District of Columbia except in a few cases. Most guns come from MD and VA.
It seems to me the gun discussion has conflated the legal structure with the goal of reducing violence.
I tried to make the point that the homicide rate would be substantially lowered if we could snap our fingers and get rid of all guns. I never intended to make a point about our laws. Commenters have made comments on the laws, not the underlying idea.
My 2 cents: we do not and may never have any sort of effective gun control law. You can cheer, you can moan, but my original point is simply that the easy availablity of highly lethal guns, in and of itself, increases the homicide rate, and most probably other crimes involving weapons.