Hildegarde

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Nowhere News

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Yesterday was Thursday, and as on every Thursday, we got our issue of our little weekly newspaper.

And, interestingly enough, there was actually some news in it–the cops in a local town had made one of their very infrequent serious drug busts; and a guy in a parking lot of a 7-11, seeing a police car pull in, took off backwards at high speed and nearly ran down an officer before he was apprehended.

This is a lot of serious crime for our area, but it has to be balanced by the rest of that newspaper’s first page.

There was a story about how another local town really hopes it’s going to get a new gas station.

There was also a story about the Touch a Truck program, which had appeared at a local library, so that kids could get to walk around inside ambulances and other…vehicles.

That second thing appeared above the fold.

Unfortunately, the rest of my news day was not so strikingly…rural.

The unrural news was, of course, not local, or even close to local–although the thing about the firefighter who’d threatened another firefighter with a gun inside the firehouse happened in New Haven, and the town that won a discrimination lawsuit because it rejected a candidate for its police force as too smart seems to have been New London.

Those were not the two big stories.

The two big stories were, first, the killing of an Australian college baseball player by three “teenagers” who declared that they’d done it because they were just bored.

And second, killing an 88 year old veteran of WWII by two other teenagers who beat him to death outside his favorite lodge hall in Spokane, Washington.

There’s a lot going on with these stories that is disturbing as hell, not the least of which is the fact that both killings seem to be the modern equivalent of joy riding.

They haven’t found the perpetrators of the second crime as I write, but they do have security camera video of them, and they don’t look like anybody the victim could be connected to.

In other words, the second crime looks at least as “random” as the first.

But as disturbing as sociopaths are, there’s more going on here than that, and worse news.

In the first case–the Australian college student playing baseball for a university in Oklahoma–it looks as if the choice of victim was not entirely random.

One of the two perpetrators had posted messages to FB and several tweets declaring that all white people are nasty and he hated them.

It’s almost assuredly the case that, if the assailants had been white and the victim black, the assailants would be being charged with a hate crime as we speak.

This would also almost assured been the case in a third incident, this one if Florida, where three black kids beat up a white one while the bus driver sat still and waited for help to come.

The fact that no hate crimes charges have been filed in either of these cases has become an enormous deal on the right, with Fox news and Rush Limbaugh and other predictable players beating the drums over Media Bias and even Prosecutorial Bias.

Also Presidential Bias and Al Sharpton Bias and…you get the picture.

But none of our media here is actually talking about the racial aspects of any of these cases, and one of the weirdest things about the reporting is the way the words and the pictures clash.

The text always focusses tightly on “teenagers,” with no other descriptive allowed anywhere near the word.  The pictures, on the other hand, are unambiguously racial. You spend three minutes reading about “teenagers” and look up to find yourself staring into a solid wall of black faces, minus one (the kid who drove the getaway car in the Oklahoma case is white).

In the meantime, the Australian press is talking nonstop about the racial issue in these cases, although it’s also talking about US “gun culture,” complete with irrelevant statistics.

And that includes suggesting that the death of the Australian baseball player was the result of a kind of pay back for the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.

It’s not that I think the Australians are right in thinking there might be a connection between these random killings and the Trayvon Martin case.

It’s that I think almost everybody here is thinking the same thing but refusing to talk about it.

Let’s leave the gun violence thing for a moment. Two of the three incidents involved barefisted beatings, with no guns in sight.

I presume that for at least some reporters, and some outlets, the reason not to face the race question here boils down to a desperate attempt not to feed into white stereotypes about young black men.

But although that impulse is laudable as an intention, it’s really a bad idea in actual practice.

No matter what these reporters and websites and news outlets want, the one thing they cannot have is a world in which nobody notices the race of the perpetrators involved.

Race is going to get noticed, whether anybody wants it to be or not.  Playing pretend that it isn’t there doesn’t lower the levels of anxiety in white, Asian and other Americans about young black men, it increases it.

It’s like surpressing any other kind of fear–when you won’t talk about it, or think about it, or look at it, or discuss it, what you do instead is to exaggerate it.

There is very little else that you can do, because exaggeration becomes the only option open to you.

If we are at a point where relations between the races are such that young black men are targetting whites for being white and young white men are targetting blacks for being black–then we need to say something about it.  And if there is more targetting being done on one side rather than the other, we need to say that, too.

We’re not going to fix anything if we refuse to face it.

We may find, of course, that what’s going on here is something else entirely, only tangentially related to race.

But we can’t know anything unless we look at reality plainly and deal with what we see there.

If we leave everything up to our imaginations, our imaginations will produce for us an updated version of Apocalypse Now.

And that’s not going to make anything any better for anybody, ever.

Written by janeh

August 23rd, 2013 at 8:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

20 Responses to 'Nowhere News'

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  1. I’ve noted the news report about the shooting and while I see race as most definately a huge part of how it is playing and will play out, I also noticed a couple of other things. . .”…Luna was sitting in the rear seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22 caliber revolver and shot Lane once in the back. Hicks said Jones was driving the vehicle and Edwards was in the passenger seat.” http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/21/police-say-teen-shot-australian-student-in-oklahoma-for-fun-it/#ixzz2cnUtoDcv

    Got that?

    Not two black kids out ‘hunting’ who THEN , amazingly after hunting for white victim, had a white friend pick them up ‘after the fact’ and help them flee the scene, but rather ALL THREE riding around in the same car.

    Only ONE actually pulled the trigger, and he was alone in the back seat.

    BUT.

    BOTH black ‘kids’ are charged with first degree murder, will be charged as adults, and face an almost certain sentence, since they are in fact minors so the death penalty is ‘off the table’ of life without the possibility of parole.

    Meanwhile, the WHITE ‘kid’, who was as involved as the other two in the conspiracy is being charged with a MUCH lesser crime (accessory after the fact {????})that at least theoretically could have him out of prison in 5 years, maybe less with ‘good behavior’ for all I know at this point.

    So, yeah, race is playing out as a really big part of the entire incident, and in ways that no one else seems to be noticing.

  2. The white kid may be as uninvolved as the black kid sitting next to him, but is not as the black kid who actually did the shooting – assuming that some of the the various allegations and descriptions of what went on which are floating about are accurate, since none of them have as yet been examined in a court of law.

    Cheryl

    23 Aug 13 at 9:33 am

  3. Michael, I’ll worry about police and prosecutorial discretion when I have evidence it’s consistently used for the benefit of some category of persons over another. So far, the evidence indicates a slight bias in favor of blacks, which just can’t compensate for hugely greater percentages of violent criminals–which was the topic. You remember the topic?

    Actually two topics. We have a growing criminal class without even a point, and we have a real problem with a media reluctance to admit that this class is largely black, let alone discuss what this might mean for policy.

    Criminals without a cause first. I’d make a small wager that when you see the backgrounds on the criminals in all three incidents, there won’t be a father living with any of them, and while all the kids may be poor, none of them will be working. This is new. In the evil racist days of Eisenhower and Kennedy, black employment, family formation and crime rates looked a lot more like whites. When Moynihan talked about black families in crisis, 80% of black children were born in wedlock. It’s enough to make a non-liberal wonder whether we got laws and/or cultural changes right in the LBJ/Nixon era. Anyone else for giving the WPA and the CCC another try?

    Reporting. I think the MSM–what used to be called the “eastern establishment”–news sources owe a tremendous debt to talk radio and Fox. If it weren’t for the new sources of information, the refusal of our “old” media to touch certain stories and their lockstep coverage of others would feed every paranoid’s belief that they were all controlled from one source.

    In a way, of course, they are. About time, I think, to close down the journalism schools and go back to hiring street-smart kids with good verbal skills as apprentices. The level of sloppy exculpatory “investigation” in the Washington POST makes it useful only for paper-mache, and the New York TIMES isn’t that far behind.

    If you want real reporting, toss out the journalists and go back to hiring reporters.

    robert_piepenbrink

    23 Aug 13 at 1:40 pm

  4. ” I’ll worry about police and prosecutorial discretion when I have evidence it’s consistently used for the benefit of some category of persons over another. So far, the evidence indicates a slight bias in favor of blacks,”

    Racial Disparities in Incarceration

    African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population

    African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites

    Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population

    According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50% [follows from 1 & 2, but included for the mathematically challenged-mf]

    One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime

    1 in 100 African American women are in prison

    Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

    Drug Sentencing Disparities

    About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug

    5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites

    African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.

    African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

  5. Differences in rates of incarceration by race don’t prove that there’s unfairness based on race in the US judicial system. To prove that, you need to control for a lot of factors.

    The comparison of the time served for similar offences is a better argument, assuming of course that all other relevant factors are considered. And to figure that out, I’d need access to the original studies, and probably to review my statistics, if the researchers were using anything even mildly complicated.

    Comparing the time served for one kind of offence by one group of people to that served by a different kind of offence committed by a different group is … not convincing. Apples and oranges.

    I’d also like to know how the researchers who claim that 5 times as many Whites as African Americans use drugs figured that one out. It is notoriously diffcult to get accurate figures for participation in illegal activities.

    I’m sure there’s racism in the US. Quite probably, a well-designed study would (or has) revealed a lot about it. But discussing the effect of racism on the treatment of those accused of crimes BEFORE anyone even knows what the prosecution thinks it can prove or the defence thinks it can prove is going to be productive of more heat than light.

    And completely off-topic – I have just shut the front door in someone’s face for the first time in my life. I was in the middle of typing this when someone knocked on the door. The young man at the door insisted that he wasn’t selling anything but he wanted to talk to me about advertising and systems. I was struggling to keep one of my cats from escaping to the busy street where a previous cat was nearly killed. I asked him to come to the point. He blathered on. He mentioned smoke detectors. I said I had one, and I really had to go; I didn’t want to let the cat out. He started waving a pictures of various smoke detectors under my nose and informed me that cats die first in a fire. I said I had to go right now and shut the door in his face.

    This sort of thing is extremely unusual here. I thought at first he must be a worker for someone running in the upcoming municipal elections, but nooo.

    Cheryl

    23 Aug 13 at 4:16 pm

  6. I know almost nothing about criminal law in either the US or Australia. Please consider the following hypothetical case.

    A and B are robbing a bank. A pulls out a pistol and shoots C. C dies.

    My understanding is that both A and B will be charged with murder. The two were jointly engaged in committing a crime and the law does not care which one pulled the trigger.

    Can anyone confirm or deny that understanding?

    jd

    23 Aug 13 at 5:13 pm

  7. I think whether or not everyone involved in a felony is equally legally responsible for a murder that takes place during that crime depends on the jurisdiction. But I am not a lawyer.

    There was a notorious case in Canada which the Karla Homolka, the female half of a rape-and-murder, got off a lot easier than her then-husband, largely because she negotiated a great deal with the prosecution before they realized just how much evidence against her existed. She also claimed that she was abused by her husband, and at the end, she certainly was beaten by him. But the videotapes, when they finally surfaced, apparently gave quite a different picture of her involvement than the one she gave the prosecutors, and also provided more evidence against her husband, which they thought they needed her to provide.

    Nevertheless, the deal was kept. She’s out of prison now, remarried with children and living in the Caribbean. Ex-hubby will probably never get out. And they both participated in the murders.

    Cheryl

    23 Aug 13 at 5:46 pm

  8. Here Michael, just for you:

    http://colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.pdf

    A little dated, it’s true. But just a reminder: most crimes involve criminals and victims of the same race, but the US white homicide rate looks much like the Canadian and Australian homicide rates. The black rate is about seven times higher. To make our prison population “look like America” we’d have to let lots of black men who have murdered other black men and women walk. As far as inter-racial crime goes, a black man is, on this count, 39 times more likely to kill a white man than the reverse.

    If you want to argue that this stems from bad things white people have done in the past, that it’s the result of social policy or black poverty resulting from white prejudice, make your case. But any of those only tells us where the problem comes from. The problem is with us regardless, and complaining that incarceration rates for violent crimes pretty well track with the commission of violent crimes really doesn’t make your point–though it does make Jane’s.

    robert_piepenbrink

    23 Aug 13 at 7:40 pm

  9. Why does the media keep using the word “teenager”?

    It could mean anything from 13 to 19. 13 is a child, 17 can join the US military with parental consent, 18 is an adult and can join the US military without parental consent.

    I would call 13 a child and 17 and over an adult.

    jd

    23 Aug 13 at 8:40 pm

  10. As an Australian, I have a particular interest in the Lane killing, but my interest is even greater as a result of my experiences during the Trayvon Martin case. Even at this early stage, the full extent of the poisonous hypocrisy and double standards of the mainstream media and the other usual liberal suspects is in evidence.

    Where, for example, is the howling, self-righteous outrage of the lynch mob that was hell-bent on having Zimmermann convicted of murder despite the extant laws? He, at the very least, was in every respect the polar opposite of the Lane killers, criticism of whom is mild to non-existent by comparison.

    Jane wrote:

    “The fact that no hate crimes charges have been filed in either of these cases has become an enormous deal on the right, with Fox news and Rush Limbaugh and other predictable players beating the drums over Media Bias and even Prosecutorial Bias.

    Also Presidential Bias and Al Sharpton Bias and…you get the picture.”

    Other predictable players? Beating the drums? Is it somehow unreasonable for conservative commentators to note the considerable difference in the way the Martin/Zimmermann case played out and the way the Lane killing is being dealt with, or not dealt with, in the media and by the Left’s “predictable players”, eg Sharpton, Obama, Holder et al? Is it unreasonable for them to remind their readers of the blatant double standards?

    The way I see it, the apparent differences in treatment of the black kids in this case and the white kid (thus far) are utterly trivial compared with the contortions Obama, Holder, Sharpton and their henchmen and their liberal claque in the media and elsewhere went through in their attempts to lynch Zimmermann.

    The one thing that is certain is that the brain-damaged left, here as well as there, are like the Bourbons. They forget nothing and learn nothing.

    Mique

    23 Aug 13 at 10:04 pm

  11. Just thought I would post this. The Christian Science Monitor strikes me as a very well balanced newspaper.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0823/Chris-Lane-murder-Is-a-racist-dimension-of-the-crime-being-discounted

    jd

    24 Aug 13 at 1:46 am

  12. While I work out just HOW internally inconsistent the numbers in the piece refered to by Robert are, and on the surface they’re pulling numbers out of their collective asses without checking whether they agree with each other or not, I’ll refer the gentle readers to this about the source (oh, my numbers came from the NAACP, an advocacy organization to be sure, but, well, no one without a white conical hat has ever accused them of being anthing but a little too laid back – http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet}

    Anyway, here the Souther Poverty Law Center (another not-a-hotbed-of-radicals) on the “New Century Foundation”.
    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/american-renaissance

    Might as well just quote David Duke et. al. directly, wouldn’t really lose much more credibility.

  13. Ok, on those numbers. Quoting directly from Robert’s “source”:

    Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

    AND

    Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against
    a white than vice versa. . .

    Okay.

    ] Look at that second asserted “fact”.

    Now that works out to 39 blacks committing a violent crime against a white person for every ONE crime a white person commits against a black.

    That’s what a 39:1 ratio means.

    So let’s work that out as a percentage. I’ll do all my work so my arithemetic won’t be in doubt.

    39 + 1 = 40

    100/40 = 2.5

    So we need to multiply the numbers in the ratio by 2.5 to get the numbers corrected for 100.

    39 * 2.5 = 97.5 :: 1 * 2.5 = 2.5

    I.e., according to the second assertion, 97.5% of black/white crime is blacks assaulting whites, while only 2.5% of such crimes are whites assaulting blacks.

    I direct the readers attention to the FIRST assertion quoted., where it was stated that blacks commit 85% of the crimes.

    Please note that that is a 12.5% discrepancy.

    In two bullet points only one bullet apart in the cited source.

    So — should you believe EITHER number? I have a funny feeling that digging through the DOJ data – which is freely available on the web, if not always reported in the most convenient format so work is required to tease out the answers most usuually – would come up with numbers that also don’t jibe with the “New Century Foundation”.

    And here are some more numbers for you:

    “For example, a person convicted of possessing 5 grams of crack cocaine got the same mandatory sentence as one convicted of possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine.
    Of course, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge that the prevailing view in 1986, when this law was enacted, was that, because it was so cheap, the use of crack cocaine was becoming epidemic. Not to mention the association that was established between crack and inner city violence. Still, it did not take long to realize that populating federal prisons with people convicted for possessing small amounts of crack cocaine was demonstrably unfair.
    [Incidentally, Crystal Meth has become to white rural communities what crack is (or was) to black inner cities. But I hope it will come as no surprise to learn that federal authorities are focusing on treatment for meth users, which stands in stark (or dark?) contrast to their focus on imprisonment for crack users.]”
    http://www.theipinionsjournal.com/2011/11/black-users-of-crack-vs-white-users-of-powder-cocaine/

    Yeah Robert, they’ve really been going soft on those black folk, you know, the ones actually using “crack” vs. the white powder form preferred by whites:

    “The law imposed the same ratio for larger amounts: a minimum sentence of 10 years for amounts of crack over 50 grams, versus 5 kilograms of cocaine.”
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2010/08/03/data-show-racial-disparity-in-crack-sentencing

    For your reference, a “rock” of crack is about a gram, and goes for about $10-20, so that’s 10 years in prison for 5000-1000 dollars street value of crack vs 5 KILOS of powder, which WHOLESALES for about a cool $250,000. A gram of powder’s streer value is about $100, so the street value of that 5K brick is a HALF A MILLION. Just to help ya’ll get a little perspective.

  14. And since I’m not quite ready to go to bed yet . . .

    I suppose, to make all the white folk feel better, they could pile on “hate crime” charges on top of the first degree murder charges,especially if they were at all afraid that maybe they couldn’t get the first degree murder conviction for sure.

    But if news reports are to be believed, they’ve got them on video so unless the DA’s office scours the country looking for the most incompetent possible legal team to prosecute the case, and loses all the evidence, I don’t see how they can loose.

    And when they win, the sentence will be life without the possibility of parole.

    And in prison until you die is being in prison until you die. Additional charges would be just window dressing to make somebody else feel better.

  15. Although I’m white, I don’t feel either good or bad about any comment on the US legal system – I”m merely mildly interested in the topic, and not particularly concerned at all about the potential sentence. That discussion should come after the evidence is heard in a public court, not before.

    I think hate crime laws and accusations of hate crimes, in the US or Canada, are an extremely bad idea. But if you – and we – must have them, they should apply to everyone, whatever their race or the race or other characteristics of the person targeted.

    Ditto, really , for life without parole – you wouldn’t be familiar with the debate over the faint hope clause in Canadian law, but I thought it useful.

    Perhaps someone could explain to me why, in the US, there is a tendency to have sentences far in excess of any human life? I’ve read that the practice is supposed to have deterrant value, but that’s not really convincing since they’re usually reduced for various reasons, and in any case, being ‘imprisoned’ after you are dead will hardly deter anyone.

    But if the law of the land says ‘life without parole’ for certain types of murder, that’s what everyone who is convicted should get, regardless of their skin colour. And if a citizen opposes that law, they should fight to change it.

    And John, I could setting for ‘youth’ or maybe even ‘child’ (although that’s misleading) for anyone under the age of majority (19 in my province) and ‘man’ or ‘woman’ for everyone 19 and older. Most media seems to be following something along these lines, although naturally the lawyers and families of accused who are just under or just over the age of majority emphasize their relative youth.

    Cheryl

    24 Aug 13 at 6:33 am

  16. Poor Michael! Let me explain mathematics to you. If there are three soldiers for every Marine, and the Corps and the Army won the Medal of Honor about as often, then a Marine is three times as likely to win the Medal of Honor as a soldier. Logic does not require that the USMC actually win three times as many medals. If a group one eighth the size of the white population commits between five and six times the inter-racial crime…Oh, you get it now? Good.

    Nor, sadly, does telling the NAACP and the SPLC dislike an organization tell me anything at all about the accuracy of the paper, which seems to be conscientiously using governmental sources. When you want to show that a fact-based essay if off, you either have to show the facts are not as given, or that the reasoning is faulty. I notice you didn’t cite either one as saying the paper misquoted its sources, or used biased ones. When you attack the organization and not the statistics, you’ve sunk to ad hominem argument.

    I’m afraid all you have to do to get on the NAACP or the SPLC’s bad boy list is to suggest that not all of black America’s problems are the result of current racism. If instead of “current racism” they blamed everything on “past racism and current government policy” I’d be much inclined to agree.

    Fixing a problem involves admitting you have one and working from where you are now. We will not make our streets safe for everyone without admitting a black violent crime problem–and we will not do it by discussing what we ought to have done differently during Reconstruction.

    I would, though, love to see violent crime rates corrected for education and childhood poverty. Is a young black man with an eighth-grade education raised on welfare more or less likely to commit a violent crime than his white or Hispanic statistical counterpart? It might not precisely outline the problem, since the criminally violent may be prone to dropping out of school and crime pays notoriously poorly, but it would be an interesting starting point. Has anyone seen THOSE numbers?

    robert_piepenbrink

    24 Aug 13 at 8:19 am

  17. I think that we’re arguing beside the point which as I see it is not so much how much black crime v white crime there is, or why, but rather what is it that drives some people – primarily leftists both here, there and pretty much everywhere – to seek to alibi black criminals, tortuously trying to find some rationalisation for their criminal behaviour. At the same time, these very same people tend to do the exact opposite for white criminals.

    As people like Thomas Sowell so frequently argue, white liberals are doing blacks no favours by patronising and infantilising them. Indeed, their policies have created or at least seriously exacerbated the situations that currently exist.

    How must the vast majority of law-abiding blacks feel being treated with the evident contempt that white liberals demonstrate daily by their patronising behaviour?

    It’s just another sop to white consciences like affirmative action.

    Mique

    24 Aug 13 at 9:11 am

  18. “If there are three soldiers for every Marine, and the Corps and the Army won the Medal of Honor about as often, then a Marine is three times as likely to win the Medal of Honor as a soldier. ”

    Alas, the poor mathematicaly challenged “conservative” still can’t do the math.

    Given: The ratio of marines to solders is 1/3

    Given: The number of medals won by each is 10

    Show the actual arthemetic to prove the intuitive answer.

    1/3 * 10/10 and cross multiply = 30/10 = 3:1

    Say the marines actually won more medals

    1/3 (ratio of marines to solders remains the same)

    Medals 20/10 — assuming an increase

    Then 1/3 cross multipl 20/10 = 60/10 = 6:1

    So just as we intuit, the odds of them winning a medal doubles, so the arithemetic is working.

    Race / Ethnicity Number Percentage of
    U.S. population
    Americans 308,745,538 100.0 %
    White or European American 223,553,265 72.4 %
    Black or African American 38,929,319 12.6 %

    So the ratio of blacks to whites is 12/12 = 1:6

    The original numbers: “770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.”

    Doing the arithematic (total crimses * %) and rounding Blacks commit 905 crimes for every 115 commited by whites.

    Putting that into our formula:

    1/6 cross multiply 905/115 = 5430/115 = 47:1 (after a bit of rounding)

    That number is actually worse than the one they actually printed “Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa. . .”

    So the idiots still didn’t, couldn’t, do the math right EVEN WHEN IT GOES IN THEIR FAVOR.

    So before you read Robert’s paper, make a Costco run and stock up on salt.

    And keep some scratch paper handy.

  19. And now about that apocalyptic vision of hordes of crazed criminals running amuck committing random acts of violence.

    This source:
    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fv9311.pdf

    Covers firearm violence from 1993 – 2011 (sorry, the stats always run a little behind)

    Summary: Rates steadily and fairly rapidly declined from 1993 – 2000 and have remained essentially flat since.

    Some individual breakouts show a little variation from the overall pattern, but not much. E.g. “Nonfatal firearm victimizations” peaked in ’94, declined through ’04, ramped up a little through 06, then dropped again through ’08 – and are essentially flat thereafter.

    Go through the actual numbers. No matter how you twist them, what you can’t find, is any version of impending apocalypse.

    What about violent crime NOT involving firearms?

    Take a look at this chart:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Violent_crime_rates_by_gender_1973-2003.jpg

    What you’re seeing/hearing on the news is not the impending apocalypse — it’s the weird stuff becoming the only stuff to report. When your local crime rate is relatively (and absolutely) actually pretty low, then to get “news” — something out of the ordinary to report ON – the media has to cast a wider net, and take whatever it can find.

    I would assert that if you have the patience to do all the necessary math that what is happening is not an increase in “crazy”, but such an overall decrease in crime close to home that all that’s left to fill the news and/or keep people worried enough to WATCH the news are the crazy crimes.

    In other words, these crimes are not some kind of epidemic worthy of our angst, they’re crimes you’re hearing about NOW because there’s so little else on the crime front to report about.

  20. Robert, Michael, experience says that people get badly confused with arguments based on ratios or percentages. It is often helpful to use dummy numbers which fit the ratios.

    If there are three soldiers for every Marine, and the Corps and the Army won the Medal of Honor about as often, then a Marine is three times as likely to win the Medal of Honor as a soldier. ”

    try 900,000 soldiers and 300,000 marines.
    Try 6MOH, 3 go to soldiers and 3 go to marines.

    Probability of soldier winning an MOH is 3/900,000 or 1/300,000

    Probability of marine winning an MOH is 3/300,000 or 1/100,000.

    So yes, a marine is 3 times as likely to win an MOH.

    jd

    24 Aug 13 at 3:30 pm

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