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Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Clearly, only the police can be trusted with firearms.

Aggrieved former LAPD cop Chris Dorner is on the run.  He’s killed three and released a long, angry, narcissistic, but otherwise coherent manifesto.  He sounds like an entitled, over-promoted guy who fell back on the old saw of racism when things didn’t go his way. His Navy career didn’t work out, he was a mediocre cop, and when his training officer was ready to call him out, he decided to lie about her.  After stewing for a few years, he finally decided to throw in the towel and get even in a blaze of glory.

He also was a liberal-leaning gun control supporter with opinions on just about everything.  Somehow this angry cop’s rampage is being used to support gun control.  But notice, suspending moral judgment for a second, how his actions and the overreaction of the Southern California cops provide strong evidence for one of the key foundations of the Second Amendment.  Second Amendment supporters say that the right to bear arms flows from our founding history, where armed Americans threw off the control of the British and its state-of-the-art military.  This possibility and this reserved “last resort” power was always supposed to reside in the people and their arms.  We are told it is unrealistic today that this would ever be necessary or that it could ever be effective.  But here we have one man without any supporting network tying up thousands of law enforcement officers who are used otherwise to operating in a permissive environment.  The police are crippled, over-reacting, and one man has created fear and chaos throughout Southern California.

If the government ever truly were resisted by even a smallish percentage of Americans, it would not get very far.  Dozens or hundreds or thousands of Dorners could easily destroy its ability to govern at all.  And we have seen this in our own history in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have also seen it in the history of other nations such as Northern Ireland, Algeria, the West Bank, and today in Syria.

First world militaries and their tanks and planes and high tech gear are not so effective at addressing this kind of problem, and, in their over-reactions, tend to alienate the very people whom they purport to represent.  This is the essential “David and Goliath” paradox of guerrilla warfare.

Now Dorner is a grievance-collecting nutjob, as best we can tell. And he was also a former cop, which suggests letting “only the police and military have guns” is not necessarily such a bulwark against shooting rampages and mayhem.  Let’s not forget Nidal Hasan or the biggest shooting spree killer of all time, Woo Bum Kim, a pissed off South Korean police officer.

On a purely tactical level, actions like Dorner’s or of the DC Sniper or of any of the other criminals who go “toe to toe” with law enforcement, show that the ability of the government to police things when it is opposed directly (rather than merely evaded in the manner of the typical criminal) is very limited. And if this type of activity were to happen on a large scale in an organized or spontaneous resistance by, say, 1% of America’s 100mm gun owners, it would be utterly impossible for the military, police, and other apparatus of the government to govern.

This would be a nightmare scenario, of course, just as all wars are terrible affairs. One could not know that such claimed oppression and call to resistance were not the prelude to tyranny, as in the French Revolution. But political oppression, the greatest tool of mass murder in the last century, is also nightmarish.  To pretend that it is an unknown phenomenon of right wing fantasy and not a real threat to freedom in a decadent, divided country like the United States today is the real fantasy. At least in a world where we retain our arms, we have the means to protect ourselves from any number of threats:  common criminals, an oppressive government, or would-be oppressors masquerading as freedom fighters.

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Connecticut Shooting

After the Newton Massacre, the usual suspects are harping about gun control, but passions are short lived on this, compared to the passionate love of guns held by the 100mm plus American gun owners. Let’s hope no idiotic laws are created to harass an overwhelmingly law abiding cohort of American society.

Of course, the Connecticut shooting is an absolute horror show, beyond even the macabre horrors we’ve seen in other mass shootings.  It is beyond words really.  But this event does reveal a problem that is a little more complicated than Auster, for example, would have it.  I wrote some about it here.  In short, there are a lot of crazy people, most need help, and many are undertreated or imprisoned or homeless.  Yet it’s equally true that for every weird crazy kid who shoots up a school, there’s hundreds more whose only crime is that they weird people out and don’t altogether know how to behave.  We can’t simply imprison them all or throw more than a few in looney bins.  It’s costly and too wide a net. Even though there is a continuum for levels of institutionalization, more may not help because it’s not so clear we can easily identify the potentially violent from the merely annoying or self-destructive.

One important development  in the last 50 years is how our rates of mental health institutionalization has gone down as our rates of imprisonment have risen.  When both dropped in tandem, crime soared.  I’m sure these things are probably linked. And we certainly know a great number of mass shooters–Virginia Tech, Columbine, Jared Loughner, and even Charles Whitman–involved individuals who were clearly “off.”

There is always going to be an appropriate total level of institutionalization in any society in order to be safe, and ours is probably too low.  Unfortunately, we have yet to develop the technology or methods to predict crimes such as these in advance.  Any such regime would have a great many false positives.  And, for that reason, real freedom is at risk if we were to institutionalize more mentally people than we do presently.  And it is not even a randomly distributed risk.  There is a great deal of discretion and politics involved in who is declared unfit to live in ordinary society, and shifting contemporary values make it more likely that gun owners, opponents of gay marriage, and so-called racists and chauvinists would be in the pool of the potentially institutionalized than others with more favored varieties of deviant behavior and attitudes.

Conservatives should be especially wary of empowering the mostly leftist psychiatric community to lock up people whom they deem unfit.  Decisions require decision-makers, and the character of this group–who has done so much to make excuses for atrocious crimes and criminals, broken homes, and other evils for a half century or more–leaves much to be desired.

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In addition to politics and history, I have an interest in true crime and criminal psychology:  shows like Law and Order, City Confidential, Deadly Women, John Douglas books etc.  Like everyone from my neck of the woods, I got mesmerized by the Casey Anthony saga.

Most murderers are young, stupid, previously violent, and all around failures.  But failure is a relative thing.   In an extremely unusual crime, a young Navy pilot on New Years melted down and killed three people as well as himself:   his roomate’s sister, as well as a guy they all met at a New Years party, in addition to the roommate, also a Navy pilot. Then he killed himself.  The killer’s name is John Robert Reeves.  I’ve been following the story pretty closely because it is so weird and out of character for this highly selected bunch.

So, as details emerge, there has been speculation the shooter may have been jealous over the sister.  This appears more and more likely.  He was apparently an avid member of an online discussion forum for Isuzu owners. This itself is not that weird; lots of people have hobbies like cars, sports, running, hiking, motorcycles, etc.  Everyone’s into facebook these days.  These online communities can be valuable things.  But a personality often emerges on these.  And this is especially true when a forum on something mundane–Apple computers, knitting, whatever–becomes the center of one’s social world.  Instead of talking Isuzus, he’s talking about how to spend lonely weekends, why people don’t like him, how to succeed with women (which he apparently never does), and pretty much everything under the sun.

From his writings, it’s clear that Reeves was, in a word, pathetic.  He is frequently mocked for being a virgin by his online “friends.”  With occasional shame, but more often resignation, he announces his general frustration with others, women, life in general.  There was even a (now creepy) post from last New Years about what he was going to do.  Like many school shooters, there were even half-joking suggestions he might go on a killing spree someday. A perusal of these forums reveals the keys to understanding this case: this Aspbergerish guy was unhappy and frustrated with life and particularly so with women and social situations.  He couldn’t succeed with women in spite of his superficial professional success.  So he was filled with resentment.  This is a bad combination, usually harmless, but obviously magnified to the point of murder-homicide by alcohol, guns, perceived disrespect by his love interest, and whatever other screws he had loose.

Reeves is somewhat reminiscent of the LA Fitness Shooter a few years ago, a man who also complained of his lack of success with women and was filled with rage and resentment, in spite of having a few bucks and being presentable.

I don’t have the answers. There are none.  There were always be a bell curve of social and sexual success, and there were always be some guys who just can’t get along socially and then become more and more resentful.  Most are harmless or harmful only to themselves.  Some learn from mistakes and figure things out.  Very few, thankfully, go on homicidal rages.  But of those that do, particularly in seemingly “random” rages, we can see that the multiplier effects of failure and resentment have a lot to do with it.

God help these poor families. Reeves’ family undoubtedly did not see this coming; he had all the indicia of a young man in the prime of his life.  And the victims, David and Karen Reis, were also all-American, very close, and well liked.  David Reis, to his and the family’s credit, died a hero trying to save her.  Sadly, Reeves’ toxic combination of alcohol, jealousy, and social awkwardness did them all in.

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Five years after Katrina, the event still captures the imagination, particularly its fears.  I was living in Houston at the time Katrina hit.  I was able to talk to many refugees at the time, including young people living on friends’ couches and with relatives, working as waitresses and cab drivers and the like.  I also followed the news very closely.  It was truly an epic disaster.

This Did Not Happen and Your Eyes are Lying to You!

It is perhaps not surprising that on the five year anniversary of Katrina, a major revisionist history effort is underway.  Just as the LA Riots became a story of “12 Years of Neglect” and, last week, a single unrepresentative white crime against a cabdriver makes the national news, there have been hints of this revisionism regarding Katrina before.  The real story, we’re told in the Nation and elsewhere, is of racist whites going on a rampage and not the “conventional wisdom” of mass black local government incompetence, collective poor planning by government and individuals, and an aftermath of largely black criminality.

Isn’t this interesting?  Were the stories, then, of shooters harassing rescuers and aid workers at the time all made up?  Was the looting, arson, and mass chaos of the Superdome just an out of control myth?  Was New Orleans, which had the highest murder rate in the nation, suddenly a peaceful idyll upon the mass desertion of the corrupt, but absolutely necessary, police force?  The revisionists’ claims defy all common sense.

I should note one thing missing from most of these stories are raw numbers. How many people were arrested following the storm?  How many crimes were reported?  How many bodies were found and what was the cause of death? And how reliable are each of these numbers; what interest would any of the authors have in redeeming a certain group of people, restoring New Orleans’ reputation, etc.? How do New Orleans’ numbers compare to Slidell, Lafayette, or neighboring Gulf Coast Mississippi?

These Statistics Do Not Matter and Are Totally Irrelevant to Understanding What Happened Before, During, and After Katrina

It’s rather obvious that the usual liberal efforts at distraction, changing the subject, and Orwellian revisionism are underway.  And the reasons are familiar too:   the goal here is to transform this event, which showcased a serious natural disaster exacerbated by corrupt black-run city and an explosion of black crime, into a tale of federal incompetence and white racism in the form of trigger-happy property owners and cops.  While I have no doubt some stories were exaggerated and there was undoubtedly some overreaction by cops and property owners, I also know that some truths are being looked for very aggressively and others are actively avoided.

The group doing the “rewriting” of Katrina–the liberal media–cares not so much about truth in matters of race as it does in events that “fit the script.”  And that script is of evil white racists and innocent (or at worst misunderstood) black victims.  Consider the showcase story in the Nation; a man claims he was shot for no reason by a racist white man with a shotgun.  Is this possible?  It certainly is, especially in the fear-ridden climate after Katrina.  But what if he was a looter?  What if his goal was criminal?  Or what if it appeared to be so?  Would he admit to that?  Certainly not.  Would the Nation reporter ask him? Probably not, or if he did, it would be a pro forma deference to professional standards.

From everything I could see and hear and learn of from survivors while the event was happening, Katrina was terrible and its aftermath was the equivalent of the LA Riots with flooded streets, that crime of all kinds had exploded, that neighborhoods in Houston where Katrina refugees arrived en masse had become more crime ridden, that the 25+ more murders in Houston upon the arrival of the Katrina crowd was not an insignificant uptick in crime, and that any other outcome would truly defy all common sense based on New Orleans’ high crime rate pre-storm. Was there some trigger-happy overreaction by middle class New Orleanians?  Almost certainly.  But what was the cause of this?  Could it be the reasonable fear of massive crime after the storm along with years of negative experience with New Orleans’ underclass?  There’s no reason to think the universe went upside down during Katrina, and that people for many years who were violent criminals suddenly became angels.

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Racism is our secular society’s version of the “Hail Mary.”  It wards off evil.  It has magical powers.  It is a word employed in the most dire of circumstances to provide explanation and excuse, from a major crime to a failing presidency.

Shooting sprees are disturbing events, often perpetrated by angry, depressed, suicidal men.  When they occurred a decade ago in public schools, “bullying” or “southern gun culture” were blamed.  When that sicko shot up the LA Fitness in Pennsylvania, it was blamed on the nascent culture of “game” and the suspect’s deep misogyny. Sometimes idiosyncratic mental illness is blamed.  But when the recent Connecticut shooter, Omar Thornton, who was black, blamed racism at his company, all of a sudden a new approach emerges.  It’s considered a major mitigating factor. His white girlfriend has even, uncharacteristically, jumped to his defense. No one dares to ask if this claim was just a pretext, the delusional interpretation of innocent behavior by a sick-minded individual.  And, even if true, his actions are no more justified than if he had murdered his coworkers for being cliqueish or denying him a promotion. Shooting up innocent people is crazy behavior by crazy, self-absorbed, and morally vacant people.

And the media, so notable for its pat explanations in places like Littleton, Colorado or Pearl, Missisippi, all of a sudden wants to defend this messed up person, to make him an “avenging angel” whose actions, if disproportionate, are at least explicable.  And we’ve seen this reaction time and again in the face of horrendous black crimes:  in the LA Riots, in the Huey Newton affair, or even recently among the brutal Jena Six.

“Racism” today has nothing to do with real racism.  It is an incantation to promote black power and inculcate white powerlessness.  It is used by both whites and blacks to shame and disorient individual whites caught up in such charges.  Remember the ridiculous suggestion that Hillary Clinton was racist during the primaries. Yet it threw her off balance.  And this kind of thing happens in great and small ways every single day, on the job, on the street, in educational settings, and in politics. 

Racism is widely perceived as the greatest sin of liberal society, greater even than the historical summum malum of murder. And, worse, it is a charge impossible to defend against, as there is now an alleged scourge of “invidious” racism that hides behind such seemingly anti-white and pro-black measures as affirmative action and the election of a black president.

The only two ways our culture will negotiate this apparent contradiction is the utter subjugation of the white race or the mass rejection by whites of racism as a serious matter.  The former possibility speaks for itself; we will become like the whites of Rhodesia or, increasingly, South Africa, useful at most for our technical expertise.  Alternately, if this growing farce is rejected, “racism” will be relegated to the level of “foul language” or “intemperance” in the pantheon of sins because it would be seen as no longer having any relevance to the lives of either blacks or whites.  It would be recognized chiefly as a means of character assassination agianst whites and excusing the inexcusable among blacks.  Indeed, the increasing frequency of charges of racism and the draconian consequences of being “found guilty” of such a charge, coupled with the near complete undoing of real racism, may be the undoing of liberalism.  After all, anti-racism (or more accurately anti “white racism”) has become central to the meaning of contemporary liberalism, but the injustice of the current state of affairs is more and more obvious to anyone with eyes to see.  And there are 9 dead bodies in Connecticut to prove it.

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The story of Rhodesia is an inherently tragic one.  Europeans, who came to Africa in search of economic progress and confident in their power to spread Christian Civilization, soon found themselves swamped by demographic trends and nationalistic political ideas.  These trends were the products of the very medicine and education that Europeans had brought to Africa.  Of course, things could not have remained forever as they were with a small white minority forever ruling a black majority.  Yet the alternative of majority rule in a continent notoriously tribal, corrupt, and inefficient has proven to be a disaster for most Africans.  Both white and black Africans have endured wars, mismanagement, corruption, and a decline in every measure of civilization since the emergence of independence in the sixties.  

Rhodesia disappeared.  It’s now Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.  And the last few years have seen the terrorist philosophy he embraced come to fruition.  In a last ditch effort to reward his supporters, white farms are being distributed to black Zimbabweans and soon ending up in a state of disrepair.  Food is now scarce.  And his political opponents, white and black, are increasingly being arrested, harassed, or murdered outright. 

Apartheid-style policies were unsustainable and unjust.  So too were the communist “class justice” policies proffered by the likes of Mugabe, Mandela, and their peers.  As conservatives we should acknowledge that steady and measured change towards greater political equality would likely have been more sustainable than the blood-soaked politics of revolution.  And, regardless, we can admire the courage, tenacity, and discipline of the Rhodesian military–a force that attracted adventurers, idealistic anti-communists, and professional soldiers from the world over to fight a an ultimately doomed war against the rising tide of African nationalism in the seventies. 

The video above shows some of the peculiarities of their fight:  black and white soldiers, side-by-side, fighting for a regime that excluded blacks from political power; modern jets and horse cavalry; and amazing sophistication and improvisation in a nation cut off from aid through UN embargoes.  These men  ultimately fought for their country and their way of life against an enemy that indiscriminately employed terrorist tactics.  But their defeat also shows another fact of modern life:  even a fight with flags waving and extraordinary courage and determination can still be lost if the political system to which it is attached is too far out of step with the tide of history.  Their extraordinary military effectiveness and amazing kill ratios (25:1 or more) should also give pause to those who believe we can easily win in Iraq if we just “take the gloves off.” 

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This is an amazing story about how the FBI and other law enforcement agencies spent months looking for a white rape-murder suspect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana until DNA evidence conclusively established that the killer had black ancestry. The real killer was found months later. Five women were raped and killed during the wild goose chase for the imaginary white suspect. Discredited folk wisdom that inter-racial rape is rare and that most serial killers are white undoubtedly contributed to this fiasco.

One disturbing example of willful blindness emerged in the article. The original nationwide DNA testing and database system used by law enforcement deliberately did not track ethnic information, even though such information is obviously very useful for law enforcement to clear suspects and also to keep their focus on whoever the real offender is. After years of being told that “race is a social construct,” even police and administrators forgot something most people learn in ninth grade biology:  that our skin color, appearance, and ancestry all correlates strongly with identifiable genetic markers. The article reports:

Tony Frudakis first heard about the Baton Rouge serial killer just like everyone else outside of Louisiana — on cable news. As months went by, the body count climbed, Frudakis followed the case, thinking “why on earth can’t they catch this guy?”

Several years earlier, Frudakis’ father was shot when he confronted a would-be car thief in the driveway of his Long Beach, California, home. The thief escaped but dropped his driver’s license at the scene and was apprehended quickly. The serial killer had also left behind his identification in his DNA but, unlike a driver’s license, his genetic ID revealed nothing about his physical characteristics — or at least it revealed nothing the police could use.

The DNA forensic products available at the time could only be used to match DNA specimens in the CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System, database which contains about 5 million DNA profiles. If investigators have a crime scene sample but no suspect, they run it against those in the database to see if it matches a sample already on file.

But while CODIS is good at linking the criminals who are already catalogued from other crimes, the system is useless in identifying physical characteristics. It says nothing about race. It has been specifically set up to reveal no racial information whatsoever, in part so that the test would be consistently accurate irrespective of race.

But non-scientific considerations also factored into how the system was established. When the national DNA Advisory Board selected the gene markers, or DNA sequences which have a known location on a chromosome, for CODIS, they deliberately chose not to include markers associated with ancestral geographic origins to avoid any political maelstrom.

We’ve overcompensated, moving from a time when law enforcement often employed crude stereotypes against minorities to one where verifiable negative facts about minorities are ignored and suppressed, even when they will aid in the discovery of active serial killers.  Oh well, as the SDS, Lenin, and the other authors of political correctness said so often:  “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

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