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Thank Goodness They Aren’t Hate Crimes: Just Torturing and Burning Three Women in Detroit

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It’s not like a lynching, or what happened to Matthew Shepard.

Well, actually it is just like lynching, and it precisely like what they did to Matthew Shepard, only three times, and using fire.

But whoever did it just did it to women so Eric Holder and Elena Kagan made sure, in 1997 and at the behest of Bill Clinton and an alphabet soup of activists, that crimes like this don’t count as hate.  And non-hate rape-torture-murder is not as bad as hate, as Holder told Congress — “don’t let anyone tell you hate crimes aren’t worse,” he shouted, “they are worse!”

So, according to our nation’s highest law enforcement officer, this is a less-worse-not-nearly-as-bad kidnapping, torture, sexually violating, and burning alive thing.  None of the neighbors being interviewed seem to agree:

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police are wondering if they have a serial attacker on their hands after a third woman’s burned body was found on the west side.

The woman’s body was discovered Saturday morning inside a home at the Mildred Smith Manor II apartment complex in the 1300 block of Forest Avenue, between Trumbull Street and the Lodge Freeway.

Fire Chief Jack Wiley said the grim discovery was made after firefighters extinguished a small blaze at the complex.

“It’s a young lady, I think, I’m not sure. All I could see was the leg and it looked like the leg of a lady than more of a man. So, I’m not sure yet,” he said.

Wiley said it’s too soon to tell if the woman, who hasn’t yet been identified, was murdered.

Women do not count as much as gays, or minorities, or Muslim people, or other people who do count.  Get it?

There are three women now — tortured, violated, set on fire.  Where is the Department of Justice?  Still trying to figure out if they can charge George Zimmerman with something.  Women don’t matter; especially, women victims of serial killers don’t matter, because Elena Kagan, the ADL, and Eric Holder didn’t want to muss up the hate crime statistics with the quantities of dead women who tend to accumulate:

Police say it’s the third case in recent weeks where a woman has been set on fire and left for dead. However, investigators aren’t yet sure if the cases are connected. In late July, two women were found just miles apart in vacant fields – both severely beaten and without any clothing.

The first woman was found around 5:50 a.m. July 26 in the 12800 block of Eaton, near Meyers Road and Lyndon Street. Police say the 37-year-old was physically assaulted and had burn marks on her body. She was in critical condition after the attack, but is now in stable condition.

Just over 24 hours later, the second woman was found around 7 a.m. July 27 at Elmira and Iris Streets, near Plymouth and Meyers roads. Police say the woman, believed to be in her 20s to 30s, was physically and possible sexually assaulted. She was listed as unconscious and in critical condition after the attack. Her current condition is unknown.

Of course the media’s in collusion with those who don’t want the following question asked:

Exactly how many women do you have to snatch off the streets, violate, torture and set on fire before someone admits it’s a hate crime?  

They’re keeping real quiet.  Thanks for getting the memo, guys.  Here are some of the journalists studiously not asking that question:

Michael Walsh, New York Daily News

Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press (heck, let’s include the whole FREEP staff — they’ve barely covered it)

Fox News/MyFoxDetroit

The Whole AP

The New York Times hasn’t weighed in at all: they’re too busy blaming taxpayers for not bailing Detroit out again.

How about the activists?

Southern Poverty Law Center?  Nope.  They are, however, reassuring the world that that hate crime in California where Kassim Al Himidi claimed prejudiced Americans broke into his house and murdered his wife in an anti-Muslim hate crime just turned out to be Kassim Al Himidi killing his wife and blaming it on prejudiced Americans.  Thank goodness it wasn’t hate.

National Organization For Women?  Nah.  They’ll warm a bit if the women all turn out to be gay and the attackers are the last three Klansmen blogging in a basement in Lansing.  Otherwise, have at, woman-killers.  Plus they’re super-busy demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and continuing to complain about sexist Superbowl Ads.

The NOW has always been terrible on violence against women.  They didn’t even want to include it in their first mission statement.  Some feminist studies Grrl Friday should take a stab at researching that.

Human Rights Council?  Are you kidding?  As far as we know, these are heterosexual women, not people.

The same thing happened in Detroit in 2011: two burned bodies were found on Christmas day, two others a week earlier.  I can’t find anything else on that case: four women burned beyond recognition.  Here’s another question we should be asking: how did some lives become so cheap to the government?

Welcome to the Dystopia Liberalism Created

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Is it time to have the conversation yet?  The one where everyone acknowledges that crime is the number one toxin weakening economies, creating unemployment, raising the price of living and taxes, blighting education (charter or no charter school movement; Race to the Top/No Child Left Behind, neither, or both), denying property rights, and shearing the vector of life for tens of millions of Americans?

Crime wounds the educated and socially mobile, but it defines life for the lower classes.  It creates winning and losing zip codes, feeds resentment, and forces working people to strain their budgets in a dozen different ways.  It warps childhoods and corrodes old age.  It destroys the value and even the point of owning private property.  It forces us to constrain our lives — especially, women must do this.  It creates and displaces populations — forget “white flight” — it never was just white, but now more than ever it’s about just getting out if you can.  I recently talked to a young Puerto Rican woman who got out of St. Petersburg, Florida because of the violence (after getting out of Puerto Rico for the same reason) and is now terrified of gang violence in her new, previous rural, inland town, where a multiple shooting left two dead and 22 wounded last year.

Yet we don’t talk about these things because such conversations have been deemed taboo by the elite.

For fifty years now, with few and apparently transient exceptions, a small group of legal activists and opinion-makers have managed to cripple our nation’s ability to control crime.  They do this by preventing the incarceration of criminals.  Then they tell us they’re right because all the people in prison were just caught smoking pot.  How long are we going to put up with this fantasy?  Apparently until the last moving van clears the curb to nowhere.

Here is the everyday dystopia these people have created, in two impressive articles in the Detroit News.  This one, by Christine Macdonald, is especially depressing:

October 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

Poll: Crime drives Detroiters out; 40% expect to leave within 5 years

Detroit — Detroit’s crime crisis is prompting such pessimism that 40 percent of residents plan to move within five years, according to a comprehensive poll of Detroiters’ attitudes about their city and leadership.

Residents overwhelmingly believe the city is on the wrong track and have no faith that city leaders have a plan to turn it around. Crime is by far their biggest worry — even higher than finding a job in a city where some put the true unemployment rate as high as 50 percent.

The survey suggests that, unless city officials can combat violence, efforts to halt decades of decline will fail. The city’s population already has fallen by 1 million over the past 50 years, and residents including Michael LaBlanc said they are ready to leave.

“There’s an aura of fear that just pervades the whole neighborhood,” said LaBlanc, 63, who installed a security system at his northeast side home last week because he’s weary of car thieves and gunfire.

“It’s almost like being in prison. We always like to have at least one person home for security sake.”

The survey is believed to be the most authoritative of its kind in years. Commissioned by The Detroit News and funded by the Thompson Foundation, the survey provided a rare, statistically sound measure of public opinion. Detroiters have been traditionally difficult to accurately poll.

Eight hundred residents were surveyed by land and cellular phone Sept. 22-25 by the Chicago-based Glengariff Group Inc. The survey — which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points — asked residents’ feelings about city leadership, schools, transportation, quality of life and overall optimism.

The results were stark — and despairing.

Nearly two-thirds, 66 percent, say the city is on the wrong track. The poll found low support for all city officials except Police Chief Ralph Godbee, who retired Monday amid a sex scandal that emerged after the survey was conducted.

The survey’s author said crime is the biggest obstacle to stemming an exodus that has seen Detroit’s population drop to about 700,000. The city lost a quarter of its residents from 2000 to 2010, an average of one every 22 minutes.

“Crime is the pre-eminent challenge facing the residents of Detroit,” said pollster Richard Czuba, Glengariff’s president. “That was a defining element of the survey. It’s absolutely the driving factor.

“It shows a tremendous mindset of exodus. If you want people to stay, you have to deal with crime first. That’s devastating for the future of the city and it needs to be dealt with.”

Nearly 58 percent of respondents said crime is their “biggest daily challenge.” That far surpassed unemployment and the economy at 12.8 percent.

The survey suggests that many residents who remain would like to leave but are stuck: More than half, 50.9 percent, say they would live in another city if they could, while 39.9 percent plan to move in the next five years.

LaBlanc has little confidence things will improve.

About a month ago, thieves stole his mother-in-law’s 2004 Chrysler Sebring from their driveway. The thieves tried to get his 2003 Neon but failed, although they destroyed the steering column and transmission. Last week a stolen SUV showed up on blocks at the burned out house across the street.

“At night you can sit here and listen to the gunfire,” said LaBlanc.

Police officials said the media make perception worse than reality. Violent crime is down 12 percent from 2010 to 2012 and police patrols have increased, said Deputy Chief Benjamin Lee.

He pointed to policies that put more officers on street patrols. Police no longer respond to burglar alarms unless security companies verify the need for officers. “Virtual precincts” close some precincts at night, freeing officers from desk jobs. And the department is partnering with the state Department of Corrections to better track recently released prisoners.

“The perception is there is lawlessness and that ordinary citizens aren’t safe,” Lee said. “The reality is … that violent crime is down.”

This man is lying.  It is his job to lie about this.

Police Dept. faces challenges

The bleak attitude of residents comes amid an extraordinarily bad year for the Detroit Police Department.

Police union members, upset over 10 percent pay cuts in a city the FBI deems the second-most violent in the nation, handed out fliers Sunday to baseball fans near Comerica Park. They warned: “Enter Detroit at your own risk.”

Homicides are up 10 percent this year to 298, and the city has endured a string of high-profile, brazen crimes that made international headlines, including the carjackings of gospel music star Marvin Winans and state Rep. Jimmy Womack.

Residents don’t believe city leaders can change things.

Nearly two-thirds of residents, 63 percent, say city leaders have no plans for a turnaround. The poll found an “extraordinary lack of support” for elected officials including Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council, Czuba said.

“I don’t see any forward movement,” said Charles Wilson, a 62-year-old retiree, who added that high crime prompted him to get a concealed weapon permit and plan for an out-of-state move.

“I don’t see the administration doing anything about it. I think they are asleep at the wheel,” he said. “Where does this stop? Show me some milestones, give me some objectives. I don’t see a strategy.”

The downtown resident said he’d like to buy a new Corvette but doesn’t want to make himself a target.

“It’s difficult at best going out,” said Wilson, who is concerned about recent violence including the August shooting at the Detroit Princess riverboat cruise. “You want to be able to dress the way you want to dress. You want to be able to go where you want to go. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder walking down the street. You just want to be at ease.”

Income, safety divide

Perhaps more worrisome to city officials: 57 percent of those who plan to leave are families with children.

Safety fears are widespread, but greater among women and those making less money: 53 percent of women feel unsafe, compared to 43 percent of men. Fifty percent or more feel unsafe in households with incomes at $50,000 or below, compared to about one-third of those making $75,000 or more.

Demographer Kurt Metzger said the city is becoming a tale of “the best of times and worst of times.” The media have focused on pockets of revival led by prosperous young people moving to Detroit, but many more thousands of residents lack the means to leave, Metzger said.

“It is glum,” Metzger said. “The population of kids in Detroit is going down faster than the overall population. If you can provide a feeling of safety, it would go such a long way.”

The Rev. Jerome Warfield, chairman of the Detroit Police Commission, said he hears “emotional appeals at almost every board meeting from citizens who are fed up with crime.”

“People want a change,” he said.

Wayne State University officials wanted change four years ago — and got it through a unique program that pools resources of nearby police agencies, analyzes real-time crime data and has helped make Midtown one of the city’s most thriving neighborhoods.

The CompStat program, modeled after efforts in New York and Baltimore, attacks emerging crime trends, targets repeat offenders and has cut crime in the neighborhood by 38 percent, said Lyke Thompson, director of the university’s Center for Urban Studies.

Since the program started, rents have soared, vacancies have dwindled and investments have skyrocketed.

“There’s no question in my mind that the improvements in Midtown are because of the creation of a greater sense of security,” said Thompson, who helps lead the effort.

“We can do this citywide if we get the right people in the room — and it’s important because personal safety is the first priority.”

Sadly, this isn’t true, either.  CompStat works well when there is a highly motivated population seeking to improve a neighborhood or borough.  But if the courts remain offender-centric, the gains on the policing end are transient.  If the residents are mired in dysfunction, CompStat doesn’t perform as well as it does in places where citizens augment police efforts with substantial resources of their own, from monitoring devices, to private patrols, to court-watching and lobbying for real sentencing.  Sometimes, according to Second City Cop in Chicago, for example, CompStat just impels criminals to seek less challenging terrain or encourages the downgrading of crime reports (see here too).

Austin Black II, a Detroit real estate agent, said city leaders need to try to replicate Midtown’s crime prevention successes.

“Detroit has a lot to offer people, but crime is a huge issue,” Black said. “Something needs to be done and done fast.

“Whoever wins the election for mayor next year will be the person who best connects with the neighborhoods and offers a real solution to crime.”

Gary Brown, the City Council president pro-tem, said the department has enough resources and should primarily focus on getting more patrol cars in neighborhoods.

“We have to start taking responsibility for our police department taking a stronger role in preventing crime,” said Brown, a former deputy police chief. “If (residents) see a proactive approach, there wouldn’t be this feeling of hopelessness.”

Residents look past borders

In the meantime, residents like Denai Croff are making plans to leave.

The 44-year-old single mother of two is socking away $200 a month from her job at Gethsemane Cemetery to move to North Carolina.

She recently witnessed a carjacking near her duplex at Kelly and Morang and imposes a 9 p.m. curfew for her family most days. The windows have bars and she had her landlord install flood lights.

She lives next door to a memorial to a neighbor who was shot and killed last year, several months before Croff moved to the neighborhood.

“I just think Detroit is not happening right now,” Croff said. “It’s hard to come outside and even feel comfortable.”

“The economy is bad everywhere, but the crime here has really gotten out of hand.”

Who to thank for all this hopelessness?  Obama is a very good choice, since every social movement and activist group he has aligned himself with throughout his life stands against law enforcement and in support of criminals and lawlessness.  Blame the criminals’ lobby running our law schools, Justice Department, and much of the criminal courts.  Blame the ACLU the most: with Eric Holder’s help, they are using creeping federalism to cripple what’s left of law enforcement — see, for example, their handiwork in Puerto Rico, and you will understand why people are fleeing that island, fleeing Detroit, fleeing Chicago, fleeing California . . . and ending up with fewer and fewer affordable places to run to, then flee from.

Holder, Obama, ACLU Director Anthony Romero, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson — along with under-incarcerated anti-incarceration criminals like Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn, and Bill Ayers — and for that matter, some conservatives exploiting the issue in the name of cost savings – have no business telling the rest of us how we should feel about the criminals who affect us, not them.

People who can afford to live anywhere don’t choose places where real crime affects real people.  So when they tell us we need to empty the prisons, you really have to wonder at their audacity.

“This is a Personal Vendetta of Mine” — Robert Corso, DEA, Detroit

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Corso is talking about the murder rate in Detroit, which rose an unbelievable 75% in the city’s East Side last year, to the sound of a collective yawn by everyone outside the city limits.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the feds are stepping in to try to suppress more street crimes like these:

In recent weeks, Detroit has witnessed the shooting death of an infant, the slaying of a 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy accused of killing his mother, and a 6-year-old critically injured after being shot with an AK47 during an attempted carjacking.

That has drawn the attention of federal agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. All want to help Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr.

“This is not a bunch of talking heads up here. We mean this,” said Robert Corso, who heads the DEA office in Detroit and was raised in the city. “This is a personal vendetta of mine.”

Under the federal government’s intervention plan, federal, state and local agents will comb the east side and focus on gun crimes.

The DEA plan consists of a revolutionary concept known as “enforcing the law.”  Agents are acting on warrants and charging violators with federal gun crimes, which draw relatively real sentences — whereas a trip to state juvenile court can draw you a day off from school for a similar crime, if you get the right judge.

Good for Corso for calling it like it is.  How refreshing to hear someone actually being angry at criminals, instead of scrolling through the thumbed and bloody Rollodex of excuses for their behavior.  That’s the only way to save criminals’ lives, too, a goal clearly not paramount among the excuse-makers.

On an entirely related note, it’s sad to hear about the passing of Andrew Breitbart, who bothered to expose and be outraged by the cover-up of sexual assaults at Occupy encampments.  It ought to be a no-brainer, given the density of Womyn activists on the ground, that Occupiers would be outraged by incidents of sexual violence in their groups.  But, of course, these activists were too busy parsing the minutiae of the patriarchy to bother to acknowledge real sexual violence in their midst.

And of course this was entirely because the perpetrators were of the homeless/convict/victim class, which elevated them above the status of their rape victims in the panoptic ethical hierarchy of the Left.  Now, if rugby players hid out at Occupy camps to prey on womyn, that would be a different story.  But since it was just society’s current victims preying on society’s soon-to-be victims, the soon-to-bes were whisperingly informed that they should contemplate their own privilege and blame society instead.

You know, like what would happen if criminologists ran rape crisis centers.  Or, criminology departments.  Andrew Breitbart expressed loud disgust at this ritualistic degradation of real crime victims, while other journalists were busy looking away.

 

 

Today Detroit: Tomorrow Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco . . .

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Probation instead of prison = more murders (link broken).

Sort of gives a new meaning to the Department of Justice’s massive push to defund incarceration and subsidize Prisoner Re-Entry instead:

Detroit Police chief: Homicides spike 31%; overall crime down

Mark Hicks/ The Detroit News

Detroit— The Detroit Police Department’s crime figures released Monday for the third quarter show 23 more homicides compared to the same period last year, a 31 percent increase.

The latest crime figures show a nearly 19 percent hike in murders so far over 2010, with 301 homicides citywide through Sunday.

Overall crime is down about 7 percent from July 1 to Sept. 30, Police Chief Ralph Godbee said.

The department is having “a bear of a time getting our arms around” the widespread number of guns in the city, resulting in more violent conflicts, he told residents at the Breithaupt Career & Technical Center on the city’s west side.

Some of the homicides also involved suspects who were on probation for other previous crimes, said Inspector Dwane Blackmon of the homicide unit.

“It’s important to note those who are constantly causing havoc in the community… have been placed on probation,” he said.

Expect more of the same as well-funded activists fight to overturn two- and three-strikes laws and minimum mandatory sentencing, and California prepares mass early releases of prisoners.

Oddly, in Detroit, other types of crime are down.  Or they may simply be being reported or recorded less.  You can’t hide a body as easily as you can overlook other types of incidents.  See here for a related post.

In other Detroit crime news, public bus drivers are still protesting dangerous conditions on the job:

Bus service in Detroit resumed Monday for the first full weekday since more than 100 drivers shut down the system for hours Friday morning, citing concern for their safety. The lack of bus service Friday prevented many Detroiters from making it to work or school on time. . .

Mayor Dave Bing ended the shutdown Friday by promising to use Detroit Police to heighten security, which pleased drivers and riders alike. Drivers were protesting an alleged attack on a colleague Thursday at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit.

“It’s sad that that had to happen for us to get some attention,” said 20-year DDOT driver Charles Kimbrough. “We need help out here. We need help badly.”

Kimbrough, 44, had Friday off, but he wouldn’t have driven his bus if he had a shift. He stands in solidarity with the other drivers, and the alleged assault Thursday was the tipping point for drivers who feel unsafe because of criminal activity on DDOT buses.

“I know people that have been stabbed, spit on,” he said. “It ain’t nothing new to me.”

Asked how often he feels safe driving, Kimbrough quickly said, “Never.” Riders have put their hands on him, and he’s not allowed to carry a weapon for protection. He keeps the job to support his family.

There’s an easy solution for all of this: impose consequences for crime, instead of literally imprisoning everyone else in the city.  It’s one or the other.

The Good Kids in the Crossfire

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I was going to write about good kids getting killed in the crossfire when I got up this morning.  Then I read the Atlanta Journal Constitution and realized there was nothing to add:

One person was in custody Thursday in connection with the early morning shooting death of a Spelman College student hit by a stray bullet on the campus of nearby Clark Atlanta University. . . The victim, Jasmine Lynn, of Kansas City, Mo., was “walking southbound on James P. Brawley when she was struck in the chest by a stray round from a group of individuals involved in a physical altercation on Mitchell Street,” Atlanta police Lt. Keith Meadows said. . .

According to Lynn’s Myspace page, the 19-year-old sophomore was majoring in psychology and minoring in business.  She was a 2008 graduate of Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City.

And this, from the Los Angeles Times last week:

It’s Always the Good Kids: That’s The Sad Part About It

A street memorial for Samuel Leonard, a 22-year-old black man. Leonard was shot while getting into his car at the intersection of West Century Boulevard and Hobart Boulevard in Gramercy Park. Credit: Anthony Pesce / Los Angeles Times

Samuel Leonard, a 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed in the 1700 block of West Century Boulevard in Gramercy Park on Saturday, Aug. 22, according to Los Angeles police. . .

This afternoon friends and neighbors of Leonard gathered at memorial set up at the site of his shooting. Surrounded by caution tape, the display included 22 votive candles, more than 10 bouquets, two pictures, and a handful of stuffed animals.
Albert Tyson, 45, said he lived across the street from Leonard and had known him since he was 14 or 15 years old.  “He was a good kid,” Tyson said. “He didn’t get into any trouble. He didn’t use drugs.”
Tashika Brackens, 32, lived down the street from Leonard. She said her husband was friends with him, and he would frequently drop by her home to say hello to her two young daughters or ask what they were making for dinner.  “He would talk to anybody. He was real friendly,” she said. “I had seen him that morning…. I think someone was just jealous he had a good job and a good car.”  She said Leonard worked at LAX in the baggage claim department but wanted to get a job with her as a bus driver and, eventually, to go back to school.  “It’s always the good kids, that’s the sad part about it,” she said. “I just don’t understand, just don’t understand.”
Albert Tyson had this extraordinary thing to say about the memorial for Leonard:
Though there were several visitors to Leonard’s memorial, people did not linger.  “People get shot up at memorials now,” Tyson said. “I don’t want to stay too long.”
~~~
Rochelle Riley is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press.  She has written two editorials in as many weeks that are must-reads on the current crime crisis:

More than 1,100 people have been shot in this city! And 215 have died! That’s 215 faces families won’t see. That’s, most likely, 215 funerals. . . We have to find a way to stop letting reports of violence and death pass by like commercials in the daily drama of our lives.

Detroit has a new Police Chief who seems to be making a difference, instead of denying the problem:

[Detroit Police Chief Warren] Evans says if Detroiters don’t muster up some righteous indignation about the crime that’s sweeping the city, it will be harder for his department to stay ahead of it.  “People have got to get indignant,” he said. . . On Friday, Evans met with every ranking person in the DPD — inspectors, commanders, assistant chiefs, deputy chiefs — and assigned each of them to take five citizen complaints and go meet with the person who filed it. “They’ll talk about the problem, and we’ll check it out. That will have a tremendous impact. … If people see someone with four stars, five stars, two stars out there answering complaints that will say a whole lot more to people than lip service.”

The chief doesn’t know what kind of crime it would take to wake people up, to stir some righteous indignation. But he’s bracing for it. In the meantime, he said, “I don’t want people living in denial about where we’re at.”

Imagine having a Chief of Police who talks like that.

Today’s column by Rochelle Riley:

The problem has been like a tropical storm that changes to a hurricane and catches us off guard.

For years, we’ve made excuses.

For years, we’ve looked the other way.

For years, we’ve pronounced other things more important. But what is more important than children committing murder?

Continue reading here.

Back to School: The Longer You’re Standing Still

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I read this Charlie LeDuff column last week in the Detroit News, and I just can’t get it out of my mind.  Think back to when you rode a bus to school.  Did you have to worry about not getting home?

Stand at Detroit’s most notorious bus stop at the northeastern intersection of the Southfield Freeway and Warren. This is the corner where seven children waiting for a bus were shot in an after-school rampage. There was a school beef on Monday, the kids told investigators. Tuesday was the shooting. School starts in 10 days and still no one has been charged.

Talk to the kids on this corner. They’ll tell you that standing at the bus stop can be tantamount to taking your life in your hands.

“I’m scared a lot of the time,” said Mikhale Stinson, 17, who was waiting on the No. 46 with her sister, Arkeshia Crippens, 15. It was only 4 o’clock. The sun was high. Still, the girls were keeping a wary eye. “The only thing more dangerous than the bus after school is waiting for the bus after school. The longer you’re standing still is the better chance that something bad is going to happen to you.”

The longer you’re standing still is the better chance that something bad is going to happen to you.

How do these girls muster the inner strength to learn at school, once they get there?  How many good kids stop going to classes because it is all too much, to get there, then get home?

Read the rest here.

No-Snitch Children and No-Punishment Adults

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Every weekday, I receive a useful summary of crime, policing, and justice news stories called Crime and Justice News, compiled by Ted Gest at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Considering that there are so many relevant articles from which to choose, Gest and his assistants do a good job of spotting national trends.

But, sometimes, reading through the report is singularly depressing, not only because crime is depressing, but because the trends in crime prevention that crop up regularly these days seem doomed to failure.

In yesterday’s Crime and Justice News, the first two stories on the list, taken together, are particularly grim:

Detroit Kids Say No-Snitch Culture Ingrained
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Clergy and civic groups have joined Detroit’s new leadership in calling for an end to youth violence — specifically targeting the no-snitch culture that says it’s better, and safer, to turn a blind eye to criminal acts. Kids on the street are saying: Good luck, reports the Detroit News. “In this city, it’s come down to a combination of fear and I don’t care,” said Antonio Bolden, 15. “When it comes to the no-snitch thing, this city is too far gone.”

Chief County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, “Without people telling what they know to law enforcement we would have anarchy in the streets.” Some say that’s already a good description of Detroit. . .

Detroit News

A Formula For Less Crime, Less Punishment
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If punishments for wrongdoing are sporadic and delayed, increasing severity has only modest impact. That’s why quintupling the prison and jail population has failed to get us back to the crime rates of the early 1960s. So says public policy Prof. Mark A. R. Kleiman of UCLA in When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, from Princeton University Press this summer. . .

Washington Monthly

There’s no need to explain why the “No-Snitching” article is depressing.  But even though Kleiman’s research is well worth a read — he argues that immediate consequences and zero tolerance for infractions can make parole and probation highly effective and reduce the need for prison sentences — his theory doesn’t have a chance of working.

Not because, as some would argue, we are philosophically wedded to harsh, long incarcerations, but because precisely the opposite is true.  Too many powerful people are so opposed to incarceration, particularly for drug crimes, that they will be no more willing to enhance probation and parole with threatened prison terms than they were to enhancing other types of sentencing.

The real problem is the power of the defense bar and the many ways they have devised to bankrupt the justice system.  That’s where all the money went.  You can spend all day jiggering the system at its edges, but if you don’t tackle the bloated, kleptocratic defense bar, with its stranglehold on procedure and evidence rules, you will accomplish nothing.

The other problem is dumbing down justice.  Academicians can come up with wonderful plans, but by the time they get enforced, they don’t look the same anymore.  We already have rules governing the behavior of people on parole, and often they simply get ignored.  We already have minimum mandatory laws that are supposed to “weed out” the worst offenders, and judges ignore them.  We already have a vast network of “community sentencing” and drug court options, and a lot of them are scams.

The only thing that guarantees that people will not re-offend during a certain time period is incarceration.

But anti-incarceration activism and the economic crisis are now working hand-in-hand to drive states to abandon crime-fighting and replace it with “job training” and “community outreach,” the money for which is showering down from federal deficit-spending largess, not scraped out of strained state and city budgets.  All of which would be lovely if only it (a) actually worked and (b) didn’t instantaneously disappear into the voluminous pockets of political cronies.

Add to that, (c) nobody in high-crime communities labors under the illusion that serious and repeat offenders are actually removed from the streets now, so communities are already spiraling out of control.  Fixing parole is a band-aid.  Activists talk about the need to empty the prisons and overturn minimum mandatory sentencing, but in reality, it’s already done.  The streets are already crawling with violent recidivists who are already getting a mere slap on the wrist for their seventh, or twenty-seventh offenses.

The Detroit News article has some interesting quotes from community members who are demanding more law enforcement and harsher sentencing — not less, as many experts propose.  But then the reporter lays the blame for lax enforcement of laws and short prison terms at the feet of prosecutors and police, as if they are the ones who want to let suspects walk and felons plead down.

Where is the blame for the criminal bar, the defense attorneys, the pro-criminal judges — the real source of the culture of leniency?

Meanwhile, academicians and policy makers continue to insist that the only “solution” is to empty the prisons.  I suspect they will win.  Then we’ll all be back in 1993, with Detroit leading the way.

At least criminology will remain a growth profession.

The New Normal: Detroit

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Seven teens were shot last week outside a school offering summer classes in Detroit.  Three were in critical condition.  A week earlier, another girl was shot in the chest outside another school.

Now the police are having trouble getting anyone to cooperate with them.  “The taboo against snitching is worse than the taboo against shooting,” the Detroit Free Press reported yesterday.

In response to the shootings, ministers in Detroit have invented another “community outreach” initiative.  It has an unfortunate name: MADE Men (Men Affirming Discipline and Education), and it probably has a fund-raising initiative up and running.  Such are the economics of outreach.  An identical effort started a few years ago after another round of school shootings folded not long after it was announced.

I’m sure the ministers mean well, and it is hard to imagine what else they could do under the circumstances, but I wish, for once, the adults would forgo the whole clever naming thing and just start doing what they say they’re going to do: get more involved in the schools.  When you create an organization and hold a press conference, that’s just time you’re not spending actually working with kids.  That’s making it all about you, and your organization, and your leadership.  And, frankly, there have been decades and decades of such failed efforts.  People are weary of the rigmarole: crisis — press conference — fund raising — then nothing.

Just start volunteering for the P.T.A. already.

It’s worth noting that, as I wrote about here, the AAAC (Academic/Activist/Advocacy Complex) has invented a formula mathematically proving that crime is not all that bad in Detroit because Detroit has the type of population that actually ought to be committing even more crime.  I’m sure that’s a comfort.

Is Detroit a terminal case of the logical consequences of the academic anti-incarceration ethic (AAIE!!!) that is currently sweeping the federal government?  On the backs of the seven youngsters shot outside school last week, and in the face of the many people who must know something about the crime but refuse to “snitch” to the police, yes, it is.