Jan 2, 2010

This latest terrorist event has me thinking about something. We spend too many resources watching out for the wrong people. Aunt Edith and Uncle Joe from Des Moinse aren't going to bomb a jetliner. It is just not in their makeup. In fact, in the history of aviation no old white couple has ever blown up a plane. But, they get screened as well or better than the Nigerian Muslim guy whose own father tried to turn him in for being a danger. The more resources wasted trying to be politically correct, the fewer are available to catch bad guys. But no one wants to be called a racist or a hater, so the charade goes on. Its the same in police departments all over the country. Too much policing is devoted to people who aren't bothering anyone. 80% of the police effort should be directed at 20% of the population. A couple of days ago, the Hooterville Daily Dish, our local paper ran a story about the number of murders within our city limits during 2009. We had 39 killings last year. That was down from 74 in 2008, a banner year for people killing one another in these parts. If you pay attention to the national news, it is easy to assume that Hooterville is a particularly dangerous place to live, given the drug violence that is sweeping Northern Mexico these days. But it isn't really, no worse than most cities of our size. Hooterville ranks in population with the Albany, NY capital area, which had 19 killings last year and Tulsa, Oklahoma, which suffered a record 70 murders in 2009. Like most places, getting oneself offed in Hooterville requires being in the wrong place, doing the wrong stuff, with the wrong folks. Virtually every killing is tied to gang idiots, and drug deals gone wrong. And, the victim likely lived in one of a handful of zip codes on the South and Southwest sides, or a mile wide North/South swath running just East of downtown, from the Rillito River to the South side. Besides sharing the distinction for high murder areas, these zip codes are among our poorest. Like most places, the poorer you are the more crime you have to endure. The Hooterville police are quick to take credit for the drop here in murders last year. Better policing and all, you see. But who really knows? Was the record year of 2008 due to bad policing? 2010 is off to a bad start. We had three killings yesterday. Two gang-bangers were killed by other gang-bangers and one guy killed his father. In the last case, the killer was a chronic drug offender. Not the kind of start we needed for 2010. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

7 comments:

Barbara said...

It seems like you are arguing FOR racial profiling. How would you feel if you were one of THEM? It's tricky business.

Megan said...

I'm still kinda fuzzy on the difference between a gang member and a gang-banger. Is there one?

Kurt said...

Why are all the measures we take defensive? Someone puts a bomb in their shoe, so we have to take off our shoes. Someone makes a bomb out of liquid, so we can't take on liquids, etc. etc. etc. Why don't we ever think ahead?

Steve said...

The problem is, the minute we start to generalize that any group of people is more likely to commit a crime, we loop a lot of other innocent people in the same group into a life of enduring increased police scrutiny. And that just isn't right. It's true whether we're talking about racial or ethnic groups, young vs old people, or economic groups.

Particularly since generalizations almost always turn out to be false. Take Timothy McVeigh -- he didn't fit anyone's profile of a terrorist, but there he is.

Merle Sneed said...

I'm not talking about profiling or targeting groups. I'm talking about spending our efforts on identifying behavior.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

yikes .... 3 killings on jan 1 - let's hope that was an aberration and not setting the trend of 2010

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