Morning Ed: Crime {2016.11.07.M}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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79 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    Stockholm: Not good at all.

    Gun control: Point me to the United Kingdom’s Sandy Hook.

    There can only be one: File under some people are very sick.

    ACLU: Ditto.Report

  2. Murali says:

    There can be only one: Its odd that the friend said that the victim had no enemies. Clearly he had at least one.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Murali says:

      What people mean by this is that the victim was well liked and nobody really bore malice against them. It’s a figurative and not a literal statement and a way to find comfort and solace after a tragedy.Report

  3. Damon says:

    Vigilantism: Maybe the locals got tired of all the shit that’s been going on?

    Russian decapitation: Presenting the head of a rival to the woman you desire. Classic. Works EVERY time.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Damon says:

      It worked well enough for Daario, but he clearly wasn’t the same guy after he did it.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

      I guess someone was going to have to come along with an apologia for the actual Nazi mob. Good thing we pride ourselves diversity of opinion and – ah you know what, screw it. That’s just disgusting of you.

      Even the person I faintly suspect of sincerely sympathizing with the Nazis, has had the sense to keep their trap shut on this one – but at least if they hadn’t we could have at least treated it as potentially sincere. The world is not here to provide a backdrop to inch-deep edgy performance art.Report

      • Damon in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Actually, “diversity” of opinion is a bit too generous. I’m sure you’re aware of folks who’ve been temp/perma banned from this group, so the toleration of diversity does have it’s limits around here. So much for generalities….

        The link provided in the OP goes to a news site reporting the incident and that contains a statement / link from a neo nazi site about the incident. I see no reporting that the masked people doing said beatings were members or affiliated with any nazi organization. Nor do I see in the Google translation of the neo nazi site any claims their their members participated/instigated incident. Perhaps your google fu is superior?

        Full disclosure: I’m not a nazi, neo or otherwise, and am about as far from national socialism, politically, as you can get. I even dated a jew, and a African (Ghana) so of course, my bonafides are without reproach.

        All that being said, the link I posted reports on crowing crime and the inability of the Swedish police to handle it. Perhaps you don’t think that’s relevant either?Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

          A masked mob wearing black arm bands marching systematically through a train station looking for visible minorities to beat. They are Nazis. Whether they belong to a club that considers itself national socialist or not, they are Nazis.

          It is entirely likely that this rise in Nazism has much of its motivating force in real problems and racial tensions with the influx of refugees. It is possible to acknowledge this, without positioning Nazism as a justified and reasonable action.

          (Incidentally, the event you posit as the effect happened at the end of January 2016, while your posited cause is from November 2016 – are these time travelling Nazis?)Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:


            I’m not accusing you of being a Nazi – that’s at least an ethos.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to dragonfrog says:

            One of the reasons I don’t like the Godwinning of arguments, is that it devolves into a pedantic match about Hitler.
            As if, “if he isn’t Hitler, he isn’t a problem”.

            But of course, awful, horrible regimes existed long before 1933, and have existed all over the world since.

            Proposing to round up 12 million immigrants and deport them en masse is a hideous idea; Singling out Muslims for suspicion and scrutiny is an awful thing to even contemplate. The brittle rage and seething victimhood of his views towards other nations is so profoundly un-American, so at odds with our aspirational character as to be a wholesale surrender to nihilism.

            I don’t feel the need to lay them out side by side with historical equivalents. They represent such repulsive attitude towards fellow Americans that they can stand on their own.

            In the future, people will remark that as a thread reaches 100 posts, someone will hurl the accusation of being just like Trump.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              To be clear, are you saying that accusing a group of hundreds of masked and black-arm-banded European soccer hooligans (this was the post-facto conclusion of the Swedish police), marching through a train station beating anyone who doesn’t look white, of Nazism, is Godwinning the discussion?

              Not that it’s a bad thing to lack familiarity with the European skinhead soccer hooligan scene or anything…

              Or are you suggesting I’m calling Damon a Nazi or even a little bit nazi-esque? Because that I’m not.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to dragonfrog says:

                What I am saying is that accusing anyone who isn’t a self-described member of the Nazi Party of being a “Nazi” is a counterproductive exercise since it provokes, not discussion, but a defensive pedantry, as the replies to your post exemplify.

                What those guys are doing in Sweden is awful and horrific and deserving of the worst condemnation we have to offer.

                I don’t give a rip if they are Nazis or neo-nazis or skinheads or alt-rightists or just members of the David Duke Fan Club.

                They are vile humans and anyone who excuses their actions is vile.Report

              • notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                How is refuting poor logic “pedantry?”Report

          • Damon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            “They are Nazis”? So anyone wearing black arm bands and looking for refugees to beat are Nazis? Maybe you should use a small “n” then. Got any evidence that they are capital n nazis or small n? I’d say it’s more likely they are racist than nazis..

            As to the time travelling. I was simply using an example. In the cited article, the “nazis” have stated a reason for their actions.Report

            • Kim in reply to Damon says:

              Yeah, I know people (jews even) who’ve worked with former Nazis. It’s just not right to reference a movement when you’re not talking about it. Or flag it hyperbole, or something.Report

              • Damon in reply to Kim says:


                The SJW are portrayed as “nazi” by many in the right as well. There are legitimate complains about intolerant beliefs and behavior, even racist (anti white) or anti male attitudes, but that doesn’t make them Nazis. Nor does it actually make them “nazis”. Some similar behavior or attitudes don’t make the grade. The guys in the article COULD be real Nazis, nazis, or racist, or just tired of taking crap. Not enough info provided to make a conclusion.Report

              • Kim in reply to Damon says:

                Calling them nazis is entirely missing the point.
                Call them Astroturf, and back it up.Report

            • Pillsy in reply to Damon says:

              So anyone wearing black arm bands and looking for refugees to beat are Nazis?

              What a strange conclusion for someone to draw!Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Pillsy says:

                Let’s not forget, organizing in a group of some hundreds of people for such passtimes.

                It’s like the ides of March – it’s not just about stabbing, it’s about coming together as a group and sharing the joy of stabbing together.Report

              • Damon in reply to Pillsy says:

                I know! Let’s just assume or claim that they ARE Nazis. Then we can assume the morally superior position without actually, you know, doing the work of learning who they really are. Then we can also dispense with the WHY they are doing what they are doing. No need to look into whether or not the crowd is responding to some real societal issues going on in that country. Nope, we can dismiss it all, give them a label, and going back to our comfortable chairs feeling all good ourselves.Report

              • Pillsy in reply to Damon says:

                We’re now at the point where commenters here are defending a mob of masked men who beat up children, and demanding that we not judge them for doing so.

                Christ but this place is absolutely fucking disgusting.Report

              • notme in reply to Pillsy says:

                Yes all those liars and racists are terrible. Luckily, we have you as an exemplar of purity and righteousness.Report

              • Pillsy in reply to notme says:

                Oh, that’s right, I’m supposed to pretend there’s nothing racist about discriminating against job applicants who made the mistake of being born black.Report

              • notme in reply to Pillsy says:

                The whole conversation was about folks that choose to put themselves at a disadvantage by choosing to be criminals. What is racist about that?Report

              • Pillsy in reply to notme says:

                The whole conversation was about folks that choose to put themselves at a disadvantage by choosing to be criminals. What is racist about that?

                No it wasn’t.

                The whole conversation was about black job applicants being discriminated at higher rates after “ban the box” measures were put in place. They weren’t at a disadvantage because they’d chosen to be criminals, because the employers had no reason to think they were criminals.

                Well, no reason except for their race.

                Care to explain how that’s not racist, @notme ?Report

              • notme in reply to Pillsy says:

                If you read the thread I never said that it wasn’t racist.Report

              • Pillsy in reply to notme says:

                You said that it’s the fault of black job applicants who–per the premise of the thread–did nothing wrong, for being the targets of employers’ racism.

                You defend racists and blame their racist actions on their victims. However, I’m supposed to think it’s super unfair to call you a racist because…?Report

  4. Oscar Gordon says:

    ACLU: WTF Santa Fe? Assuming the ACLU wins, we still have the problem that no one in a position of responsibility for this will incur any personal cost.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      WTF Santa Fe?

      The explanation is perfectly straightforward. Lower taxes is the civic religion. In principle this entails reduced government, but in practice not really. So how to raise the funds to pay for this? Find sources of revenue that you can semi-plausibly call something other than “taxes.” So for example, on the state level you might jack up car registration fees. The trouble is that if you go very far down this route you piss off middle class white voters, who either recognize no connection between those low taxes and high fees, or do recognize it and feel cheated out of the benefits of the low taxes, while remaining incurious about how it is that potholes in the road get repaired. Furthermore, a lot of this fee-based revenue isn’t available to local municipalities. So what to do? Push the costs down the socio-economic ladder onto people who don’t matter. You know: those people. Convert the police department from a criminal law enforcement agency into a revenue raising agency by having it issue an endless stream of ticky-tacky citations on those people. The “respectable” portion of society won’t even be aware of what is going on, since they aren’t getting the ticky-tacky citations. Everybody is happy. Well, everybody who counts. The hilarious part is that the people doing this largely consider themselves good Christians.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Spot on. The original advocates of lower taxes believed that just as government revenue lowers, so would government services because their wouldn’t be the money to pay for them. It turns out that most people like government services like parks, roads, public schools, and more. This caused governments to get creative in looking for new sources of revenue because you couldn’t raise the taxes on middle or upper income people. The result was a reverse Robin Hood where all sorts of insidious fines were imposed on lower income people and entire oppressive enforcement mechanism was established to enforce this. Randy Balko covered this a lot.Report

        • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I can never decide if this is a problem of American culture or democracy more generally. Probably both. Either way we seem incapable of an adult conversation about taxes and government finances.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

            Most other democracies seem willing to bear higher taxes to support more government services. America seems somewhat unique in that many citizens hate taxes but want government services. I think its an American cultural problem that derives from American mythologies. For generations, the American Revolution was taught about the Patriots being against taxation without representation. This easily got reduced to the Patriots being against taxes period in the American Right. When you combine this with the myths of settling the West by plucky pioneers and ignore everything the Federal government did to develop the country and settle the West than you get some really immature attitudes towards taxation.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I think there is also an element of disenfranchisement when it comes to public officials misbehaving with public money and getting (at best) slapped on the wrist for it. I don’t know how other first world democracies deal with such things, perhaps they are more proactive with regard to public action against public officials such that the population has more trust that their taxes are being spent productively, rather than being used to pad pockets or buy votes.Report

              • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                There’s no simple answer but I think social and ethnic solidarity combined with smaller, richer populations goes a long way (even if it’s started to erode a bit lately, at least in Europe). Our demographics produce different results and attitudes.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

                Many European countries have tens of millions of citizens and aren’t exactly as ethnically homogeneous as Americans thought even before immigrants from the non-White world started to arrive. Europe had the Jews and the Roma to kick around for generations and the hatred against both groups was murderously vehement. Regional or religious divisions could also cause a lot of ethnic strife.

                The only truly homogeneous countries in Europe were the Nordic ones, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Everybody else had at least some ethnic conflict regarding Jews and Roma at least and some serious religious divisions.Report

              • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I think that’s true as far as it goes but the infrastructure for modern European states was developed in the context of 19th century nationalist movements. I would contend that the seeds that got them where they are now were not laid with small or regional minorities in mind, but with the idea that ethnic/linguistic groups should break away from larger political entities to govern themselves. Our experience with our Constitution has always been different, especially post 14th Amendment with guarantees of equality across the citizenry that by its nature was heterogeneous.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                In other democracies, being a civil servant or public official is seen as being part of a dignified and respected profession. American culture treats civil servants as a joke, a place people who can’t hack it out in the private market. The only exception seems to be for sexy and exciting parts of government, the military, the police, the justice system, intelligence, and foreign affairs. Everybody else is perceived as an unambitious loser looking for a safe career at best.

                I also think that the public vastly overestimates the amount of misspending that is going on. A lot of the misspending is because American fears of corruption make a lot of government contract work much more byzantine than they have to be. Actual misspending occurs the most in the areas where the public supports the government the most.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                None of that addresses my point, which is that America, for better or worse, loves itself some retributory justice, and when misbehaving public officials appear to skate by on offenses that would put citizens in considerable legal trouble, people get pissed (see Hillary and emails). It’s seen as government protecting their own.

                Note that people get just as pissed when corporate execs, or star athletes, or movie stars are also seen as skating by thanks to privilege (or government protecting their patrons).Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

              There also is the myth of the rugged pioneers loading their families onto wagons and driving out into the howling wilderness, unpeopled by anyone who counts as an actual human being. There the pioneers, in their ruggedly individual ways, carve farms out of the wilderness, relying on no one, and certainly not on the government.

              This is all bollocks, of course: utter fantasy. Government, on all levels, was a vital part of westward settlement from the start. But the mythology is old and established.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I pointed this out above. Westward expansion would have been impossible without the Federal government buying or conquering different parts of the frontier, organizing it politically into territories and states, making it relatively safe for settlement by waging war against Native Americans, distributing the land, and ensuring that infrastructure for the pioneers existed. For generations, most Americans learned that Westward expansion was because of plucky pioneers and their families establishing farms in the wilderness or building towns and cities without much help from the Federal government. This is how most people see it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                But the government wasn’t out there telling everyone how to dig a well, or place the outhouse, or what crops to plant, or not plant, or…

                You look at what irks you now, and you don’t see evidence of that back then, and suddenly back then doesn’t seem so irksome.

                I mean, isn’t this the basis of Ren Fairs?Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

                ensuring that infrastructure for the pioneers existed

                The Erie Canal is a great example of government in positive action. Private investors were unprepared to take the risk, so New York State did it instead, with huge benefits to trade. This started a fad for canal-building, often by private investors, demonstrating that the capital had been available all long. They overbuilt, and most of those canals were financial flops. Not the Erie Canal itself. That was a roaring success.

                As an added bonus, it gave us this:

              • Kolohe in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                That’s…stealing a few bases on 19th century infrastructure history. Every thing back then was some level of what we’d call today a “private public partnership.”

                Erie Canal was the first sucessful one because the Mohawk valley is a unique geographic feature in the east, and the construction completely wrapped up before the railroads made canal building obsolete.Report

            • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I think this is part of it but doesn’t quite tell the whole story. I agree that the Norquist faction of the Republican party has had an outsized role in poisoning our ability to take on the issue responsibly. However I also think you’re giving way too much credit to other democracies. My experience is that people are just fine with high taxes that they see benefiting them and people like them but talk about the Turkish family with 8 kids in Berlin or the Estonian handy man in Manchester and it’s a different response.

              We may focus more on taxes whereas other democracies focus more on benefits but I think it’s 2 sides to the same coin.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        My WTF wasn’t about the why Santa Fe is pulling a Ferguson, it’s about the idea that they could toss people in jail and feed them two pop-tarts and a frozen dinner (or otherwise treat people in jail worse than we treat POWs) and it somehow wouldn’t come back to bite them in ass. Have they been watching a certain bombastic sheriff get away with it for too long, or is this a case of people with power being confident that they are untouchable, or in the right, because they are in power, or something?

        I mean, Ferguson happened, the DOJ came down on them, and other towns that tried this approach.

        Also, why is this an ACLU suit and not a DOJ investigation?Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          As a logical conclusion, it makes perfect sense. Toss ’em in jail as encouragement to the others. As for feeding them, the whole point is revenues, not expenses.

          Getting caught? My guess is that it was gradual. Take a step and nothing bad happens, so take another step. Repeat. It also likely started before Ferguson, and nothing bad happened before.

          This all makes perfect sense, if we assume that the parties responsible are both immoral and near sighted. Both assumptions seem plausible.Report

      • j r in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


        Lower taxes is the civic religion. In principle this entails reduced government, but in practice not really. So how to raise the funds to pay for this?

        To a certain segment of the population, lower taxes is indeed a civic religion. However, to another segment, their catechism leans more towards tax and spend. To some folks, the level of tax revenue will never be enough to accomplish all the things that they want government to accomplish. But that’s neither here nor there and not directly relevant to this issue.

        I can understand your lament that we are increasing the number of people that come under the remit of the criminal justice system while simultaneously starving that system of the revenue to humanely care for the people in its care. And raising taxes is one solution. There is another solution though: we can keep taxes the same and stop locking up so damn many people.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to j r says:

          I agree with you, but that doesn’t address the issue that the reason poorer people are being targeted is because the city is trying to make up a $600k budget shortfall without raising taxes on the people with recognized political power.Report

          • j r in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Of course it addresses the issue. A budget has two sides: revenues and expenditures. If there is a $600k deficit, you can address that by either raising revenues or cutting expenditures. One way of cutting expenditures is by reducing the number of people we lock up.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


              Without knowing all the details (i.e., speaking out of my ass) it would seem that the time frame matters. If they have a budget deficit for 2016 that they need resolved by December 31, reconsidering how many people they lock up is unlikely to get them where they need to be. It may put them in position to avoid a deficit in 2017 and every year forward, but it probably does not do anything for this year. Fining the crap out of anyone they can get their hands on? Yea, that might work. It is a short-term “solution” that likely causes more problems than it solves. But when have we ever been able to trust politicians to prioritize the long-term over the short-term?Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

              Your still being dense. Even if we lock up fewer people, there would still be a budget short fall caused by low taxes and spending on things like parks and schools. Traffic fines and other ordinance violation more heavily imposed on the poor will still be used to cover the budget short gaps.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to j r says:

              Sure, except the budget shortfall isn’t due (solely) to the incarceration of people.

              It goes like this:

              1) City humming along at nominal rates of arrest & incarceration.
              2) Due to reasons unrelated to criminal justice budgets, city finds itself needing an extra $600K to balance the budget.
              3) The ‘good’ people of the city are not interested in a tax hike or cuts to public services*
              4) Public employees are uninterested in cuts to staffing, or are already at minimal levels of staffing &/or compensation**
              5) City STRONGLY encourages police to find more money through fines
              6) The more money spent keeping people in jail, the less money for plugging budget holes.

              *This assumes that the city has actually polled the public, rather than just assuming this is so after talking to a few key donors.

              **This is also a big assumptionReport

        • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

          Your missing the issue. The issue is that many cities and counties in the United States are using a variety of fines like for traffic violations as a means to handle the lack of money because they can’t raise taxes. The traffic courts are operating as a revers Robin Hood and taking money from the poor to pay for the rich.Report

          • j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Your missing the issue.

            Right. That must be it.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to j r says:

              Well, your reply to me couched the issue as one of not having enough revenue to humanely treat inmates, while making no mention of the practice being used as a revenue source. Instead you repeated a fantasy about “tax and spend” liberals who think that money is free and act like a child on Christmas morning.Report

  5. Autolukos says:

    Kansas City stands firm against the scourge of giving leftover barbecue to the homelessReport

    • notmme in reply to Autolukos says:

      Nanny gov’t at its finest.Report

      • Autolukos in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        The implied surveillance in that story is particularly chilling.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        This ridiculous use of resources got me thinking about a conversation I had with a friend of mine a little while back: The vast majority of people take guilty pleas and avoid the trial and our system is still overburdened with court cases. If a large percentage of people demanded a trial, the system would likely be brought to its knees. Of course, it’s risky to do that on your own so there’s a coordination problem.

        We were trying to figure out what would happen if a group like the Mexican Mafia announced that they were going to stab anybody who showed up in prison after taking a plea deal.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Jesus Christ, that article is horseshit.

        California passed a law (AB 1616) specifically making “cottage food” manufacture and sale legal. You do need to file for a permit, but it’s not a hard permit to get–for the size of operation described in the article you don’t even need an inspection!

        It’s kind of weird that the article makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that there’s a law just for this thing. I mean, this is like someone writing an article saying “this single mother faces prison simply for driving her kids to school”, and it just completely fails to mention that, oh yeah, she was driving without a license.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Here is the critical bit:

          She says the 209 Food Spot Facebook group was sent a warning before charges were handed down.

          Now the question is, during this contact, was AB1616 discussed with the members of the group, so they would know that there was a reasonable way for people to become compliant, or was it just a warning?Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Yeah, that’s what I’d like to know. I really strongly doubt that they just snuck in out of nowhere and dragged a bunch of single mothers into court.

            I suspect that what happened here was that they got the letter, figured “oh we’re so small they can’t possibly mean for these rules to apply to us”, and then they learned that no, the rules apply to everyone.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Autolukos says:

      Benham said more than 3,000 people will go hungry this week as a result.

      Williamson countered, “3,000 people a year die of foodborne illness, so this is nothing to play with, it’s very serious.”

      High quality reasoning and flawless facility with numbers here.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Autolukos says:

      Are they gonna indemnify the American Royal against all claims of food-borne illness caused by improperly-stored food? No? Welp. Bring on the bleach, then.Report