Tag Archives: crime

Deadline USA 2022

Happy to announce there is no crime wave afflicting the United States. Lawlessness is at such meager levels; our part of the North American continent now hasn’t enjoyed such safety since before the first conquest-driven Europeans set foot on this soil.

Of course, the nation offers plenty of sketchy areas full of that “element” where if the daring or just plain foolhardy seek crime, they’ll find it on likely stolen silver platters.

Americans don’t reside in an Eden, but we are members of society comprised of diverse communities for better or worse, for better and worse. We are not homogenous. We can all see the same sight yet regard it differently. Even absurdly.

While I’m sanguine about a few incidents inflated into a “crimewave,” without a doubt there are multitudes of Americans convinced they stand with feet upon a crumbling precipice which drops into mayhem. The more sensible of us look around at our world and know our situation comparatively ideal.

That view depends on from what source news is absorbed. If it’s a trusted reputable provider, events are nowhere as dire. If gotten from an outlet which has surrendered objectivity to luridness which purposely stokes fear, then it must seem Revelations are nigh coming to pass.

At its simplest, reputable news providers seek to inform. The other side of the coin is hell-bent to influence. And hawk pillows and sell precious metals certificates of dubious value.

Before too much current media forgot its obligations to the public, a favorite journalism axiom ran. “If it bleeds, it leads!”

Oh, indeed, let’s harken back to the entertaining Screaming Headlines Press era. One fully promoted by disillusioned reporters and Hollywood screenwriters. The former jaded by chronicling years of lousy human nature, the latter enamored of scoop-frothing, sensationalism chasing ink-stained wretches.

Ah, the jaundiced romance of being bundled into a telephone booth while filing the latest most shocking episode of the century before any other hacks. Nothing like jaggedly transcribing that scoop over the phone after commanding the newsroom receptionist, “Sweetheart! Get me rewrite!”

Still more impressive, the yarn so captivating that despite type already having been set, deadline already having been met, some grizzled editor demands “Stop the presses!” in order to recompose the front page and necessary news holes.

In real life, even readers who consumed such editions could tell which papers dealt salaciousness and those which verified reportage before printing it. Naturally the “decent” papers were lionized by faithful readers wishing to be kept abreast of what truly mattered.

Not sorry. Before beauty queens, celebrities, and idols renown for simply being known by vapid millions diverted attention from war, famine, and upheavals, what was then “quality press” saw such subjects as trifling, unworthy of serious space or ink. That dreck got left to tabloids.

When the history of American press is discussed, circulation wars primarily involved the tabs. Called that and distinguished by their relative compactness, tabloids, unlike broadsheets could be consumed far easier by readers on the go, on mass transit, because their smaller dimensions eased folding and holding.

Like the messenger itself, what tabloids then presented – and still do – was briefer, punchier, and worried about nuance not at all. Broadsheets could indulge in shades of gray. They offered space, had personnel who could detail when necessary and be contemplative. Tabloid contents remained as black as ink and white as newsprint.

Evaluating a tabloid’s entrails, uh, contents, readers might be right to think the organ sees ethics as a speedbump. A low one gentle on suspensions at that.

Has there been any better instrument for winning eyeballs than tabloids mixed up in circulation wars? At least then no shortage of such newspapers enthralled readers throughout the country. Truth, no, facts, could’ve been fudged to some distance without getting too lost in the realm of being wholly fabricated. Believe me, this sort of extension through conjuring takes talent.

That skill is intentionally missing in what passes for our era’s tabloidization, no, trivialization of news. In this day, opinion, shading, have contaminated what ought just to serve as straight news.

Readers and audiences now get “news fixes,” or, worse, read and hear their biases echoed as fact. Rather than contending with opposing views which displease them and the disturbs the mental status quo where they’ve settled, the reverb that reenforces is a mollifying comfort.

While it’s nowhere as pervasive in print, Fox News and the eruption of right-wing barking head television and radio have rendered huge numbers of Americans numb to scrutiny. Instead, those consumers, so conditioned as they’ve been, so marinated as their minds are by disinformation, misinformation, and deception, their skepticism is debilitating.

No new thoughts, no contrary views, can enter these minds and possibly shove aside the misrepresentations now so deeply rooted they’ve sprouted beyond consciousness into the subconscious. Forget about somehow presenting preponderances of truth in order to clear sight. Such dupes require deprograming.

And here’s where crime in America rattles the gullible. To a lesser extent, illegal immigration as well.

Admittedly there has been a spike in crime nationwide. No, it’s not just an urban malady. Permissive liberal policies? Defunding the police? Other pulled out of the orifice of one’s choice reasons? Nope.

Our crime uptick stems from Covid. If it’s possible to remember, during the virus’ depths we were all under some state’s confinement or limited mobility.

Even thieves and their potential victims.

Which is why already historically low crime rates sunk further. Can’t have any robberies when possible prey and alleged perpetrators are both on ice.

Once restrictions eased then vanished, letting society circulate again, the criminal element much like legitimate businesses sought to restore profits believed withheld by the shutdowns. Each entity has redoubled its efforts to recoup gains believed forfeited under lockdowns.

Inflation, like theft and robbery, will subside. Not the remedy favored by impatient consumers and frightened citizens, but that’s life.

Staying with crime, after decades of seemingly insurmountable insecurity who didn’t sense that sometime in the 1990s all sorts of communities were becoming safer? Naturally law & order types pointed to greater police presences as well as smarter policing. Indeed, those two curbs visibly reduced the menace felt.

However, two other factors mightily contributed towards real safety. Contraception and abortion.

Greater availability of the first and lesser stigma attached to the second let women decide rather than await whatever the brunt of unwanted, unplanned, unprepared pregnancies bore. Amazing how women can make such assessments with clarity. Too bad men lack that vision.

Men, however, remain tops in making uninformed judgments about women.

Nobody can calculate what percentage of those terminated pregnancies robbed society of geniuses. The good guess is infinitely few. Let me disillusion you – forget about any prospective Einsteins emerging from that bunch.

Yes, a decent percentage of, say, inadvertent children just lucked out being nestled between conscientious couples unexpectedly thrust into parenthood. The adults either possess resources, acumen, or the simple will necessary to guide their children towards bright adulthoods. But a higher percentage of mothers and fathers who’ve been suddenly realized parental responsibilities will resent having their futures burdened or thwarted altogether.

Tacit as who knows how many obligatory parents manifest their less love resentments upon inconvenient children, the kids’ sense it. For many it sours their development. Parents who don’t bother masking disdain are the monsters likeliest producing future miscreants and knuckleheads. Or as they’re better known, recidivists.

Contraception and abortion have spared us a good number of them unto today.

The sort of sensationalized dispatches that would’ve further frozen the most cynical bowels of earlier reporters – though the fedora and “women reporters” set would’ve gathered information through shoe leather not online at desks – contributes greatly to our perception of crime amok. Before technology eliminated standards, oh, like fact checking, even the most craven newshound performed at least cursory confirmations. Potential libel judgments will do that.

Now, rumor is news. Gossip, too. Disinformation skates through the most suspect litmus test before it’s also treated as news. Even when debunked, or, and this is quaint, “corrected,” it remains emmeshed in search engines. Those lies never fade.

Just ask anyone who’s been wrongly scandalized then dogged through falsehoods accepted as truth.

We were better off when news rolled off presses than now when we can scroll through orphaned content.

Betsy

Of the three, shouldn’t Zygyac have been the most reprehensible? After all, dusted as he claimed to have been, he’d sliced and diced his lover, a la Sid Vicious upon Nancy Spurgeon.

An Iron Curtain émigré, Zygyac had always emitted an off-kilter vibe since his family’s arrival in Quarropas. Yet no one ever could’ve foreseen the doughy, pasty-faced boy growing into a hulking and heaving beast who behaved in such a mindless manner. Other felonies? Yes. Murder? No.

Alibi, though? Projecting him as a murderer, that image didn’t tax imagination. Who knew? Maybe he had. Intimidate as he did those under his thumb, knowledge of bodies rendered inconvenient might remain uncirculated despite his current incapacities.

No, Moret was the worst of this rogues gallery. His, unlike Zygyac’s and Alibi’s transgressions, have been worsened by discovery, time, and scope.

Sure. Zygyac took a life, while Alibi committed depravity. Nonetheless the law dealt with the former and karma, if it truly exists, laid the latter as low as possible.

All things told, though, that pair left small numbers of victims in their wakes. Even now, who knows how many people suffered through Moret? While women predominated, at least one man served as collateral fodder.

Betsy among the wounded, first and foremost. The ripples emanating from her are exponential and generationally tragic. Have there been others like Betsy? Certainly there were numerous unknown girls Moret shoved into premature womanhood. Continue reading Betsy

Untimely Torquemada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gotten pilloried for past statements spoken during the appropriate era. In accordance to these semantically correct times, she’s walked them back. Okay. She’s apologized for uttering them. There was absolutely zero need for her to have done so.

Dredged up from the 1990s, and haunting her in 2016, Clinton referred to a subset of criminals as “superpredators.” What was then so accurate now offends the ignorant and sensitive.

Actually by having called them “superpredators,” Clinton raised the lowest of low-slouching beasts on the evolutionary ladder. Continue reading Untimely Torquemada

From the Miasma

    August does not lend itself to cool reasoning. Heat and humidity alter senses. Fetid extremes don’t simply quicken our humors but agitate them.

   Somehow the ancients understood this. And somehow given current advances in science we today dismiss their view as archaic.

   We seek reason where none exists. When the answer fails fitting our box we prefer believing the dilemma “inexplicable.” Or worse, chop the matter down and stuff it into an approximation which mollifies us. “Close” suffices because “right” taxes us too much.

   Besides, getting it right just may upset a lot of comfortably held perceptions. Well, hidebound ones with which we’re comfortable.

Continue reading From the Miasma

Reconquista 2012

 

    The current GOP doesn’t envy Mexico much of anything, but doubtlessly its more avaricious hierarchy dreams about becoming an Anglo version of the PRI. The PRI, or as it’s known in English, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, has been called “the perfect dictatorship.”

    An electoral process gives the organization a sheen of legitimacy. Think of an oil slick upon water. See it as pay-for-play democracy. Isn’t this the system the Republican Party prays someday burdens the United States?

    Ideally, doesn’t the GOP hope to import and infect America with this Mexican model? Through it “freedom” and “justice” mean “shackled to rank ideology and life-draining consumer indebtedness” while “scandal” gets erased altogether from civic discourse because almost every transaction, even the most mundane — especially the most mundane ones! — requires “a little something extra.” A taste. Some beak wetting.

    There. Privatization of public services in a nutshell. Continue reading Reconquista 2012

A Short History of Willful Failure

 

    Second half of 2011 I wrote numerous posts about my former employers, the Mugwumps. They were the biggest fools I ever met. It’s no stretch stating they embody the American Nightmare.

    Not an American Nightmare, the horror. So unique, theirs make the rest recoil. These people aren’t Snopeses living down in Dog Patch, but an upper middle-class clan anchored in one of the tonier Gold Coast Connecticut enclaves.

    Who didn’t expect better from them?

    On the plus side, without the Mugwumps there never would’ve been a “Rex Merritt.” He’s their creation. Continue reading A Short History of Willful Failure

Let Us Escalate


    Herewith a routine enough American story.

    The police are alerted and respond to a call. What ensues is someone shot dead. An incident, at best run-of-the-mill, balloons into a life and death cycle. And as is common in these United States, the Reaper scythes another citizen inadvertently caught up in procedure gone awry.

    If the public is lucky any subsequent anger is brief, intense, then interrupted, curtailed and supplanted by another urgency elsewhere. Should bad luck befall the police, that being focus of the short-attention span society remaining fixed, questions get more pointed while demurrals harder.

    The latter befell the Quarropas police department. In a strange way. The initial furor subsided, almost as if it entered winter hibernation. However, on the cusp of spring it all burst stronger. Continue reading Let Us Escalate

Merciless


    One of those hoary proverbs came alive for me recently. “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.”

    Alibi wasn’t an enemy. Just a mean piece of man.

    A lifetime ago we’d known each other. Or to be apt circled one another. Among the few things we shared was mutual wariness. As well as his sister Kari.

    Since our last brush Alibi’s condition had deteriorated severely. Good. We crossed paths inside the same rehabilitation center where mother underwent physical therapy. One cannot thwart old age. We may only develop methods to temporarily blunt its more debilitating effects. Continue reading Merciless

Fulfilled Women, Empty Men

 

    Several years ago, the Brooklyn Museum extended the bounds of good taste by exhibiting pulp magazine covers. For those too young, pulps supplied literary thrills and adventures from the late 1920s into early 50s. Labeled “pulps” because the editions guts were printed on coarse paper, the appellation could’ve extended to the covers as well.

    Although glossy, the wraparounds didn’t bother teasing prospective readers about the contents. Rather, lurid covers promised all sorts of dicey situations filled with malevolence. Be assured rare was the denouement that promoted uplift and redemption.

    Some chapters might’ve aspired to The Four Feathers, but none ever neared that level of daring-do.

    The stories were turgid and churning. The covers reflected that assiduously. The Manhattan-based Society of Illustrators just wrapped up its own retrospective of pulp magazine covers. Dames in distress, gunsels, hop heads, fortune seekers, and space aliens were displayed.

    Unlike our contemporary criminal chronicles which mine present-day fears, those long ago entertainments made no effort to hold mirrors against then-society.

    Skip reflection or deep-seated introspection. Just the thing committed for the basest reasons. Which is why I’m so enamored with Argentine crime. Continue reading Fulfilled Women, Empty Men