Someone said the quiet part out loud
A woman I knew (a wealthy boomer) was terrified of taking the subway to Brooklyn. A lifelong New Yorker, but the idea of taking the subway scared her, and going to Brooklyn scared her even more. She would ask me how I was not scared. I kept telling her, “lady, you’re more likely to be murdered by your boyfriend / brother / cousin than you are by a hoodlum!” When women are murdered, it’s usually done by someone they know and often by someone they love.”
No matter how many times I said this, it wouldn’t penetrate her mind.
This is the same with corporations; they’re not “real” societal problems. Never mind that I’m more likely to die from food / water contamination, or some chemical spill, or cancer from some horrendous corporate malfeasance than some poor homeless person.
I’ll leave you with one last story: a year and a half ago, I moved from the inner city to the suburbs (I hate it here, but I am helping my mother). We used to be surrounded by drug addicts and broken windows and liquor stores and graffiti. Now, we are surrounded by white picket fences, and perfectly manicured lawns, and food with no flavor. A few months after we moved, in broad daylight on a Sunday, we were mowing our lawn when the woman across the street stumbled into our front lawn, bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Her mother’s boyfriend, a prominent Trump supporter, had stabbed her. She died in my arms. In the months since, neighbors will randomly walk up to me and say, “We know you’re new here, and we want you to know this place is not REALLY like that.” It’s not real when it happens in the wealthy burbs, you see? Never mind that none of my former crackhead neighbors ever bothered me, never mind that another woman in this county was murdered by a relative that same day. It’s not real... because it didn’t happen in the ghetto. I really miss my old neighborhood.
So grateful for this well articulated, beautifully written analysis.
When will this society stop fawning over the fears of the elite and work, instead, to guarantee healthcare, education and living wages for the 90+% who aren't seen as 'good enogh' to be protected by the law?
Thank you again and again for your clear thinking.
This is an excellent teaching moment. Thank you so much for your attention to these issues.
Another excellent column. You do exemplary work on these topics.
Like the old Bill Hicks gag that if you watch the news it's all crime and horror but you go outside and the birds are singing. The point is not just to keep everyone afraid. In fact, during lockdown, domestic violence incidents spiked in all Western democracies. As you say, "most violence in the U.S. is not stranger violence, but perpetrated by people who know the victim." If, for instance, protecting women and children were a law enforcement priority, women would be free to be more politically active and out in the world. We know from history that social legislative progress really began when women became politically empowered. Even before suffrage, women helped organize unions, lobbied for contraception and child labor laws and spoke in the public arena. Now, most women's groups are shriveling and limited to passive participation and government-approved association. Recent demonstrations by radical women have shown the police actually pull back support and stand by while these women are physically assaulted. "Proper" women are locked behind their computers, waiting to be told what's allowable to say, what petitions they can sign, isolated, a state which is increasingly being recognized in law as coercive control.
Brilliant report. Thank you.
Great work. Thx
Your columns always resonate. Probably going to be a slow morning, but in case you are interested, I reposted it for comment on my disqus blog here - .https://ongoingclassstruggle.blogspot.com/2023/04/real-public-safety-problems-someone.html#more
S Hall's Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order, is on sale at Amazon for $58.95 (paperback) or $190 (!!!) for the hardback. Wow, way to keep the truth hidden away...
I am a native San Franciscan, having lived the first 56 years of my life there. In 1981 I joined the San Francisco Police Department and spent my first six years as a beat cop in the Tenderloin. In 1987 I went to the Narcotics Unit, where I was a foot soldier in the failed war on drugs. If anyone has seen the slow and steady increase in homelessness and open air drug use (it was always there) in the Tenderloin, it's me. And I can attest to the fact that this article, and everything that Alec writes or says, is 100% on the mark. The system is broken, and I can assure you that the police, and by extension, the District Attorney and judges, all do much more harm to society than any low level shoplifter, drug user, or mentally unstable person ever has.
Law enforcement and the entire criminal "justice" system is designed to capitalize on fear and intimidation. In the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "...the only thing we have to fear is … fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." That fear, and the glorification of the police, is the root of the problem.
Check out the story about the shoplifting mayor in Brookings Oregon.
I'd also connect another dot: the reason that the media doesn't continually report on crucial stories is that nothing is done after these deep investigative reports.
What has the DOT done in the wake of the East Ohio train derailments? Look at the pressure required to force the federal government's hand re migration exploitation. Look at how Durbin has dragged his feet, week after week, in the wake of one SCOTUS scandal after another. White supremacist ideology has infiltrated the FBI, CIA, and clearly the armed forced. Nothing is done. Trump appointees continue to wreak havoc in multiple areas, and with the sole exception of the FTC which has reversed course on the disastrous pro-monopoly decades that shattered our middle class, every agency is rotted beyond basic functionality.
Why is DeJoy still dismantling the post office? Why is Wray still ignoring the explosion of domestic terrorist groups (other than issuing perfunctory bulletins)? Why did Garland waste 2 years refusing to investigate Trump and his inner circle's numerous efforts to overturn a presidential election? Why has Buttigieg done nothing in the wake of continual disastrous actions by Southwest Airlines, daily train derailments, multiple near-misses of airlines? Why hasn't Musk been investigated for publicly undermining US foreign policy, blatantly obliterating Twitter's consent decree, and destroying the environment after a predicted disastrous taxpayer-funded rocket debacle?
It's not surprising that the media shrugs, knowing nothing will happen without massive public outrage.
Finally, the reality is that, while most of us spend our days struggling with demands of work, family, illness, politicians on both sides of the aisle, Beltway media elites, SCOTUS judges, agency heads, andcyes, Fox hosts (including Carlson) rub shoulders with one another and CEOs, hedge fund managers, etc.
The system has been manipulated by both sides, and now its imploding.