Re: Freebies

1

This story from This American Life years ago had some good stuff, as I recall, on how when there's a lot of murder and it doesn't get punished it just becomes sort of a tool that people think of when they have interpersonal problems.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 10:28 AM
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2

I think that way all the time and I've never even been to Chicago.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 10:36 AM
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3

At a 16% chance of getting caught, you'd be a fool not to at least plan a murder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 11:03 AM
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4

At the very least, when there's a 16% chance of getting caught, you don't want to be the guy everybody is sure won't murder anyone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 12:41 PM
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5

3: Enforcement rates are historically low, and we can't guarantee how long this will last! Act now!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 12:55 PM
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6

It all goes back to Irish people stealing cows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 12:56 PM
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7

I think that's also how poetry got invented.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 12:57 PM
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8

The Táin is in prose, but the Irish are as far as I know the only people whose national epic is a story of grand theft bovine.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 1:00 PM
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9

I feel better, in an ancestral pride way, knowing it was prose.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 1:15 PM
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10

There's a lot of cattle theft in the Mahabharata but it isn't the only plot.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 3:14 PM
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11

Reminds me, re gang culture, in Mumbai the clearance rate for crimes generally is something like 4%. If you have a problem in Mumbai you call your local gangster.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 5-16 4:28 PM
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12

Remember that there is a difference between "clearance rate" and "conviction rate". Not all crimes that are "cleared" will have been cleared by the conviction of the criminal responsible. All you have to do is get to the point of charging someone for the crime to count as cleared. If your case is then thrown out of court for being ridiculously implausible, doesn't matter - the crime still counts as cleared. You don't even have to make an arrest in some cases. Getting to the point of "we reckon he did it but he's in another country and we can't extradite/the victim has refused to co-operate/he got hit by a bus" also counts as a clearance.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 2:24 AM
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13

3. Sue Grafton, in the preface to one of her earlier oeuvres said that she was originally planning ways to murder her husband, but bottled out and wrote her ideas up as stories instead. If planning a murder gets you as rich as Sue Grafton, who cares about the clear up rate?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 3:35 AM
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14

13: which puts her in the same pigeonhole as Frederick Forsyth, who got involved in planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea, bottled out and wrote up his ideas as a book ("The Dogs of War") instead.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 4:36 AM
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15

I am astonished to learn Sue Grafton is apparently not a pseudonym.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 4:43 AM
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16

Why?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 4:49 AM
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17

...she was originally planning ways to murder her husband, but bottled out and wrote her ideas up as stories instead...

This must happen a lot for you people. Your ratio of fictional murders to actual murders is very high.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 5:05 AM
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18

I have gone my entire life until today before hearing the term "bottled out". It's this lack of education that has prevented me from sublimating my murderous impulses.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 5:28 AM
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19

12: Conviction/clearance/arrest, whatever, if the rate is 4% it doesn't make much difference. In any case I'm running off dimly remembered figures from a few years ago and won't fight over them. Point is, the place is underpoliced.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 6:06 AM
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20

You bottle out if you haven't got enough bottle (=nerve, courage; presumably from the idea that alcohol quells fear, cf. "Dutch courage").


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 7:11 AM
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21

16: It's so perfectly calibrated for MMP cover readability/memorability.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 7:25 AM
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22

I didn't realize she wasn't English.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 7:27 AM
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23

Umberto Eco famously felt like poisoning a monk.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 11:05 AM
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24

Felonious Monk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 11:07 AM
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25

To "bottle out" in American would be what? Untweak?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-16 12:55 PM
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26

I think it's rather backward to characterize the outrageously high murder rates in places like Chicago or St. Louis as emergent features of, I don't know, 'street justice' or 'rough justice' that "stands in" for neglect by state apparatuses. If we are going to take seriously the idea that the absence of a functional and responsive state has empirical consequences, these unacceptably high murder rates are the incoherent (i.e., they do not represent anything recognizable as justice, no matter what NIMBY-esque euphemistic qualifier you stick in front of it) end result of dysfunctional, racist housing, banking, and employment policies and outcomes. The state failures are happening way before anyone gets shot, though obviously that doesn't stop the state from failing these communities there too.


Posted by: dave | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:03 PM
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27

26 makes sense to me and I wouldn't have gone with "rough justice" but something more nebulous like "conflict resolution." I think ogged was getting at the retaliatory nature of gang-related shootings, but there's also the domestic violence piece and stuff about how shooting becomes a default response.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:26 PM
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28

Escalating murder-feuds are kind of the opposite of conflict resolution, aren't they? That's conflict perpetuation.

I dunno. I don't mean to take Ogged to task; I think Lois Beckett is right that the justice system is utterly failing victims of violence throughout the country, but based on what I've read about the book, I'm very skeptical about the main argument referred to in the post.


Posted by: dave | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:27 PM
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29

Gah, I just lost a really long and not very good comment I was writing. I'd disagree with ogged that this is quite the argument being made in the book and that it's a major one. If you want to keep talking about it I'm happy to try to make my thinking less fuzzy, but it may not be worth it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:34 PM
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30

Back to Sue Grafton. She apparently was inspired by The Gashlycrumb Tinies for the titles of her novels, and then: "She immediately sat down and made a list of all of the crime-related words that she knew." I don't know how I feel about her most recent novel, "X."


Posted by: dave | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:22 PM
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