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Links 1 through 10 of 32 by Chad Orzel tagged crime

The paranoia of George Zimmerman had a large, race-specific fear component, but I'd say it also had elements of pleasure. I see this in what gun fans say all the time -- they like thinking of themselves as besieged, and as people who have the means to defend themselves if attacked. They really want their paranoid fantasies to come true, because it turns what's largely a matter of personal enjoyment (they like guns) into a matter of being heroes of society. They hope they get to stop scary hordes of "urban" marauders from committing horrendous crimes of violence. They hope they have the chance to defeat a liberal/fascist/gun-grabbing government.

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Few if any white clergy have spoken up to demand that the killing be fully investigated. None can be seen standing by the African-American preachers calling for justice, or marching with Martin’s family members. Why?

As someone who covered this area’s faith community for 15 years, I don’t think the answer is racism as much as it is cultural callousness. Week in and week out, the violent deaths and disappearances of poor, black and brown people – especially immigrants – merit a one- or two-paragraph story in The Orlando Sentinel’s (my old newspaper’s) police blotter. So when a middle-class black teen is gunned down, the reaction tends to be a shrug of the shoulders.

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AFTER years as a civil rights lawyer, I rarely find myself speechless. But some questions a woman I know posed during a phone conversation one recent evening gave me pause: “What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?”

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A 68-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill physics professor with three degrees from Oxford University is being held in an Argentine prison on charges of trying to smuggle two kilograms of cocaine.

Paul H. Frampton, who holds the title Louis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, said in a telephone interview that he was arrested Jan. 23 at the airport in Buenos Aires after the drugs were found in his checked luggage en route to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Frampton said he was confident that he would be exonerated and seemed less upset by the drug charges than of his treatment by the university, which he said had stopped his pay for reasons of petty academic jealousy.

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Statistics are notoriously slippery, but the figures that suggest that violence has been disappearing in the United States contain a blind spot so large that to cite them uncritically, as the major papers do, is to collude in an epic con. Uncounted in the official tallies are the hundreds of thousands of crimes that take place in the country’s prison system, a vast and growing residential network whose forsaken tenants increasingly bear the brunt of America’s propensity for anger and violence.

Crime has not fallen in the United States—it’s been shifted. [...] The statistics touting the country’s crime-reduction miracle, when juxtaposed with those documenting the quantity of rape and assault that takes place each year within the correctional system, are exposed as not merely a lie, or even a damn lie—but as the single most shameful lie in American life.

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"These are bold claims, amounting to a thesis that Britain has been wrecked and transformed from a familiar, law-abiding spot to an alien hell hole in just three or four decades. But here is an odd thing, surely: go back precisely three decades and you get to the summer of 1981, scene of some of the nastiest riots in modern British history, when racially charged violence saw tracts of Brixton in south London and Toxteth in Liverpool burn for days.

Seeking guidance, Bagehot decided to go off-line and read some books. From the shelves of the London Library, a gem: "Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears" a calm and witty history of moral panics that have gripped England over the ages, published in 1982, and written by a Bradford University academic, Geoffrey Pearson (later at Goldsmiths). "

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As Alan Dershowitz explained last week: "A criminal trial is never about seeking justice for the victim. If it were, there could be only one verdict: guilty. That's because only one person is on trial in a criminal case, and if that one person is acquitted, then by definition there can be no justice for the victim in that trial." If all that sounds cold, lawyerly, and inhuman, that's because the justice system is designed to be all those things. Juries are not driven solely by the bottomless outrage of Nancy Grace. That's what makes them juries. There is nothing much to like about the slick reality show that was the Anthony trial. But that the jury understood the difference between what their guts told them and what the law demanded of them may be called its sole success.

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"Last May, I mourned the end of L&O by announcing a crowdsourced effort to catalog the outcome of all 456 episodes. At first, the responses poured in, as bountiful as Lenny’s wisecracks. After a month of so, everyone trailed off… except for a reader named Josh Kyu Saiewitz, who decided that this was the perfect opportunity to watch every Law & Order episode, in order. (If you think that’s impressive, you should check out Josh’s blog, where he’s attempting to consume every comic, TV show, movie, and video game featuring Batman, all in chronological order. He’s up to 1941.)
Josh recently made it through the halfway mark of the series. I won’t say he’s a hero – because what’s a hero? – but this post would be impossible without his efforts."

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"[N]early a decade later, there’s evidence that Portugal’s great drug experiment not only didn’t blow up in its face; it may have actually worked. More addicts are in treatment. Drug use among youths has declined in recent years. Life in Casal Ventoso, Lisbon’s troubled neighborhood, has improved. And new research, published in the British Journal of Criminology, documents just how much things have changed in Portugal. Coauthors Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Alex Stevens report a 63 percent increase in the number of Portuguese drug users in treatment and, shortly after the reforms took hold, a 499 percent increase in the amount of drugs seized — indications, the authors argue, that police officers, freed up from focusing on small-time possession, have been able to target big-time traffickers while drug addicts, no longer in danger of going to prison, have been able to get the help they need."

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Serial killers just aren't the sensation they used to be. They haven't disappeared, of course. Last month, Suffolk County, N.Y., police found the bodies of four women dumped near a beach in Long Island. Philadelphia police have attributed the murders of three women in the city's Kensington neighborhood to one "Kensington Strangler." On Tuesday, an accused serial stabber in Flint, Mich., filed an insanity plea.
But the number of serial murders seems to be dwindling, as does the public's fascination with them. "It does seem the golden age of serial murderers is probably past," says Harold Schechter, a professor at Queens College of the City University of New York who studies crime.

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