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View Diary: For the First Time, I am Afraid (139 comments)

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  •  Paradoxically, general rates of violent crime are (12+ / 0-)

    way down from their peaks of 25 years or so ago, including murder.  But the rate of mass murders seems to be way up.  Of course, even now the latter are extremely rare, given a population of 330 million; but with the very real possibility of a couple of copy-cat shooters, that's probably cold comfort to a first responder.  I wasn't real hot to do my hour's swim in the ocean when someone was bitten by a great white about 30 miles away.  

    Some of the reduction in the murder rate (of course, it's still 3-4 times the rate in Western Europe) may be due to gun laws in some places (e.g. NYC), but most is due to the reduced proportion of 16-24-year-olds in the male population.  In contrast, you have to wonder why the incidence of mass murders has increased:  expiration of the assault-weapon law, increasing flood of semi-automatic weapons with huge clips, infusion of hatred and paranoia into the culture by the right, especially Faux News?  Obviously, there's something very peculiar going on when the mass murder has been going up at the same time that the general murder rate has been going down.  

    •  But you are looking at national averages, and (6+ / 0-)

      because crime has dropped so very dramatically in places like New York and L.A. (New York went from over 2200 murders a year to less than 400), the national average masks the fact that in some parts of American violent crime is up dramatically (and in fact it is even up nationally in the past year).

      In the past year or so, places like Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia and many small cities and rural commnitities have seen sharp spikes in crime, including my downstate Illinois community.

      In the past twelve months alone, two people I know have been murdered, one a close neighbor  was brutally stabbed to death in a burglary gone wrong (his wife was stabbed almost to death--the assailant calmly smoked a cigarrette and drank a soda in their kitchen as she cried for help.)

      Another was bludgeoned to death in a mugging.

      In November, in an unrelated incident, the son of someone I knew in high school was arrested for murder.

      I live in a peaceful upscale community of custom built homes on acre plus lots along a scenic river but at times sitting on my patio in broad daylight last summer I could hear the pop, pop, pop of gunfire from one the shootouts and drive-by shootings taking place across the river and I would wonder if I should duck for cover.

      So whether crime is up or down really depends on where you live and in many places all hell has broken loose and in other places, like New York, it is continuing to decline.

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