Crime

When the Press Perceives a Crime Trend, Turn On Your B.S. Detector

From the mass-shootings panic to the "knockout" panic

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I've seen people blaming this SNL sketch for the "new" "trend." No, really.

In his 1999 book Random Violence, which I recommend highly, the sociologist Joel Best points out that "criminologists usually doubt claims about crime waves. Crime waves, they say, are really waves in media attention: they occur because the media, for whatever reason, fix upon some sort of crime, and publicize it." Genuine spikes in crime do occur, of course, but the press has a habit of spotting patterns that aren't there.

I recycled that last paragraph from a blog post I wrote in January. Back then the alleged crime wave involved mass shootings. Now the press is focused on "knockout," which my colleague Jacob Sullum wrote about here yesterday. This time the alleged crime wave does not involve guns and is being blamed on black people, so the skeptics tend to be on the left and the hysterics tend to be on the right. (I like to think of Reason as a place where we're skeptical about all the bullshit crime-trend stories.) But the statistical support for the idea that there has been a surge in random attacks on bystanders, whether or not those assaults are a "game," is absent. The only thing that is spiking for sure is media attention, and that has less to do with the number of crimes than the presence of a storyline that the press can plug those crimes into.

Fun fact: In 1989, many reporters became convinced that there was a crime trend called "wilding," which (naturally) involved random assaults on strangers. This was a byproduct of the Central Park jogger case: A police officer apparently misheard a reference to the Tone Loc song "Wild Thing" as "wilding" and the media ran with it, without bothering to say to themselves, "You know, 'wilding' is kind of a dorky word. Are a bunch of hardened thugs really going to use it?"

Addendum: Down in the comments, GILMORE argues that I should have turned on my own B.S. detector before repeating that story about the origins of the word "wilding." I'd link directly but the threads are kind of tangled; search for his handle and you'll find it.

Addendum #2: With this clip, GILMORE convinces me to ditch the Tone Loc story. Wherever the police picked up the phrase, it probably wasn't a garbled fragment of a song.

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289 responses to “When the Press Perceives a Crime Trend, Turn On Your B.S. Detector

  1. Mostly these become self fulfilling prophecies as various nuts see the stories and decide it is a good idea. This is what happened with the pit bull scare of the 1980s. Dog fighting was very rare and drug dealers did not use pit bulls to guard their homes. But thanks to the media reporting a bunch of bull shit as fact, the urban myth became real as dog fighting became a common in urban areas where it hadn’t been before and drug dealers started abusing pit bulls and using them as guard dogs after seeing it on TV.

    1. I know I didn’t try butt chugging at rainbow parties with Krokodil soaked tampons in every orifice until Time told me it was cool

      1. Krokodil soaked tampons

        Well, I think we’ve determined the cause of that Jezebellians panty rot from the MLs.

      2. At first I wondered, ‘bath salts? They make you do crazy shit?’ Bath salts just enhanced the smooth relaxed mood of a long hot bath from my experience. People couldn’t handle their bath salts? Pussies.

    2. Mostly these become self fulfilling prophecies as various nuts see the stories and decide it is a good idea.

      My favorite example of media hyping a false spike is one where feedback is impossible. Remember the big 2001 Shark Attack scare? They even blamed it on global warming. Turned out the year was dead average.

      1. The sharks felt bad and left us alone after 9/11.

  2. I always thought “wilding” was the print version of the phonetic “wil’ing” as in buggin’ or trippin’ (I spent my teen years to early twenties in the nineties, and we did speak like that where I lived). The fact that I had to rationalize the word to myself was a good indication that it was some BS.

    1. Nah, I think it is a real word, based on exactly that. I grew up hearing people use it. My brother says it all the time.

    2. You been listening to too much Little Feet.

        1. ‘Alice, Dallas Alice ‘

          Actually, I love that song.

          1. Drinks from my chalice?

            1. Don’t recall a chalice, but it does mention ‘weed, whites, and wine.’

  3. I thought they called it “cheesing” because it’s fun to do.

      1. Oh when puns ruled the roost. I thank Galt every day that’s over with.

        1. Couldn’t take the punishment?

      2. Explaining that a cheesecake is really a custard, what were you thinking? Was there a Comic Book Guy marathon on that week?

      3. Is that sort of like the supposed watermelon candy and liquor concoctions?

  4. But we’re apparently not skeptical of the pastor and his Bible Code for Profitz.

    1. Seriously, Reason, get rid of that shit. I know you need to run ads, but those ads disguised as new stories are just sleazy and annoying and make the site look like trash.

      1. I’m almost tempted to turn my hosts file off.

        Bible Code for Profitz

        When I was a wee lad, my parents had me read The Bible Code and tell them if it was worth reading. I told them that the entire book making bold claims until it ended in “Who will change it?” pissed me off because it gave Drosnin unlimited room to weasel out of his prophecies (there are two more books even though the first one is provably wide of the mark). They got so angry at me for being overly skeptical of everything. My brother in law had to step in to defuse the situation.

        1. HA. Wasn’t this the dude that challenged critics to find codes in Moby Dick, and they did. Pretty much any “code” in the Bible could be reproduced with any large collection of words.

          1. I hadn’t heard that, but apparently someone found his name in Mobdy Dick and how he’ll die (the takedown here is really entertaining).

            He specifically told readers that anyone could copy his methods, but it had to be done in the original Hebrew or it wouldn’t work, but if we wanted to go out and learn (un-voweled) Hebrew we could totally replicate it.

            I like prophetic hokum, but it’s just that, hokum.

  5. “But the statistical support for the idea that there has been a surge in random attacks on bystanders, whether or not those assaults are a “game,” is absent.”

    Ok, I’m not taking sides on this one but I’d prefer to have some reference material for a statement like this. Making up statistics on the fly isn’t a great way to win an argument. Got a link or something?

    1. How can you link to an absence of statistical support? Just google.com, I guess.

      1. Well, presumably, you quote the statistics that show no uptick.

      2. I think the point is that it is possible for the frequency of assaults in general to decrease or hold steady over time, while specific racially-motivated sucker-punch attacks could at the same time increase, since they are only a small subset of assaults. So the general assault statistics don’t necessarily support the conclusion that there is no trend. There could be a trend, but without specific tracking of that specific type of assault it wouldn’t be obvious.

        1. Good point.

          1. Yes, it is a good point.

            In addition, the universe of “statistics” from which to support or discredit the proposition should not be limited to that which the FBI publishes or other public sector bodies.

        2. The problem is that the “crime wave” media hype is based on purely anecdotal evidence. We’re a large country and nearly everything gets reported somewhere.

          While idiots randomly hitting strangers most likely happens a vanishingly small number of times, an “enterprising” reporter can type in a specific search in Google News, come up with a few stories (which may be from questionable sources) and call it a “crime wave”.

          Said “crime wave” gets hyped on the teevee to be seen by other idiots and… self-fulfilling prophecy time.

    2. Is this even a category we track?

      1. RACIALIST!

    3. How can anyone point to recent statistics if the government which is the one gathering them is lucky if it can get them out a year after they happen and probably don’t have a category of this type of crime

    4. Observe the careful wording: he states there hasn’t been a *surge* in these kind of crimes recently. But that’s a straw man, nobody has claimed that. What people have been complaining about is that they’ve been occurring for years, but the media has neglected to report them. So no, there may not be any recent surge, but that doesn’t mean thay aren’t happening. A quick scan of YouTube should satisfy you on that point.

      1. Observe the careful wording: he states there hasn’t been a *surge* in these kind of crimes recently. But that’s a straw man, nobody has claimed that.

        Google search #1.

        Google search #2.

  6. The media do love to invent trends. It’s a bit like how every few years crystal meth is a big new problem even though it has been around for decades and the number of users stays pretty steady over time.

    1. I can’t speak to pit bull scare, but there was a presence of large dogs, pit bulls being one variety in urban areas in the 90’s, at least in Indianapolis where I worked for the urban school system, lived in the neighborhoods, and did summer work there such as the 2000 census.

      Not sure of the TV thing, possible motivations are security, status symbol, or relates to the animal. One neighbor with a Rottweiler encouraged it to rip up a cat in the yard. It was lose came after a cat on my porch, I went out, it chased me back in, I went to the garage, returned with a 29″ machete and hand axe and returned to the porch where it was leaving down the walk. It wheeled about ran towards me, and we had an eye to eye moment as it stood on its hind legs in front of me. I considered slashing its throat, but as I had never been in hand to paw combat before, I knew being unsuccessful might mean a fight to the death for either one of us. It went back on all fours, wheeled around and left.

      We have sporadic outbursts of assaults and robberies along a former railroad line turned into an asphalt trail. But so far no reports of knock out games. Will let you know if this happens, and if it is connected to this media-driven phenomenon.

  7. How many documented lynchings took place between, say, 1865 and 1965?

    Not everything in life is simply about volume.

    1. That’s actually a decent point.

      1. Thank you. And let’s be honest here: if there were reports going around that groups of white youths were committing unprovoked violent assaults against black people in the streets, nobody in the media would dare to try to come up with a rationalization such as “this is only happening a few times a year, so what’s the big deal?”

        1. But you also need to ask what are you going to do about it. What can you usefully do with the knowledge about the race and motivations of the people involved?
          I’m not saying it should be ignored. I won’t complain about true facts being reported. But what do you do with the information that it is largely groups of young black men doing this to mostly white people?
          All you can do is punish the people who assault others and try to get rid of the policies that have helped to make the situation for poor urban minorities so lousy.

          1. policies that have helped to make the situation for poor urban minorities so lousy

            So lousy that attacking people “at random” is a result?

            Citation needed.

            1. Not a result in any direct way. But there is some reason why this sort of thing seems to be more common among young, urban black males. I’m sure there are many contributing factors, but what others can be addressed through public policy?

              1. there is some reason why this sort of thing seems to be more common among young, urban black males.

                OK, why not just ask the assholes young, urban black males who get busted for it?

                1. I’m sure no one thought of that before.

                  Look, I’m not saying that there is any simple cause or cure for things like this. Just that the things that can be done about them are quite limited. And I subscribe to the idea that a lot of the reason for the prevalence of urban black poverty and crime is misguided welfare state policies.

          2. Well by publicizing it, stupid liberal whites know to keep looking out of the corner of their eyes at a group of black men in those situations and either prepare themselves or stay out of arms length.

    2. None that I’m aware of after 1946.

      1. Emmett Till was 1955, right?

      2. What about Emmett Till?

        1. Well, if you define lynching as only extra-judicial mob killings via rope his murder would not count, but if it refers to extra-judicial mob killings committed however then he counts, right?

          1. Fuck Off, Sockpuppet!

            For the rest of you, Emmit Till was murdered, by two men, in secret, then they hid the body.That is not a lynching.

            1. Did not more people involve themselves beating him in the shed?

      3. What about Michael Donald in 1981?

        1. This isn’t meant as trolling – I am just wondering when was the last actual lynching of anyone?

          1. In the US?

            Moore’s Ford, Walton County, GA in 1946.

  8. November, February, May, and July — Nielsen “Sweeps” Months

    1. Why would anybody put much faith in the “science” of Nielsen ratings or Arbitron ratings?

      What a joke.

      1. If I were a betting man, I would bet that most crime waves peak in Nov, Feb, May, or July.

        1. Yes, JFK gunned down in November; the Cheyenne Sand Creek villagers mass murdered in November; the Reichstag fire was set in February; WACO attacked in February; Malcolm X gunned down in February; Jose Guerena murdered in May and Aurora, CO in July.

          1. Interesting, but those were singular events, not waves of crimes.

            1. Yes, I was just trying to think of major crime events during those months.

      2. Because that’s how broadcasters make money.

        1. If you were a paying advertiser, why would you place much faith in them?

          1. What else are you going to do? Not advertise on TV?

            1. Well, first of all, would it not depend upon your business, your business model, the capacity of your business to pay the ad rates, whether you could effectively reach your target market through TV ads, etc?

              1. Sure, but what’s your point? I don’t know shit about Nielsen ratings or the advertising industry, but I imagine that there is some correlation between ratings and eyes on the screen, or most advertisers would have demanded some change in how ad time is priced (which is what has happened with the advent of DVRs and online watching).

                1. Not claiming to know much about the subject, Zeb, other than what I have read as to the accuracy of the data.

                  I just googled “Nielsen ratings are a joke” and “Nielsen ratings are flawed” and found some interesting material.

                  1. Also, I have anecdotal evidence to offer in support of the proposition that Nielsen ratings are flawed.

                    My family was a Nielson family many years ago. Part of the measuring of audiences was predicated upon self-reporting or by diary. That’s right – we were supposed to memorialize our viewing habits.

                    Would you consider that a reliable measuring system?

  9. OT A lot of Dilbert hate on Dr Assisted Suicides.

    I hope my father dies soon.

    And while I’m at it, I might want you to die a painful death too.

    I’m entirely serious on both counts.

    My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s as close to a living Hell as you can get.

    1. -I’d like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can’t make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.

      I’m a patriotic guy by nature. I love my country. But the government? Well, we just broke up.

      And let me say this next part as clearly as I can.

      If you’re a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won’t do that, because I fear the consequences. But I’d enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it’s personal.

      Wow. I do not wish harm on anyone, but otherwise, well said Scott Adams, well said. Assisted suicide is the most basic self-ownership issue I can think of.

      1. Learn the basic fucking HTML commands dipshit.

        http://www.bios.niu.edu/johns/…..mlcom.html

        If I hadn’t already read Adam’s blog, I would think that 3/4 of your post was your work, which it ain’t.

        This isn’t about making pretty text. It is about following the cultural norm around here about how you fucking quote other people’s words.

        1. The ‘-‘ denotes a selection from linked material.

          1. But where does the quoted material end an Bo begin?

            1. I have no beginning or end 😉

          2. And where is the mark denoting the end of the linked material?

            <iTEXT</i

            is the easiest way for you to make your postings easier for the reader, and it is hardly an onerous amount of html to learn.

            1. Or use reasonable.

            2. Really? Even if I use the html tag for “greater-than” you’re going to eat it squirrels?

              “less-than”i”greater-than” TEXT “less-than”/i”greater-than”

              /takes out varmint rifle and skulks around for a spell

          3. Only in your own fucking mind.

            You posted an extended quote with multiple paragraphs. One little ‘-‘ doesn’t cut it.

            The accepted norm around here is italics or block quotes. Learn one. It is not that fucking hard to do.

            1. Bo is new to the internet. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

              1. Bo was retrieved from long term storage and only recently reactivated. His core processor can’t handle HTML.

        2. That reaction is a bit over the top, but yeah…

          HTML isn’t that hard. It’d take maybe five or ten minutes tops to learn the five or six most basic tags. And given the amount of time Bo spends nitpicking over minutia, it’s not like he lacks the time…

      2. Kill Obamacare.

        Get the government completely out of all healthcare decisions.

        Then, let’s talk.

        Until then euthanasia sanctioning will wind up being the same government removal of no longer useful drones that things like the ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’ have become.

        1. That is silly. You should read up on how assisted suicide work in Washington and Oregon. I hate Obamacare as much as anyone here, and I hope it dies soon, but it is silly to oppose assisted suicide because it exists.

          1. Right up there with “I’m all for immigration and drug legalization but only after the welfare state has been completely dismantled.”

        2. Kill Obamacare.

          Don’t worry, once Obamacare kicks in good and hard, euthanasia will become the norm. Mind you, not one the family or patient approves, but lingering patients are a fucking whirpool of budget sucking, donchaknow?

    2. If you’re a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won’t do that, because I fear the consequences. But I’d enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it’s personal.

    3. you know, I hate to open this can of worms, but if his mind is 98 percent gone, how can we secure his free and voluntary consent to end his own life?

      1. Consider the can opened.

      2. How do you know he didn’t give that permission earlier (or wouldn’t have had DAS been legal)?

        I’d have absolutely NO problem giving my wife that blanket authority if I should lose my faculties.

        1. How do I know he didn’t…? What? Either we have proof he did or we do not have proof. Until such time as you have that proof, you *cannot* just take it on the word of another that, “yup, it’s his time to die. Please hand me that syringe”

          1. Okay Randian, here is my position, and I’d bet nearly everyone else’s here that approves of DAS.

            Legal where individual gives consent.

            No one, to my knowledge has ever said we should allow anyone to snuff someone without their consent.

            Read whatever else you want into the article and it doesn’t change that position. My position may or may not apply in this case, I have no way of knowing.

            1. I’m fine with “Legal where individual gives consent”, but a man with 98% of his mind gone cannot give meaningful consent.

              1. He can if he gives it before he loses his mind.

        2. I’d have absolutely NO problem giving my wife that blanket authority if I should lose my faculties.

          During the Terry Schiavo case I told my parents that if I were ever injured in a way that seriously damaged my brain, or I lost use of two or more limbs that they were to push DNR as hard as possible and actively hamper any attempts to keep me alive. I told them I would find a way in death to make their lives miserable if they did not. They were displeased because culture of death or something.

          I really should get around to putting that in writing.

          1. Two or more limbs? You have weird standards. Not to go all emotional, but I can still parent and watch my son grow up with no arms or legs. Not easy, but doable. I mean, and prosthetics get better every day. There are soldiers with two prosthetic legs who go back to war zones, for goodness sake.

            1. If I had kids my calculus would certainly change, but I don’t and at this point I probably won’t (though I’d like to). As the technology changes my calculus may change, but for now I like being alive well enough, but were I not alive I probably wouldn’t be that concerned about it. Were I alive with two crippled limbs or serious brain damage I’d likely be cranky much of the time.

              `Well!’ thought Alice to herself, `after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)

      3. If he had a living will or statement made when he was in possession of his faculties that would work, or you could defer to his relatives assessment of what he would want/is best for him on the presumption that family members know what is best for people more than government politicians and bureaucrats do.

        1. I’m not deferring to the assessment of relatives. That just gets into kids versus spouse or older brother versus younger brother as to who has the primary standing to make the determination that someone’s life should be terminated. That’s just a non-starter and a massive mess, and doesn’t even have the benefit of ensuring the will of the subject is implemented anyway.

          1. Exactly. The family killing someone off against their will is no better than a judge or bureaucrat doing it. Once you cross the line and say it is okay to kill someone even though we don’t know for sure via a living will this is what they wanted, there is no going back. What starts with “he would have wanted it that way” quickly becomes “kill anyone the family feels is a burden” and that quickly becomes “kill anyone the state feels is a burden”.

            1. -What starts with “he would have wanted it that way” quickly becomes “kill anyone the family feels is a burden”

              My, you have a low opinion of family members! It is this presumption that family members can not wait to off their loved ones that I can not agree with. As a general rule I distrust government and I trust families. Applying your logic generally take us to some scary places, liberty-wise.

              1. Practice family law for a little bit and let me know what you think of family members for real. Or talk to a local wills/estates/probate lawyer in your area for another glimpse.

                It’s great that YOUR family is allegedly a pack of saints but I bet if you had a $10 million dollar estate that was wasting away to nothing on your end-of-life care things would get hairier for you really quickly.

                1. Indeed, let us apply your general presumption, that family members are out to use their loved ones badly for their own benefit and therefore need government restrictions on them, to other matters of family law. Do you think that is going to end up in a place with much liberty? Think of all the decisions parents make for children, for example.

                  1. Indeed, let us apply your general presumption, that family members are out to use their loved ones badly for their own benefit and therefore need government restrictions on them

                    That isn’t my general presumption.

                    Think of all the decisions parents make for children, for example.

                    My, that’s weird – I thought we were talking about adults making decisions for other adults. Did anyone see where children entered into the discussion?

                    1. -Did anyone see where children entered into the discussion?

                      They enter into the discussion when you star saying ‘we need he government to second guess the decisions of family member’s regarding care of their loved ones.’ Parents making consequential decisions for children happens a lot, if we presume the government must second guess the decisions of family members regarding their loved ones then you open that entire can of worms.

                    2. because children are presumed incapable of forming meaningful consent. Adults don’t get to go around killing other adults without their consent, Bo.

                    3. -because children are presumed incapable of forming meaningful consent

                      Well, precisely. All the more reason to have the government step in to protect them from their loved ones who, following your reason, are very likely up to no good in making decisions for them!

                    4. now you’re arguing in bad faith. Children have *zero* to do with this discussion and I never said that family members always or routinely (‘are very likely’ make bad decisions, fuckface.

                2. What Neoliberal said Bo. Some families are dysfunctional as hell. Beyond that, a lot of people don’t have children. What happens when the person is some aunt no one every liked anyway and has a lot of money?

                  Money really does change everything. I saw my mother’s family, sans her, fight like wild animals over my grandfather’s farm. And it wasn’t even that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

                  1. If we start with a presumption that family members will make bad, selfish decisions regarding their loved ones then our family law would be one with an incredibly intrusive government presence, because the government will be the party invoked to protect the loved ones.

                    1. That isn’t the presumption we’re making. Please learn to read.

                    2. Pray tell then, what is your presumption?

                    3. the presumption that absent a clear indication that the subject wishes to be killed, he will not be killed. In other words, a presumption in favor of life.

                      don’t write like a smartass when you argue like a dumbass.

                    4. No, you are presuming that this general edict of law should override even in specific cases where loved ones sincerely believe that the person in question would want to go or that the decision is the best for them. You are saying ‘no, no, because some people will make this decision in bad faith we are not going to allow you to make it in your case.’ And the ‘we’ is a legislature and police force.

                      I will take family members over that we any day.

                    5. That general edict being “don’t murder”. Yeah, what a wild and crazy Statist I am.

                    6. By calling it murder you assume what we are arguing here.

                    7. You want to draw an exception to murder if family members super-duper promise that this is what the subject wanted. Like, what, by affidavit? “I, john doe, super-duper swear that granny would want her life to be terminated”

                      your brains have left their habitual residence on this. you can’t just have family members going about promising that what granny really wants is to be killed, because granny is an adult with the right not to be murdered absent her clear consent otherwise.

                    8. Take this case that started this discussion. You would like to see Scott Adams watch his father, whom he knew and loved, suffer because you can not be sure that he is not bad intentioned? I think he knows what is best for his father/what he would want better than you do.

                      You use the word murder, which is an unlawful killing, when the entire debate is whether we should allow this. That is question begging, and it ignores the important context, such as the mens rea and the situation the vegetative/terminally ill person is in.

                    9. His father is an adult human who has the right to life. If his father wishes to disclaim his right to life, it is incumbent upon his father to disclaim that right. We don’t let other people decide when your rights are forfeit, even if super-duper love them and super-duper promise, your appeals to emotion notwithstanding.

                      So, yes, I “want” to see his father “suffer” because there is no workable alternative. I don’t care if Scott Adams drags out a stack of Bibles and swears under penalty of death that his father wants to be killed, because we don’t take the lives of adult humans beings on say-so of other people. Period, end of statement.

                    10. Your argument is incoherent unless you want to say that loved ones can not make a decision to unhook someone from ongoing life saving medication as well. In BOTH cases we have someone who has not given consent who will die based on their loved one’s decision.

                    11. action =/= inaction. thanks for playing.

                    12. Yes, action=inaction, but I thought you were talking about consent? Why, yes you were! Throughout this exchange you have been saying ‘we can not allow Adams to do this because his father has not given free consent.’

                      Well, if he were deciding to unhook his father from ongoing lifesaving treatment his father would not have given consent either, right? Your repeated inability to answer this question says a lot about the shaky ground you are on here.

                    13. Note: in Adam’s case his father is paying for his own care.

                      What if his father would want to keep the lifesaving treatment going until his last cent runs out? He might want that, we can not know. So, since you are so concerned about his consent, how can you allow Scott Adams to make the decision to unhook him without you knowing what his father wants in that regard? If consent is your grounds then the only consistent stance is that no decision can be made regarding his care by his son.

                    14. OK, so what? That still doesn’t make your Super-Affidavit Proposal any more workable.

                    15. I think we treat the second situation like the former. It seems to me that to be coherent you have to get rid of both.

                    16. Continuing to provide someone with life-saving treatment is action. Failing to provide someone with life-saving treatment is inaction. your attempt to elide the difference has officially gotten old.

                    17. What is old is that you do not see that my position does not rest on eliding that distinction.

            2. I’m not deferring to the assessment of relatives. That just gets into kids versus spouse or older brother versus younger brother as to who has the primary standing to make the determination that someone’s life should be terminated.

              I would delineate a line of succession. One person makes the call. If that person is incapacitated it falls to the next. NO CONSENSUS!

              1. -I would delineate a line of succession. One person makes the call.

                Is not this how it is in most states now? See the Schiavo case.

                I fail to see why we would, say, trust a spouse with the decision to unhook their vegetative spouse from lifesaving treatment but not give that same spouse the power to order an euthanizing agent to a similarly vegetative spouse.

                1. You’re annoying; gonna have to block you.

              2. You don’t do it by a vote Francisco. But whatever you do, you don’t do anything that is not in writing from the person in question.

                1. But whatever you do, you don’t do anything that is not in writing from the person in question.

                  “In the event I am unable to give consent, my wife has the authority to make any and all decisions regarding my welfare, including the ability to decide to end my life.”

                  Why is this so difficult?

                  1. That still has to be in writing, Francisco, which has been my original point the entire time. You do see that Bo Cara, for example, is arguing that if family members super-duper promise that grandma wanted to be killed, they should be allowed to kill grandma, right?

                    1. Bo is filtered, for EXACTLY such reasons. I refuse to read ANYTHING he writes because the only reason he’s here is to nitpick minute portions of people’s posts for the sake of argument alone.

                      He is Blue Tulpa.

                      Of course they need to give consent. That is the only reasonable libertarian position.

                    2. F d A-

                      Why filter? I ask because it has always bothered me. Yes, even if it is tony or shriek or joe from Lowell.

                    3. Never done it to any other person here. Not even White Indian. But that kid annoys the living shit out of me. If I see his comments, I’ll read them and be sucked into some inane argument that has no bearing on the actual big picture topic at hand. And he’ll go on and on, as I’m guessing he has here, by the number of skipped comments.

                      My guess, is that he thinks he’s practicing for his future career. He’s actually just being a dickhead.

                    4. “He is Blue Tulpa.”

                      ^^THIS^^

              3. Gotta go with John and MNG’s former sparring partner on this one.

                GET IT IN WRITING!

          2. FWIW, I already went through this with my grandmother.

            She had a document that stipulated DNR and no life saving measures taken. Her kids looked like they were waffling, I understand that, but I made sure that we honored her wishes.

            It was kinda weird the way she went. Fell unconscious from a massive heart attack, stayed that way until her sister arrived from AZ, 36 hours later. Woke up, had a day with her and then fell back into unconsciousness that night. We pulled her off life support the next day.

        2. living wills and medical powers of atty tend to speak to heroic measures, not to assisted suicide.

          1. True, but if assisted suicide were allowed then I imagine those would address that a lot more commonly.

      4. I think that is something that is a concern, but in a culture without this prohibition it would be covered with advanced directives and living wills.

        There will be a gap generation of people too sick to meaningfully consent, but never having had the option to make advanced directives.

        1. The rule has to be that if you don’t have a directive, you can’t do it. How can you sanction the taking of someone’s life if you are not 100% sure that they are consenting to it?

          1. Right. The presumption is going to be in favor of life, always, and that’s the way it should be.

          2. It’s pretty cut and dry.

            Official document with instructions to kill me in the event of terminal condition? Let her rip and let’s get this over with. No document? Fuck off.

            Personally, I want to go out in a blaze of flaming retarded glory, but we can’t always plan these things out.

            1. “Flaming Retarded Glory”

              Great band name.

          3. You presume that people’s family members know what is better for them than some bunch of politicians in a legislature John.

            1. Please re-read your law books for what the word PRESUMPTION means.

          4. Oh, I agree.

            Of course, I think “Dr. Assisted Suicide” is a unnecessarily divisive name for the debate. People who wish to end their own lives in a simple and painless manner only require a doctor’s assistance because they are the gatekeepers for drug prohibition. And charging spouses or family members will crimes for helping the frail express their wish to die is a sickening abuse of the criminal justice system. If there is video evidence or witnessed documents to the wishes, the police can fuck right off.

      5. That is the difficult bit. I see big ethical problems with actively assisting in the death of someone in that condition, but don’t really have a problem with just letting it happen rather than making every effort to keep them alive.

        1. Can I ask you what is the difference there for you?

          If, as John and Neo presume, family members wanting to off their loved ones because their care is burdensome abound then is not the same danger at hand in making a decision to proactively euthanize as it is to unhook life sustaining machines/medications?

          1. we recognize the difference between action and inaction on this here board, Bo. See also: the long pages of arguments between sarcasmic and Tony.

            I don’t actively kill someone just because they die of hunger and I didn’t donate to charity. Words have meaning.

            1. We are talking about actively withdrawing or disengaging machines and treatment.

              And of course, your comment does nothing to address the general concern you and John have expressed via ‘family members making evil choices regarding their loved one’s care.’ If family members can not be trusted to grant permission to euthanize in these cases, how can they be trusted to make the decision to withdraw life saving treatments?

              1. So, if I donated money every month to charity, but then withdrew my donation one month and someone died, that’s one me for “withdrawing” my support?

                1. I do not find your analogy apt, but furthermore you are missing my point. I recognize a distinction between action and inaction, yes it is a big part of most libertarian thought. But my point is that IF your concern is that people will make evil, selfish decisions concerning their loved one’s care, decisions the loved one would not have agreed with, then the danger they will make such decisions is just as present in deciding whether to unhook them from life saving machines/medications as it would be in deciding to administer a euthanizing agent. In both instances we would have your concern: ‘if his mind is 98 percent gone, how can we secure his free and voluntary consent to end his own life’

                  1. You still view “unhooking” as a positive action, when it is, in fact, a cessation of positive action. That’s your problem.

                    1. Does the law not also view it as a positive action, at least at this point and/or in some states? I was certainly under that impression. You can’t just unplug someone even if we here recognize the difference, or can you?

                    2. What is this, the third time you have missed the point?

                      I will state it again: IF your concern is that the person in question has not made an indication of his consent, then how does that not apply to the question of ‘should we unhook him’ as well as the question of ‘should we administer this euthanizing agent?’ Sure, there is an arguable philosophical difference between the two, but my point is that in both cases the person in questioning has not themselves consented, and in both cases they will die from the decision. Why should we trust the loved one’s decision in the first case then, but not the second, if your concern is about voluntary consent.

                    3. Because no person has the right to positive treatment paid for by others.

                    4. First, I will note that you have (once again) left your ‘but what about consent’ concern to move on to how action/inaction might make one act distinguishable from another in a way not relevant to consent.

                      But I will also note that often in the situation where a loved one decides to have someone taken off of life giving treatment (remember, we are not talking about not initiating such treatment, we are talking about cases where it is going on and taking affirmative actions to stop it) the patient HAS a means of paying for his care, such as his insurance. The loved one still makes the decision because of concerns about the patient’s dignity, wishes or what have you.

    4. If I could push a magic button and send every politician who opposes doctor-assisted suicide into a painful death spiral that lasts for months, I’d press it. And I wouldn’t feel a bit of guilt because sometimes you have to get rid of the bad guys to make the world a better place.

      .

      Now we’re getting somewhere.

  10. Without the media attention many people wouldn’t know about the random, often racially targeted, sucker punch attacks.There is a pattern of attacks, it just wasn’t being reported before. The fact that “knockout”-style crime has been around for years doesn’t make it a “myth”.

    I recall “carjackings” being a big media deal a while ago. They still happen multiple times a day in big cities but aren’t reported in the media unless they end in homicide. What’s worse is police and prosecutors are charging kidnappings at gunpoint as auto thefts and/or strong arm robberies.

    1. I’ve heard about the knockout game for years. I knew it was happening once in a while – to people in places and situations in which I will never find myself.

    2. -Without the media attention many people wouldn’t know about the random, often racially targeted, sucker punch attacks.There is a pattern of attacks, it just wasn’t being reported before.

      Indeed, the press often shies away from crime with black on white patterns. For example:

      -Past studies have documented the prevalence of black on white sexual aggression in prison.(213) These findings are further confirmed by Human Rights Watch’s own research. Overall, our correspondence and interviews with white, black, and Hispanic inmates convince us that white inmates are disproportionately targeted for abuse.(214) Although many whites reported being raped by white inmates, black on white abuse appears to be more common.

      http://www.hrw.org/reports/200…..html#_1_27

    3. Carjackings are actually a good example of the phenomenon. They happen. They got hyped for a while, but not in a way that tracked with their actual frequency. The stories frequently had a “this could happen to anyone, anywhere” frame that was not at all accurate. And then the press moved on to a new storyline.

      1. See the very good point about lynchings above. The chances of an individual black person being the victim of a lynching were very small. But that didn’t make them any less of a big deal.

        Tell me Jessee, what is the standard for a crime story being significant? If the standard is “it must be more likely than not it will happen to you”, then no crime story is ever significant.

        These sorts of attacks seem to be happening, if you are to believe Drudge, once a week or so somewhere in the country. It is true yours or my chances of being a victim are pretty small. But that doesn’t make them any less disturbing or any less of a problem. Sorry but the idea that young people black or white are going out targeting people of different races to sucker punch and perhaps kill them as they walk down the street offends my sensibilities a bit.

        You can call this a myth and say it is no big deal all you want. But understand that every action produces a reaction. What are you going to do when white kids decide to start doing the same to blacks? Ignore that too?

        1. What are you going to do?

          I’m not trying to be snarky. I am really interested to know what you do to make things better once you acknowledge how bad and fucked up it is that young thugs are going around cold coking strangers.

          1. Something like five or so years ago in Portland Maine some punk thought it would be fun to cold cock a stranger who then fell on a brick and died.

            I don’t recall it being a trend back then.

          2. For once I actually agree with a mayor on this. You need the authorities to come out and make it clear anyone caught doing this is going to be prosecuted to the full extent possible. That yes it really is a special case that the state is going to make an extra effort to ensure the perpetrator does a very long time in jail.

            The other thing you do is encourage people to conceal and carry. Make this a contact sport. I would think that would be Reason’s response.

            1. anyone caught doing this is going to be prosecuted to the full extent possible.

              Another thing that could, but won’t, be done is to change the sentence for this crime to more of an eye-for-an-eye thing.

            2. I agree with John. The problem isn’t that soccer moms need to worry that their kids are going to be “knocked out”. The problem is that these assholes aren’t being held accountable. In large part, I would say, because the media only likes to publish stories that support racist (black people need us!) and classist (rich people need to pay!) assumptions. Meanwhile, the average person living in the ghetto doesn’t have time to be angry at the Koch brothers, they are just trying to make it home in one piece.

            3. OK, I like that answer. I’m all for punishing the fuck out of anyone who randomly assaults someone. I can’t quite articulate why, but it seems to me that that sort of assault is worse than when you have a reason (especially in a “crime of passion” sort of situation). And I do feel a bit of joy every time I hear about someone getting shot while assaulting someone or invading a home.

              But I still don’t see any good in focusing on the race angle except in pointing out the media’s double standard and commitment to a particular narrative.

              1. ” And I do feel a bit of joy every time I hear about someone getting shot while assaulting someone or invading a home”

                Moe: Uh, hi, I’m Moe S.
                Crowd: Hi, Moe!
                Moe: Yeah, so last night I was closing up the bar, when some young punk comes in and tries to stick me up. [the crowd gasps]
                Sideshow Mel: Whatever did you do, Moe?
                Moe: Well, it coulda been a real ugly situation, but, I managed to shoot him in the spine. Yeah. I guess the next place he robs better have a ramp!

              2. Its worse Zeb because there is no way a person can avoid it or plan for it. I don’t fear assaults that are the result of emotional confrontation because I avoid emotional confrontations with strangers. But there is nothing I can do to avoid something like this other than not walking the streets. This sort of random and senseless crime cuts to the very heart of civilization and must be punished ruthlessly.

                1. That says it pretty well.

      2. “this could happen to anyone, anywhere”

        Anyone, anywhere in a gentrified neighborhood or at an ATM on the fringe of a popular nightlife district when such places are proximate to “high crime urban ghettos”. Carjackings (kidnapping armed robberies “forced to withdraw cash from ATMs”) are much more common than most people realize. The crime doesn’t make the news unless the victim is killed or maybe raped, the perp killed, or it happens to a family member of a prominent person.

        1. So in other words, not to anyone, anywhere.

          1. Well, someone, somewhere.

            1. Ordinary language needs more parentheses.

          2. So in other words, not to anyone, anywhere.

            Thank you. What SIV is describing is not the impression left by the media’s first wave of carjacking stories. (Or at least not the panicky sorts of stories that Best quoted in his book and that I’m criticizing here.)

            1. What I’m saying is the chance of becoming a kidnapping victim was almost nil then with the rise of “carjacked and forced to withdraw money from the ATM” crimes it became a much more frequent occurrence. The media doesn’t even report on it anymore.The crime gets charged like a simple armed or strong-arm robbery with auto theft if the victim is left without a car.

        2. Happened to the class president of UNC, and she was murdered, so it was pretty big news, locally.

          1. Just overblown media hype on an extremely rare isolated incident that didn’t actually happen except for maybe that one time. A “myth”, if you will.

  11. How about the 1988 LA random freeway shootings? That seemed like a real fad.

    1. The city realized the freeway didn’t have a permit and took its guns away, so the road isn’t shooting people anymore…

    2. Was there a whole bunch of helicopters following a white Bronco down the freeway, stopping at every golf course to look for a murderer?

    3. I’m skeptical that “fad” really went away. You still hear about people getting shot at on the highways in SoCal. And speaking as someone who frequents the 101 and the 405, I definitely understand the urge to murder everyone around you in traffic.

  12. I pretty much presume that *any* trend suddenly discovered and hyped by the major media is just so much pure, uncut bullshit.

  13. Should we also ignore Reason media and its reporting on the rare crime of police getting search warrants to search peoples ass? Or are some things so outrageous and should be commented on even if it does not happen every day on every street.

    1. That’s up to you, I think.

    2. But SWAT teams’ killing dogs is a real trend.

    3. Cops shooting dogs and raiding the wrong houses must be a myth too.

    4. To be a bit more serious, I don’t think there is any problem with reporting on any of it. The problem is that people always want to see a trend or a “thing”. I think that this is the case with reporting on police misconduct as well. Once a trend is identified, the media will tend to report on stories that fit the supposed trend and ignore those that don’t and create an impression that something is more of a threat than it really is (much like child abduction or random mass shootings).

      1. The “knockout” attacks are far more of a realistic threat than stranger child abductions and random mass shootings.

        Go rent place in the Marigny and frequently walk home drunk from the Quarter while texting on your iPhone and you’ll find out just how common.

        1. Go rent place in the Marigny and frequently walk home drunk from the Quarter while texting on your iPhone and you’ll find out just how common.

          I like the Marigny, but that’s just lunacy.

          1. It made a tiny blurb on the news when a guy got beat unrecognizable and brain dead and they didn’t bother to take his wallet or phone.

  14. This time the alleged crime wave does not involve guns and is being blamed on black people, so the skeptics tend to be on the left and the hysterics tend to be on the right.

    You mentioned black people, something Jacob Sullum did not. You are not supposed to do that. Here’s what happens: a regional newspaper runs a story about a random attack by undescribed youths on a fully described Jewish/Asian/White clerk/accountant/businessowner. Then some chucklehead in the comments section of the article writes “And there’s no description of the perps.” After some PC fawning over the topic, another chucklehead posts a link to the arrest photo of the perp taken from a local news outlet. A pattern develops. Every time a regional news outlet declines to describe the perp, the perp is black. This is wearing thin, like Law and Order SWPL pron.

    1. Just like when they fail to mention the party of a crooked politician you can be confident that it starts with a ‘D’.

  15. OT: Uhh… the police can declare an area ‘cell phone video free’ now?

    But they may not need to fear scrutiny much longer – Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, whenever they like.

    All the coppers have to do is decide that a public gathering or venue is deemed “sensitive”, and needs to be “protected from externalities” and Apple will switch off all its gear.

    Yet one more reason to never ever buy an Apple product?

    1. DMCA strikes again.

      Apple insists that the affected sites are mostly cinemas, theatres, concert grounds and similar locations, but it does admit that it could be used in “covert police or government operations which may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions”.

      1. It is amazing how stupid and short sighted the entertainment industry is. Iphones have been a boon for the concert industry. People love to take video and post it on youtube. The video is nothing but a giant promotion film for the concert tour. People can see how great the band is (or maybe is not) and thus want to go to the show. Leave it to the entertainment industry to kill what has become a great and free promotion tool.

      2. Apple users will just have to keep in line and play nice as they always do while everyone else is doing what they want with their property. Makes you want to laugh at them, even more.

        1. Yeah, cause Microsoft and Google aren’t going to be right along there with them.

    2. Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information

      Nonsense, most likely. The author, Nick Farrell in Rome, doesn’t grok spread spectrum radios, for sure.

      1. I was wondering about the hows and whys, being a technology guy myself. Of course a patent doesn’t mean it works or is effective.

        It’s still concerning.

      2. Unless its an EMP field, I don’t think people who don’t buy Apple products have anything to be concerned about.

  16. Speaking of the statist quo media. This morning I had CNN on. Vapid news reader chick talked about the 23andme gene sequencing thing. She presented a purely biased talking point defense of the FDA thuggery. “What if they aren’t doing it right, and somebody gets a mastectomy based on the results?”. God damn. What a mouth piece for the Federal government. Pissed me off. “What if we lived in a free country and didn’t need permission to carry out peaceful commerce, you dumb fucking bitch?”

    1. What kind of person gets a mastectomy without consulting a doctor? Oh that’s right, no one.

    2. Because a surgeon is going to cut off your tits because you told them the results of a $99 test, no questions asked.

      Makes you wonder if the first thing they teach in Journalism is how to turn off your reasoning faculties.

      1. It’s my impression that journalism is a lot like photography. You find something out in the world and present it to others in the way you want them to see it.

    3. As I wrote on the twitah

      “The results are positive. Honey, fetch me the kitchen knife and a bottle of aspirin, will you?”

  17. Marvell Weaver has “only played the game six or seven times…”. The last time he played he was shot twice, thus losing the game.

    http://www.wilx.com/news/featu…..vice=phone

  18. It is the divisive nature of hate crime legislation that drives a large part of controversy over the reporting of this story. If practically any white-on-black crime is national news and triggers a “conversation about race,” yet black-on-white crime is very rarely funneled through the same narrative, we approach the left’s ideal of “only white people can be racist.”

    But that is a touchy subject and complicated, better to just act like it isn’t happening or it doesn’t matter.

    1. Exactly.

      If packs of white teenagers were out assaulting, and sometimes killing innocent black people strolling down the boulevard, then you can bet that would be “news” worthy of reporting.

      The best disinfectant is sunshine…

      1. There’s a pretty long history of mythical or overhyped waves of hate crimes. The classic example is the supposed surge in church burnings in the 1990s.

        1. That is exactly the problem here. The knockout game has been going on for a few years now, and there has been a news blackout on it. I wonder why?

          1. The knockout game has been going on for a few years now, and there has been a news blackout on it. I wonder why?

            It’s a funny sort of “news blackout” that produces so many pre-2013 news stories. But yes, there is a spike in attention now.

            1. It is extremely difficult for me to suppress my cynicism, Jesse, when years worth of these incidents have been reported as “teens assault pedestrian, see page 9”. When there have been at least three deaths (murders, actually) as a result.

              Juxtapose that reporting with the reporting on a certain “white Hispanic” who exercised his right to self defense against what might, I suspect, a forced induction into a game of knockout.

              You might be aware that Thomas Sowell recently wrote an op-ed piece about this latest teen game?

              1. It is extremely difficult for me to suppress my cynicism, Jesse, when years worth of these incidents have been reported as “teens assault pedestrian, see page 9”.

                There was a spate of “knockout” trend stories in 2011, though perhaps not as many as this time. There have been trend stories about similar supposed “games” with different names over the past half-decade too. This is what people point to when they claim that the media didn’t make a big deal about the story before 2013: past examples of the media making a big deal about the story.

                1. We mentioned the “Happy Slapping” fad in England the other day, jesse.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_slapping

                  If you’re going to write about this topic, Happy Slapping MUST be included. Its much more catchy than the ‘knockout game’. Although…. Hunger Games marketing tie-ins? Possibilities…

                  1. If we’re going to talk about British fads can we also talk about dogging?

                    A cursory Google search tells me it has made its way to America.

                    1. Look, you can talk about British Fags on your own time… oh, wait sorry….

                      Uhm, yeah. Dogging. Look, homely drunk british chicks having sloppy sex on a car in the dark in front of friends is possibly one of the most unappealing sexual behaviors imagined since…

                      ….

                      someone help me out here. Its just… eyeucch. Seriously, get a room people.

        2. OK.

          Do you still really believe that “Wilding” was a term invented by a police officer mis-hearing the name of a ton-loc song in 1989?

          (seriously though, that does have to be the *whitest* explanation of anything, ever, of all time)

          I’ve only so far found one example of it in rap lyrics prior to that, but it was certainly in common usage before the Daily News decided to put it on the cover.

          “Fun Fact”

          1. (seriously though, that does have to be the *whitest* explanation of anything, ever, of all time)

            ha ha. So true.

            1. Next we’ll hear how the term “Rock & Roll” had something to do with stonemasons and bakeries.

          2. Do you still really believe that “Wilding” was a term invented by a police officer mis-hearing the name of a ton-loc song in 1989?

            Whether or not the officer “invented” it, that appears to be how the term got applied to the Central Park jogging case; and the Central Park jogging case is how the word came to spread through the media. If the expression nonetheless existed before then, as you claim, then I may be wrong to suspect that the word was too dorky to actually catch on with kids.

            1. “Whether or not the officer “invented” it, that appears to be how the term got applied to the Central Park jogging case”

              According to the NYT story covering the case, the ‘police officer’ says the kids used the term themselves

              Wiki-linkin’ to the source =

              ” Chief of Detectives Robert Colangelo, who said the attacks appeared unrelated to money, race, drugs or alcohol, said that some of the 20 youths brought in for questioning had told investigators that the crime spree was the product of a pastime called wilding.”

              It was an article in the Village Voice that made some claim about the non-existence of the word (despite the Central Park 5 using it themselves) and the alleged influence of Ton-Loc

              “…the strange thing is, the kids I talked to uptown in El Barrio* – kids who listen to the rap shows of DJ Red Alert and Marley Marl – said there’s no such thing as “wilding” … Kareem from Tres Unidos said, “I’ve heard some people say, Yo, I’mma do the wild thing”‘ like the Ton Loc song”…”

              So, Village Voice reporter reports: “BLACK KID SAYS”

              …and that’s some journalisms right there! Case closed. For 1989, that was considered pretty ‘edgy’ stuff too. ‘Ask a real live black person’! sigh.

              So, take it from a white person who also listened to DJ Red Alert and Marley Marl…. Wilding was a real word. A fad? No. Although as mentioned = getting your ass kicked in central park was all the rage back in the day.

              1. As for what “wilding” entailed =

                http://old.nationalreview.com/…..121602.asp

                On the night of April 19, 1989, just after 9 o’clock…Kevin Richardson, 14, Raymond Santana, 14, Yusef Salaam, 15, Antron McCray, 15, and Kharey Wise, 16, ran amok for a half hour across a quarter-mile stretch of Central Park ? chasing after bicyclists, assaulting pedestrians, and.. pummeling two men into unconsciousness with a metal pipe, stones, punches, and kicks to the head. The teens later confessed on videotape to these attacks.”

                30 minutes! That’s a pretty productive crew.

                Of course they got sent up the river for gang rape instead. Which is apparently the more-important story = the racial injustice angle. Calling Ken Burns!

                The problem is that in order to tie this pretty package together, you need to make the ‘wilding’ thing into a ‘myth’. Or, “just another isolated incident”. Nothing to see here. That way, the kids got railroaded over white panic.

                Except, no. Random ass-kickings were a normal thing and the city was inundated with crime. And the park was a nightmare. The fact that they were randomly kicking people’s ass and – *totally unrelated* – a different guy was raping a girl at the same time, just nearby? you’d think that would be the story. no = White Panic. 3,250 rapes in the city in 1989? White panic. Also, Ton Loc.

                1. “Why do I keep thinking of the movie Rashomon now?”

                  Discuss.

                2. Who here is claiming that Central Park after dark was a safe place in 1989? Not me. (Also, note that the National Review story echoes the claim about “wilding”/”Wild Thing.”)

                  I wonder whether the “wilding” you’re remembering is the “wil’in'” that Ska alluded to above.

                  1. “Who here is claiming that Central Park after dark was a safe place in 1989? Not me.

                    Well, the broad theme here has been “fake crime trends” or “media induced panics”

                    This “wilding” thing is/was cited as a “Made up word”, which leads some to the conclusion that, if the *word* is fake, then said activity didn’t happen/or wasn’t “a thing”

                    Whether one accepts the ‘word’ as a commonly referenced thing OR NOT (I even think my own assertions about it are making too much of a case – it was @#*$& rap slang) = the point is, “The activity it described was fairly common”. Delinquent gang activity is not exactly a new thing.

                    There seems to be an implication that the “dubious” origins of the term may suggest that what the term described was equally baseless.

                    [As for “Wil’in”. Cracker please. You honestly think that’s a different term?]

                    (Also, note that the National Review story echoes the claim about “wilding”/”Wild Thing.”)

                    I know. And you will note that *his ‘echoed’ version* of the story – now 13 years after the fact – is completely different, and provides no indication where his info came from. He claims it was something “a kid was overheard saying in a holding tank”, which seems to conflate the Voice comment with the NYPD report, which came from interviewing 20 kids picked up in the park.

                    The ‘ton-loc’ detail is *entirely* sourced to the moron @ the Voice and his Man-on-the-Street source: “Kareem the black kid I know uptown”

                    1. BTW, to add to the pile of DERP here…

                      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103267/

                      1990 = John Travolta’s brother stars in “Wilding”: The Movie

                      Damn if Hollywood aint quick to jump on a fad.

                      And I’m just guessing here… but Rashomon, it probably aint.

                    2. By the way, the source of the Village Voice excerpt was this retarded book about Rap music and culture and blah blah =

                      http://books.google.com/books?…..W4O5b&dq;=^ Cooper, Barry Michael (May 9, 1989) “The Central Park Rape” in The Village Voice.&pg=PA47

                      The writer also mentioned the following – in Commentary magazine, ‘Terry Teachout'(?) says=

                      “Every New Yorker who reads the papers knows that teenagers who allegedly raped and brutalized a woman jogger in central park last year entertained themselves after their arrest by chanting the lyrics to ‘Wild Thing’…”

                      Yes, ‘every New Yorker who reads the papers’ knows this

                      He then goes on to explain how this was misinterpretated into “Wilding”, and lead to the Park Panic about Wolf Packs.

                      It was like a fucking game of 1980s-Urban-White-Liberal telephone. I’m surprised we didn’t end up lynching Ton Loc in the end.

                      Also, the Voice quote of the rap-savvy Kareem? gets pretty otherworldly at a moment =

                      e.g. “Since we as Blacks and Puerto Ricans tend to slur our words when we use slang..”

                      Yeah. I’m sure that’s a direct quote from ‘Kareem’.

                    3. It was like a fucking game of 1980s-Urban-White-Liberal telephone.

                      Is Terry Teachout supposed to be a liberal now?

                    4. Well, the broad theme here has been “fake crime trends” or “media induced panics”

                      “Parts of New York have a severe crime problem” was not a fake trend. It also isn’t what “wilding” came to mean.

                      [As for “Wil’in”. Cracker please. You honestly think that’s a different term?]

                      Well, that’s the question. Did anyone pronounce “wil’in'” as “wilding” before April 1989?

                      you will note that *his ‘echoed’ version* of the story – now 13 years after the fact – is completely different, and provides no indication where his info came from

                      Press reports at the time had the kids allegedly breaking out into “Wild Thing” at the station. I assume he conflated this with the claim (made in various venues since ’89, usually with an “apparently” or “probably” appended) that an officer misunderstood a suspect’s reference to “doing the wild thing” as “wilding.”

                    5. Postcript on the wilding/wil’in’ thing: Best does mention this old NYT piece which identifies them as the same thing. It reads to me like a reporter retrofitting a new word as an old word (“wilding, a slang term usually pronounced wil’ing”), but I’m open to persuasion.

                    6. Postcript on the wilding/wil’in’ thing….

                      In related breaking news = a journalist now believes “aaahiite” is also sometimes understood to mean “O.K.” in certain circles. More as this develops.

                    7. “Did anyone pronounce “wil’in'” as “wilding” before April 1989?”

                      are we now getting into a phonetic-semantic debate? OK. yes. white people. next question?

                      As for the ‘press reports at the time’, I thought the point here was that there were only 2 actual sources, despite lotsa ‘commentary’ = one of which says the kids used the term themselves (which having been 15 myself at the time and familiar with the activity, is to me the most plausible), and another(the VVoice) which says a random black kid in NY thinks it “might have something to do with Ton Loc”. (which I think is laughable)

                      No, I wasnt’ accusing Commentary mag or Teachout of being ‘liberal’ – but the fact that this story had circled around the urban media world until it had a life of its own certainly is an example of what I meant by “liberal telephone” (‘a story about a story about a story about a telephone’).

                      *Now*, 20+yrs later, the story is about how that word (*allegedly ‘fake’) became a White Media talking point to demonize young black men.

                      The fact is the word was already in circulation before any of this shit happened. And it did already more or less mean the same thing “it came to mean”. Although it wasn’t like some *#&$*& ‘game’ or a ‘new thing’. It was kids being violent. which they were, in spectacular fashion.

                    8. As for the ‘press reports at the time’, I thought the point here was that there were only 2 actual sources

                      The detail that the kids sang “Wild Thing” was definitely reported at the time.

                    9. “The detail that the kids sang “Wild Thing” was definitely reported at the time.”

                      yes. That’s just the same AP story in 2 different papers, BTW. In paragraph 5, they bring up the “wilding” term completely separately from anything to do with the rappin’. The conflation of the 2 I suppose we can still blame on the Voice? (no one else seems to have directly made some connection)

                    10. I wasn’t pointing to the AP story to demonstrate a separate origin point for the “Wild Thing”/”wilding” claim. I was backing up my comment that there were press accounts at the time of the kids breaking into “Wild Thing,” which I thought you were disputing, but maybe I misread you.

                    11. By the way: Just as Terry Teachout is not a liberal, the author of the Village Voice piece is not white.

                    12. “the author of the Village Voice piece is not white.”

                      Does it matter?

                    13. Does it matter?

                      Well, it seemed to matter to you. “The whitest explanation of anything, ever” and all that.

                    14. I think it is entirely possible for people of any and all races (and or genders!) to offer the Whitest Explanation of Anything, Ever.

                      In any case, as noted below = the thing most conclusively and definitively denied by the Central Park 5 was that Ton Loc was in any way even remotely involved.

                      I suppose neither the AP or Voice plan on issuing a correction. But at least Ton Loc can sleep easier.

            2. ” I may be wrong to suspect that the word was too dorky to actually catch on with kids”

              … said the Blogger

    2. The bottom line is we have a black crime problem in this country. Young black men commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes. But we never talk about that problem or make any effort to deal with it because most of their victims are other blacks and talking about it makes guilty white people feel uncomfortable.

      1. “The bottom line is we have a black crime problem in this country”

        Now I really do feel like we’ve traveled back in time to the 1980s. Is this Crossfire? Are you Robert Novak? Can I be the other guy? No wait, I’ll be John McLaughlin and you be Pat Buchanan. WRONG!!

        I think maybe your observation is 40 years or so behind schedule there, john.

        1. It is still true today. We have never dealt with the issue. Black men under 30 are more likely to die a violent death today than white men were likely to die such during World War II. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Young black men have essentially been fighting the equivalent of world war II for about thirty years now and no one seems to give a shit or even want to talk about it.

          1. You remind me of when Jesse Jackson ran for president. I think he also used the “black WWII” analogy.

            I hope you’re not under the impression that me telling you that your comment is 40 years late means, ‘I don’t believe you’?

            It more like you said, “Water has a Serious Wet Problem”

            I think your point about how we don’t talk about it is certainly the more interesting angle. As I said, it used to be a big deal, particularly for black politicians. Not so much in the last decade or so. I blame Al Qaeda.

            1. Okay I misunderstood you. We don’t talk about it because black people are embarrassed to air their dirty laundry in front of white people and the white media hates any story that goes against the “racist white America” narrative they love so much. So the issue just sits there.

  19. re: Wilding = ” A police officer apparently misheard a reference to the Tone Loc song “Wild Thing” as “wilding” and the media ran with it”

    That would be news to me.

    I recall the term being commonplace in NYC in the early-mid 80s. ‘Commonplace’ in the sense it was a term used on rap records which white kids (naturally) adopted. (I tried doing a lyrics search but the best I could come up with was a ‘reference’ to an Ice-T record, ‘rhyme pays’, from 1987) But it had genuine basis in reality. If you were a teenage boy in the city, traveling around in groups at night was pretty much the only ‘social’ thing to do as far as I knew. Fuck, for all I know this is the only thing teenage boys have *ever* done, anywhere. “wilding” being the more-rambunctious variety of that sort of thing. In the case of me and my friends, it probably just meant occasional fistfights, knocking over trash cans, breaking things, jumping turnstiles etc. Making noise and trouble. Generic Juvenile Delinquency. Imitating the movie “the Warriors” on a very amateur level. The term ‘wilding’ was most strongly associated with Halloween in my area (aka ‘mischief night’) where you really did *intentionally* go out in gangs with the express purpose of randomly fucking people up and causing trouble. But we were white kids and that meant our level of violence stayed fairly PG-13, and even if we did get in trouble the cops would simply take us home to our parents.

  20. There’s an Athens act called Washed Out that was labeled “chill-wave” by some blogger in 2009. Sure enough, in 2010, it was in use by the New York Times.

  21. Tone Loc! I knew it was him. Even when it was the punk kids I knew it was him.

  22. totally off topic

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H1gRQ6S7gg#t=153

    When I was a freshman in college, I was asked what my major was. I said double major — physics and computer science. I was asked, what do you want to do with that. I said I want to make movies. The response was “then don’t tell me”. I told the young lady that movies like tron weren’t made by artists, but by physicists that decided the real world was boring.

    I became an engineer instead. But this clip is exactly what I would have rather been doing all this time.

  23. (‘Wilding’ – contd)

    When the Central Park Jogger gang-rape happened, I had already long grown out of that sort of thing. But the reputation for the behavior of gangs of kids in the upper half of central park was already legendary at that point. Being in the park – particularly uptown – after dark was effectively an open invitation for stabbing, robbery, rape whatever. The idea that the news was “hyping up” some non existent criminal behavior by young black kids in the 1980s? That’s fucking ridiculous. I don’t doubt that the media hyped up the racial angle of the “crime wave” (it was more like a fetid swamp than a refreshing, cyclical wave) of the 1980s = we had the crown heights hit and run driver incident, yusef Hawkins getting killed down the street from me in bensonhurst, the white on black beating in howard beach, Bernard Goetz shooting up black kids, then the cherry-on-top of the bullshit Tawana Brawley incident… “Race Crime” was the leading story of the day. Even the Yuppie Strangler, Robert Chambers, was spun as a weird ‘race crime’…. because why? Because WHITE PEOPLE, is why! White people ‘don’t do that shit’. Fucking ridiculous.

    That said, please go watch The Park is Mine(1986) now

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4BDyIFZl50

    I will admit, the ‘white guy goes nuts with a machine gun and cleans up central park, and is cheered by NYC’-fantasy still has some appeal to it. Also, Tommy Lee Jones.

    1. Anyone who doesn’t walk the other way when walking alone and seeing a large pack of teenage males is either very well armed or pretty stupid.

      1. Cue Jesse Jackson on this topic. He agrees with you, and so do I.

      2. That’s a tricky problem in practice. A female or elderly person should cross the street. But what should an able-bodied male do? Probably go the gym a couple times a week.

        1. If you are a man of decent size and health and look respectable, you are probably fine. They generally don’t want to fuck with someone who will fight back or with someone who is respectable and whom the police will take a real interest in finding the person that assaulted them.

          But if you are a women, it is a real problem. Every woman should carry some kind of weapon for that reason.

          1. I try to look a block ahead of me to avoid trouble. But if I’m so close that crossing over would be so obvious that it would draw attention, then I just put my head down and walk through around them.

            1. Don’t stop walking no matter what. And don’t engage them.

    2. “When the Central Park Jogger gang-rape happened, I had already long grown out of that sort of thing.”

      You know, taken out of context of the earlier post, this sentence really gives the wrong impression.

      For the record = ‘gang-rape’ was never a popular pastime of mine. I was referring to more benign… well, distinctly less felonius* teenage delinquency.

      *I’m sure there’s a rapper from the 1980s who tried calling himself “Felonious Funk”. HAD to have happened.

    3. One you left out was Eleanor Bumpers. You must remember that one. An old black lady with a knife shot by cops in her house

    4. The Howard Beach thing was an eye opener for me. I mentioned in another thread about how often I saw black on white assaults growing up in Bklyn, so when this blew up I was pretty confused about what the big deal was.
      Side note – Whenever I was in Howard Beach, I often ate pizza at the place where the altercation started.

    5. Gilmore, you’re from Bensonhurst? So’s my boyfriend. Probably about the same time too.

  24. I tried to start a crime panic using my small-town rube friends by telling them not to look up at the skyscrapers because people with a razor will slash your exposed throat.

    My slackjaw peeps didn’t buy into it….

    1. Perhaps they’re so slack-jawed they figure their teeth would deflect the blade.

  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR7eiVlWpVA

    I am a lucky man to have an annoying Asian wife. No way in hell would she act put up with this. Go to 5:25 if you become impatient.

    1. Yeah, Phoebe, all we need are a few more basketball courts. Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that?

  26. It’s a thing. Trend is probably the wrong word. It’s not new. It happens all too often.

    What makes this round of media notice interesting is that the PC wall of color seems to have toppled.

    Oh, no one used the term ‘wilding’ until after the stupid article. I can still remember when it came out and how retarded everyone thought it sounded.

    1. “”Oh, no one used the term ‘wilding’ until after the stupid article””

      By no one, you mean white people?

      1. Didn’t you just say you were white?

        Where you from in New York? I grew up in Staten Island–in the projects on Manor Road, and then I bounced around in Staten Island, lived in Brooklyn, in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, and in Manhattan, in alphabetland. You?

        At the time this happened I was living across the street from the Stapleton Projects.

        None of my roomates, friends, neighbors or co-workers had ever heard the term and we all thought it was something the cops or the news made up.

        Most of these folks(the ones I talked to) were black, white and puerto rican, and in their late teens and early twenties.

        And let me go one better on this–we used to all go hang out in Cebtral Park at night. We’d hop on a train and ride up and mess with people on the train(not by being violent, just by being weird), then we’d all pile out and go and party all night in the park.

        And I never heard anyone talk about ‘wilding’.

        1. Bay Ridge as well. Until 1990. Can you believe I never actually ever went to staten island, ever, in my life? 🙂

          None of my roomates, friends, neighbors or co-workers had ever heard the term and we all thought it was something the cops or the news made up.

          It is remarkable how a city with millions of inhabitants can encompass different experiences.

          As mentioned earlier, the main time the phrase came up (for me and mine at least) was Halloween, when it was expected to be both on the lookout for people aiming to randomly kick *your ass*, or the other way around.

    2. PC wall of color seems to have toppled.

      That will happen when the fact that blacks reach puberty 2 or 3 years before whites or asians is recognized. This would require us to treat people differently based on the way they are.

      Look at the way public schools are divided. Elementary schools group kids from K through 6. Middle school is from 7 to 9. High school is 10, 11, and 12.

      Liberal white and asian parents don’t want their girls being hit upon in middle school but they don’t want to say it’s the black boys that do it. So they move. Consvervative white and asian parents think Jesus will fix it.

      But it’s not a fault of the black boy that he matures at an earlier age. There’s also some difference between whites and asian when it comes to sexual maturity, but the gap’s a bit less.

      One size fits all, so the government says.

  27. Look, maybe these were bored drunk 20-somethings who had just seen Fight Club. And I doubt Fight Club came up with the concept of attacking random people on the street (though purposely trying to LOSE to the random person was probably a unique twist).

    This crap happens all the time. Why? Because people do stupid things. Also, take into consideration that EVERYTHING gets “reported” somewhere these days and it makes it seem like it’s “trending” in popularity.

  28. Here we go, finally, from the horse’s mouths =

    The Central Park 5 offer their own view here on the ‘Wilding’ thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..I#t=19m25s

    1 – They say “it was not a term that we as kids used” – they don’t comment on any of the other 15 kids arrested in that context maybe having used that term.

    2 – In response to the “Wild Thing” comment: they say that Ton Loc was a West Coast rapper and they would have had nothing to do with that stuff. “That’s totally false” (laughter)

    3 – Ken Burn’s daughter offers up that it was potentially an misinterpretation by the police of somebody saying they were “wilding out” but were not intending it to be associated with any violent behavior.

    My view on their comments is a little influenced by their initial response to the “what happened that night?” question, which amounted to “violence happened”, but none of the 5 would fess up to having done anything themselves despite having confessed to assaults previously.

    The “we were innocent of rape” thing is not quite as positive a sell if you go, “yeah, because I was too busy bashing a guy’s skull in at the time”.

    1. And here it is–

      1 – They say “it was not a term that we as kids used”

      That’s it. The idea that their friends(the other 15 kids) used the term and they’d just never heard them say it forces one to stop stretching credulity and shatter it to accept that the term ‘wilding’ was in any kind of slang use before it showed up in the media.

      Bay Ridge, huh? I used to live a few blocks from the end of the R line. Used to take a python into White Castle to clear out the line.

      And no, I can’t believe that you never went to SI–never even did the ferry school trip? I lived in three boroughs and had friends or relatives in all 5, I went everywhere.

      1. Fair enough – I rode the ferry 🙂 at least I remember doing that. I’m not sure that really counts. I may have also visited fresh-kills.

        I remember that white castle.

        Putting the Central Park 5 denial of the term ‘wilding’ aside for a moment…

        their “exoneration” seems to be entirely based on the fact that someone else confessed to the rape/assault of the jogger.

        None of the other assaults they originally confessed to were similarly exculpated.

        When asked in that interview whether they “did” anything that night…. they all said ‘it was a blur’; ‘violence happened’; ‘it seemed unreal’. blah blah blah. Their position isn’t just “we didn’t rape that woman” – its ‘We were there but didn’t do ANYTHING’

        Given this is how they’ve decided to recast their particular (non)activities that evening, do you think they’re now going to provide the media a refresher on terminology sometimes used for when they “roamed in gangs in the park and kicked the shit out of people”?

        Which is far more my beef than any debate about”terminology” = people saying “the word was ‘made up'” also seem to want to extend that to “and a lot of this black on white crime was ‘fictitious’ too”. Or at least ‘exaggerated’.

        Which is one big step too far for me.

  29. It’s so sad that you really can’t believe anything the media ever says.

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