Friday, July 13, 2007

Stepping Over Dead Men

Obama, Clinton decry urban violence.

Reading this article, with the usual spin and political promises of giving hope and a better future, I noticed Obama : "… suggested that society isn't angry enough about urban violence. "You know, when the massacre happened at Virginia Tech, I think all of us were grief-stricken and rightfully so," Obama said. "We were shocked by the carnage. But in this year alone, in Chicago, we've had 34 Chicago Public School students gunned down and killed .... And for the most part, there has been silence."

I recalled a comment of my late grandmother-in-law. Raised in Chicago, during the era of Prohibition and the Great Depression, she remarked that often when walking down the streets of the Windy City they had to step over dead men.

Currently Chicago's homicide rates are the highest in the nation with offenders/victims in the 17-24 age group. The victims in Grandma's day were also young. Searching for FBI crime stats of homicide rates over the past century I found this 1910-1944 and this 1950-2004. Rates are per 100,000.

National homicide rates in grandma's era, approximately 1924 to 1936 were 8.1 to 8.0. Rates in 1933 and 1934 approached 10 per 100,000. After legalized liquor and WWII released testosterone the US murder rates dropped to 5.0 in 1944.

In the 1950 to 1964 era, when the shared profits of the popular WWII helped create suburbia, the homicide rates remained in the 4.0 to 4.9 range. Rates began to climb again in 1965 and reached a high of 10.2 in 1980, then began very slowly to drop again.

In 2004 the homicide rate per 100,000 stood at 5.5. So … America has been much more violent in past eras. Obama, plays up the race issue of this, Black on Black crime etc., but is it anymore prevalent than white on white crime or is it just another meme? Murder is usually committed by people who know one another. Believe it or not, America has always had violent inner city gangs, of all races, creeds, and color.

Obama suggests we need to be more pissed off to curb urban violence, although homicide rates per 100,000 are 1/2 what they were 25 years ago and grandma isn't stepping over dead men. Politicians! wish they would stop speechifying to the masses and say something worth listening to.

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