In search of little else: Yesterday, we finally did it.
Using Nexis, we started to examine a tedious question—how common was the term "superpredator" in the 1990s?
First fruit of a cursory search:
According to Nexis, the term didn't appear in any American newspaper in 1994. Its use begins in 1995, with the first references to the invention of the term by "John J. DiIulio, Princeton University's resident crime expert and one of Washington's in-vogue thinkers."
That quote comes from a report by Nina Easton in the Los Angeles Times in May 1995. By 1996, the term was in much wider use. That's the year when first lady Hillary Clinton used the term, apparently on one occasion. (Count 'em, folks! One use, only one!)
Who was using the term in question? Why were they using the term? In April 1996, the Chicago Tribune's Bob Greene described the term as "a phrase that is on its way to common usage, a word designed to describe increasingly more violent young people who not only commit crimes and acts of violence in dismaying numbers, but who do it with no apparent sense of remorse."
Was there really any such increase in violent young people without remorse? We can't answer that question. Greene described several horrific recent examples which had received news coverage. But given the size of our very large nation, our journalists have long been skilled at discovering trends where no trend exists.
That said, the examples were awful. Early that year, Alex Kotlowitz cited one at the start of an opinion piece in the New York Times:
KOTLOWITZ (2/8/96): The crime is so heinous it makes me shake with anger. In the early evening hours of Oct. 13, 1994, two boys, 10 and 11 years old, dangled and then dropped 5-year-old Eric Morse from the 14th floor of a Chicago public housing complex, because Eric wouldn't steal candy for them.To read the whole column, click here.
His killers displayed no remorse. In court, the younger of the two, who could barely see the judge above the partition, mouthed obscenities at reporters covering the trial. Last week, they became the youngest offenders ever sent to prison in Illinois. And they have come to symbolize the so-called super-predators, children accused of maiming or killing without a second thought.
Unsurprisingly, both boys had fathers who were in prison. One had a mother who, according to school records, repeatedly missed counseling sessions. The other mother, according to court records, battled a drug addiction. I don't mention the parents of these children to excuse the crime. Nor do I mention this to state the obvious: In the absence of loving, nurturing, discipline-minded adults, children become lost.
Kotlowitz argued that we need to do more for children in disastrous neighborhoods whose parents have become lost. That said, the heinous examples were making the rounds, and crime rates had been very high for quite a few years at that point. And by the way:
Every one of the heinous examples came with innocent victims. In this case, the innocent victim was 5 years old. According to Kotlowitz, his older brother, who was 8, rushed down fourteen flights of stairs in hopes of saving his brother. He was a victim too.
How high had crime rates been at that time? On Tuesday night, Chris Hayes seems to have overstated, but only a tad, as he discussed the 1994 crime bill, with which we're now obsessed:
"The context there too is, you had a huge amount of crime. You know, I mean, really crazy, you know, set records. You know, you're looking at 2300, 2400 homicides in New York City, and the city the last year had around 300."
According to the leading authority, there were 2245 murders in New York City in 1990, the largest number ever. From there, the drop was remarkable:
Murders in New York City:Normally, a change in statistics like that should make you double-check your data. That said, the drop continued from there. Last year, there were 352 murders in New York City, the highest number in three years.
Crime rates were very high in the years when the term "super-predator" entered the lexicon. On Monday evening's Maddow Show, the silly people she hires to script her made Steve Kornacki, who was guest hosting, say, on two separate occasions, that the crime figures from that era had made people "nervous."
Nervous! We're going to guess that Eric Morse's family and loved ones were something other than "nervous." Incomparably, we wanted to take Maddow's ridiculous writers and amuse them with a snarky remark.
"We can think of 2145 people who weren't nervous," we'd snarkily tell the hothouse flowers who type the crap that Maddow performs. "We refer to the people who got killed in New York City in 1991."
We'd all enjoy a laugh.
(Nervous! Last night, Rachel was back, performing her program's fifth report about the D.C. Madam. Has "cable news" ever produced a bigger con artist than Maddow? The con goes on and on, and on and on and on.)
In the course of all that carnage, Hillary Clinton used that newly widespread term on one occasion, in 1996. Twenty years later, our unimpressive liberal world is in a tizzy about it.
(The tribal voices we hear in our heads say that our tribe can't be unimpressive. Every time we open our mouths, we prove those voices wrong.)
The foolishness of our current course reached a bit of a zenith in today's New York Times. In a very favorable news report about Candidate Clinton's tour with the mothers of the dead, Amy Chozick reported the highlighted statement:
CHOZICK (4/14/16): On Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton received the biggest applause of an otherwise lukewarm reception at Mr. Sharpton’s convention when she introduced Sybrina Fulton, the mother of [Trayvon] Martin, and Gwen Carr, the mother of [Eric] Garner.(Only Chozick would put it that way! Only Chozick would seem to criticize Bill Clinton for "drowning out the chants of Black Lives Matter protesters." Truly, we modern humans are basically out of our heads!)
Mr. Sanders has the support of Mr. Garner’s daughter, Erica; the director Spike Lee; Mr. West; and other prominent black figures, and he talks frequently about being arrested in the 1960s while marching for civil rights. But the mothers have allowed Mrs. Clinton to “really tap into the pulse of the black community,” said Representative Yvette D. Clarke, Democrat of New York, who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton.
Ms. Garner, who made an ad for Mr. Sanders, said Mrs. Clinton was “constantly throwing around my dad’s name” but had previously “called people like my dad ‘superpredators.’” Mrs. Clinton used the term in 1996 to describe urban gang members and has since said she regrets doing so. And last week, Mr. Clinton faced intense backlash after he drowned out the chants of Black Lives Matter protesters.
We don't offer this as a criticism of Erica Garner, who isn't a political analyst. But no. In all fairness, Hillary Clinton wasn't talking about her late father on the one occasion, twenty years ago, when she used that term.
This isn't the fault of Erica Garner. It's the fault of a pseudo-liberal world which has almost no serious adult leadership.
We operate by outrage and pointless anecdote only; basically, it's the only language we know. Twenty years ago, someone said a word we don't like, on one lone occasion. As a result, speeches are getting interrupted. Inevitably, the baboons who run our "cable news" channels select the fifteen seconds of anger and play it again and again.
Our own team is deeply unimpressive. For that reason, there's no real point in trying to convince our team that our current direction tends toward dumb. Still and all:
Yesterday at The National Memo, Gene Lyons posted a column about the debate surrounding the 1994 crime bill. Below, you see the way he began. We'll circle back to one point:
LYONS (4/13/16): Watching Bill Clinton bickering with Black Lives Matter activists in Philadelphia recently, I had several conflicting, and not entirely praiseworthy responses. One was that the longer an American political campaign continues, the dumber and uglier it gets.Hillary is a murderer? We're so old that we can remember when it was Those People, The Others, who went around saying that!
Another was, why bother? People holding up signs saying “Hillary is a Murderer” aren’t there for dialogue. The charge is so absurd it’s self-refuting. Certainly nobody in the audience was buying.
That woman who shouted that Bill Clinton should be charged with crimes against humanity? He probably should have let it go. Bickering over a 1994 crime bill has little political salience in 2016, particularly since Hillary’s opponent, the sainted Bernie Sanders, actually voted for the damn thing. She didn’t.
Instead, Clinton briefly lost his cool. The next day, he said he “almost” wanted to apologize, which strikes me as slicing the bologna awfully thin even for him.
Lyons goes on from there; his column is well worth reading. We'll pull one point for you to consider, and this isn't the fault of Erica Garner, who isn't a political leader or a political strategist:
"The longer an American political campaign continues, the dumber it gets."
We used to blame that on The Others. In our view, the monster dumbness has crept and spread from there.
Didn't take Bob long to lapse into his full, frothing Maddow-loathing lather. Back in the high crime 90's we used to nervously blame that on Dowd. In our view the Maddow monster has overcome him now totally and spread into nearly every post.ReplyDelete
I for one plan to drop all the hothouse flowers who type crap off the bridges they jump off of rather than cover black children. That will teach the whole batch of pseudo liberals to allow baboons and Eric Garner's daughter to run around without adult supervision. Not to fault Eric Garner's daughter. But the baboons are another matter.Delete
Anon 4:08, personally, I for one would be happier without your idiotic comments. there is no valid excuse for them.Delete
Way to bring him to heel AC/MA. You make anyone who types that crap nervous.Delete
Bill and Hillary had a clear pattern of throwing black people under the bus in the '90s and "bringing them to heel." I suspect Hillary was appealing to white fear in an era when crime was higher and the streets were more dangerous. Again today's installment includes more naivete about the Clintons and their exploitation of people for political gain. I imagine there are people in Libya and Syria who might disagree with the assertion that Hillary Clinton is innocent when it comes to murder. This is the most despicable major Democrat since George Wallace in my view based on her consistent exploitation of people for political gain. But poor Hill! BLM youngsters have the temerity to object to a generation of jailed black youth and she has to hear that awful phrase she only said once. And she NEVER said Bernie was unqualified. She only implies it every time she is asked the question. How about a little context? Hillary has received far more and better coverage from the press than Bernie, not to mention financial support for her campaign from media lobbyists. But TDH insists on focusing on a fart while a tsunami occurs. The press was at war with the Clintons 20 years ago, so the Bernie media blackout is not relevant, nor is the media blackout on Democracy Spring or any other resistance to oligarchy, because those poor $3B Clintons (including their "charitable" foundation) are victims. I hope they take some cold comfort in all those corporate media contributions to Annie Oakley's campaign coffers!ReplyDelete
Mr. R, I gather you don't like Clinton, but you're not very coherent about it. The most despicable Dem since George Wallace??? Libya and Syria are her fault?? My recollection, in Libya, was that Ghadaffi was about to slaughter thousands of people, and we went along with Europe in protecting them. The outcome is a mess; but if we and our European allies had sat back at let the slaughter proceed, you (and the GOP crew) would be blaming her for that. And what different was she supposed to have done in Syria? The media overall is flawed with their 98% concentration on the horse race, but you are blind if you think the press now is kind to Clinton; if it was, she'd be much further in front. The whole debate about who said (or implied) the other was "unqualified" is ridiculous. If Sanders somehow gets nominated, I'd vote for him, but how effective he'd be, or how much better the country as a whole would be even if he succeeded in getting any of his policies enacted, is not clear. There is a chasm between campaigning and promising Utopia, and what happens when someone gets elected. My view is that if Clinton is nominated, we better hope she wins.Delete
Why hasn't Bernie answered the questions raised about his policies? And why did he change his tax returns last October and why hasn't he released them? This is a smokescreen so that voters won't ask him these embarrassing questions. Saint Bernie?Delete
Murders in New York City:ReplyDelete
1994: Rudy Giuliani sworn in as Mayor
"Squeegie men" operating in New York City:Delete
1994: Rudy Giuliani sworn in as Mayor
Continue the sequence. What happened after Bernie Kerik was fired?Delete
He went and made a personal contribution to the incarceration rate?Delete
We hear he wanted to room with Msgr. Placa but the Msgr. found him a little past the Use By date. Or was it the Msgr. was past the Prosecute By date
"We Are the Squeegie Men - The Musical" opened on Broadway?Delete
We have to bring them to heel!ReplyDelete
" his older brother, who was 8, rushed down fourteen flights of stairs in hopes of saving his brother. He was a victim too."Delete
"Nervous! We're going to guess that Eric Morse's family and loved ones were something other than "nervous."Delete
Shoot I thought this was going to be about how the crime bill was nothing but a pander seeing as the stats show a downward slide in murder rates by the time the Clintons were selling it. Oh well at least we got to be reminded that the goofs on the dark side keep saying that the Clintons are the murders. although I would vote for Mr. Somersby for president if he gets the nomination. There that puts me in the clear right?ReplyDelete
Be careful who you aim at when you 'shoot'Delete
In 1981, Andrew Vacchs wrote "The Lifestyle Violent Juvenile" in which he argued that some young people are qualitatively different in their personalities and behavior and are a danger to other children if they are treated the same way as most juvenile offenders. There are many examples in that book of cases where these children do not respond well and actively harm the other children when dealt with in the usual juvenile justice system (juvenile detention facilities, group homes, counseling interventions). He suggested that these children need to be treated more similarly to adult offenders, although there exists a clear distinction between different groups of adult offenders based on the nature and seriousness of their crimes that did not exist for children at that time.ReplyDelete
The increasing use of children to carry out drug gang activities (because of the lenient treatment) exacerbated this problem by exposing children to training and role models for violent behavior.
These problems were only starting to be recognized but are now dealt with in a variety of ways. Clinton's statement was a one-off but the whole discussion needs to be viewed in the context of the time, not today's better policing and strategies for dealing with gangs and drugs.
Today we talk about psychopaths or sociopaths instead of super-predators but it doesn't have a racial connotation because we know that they can be found in all contexts. Bernie Sanders and other Clinton attackers conflate "super-predator" with race because the focus was on the intersection of conscienceless crime, drugs and low income neighborhoods inhabited more often by members of racial and ethnic minority groups. If you saw Goodfellas you'd recognize the mafia recruiting minors in the same way and with the same consequences. Pretending Clinton is a bigot is just political game-playing of the most dishonest type. Bernie should be ashamed.
I am not surprised that Somerby did not want to link to the first article he found on the term that got Hillary Clinton into a little trouble.ReplyDelete
The First Lady was pretty quick to adopt a term introduced into the lexicon of high powered beltway media elite by uber conservative "thinker" Bill Bennett in the year her husband was up for re-election.
"We don't offer this as a criticism of Erica Garner, who isn't a political analyst. But no. In all fairness, Hillary Clinton wasn't talking about her late father on the one occasion, twenty years ago, when she used that term."ReplyDelete
We do offer this as a criticism of Bob Somerby, who fancies himself a political, educational, and media analyst.
Here Somerby is adopting what he wails at and calls the Crazy Nun's Strawman approach.
Garner never said Hillary Clinton called her father a super predator, Mr. Somerby. She said Hillary Clinton “called people like my dad ‘superpredators.’” Not her dad, Bob. People like her dad. Why would she think that? According to the experts on all people and things, Eric "Garner had been arrested by the NYPD thirty times since 1980 on charges such as assault, resisting arrest, and grand larceny." Now that is a rap sheet starting when Eric Garner was the age of one of the boys who pitched poor 5 year old Eric Morse from a 14th floor window.
Hillary Clinton was just referring to young men with long histories of arrests. The kind we have to bring to heel. She wasn't naming names. She didn't say the name Eric Garner. Just young men with long arrest records. "Like" Eric Garner. You know, Bob. Erica Garner's father.
"This isn't the fault of Erica Garner. It's the fault of a pseudo-liberal world which has almost no serious adult leadership."
It isn't Somerby's fault that he absolves Erica Garner. She just isn't quite up to recognizing what Hillary Clinton might have implied about people like her dad because liberals don't have serious adult leaders. To help her understand what her child like mind cannot grasp...without adult leadership of liberals... What Hillary Clinton really meant.
Bob Somerby. White Missionary Liberal Imperialist.
That is a term I learned personally from the late Congressman Mickey Leland.
My life became devastated when my husband sent me packing, after 8 years that we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to make my husband take me back. One day at work, i was absent minded not knowing that my boss was calling me, so he sat and asked me what its was all about i told him and he smiled and said that it was not a problem. I never understand what he meant by it wasn't a problem getting my husband back, he said he used a spell to get his wife back when she left him for another man and now they are together till date and at first i was shocked hearing such thing from my boss. He gave me an email address of the great spell caster who helped him get his wife back, i never believed this would work but i had no choice that to get in contact with the spell caster which i did, and he requested for my information and that of my husband to enable him cast the spell and i sent him the details, but after two days, my mom called me that my husband came pleading that he wants me back, i never believed it because it was just like a dream and i had to rush down to my mothers place and to my greatest surprise, my husband was kneeling before me pleading for forgiveness that he wants me and the kid back home, then i gave Happy a call regarding sudden change of my husband and he made it clear to me that my husband will love me till the end of the world, that he will never leave my sight. Now me and my husband is back together again and has started doing pleasant things he hasn't done before, he makes me happy and do what he is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind, kindly contact Happy for help and you can reach him via email: email@example.comReplyDelete