Like others, I have been deeply moved by the horrific shooting that took place in Orlando, FL. Unfortunately, we may see more of these types of tragedies in the future.
Unlike others, however, I do not wish to politicize this event, the loss of life, or the targeting of homosexuals. Their lives mattered more than our often petty desires to say “see, I told you so.”
Personally I find it absolutely grotesque that our elected officials no longer wait for people to stop dying before they advocate for their favorite policy. They use death as a vehicle to further their political clout. Where is the humanity in exploiting tragedy for immediate political gain?
Along these lines, WE are also the problem. Any time something like this happens, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media erupt in finger pointing and conflict. Partisan lines are drawn, allegiance is reinforced, and the citizens with whom we may disagree with instantly become the “other."
To be certain, there is a difference between examining policy options after a mass shooting and immediately calling for gun control and confiscation or, conversely, calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. Neither elevates the better angles of our nature and neither allows the families time to grieve, to bury their loved ones, to say goodbye to those who are going to pass, or to pick up their lives. We do not honor victims or show a deference for human suffering and grief when we rush to elevate and to affirm our personal and political biases and to blame those we don’t agree with. These are the actions of the narcissist.
I’m going to do two things here as both an educator and a person moved by the terrible loss of life. First, I’m providing a link to a NYT’s editorial. The editorial examines how WE construct our reality out of events like this to reaffirm our biases and bigotries. It’s called “motivated reasoning” and it affects us all. Maybe if we understand this very human propensity we can better control it.
The second link I’m providing connects you to the names of the victims and to the various pictures of them living their lives. These were talented, beautiful people with dreams and aspirations. They had families who loved them................ and they deserved better than this.
Please, take a moment to mourn their loss. Call your family members and let them know you love them. Make right with people you have wronged. Forgive those who have wronged you. Do so in their name so their final contribution to this world can be the transformation of hate into love and the conversion of intolerance into tolerance.
Conservatives are often accused of supporting police brutality. This charge is largely without merit. Conservatives are deeply concerned about abuse by police because abuse by government officials is unacceptable. We generally support the institution of law enforcement because the institution is necessary to the orderly and just functioning of society.
When police abuse their authority, they have to be held accountable. Watch this disturbing video. The cop was sent to federal prison for four years.
Project Veritas, led by James O’Keefe, sent individuals pretending to be students into the Title IX and Affirmative-Action offices of some of the top universities in the world. The student complained that the Constitution was “triggering,” “racist,” and that it caused her pain.
Folks. In all seriousness, how did we arrive at a place where intelligent people give any credibility to these complaints, much less actually SHRED a copy of the Constitution?
If you don’t believe the academic left has lost its mind, watch these videos.
Last year I spent hundreds of hours on the streets of Cincinnati working with an agency that attempts to stop violence and to help people get a job. During this time I documented numerous encounters, observations, and events. I spoke with many active and “retired” offenders. I marched in rallies, protested on street corners filled with drug dealers, and spoke with mothers who had lost sons to street violence.
As any cop or social worker will tell you, men and women “in the life” can be remarkably cruel. I saw this many times. There is no love on the streets. None.
Today a student of mine brought to my attention a recent case in Louisville, KY where two young teens were beaten, stabbed to death, and their bodies set on fire. The story, however, is far more disturbing.
From what has been reported, the mother of the boys has a long and extensive criminal history and had posted on her Facebook page pictures of her flashing guns/money while flashing gang symbols. In videos she shouted obscenities and racist taunts. This women was/is in the life and if you listen to her interviews (posted below) you can hear the language those in the life use.
Her sons, age 14 and 16, had witnessed a murder and were in fear for their lives. Instead of leaving town, moving, or, heaven forbid, helping the police, she instead did nothing. Her kids, she said at one point, “were doing work” and had to “make their names.” When you hear someone use these phrases, they mean engaging in crime and earning a street rep.
The boys left home Saturday and did not return. The police, finding their charred remains, had a sketch drawn up and circulated. A teacher at the boy’s school recognized the faces and called the police. Mom, as the cops point out, did nothing. Immediately afterwards, however, she went on TV to plead her case......as she has done twice now.
Thug life is brutal and despite all the rhetoric of “I’ve got your back” you can never really trust anyone. You do not find honor on the street. You find savagery. Their alleged killer is a man named Brice Rhodes, AKA “Rambo.” Rhodes is an aspiring rapper, apparent drug dealer, and the likely murderer of 3 people.
Posted below is a rap video that includes “Rambo” and the two boys. In typical fashion, we see images of violence, guns, money.....and are treated to a litany of vulgar language. I’m posting the video so you can see for yourself the dynamics involved here.
I’m also posting the links that include extensive interviews with the mother. One is over 20 minutes. Listen carefully to the content of what she says and to the various distortions that flow from her mouth.
These kids didn’t have to die.
I also want to say something that may seem self-serving and that does, given the context, make me a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it goes to the heart of how criminologists understand--or misunderstand--behavior.
Recent criticisms of our book, which will be published soon, take great umbrage at our call to study individuals and their traits. Doing so, our critics argue, is misleading because it dismisses social inequality and draws attention away from social conditions. This is the familiar and tiresome refrain of sociologists and radicals. It’s almost like people don’t matter.
Let me be clear: The social conditions that killed these two young boys was a culture that glorifies crime and violence, that rejects all social conventions and morality, and that embraces thuggery as a lifestyle. Thugs, like Brice Rhodes, are part of the tapestry of criminal influences that converge to destroy lives--mainly young, black lives. They attract lost boys, mentor them in the life, use them like bait, and discard them when done. And you don’t want to know what they do to girls and women.
Studying people like “Rambo” and the mom tells us a lot about the depths of pathology found in the criminal underclass. None of it is pretty. None of it is moral. None of it vanishes if we ignore it.
I suspect a lot of criminologists know this........especially those who have worked in the field or who have studied crime beyond confines of their office computer. Few, however, speak honestly or candidly about crime--especially black crime--for reasons that are complex. Part of me, however, believes they don’t want to know how bad, how vulgar, and how horrible people in the life really are. Knowing this may shake their assumptions that criminals are victims or it may change their minds about the necessity of incarceration. They certainly don’t want you to know how bad it is because they fear you more than they fear thugs like “Rambo."
Here are the links to the interviews of the mom (www.wdrb.com/story/32065600/mother-tells-wdrb-why-she-believes-her-two-sons-were-murdered)
Here is “Rambo” at court:
Here is the video of the 14 and 16 year old boys and their alleged killer:
In a recent article, Griffen and is colleagues examined the policy views of criminologists and compared them to the policy views held by the general public. Perhaps not surprisingly, the views of criminologists were significantly more liberal than the views of citizens. I’m tempted to say “I’m shocked” but I’m not. The patterns demonstrated by Griffen et al., are the same patterns you would find it you surveyed a group of non-academic liberals. What does this say about the role of ideology in criminology? In my mind, it suggests that ideology is fundamental to the field. You can, of course, draw your own conclusions. See the article below.
It’s become increasingly clear that BLM is a movement predicated on intolerance, bigotry, and sometimes violence. While the organization is rather decentralized, enough of the pockets of BLM engage in behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, and ultimately destructive to generalize broadly.
Much of the movement is predicated on the demonstrably false narrative that police officers wantonly and without justification murder blacks. Unfortunately, this narrative finds a receptive audience within academia because it gels with leftist beliefs that the police are racist barbarians. In my mind, the rush of academics to embrace BLM and to lend it academic legitimacy is shameful, entirely partisan, and even cowardly.
Attached below is an article by Heather MacDonald that she wrote for Hillsdale College. I attach it here because few scholars read outside of their narrow disciplinary confines. Do yourself a favor, and read what Heather has to say about BLM.
Nicholas Kristof’s editorial in the New York Times highlights the incongruence between the left’s rhetoric about valuing diversity and the very real discrimination that occurs against scholars who are not to the left. You will notice that I didn’t say “scholars who are conservative” because we have to keep in mind that one of the more serious biases found within the echo chambers of academia is what’s termed “positional bias.” This type of bias minimizes one’s location on the political spectrum while it maximizes differences of those around you. In academia, most scholars are more liberal than the average liberal so, according to positional bias, they see others who are not as liberal as they are as conservative.
You can read Kristof’s editorial here ( _ ).
In case you haven’t seen this, Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim published this piece in the Wall Street Journal. Their argument about the problems that come with current diversity efforts should be required reading for all campus administrators. ( _ )
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology