Friday, December 12, 2014

Trust, But Terrify

Published this over at Freeman.

Have been getting a lot of pushback, questions like, "Can you be specific about what aspects of being poor and black are against the law?"  (And then, presumably, person mentally drops the mic and walks off stage....)

My question is, "Did you even read the article?"

I never claimed that the LAWS oppress the poor.  The POLICE do.  But it's not really the fault of the police, at least not primarily.

We all have a lot of normal, nonviolent daily activity. And a LOT of it is illegal, because we have criminalized everything.

The police, in their defense (and I mean that, sincerely), can't possibly arrest everyone who commits a crime. So they focus, quite sensibly, on people who (1) for reasons of simple prejudice we "all know" commit more crimes and (2) are less likely to be able to defend themselves or make trouble for the police.

Now, it's also likely that there is more actual criminal behavior in poor neighborhoods.

But even if there weren't, overcriminalization forces the police to ration their attention. The difference in "arrest and hassle" rates across race is greater than the difference in criminal proclivity due to poverty.

Race matters because of overcriminalization. It's not just a proxy for poverty.

(A somewhat different, but related, view from Sheldon Richman...)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Implausible setup

So, a drunk guy in a zebra costume walks into the wrong duplex...

No, really.

Nod to Angry Alex....

UPDATE:  Could have been worse.  Could have been a real deer, I suppose.