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Crime And Punishment— American Style

GOP Xenophobes & Racists Blame Migrants For A Pretend Crime Wave

Dostoevsky’s epic, classic novel, Crime and Punishment, delves into the psychological depths of a young man, Raskolnikov, who commits a murder and grapples with the moral and existential consequences of his actions. Through Raskolnikov's journey, Dostoevsky explores themes of guilt, redemption and being Russian, the complexities of human nature, inviting his readers to contemplate the moral dilemmas and psychological intricacies of the human condition.” We have a much easier task today. USA Today reporter, Zac Anderson, wrote that amid the heated crime rhetoric roiling American politics, Señor Trumpanzee and his shameless enablers in Congress— plus a media desperate for clicks and views— “are using dire terms to describe crime trends in America.” Objective reality, however, “has been slow to emerge but stands in stark contrast to Trump's narrative.” Last year, data showed murders declining nationwide, with the U.S. was experiencing a major drop in killings, “one of the fastest rates of decline ever recorded.”

And it isn’t just murders. Overall— not counting in and around Mar-a-Lago— crime is decreasing. “That’s not the picture Trump and his supporters are painting on the campaign trail,’ wrote Anderson, “with voters likely to hear plenty more in the coming months that attempts to cast President Joe Biden as weak on crime. A House Judiciary Committee field hearing scheduled for Friday in Philadelphia is expected to focus on the topic, picking up on a theme the GOP-led panel covered during similar sessions last year in New York and Chicago. Trump’s crime rhetoric has been escalating as he faces his own criminal jeopardy, with the former president arguing that prosecutors are ignoring the real crime problem in America to pursue a political ‘witch hunt’ against him.

He complained last summer about the "filth and the decay" in Washington, D.C. as he headed back to the nation's capital for his arraignment on federal criminal charges tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Campaigning in Georgia last month, where he's fighting additional state-based criminal charges, Trump declared that “crime is rampant and out of control like never, ever before.”
Yet even as the data contradicts Trump’s description of a nation in the grip of terrible crime wave, many Americans are inclined to agree with him, polls show, and crime could be a key issue this election cycle.
Trump is making public safety concerns, particularly crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, a centerpiece of his 2024 campaign. His message is targeted at swing voters who might have qualms about Trump and GOP policies on issues such as abortion but could find a tough-on-crime pitch appealing.
"The suburban housewives actually like Donald Trump. You know why? Because I'm the one who's gonna keep them safe,” Trump said recently, referencing a voting block that could swing the election.

There was a big national spike in violent crime, but it came while Trump was president, at least in part caused by people feeling entitled to criminal behavior with a career criminal and mob-boss sitting in the White House. “Republican leaders accused Biden and Democrats of triggering an ‘onslaught of violent crime that is ravaging our communities,’ as GOP Reps. Steve Scalise and Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a Fox News column. They blamed ‘defund the police’ rhetoric— which Biden rejected— and criminal justice reform efforts on the left, such as ending cash bail House Republicans are ready to stand up to the criminals who think that this country is theirs for the taking, and the leftists in Washington who are enabling this outbreak of violent crime,’ the lawmakers wrote."

Except for the one on trial in multiple criminal cases on trial in New York, DC and Florida. In any case, Anderson’s point was that “Trump has continued that type of rhetoric, even as crime as ebbed... The downward crime trend could hurt Trump’s efforts to deflect attention away from his own criminal cases by claiming there are bigger crime concerns. But polls show many Americans aren’t convinced crime is down. A Gallup survey released in November found that 77% of Americans believe there is more crime than a year ago, despite FBI data showing the contrary. The survey also found that more people say crime is an extremely or very serious problem now than in 2021, when murders actually increased. That’s despite the fact that only 17% of people say crime is a big problem where they live. That may be a sign that people’s opinions are driven more by political and media narratives around crime in faraway places than by the data. [University of New Haven criminal justice Professor Mari] Tcherni-Buzzeo said that ‘it may seem that… Trump makes people feel like crime is up,’ but in her experience the mistaken belief that crime is increasing predates the former president’s political campaigns. Going back more than a decade, whenever she asked students if crime is on the rise, the majority of the class would say yes, even though crime generally has been trending down since the 1990s. Such beliefs may be ‘fueled by the fact this is what they see on the news,’ she said."

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last decade— or a QAnon-MAGAt cult member— it should come as no surprise that Trump lies on an industrial scale. You know what gaslighting is, right? In short, it’s a form of psychological manipulation— a tool for control— in which a person with power and authority, often in a position of power or authority, seeks to undermine another individual's perception of reality, causing them to doubt their own memories, perceptions, even their own sanity. They use tactics such as denial, contradiction, trivialization and, most obviously in Trump’s case, outright lying, aimed at making the victims question their own judgment. No one— not even Nixon in the Watergate scandal, James Buchanan’s attempt to portray the growing tensions between the North and South as mere political disputes rather than existential threats to the nation or Andrew Johnson vehemently opposing efforts to enact civil rights legislation and downplaying the severity of racial injustices in the South— has used gaslighting to the extent Trump does.

Yesterday, Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria noted that Trump and has congressional and media allies are pounding away at a “migrant crime wave,” referring to it as a “real bloodbath occurring right now under crooked Joe— Biden’s Border Bloodbath. There’s never been anything like that.” He claims that when he was in the White House, “We had the safest border in history. Now we have the worst border probably in the history of the world. Every day innocent citizens are being killed, stabbed, shot, raped, and murdered because of Biden migrant crime.”

Señor T makes it sound worse than the 4th and 5th centuries when the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals and Burgundians, crossed into Roman territory which did, after all, lead to the collapse of the western empire. “History,” claims the Lara Trump RNC, “will remember Biden for his destruction, chaos and failure. Lives of everyday Americans have been shattered as a direct result of Biden’s open border policies— and he doesn’t care. We have to stand up and stop Biden before he destroys our nation. The cost of doing nothing is measured in the lives lost to the… crime wave washing across America.” Fox and Hate Talk Radio never stop amplifying the message.

The big problem… it just isn’t true. Legum and Zekaria wrote that “There are violent crimes committed by undocumented migrants, which are traumatic for the victims, their families, and their communities. That is why the accusation that Biden is responsible for a surge in violent crime by undocumented migrants is so politically potent. There are disturbing anecdotes of crimes that make powerful fodder for attacks during a political campaign. People, understandably, want to feel safe. But is there evidence that, since Biden took office, there has been a surge in violent crime by undocumented migrants?”

Jeff Asher looked at trends for “violent crime across the 14 counties along the Texas border with Mexico.” He found “no evidence of increasing violent crime along the US border with Mexico.” 

“The best available data does not support the claim that Republicans have made a central issue in the 2024 campaign. There is no ‘bloodbath’ at the border. These areas, in fact, have less crime than the nation as a whole… Nationwide, homicide and violent crime dramatically declined in 2023… Asher said early data from 2024 shows that ‘murder is down around 20 percent in 2024 in more than 180 cities’ compared to the same time period last year. In some cities, like DC, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, murder has declined by ‘more than 30 percent.’ In Chicago, murder has declined 12%… The fact that we are not seeing evidence of a migrant crime surge is consistent with historical data that shows migrants, even undocumented migrants, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. A peer-reviewed 2020 study, which used data from the Texas Department of Public Safety from 2012 to 2018, "found a lower felony arrest rate for immigrants in the U.S. illegally compared to legal immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens and no evidence of increasing criminality among immigrants." An upcoming study by a researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute similarly found that "undocumented migrants in Texas were about 26% less likely to be convicted of homicide than native-born Americans over the decade of 2013-22."

Meanwhile, Trump, who was dozing through his New York trial again yesterday, said, if elected (God forbid) he’d “absolutely” consider pardoning every single one of the hundreds of criminals convicted in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Nor would he rule out more violence if he’s defeated by Biden again. He's like a one-man crime wave with any army of zombies behind him.

1 Comment

May 01

crime and punishment american style needs no text. pictures of each president since nixon will suffice. Never explicit is that the nazis commit the crimes and the democraps never ever do shit about it, though slick willie skated on perjury and obamanation skated on war crimes (drone murder) and torture and biden supplies materiel for genocide. And we also never note that we're so satisfied that we'll re-elect trump. And re-electing biden should also be considered "american" because of the genocide thing.

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