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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 8, 2007 12:27 AM. The previous post in this blog was Good Randy vs. Bad Randy. The next post in this blog is Cancelled!. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, January 8, 2007

Slow news week

Last week's dust-up over a post on this blog (and the ensuing sewage that was flung here and here and here, and who knows where else) has made this morning's newspaper. I'm not seeing the newsworthiness in it -- not nearly so much as in the underlying shooting problem in our downtown, which is what I wrote about originally and which the mainstream media seems to want to avert its eyes from. But it's their paper, certainly not mine.

I still don't think people are getting it. I'll repeat my question of last week, and this time I'll refrain from identifying the race of most of the victims so that we don't get sidetracked again. And as usual I won't say a thing about the race of the perpetrators of these crimes -- clearly the most recent ones have not been identified and could be anybody, of any race. Anyhow, my questions:

Is there something that the city can do to stop this story from happening yet again? Is it a gang thing? An education thing? A liquor control thing? A handgun thing?

Isn't this more important than streetcars and free wi-fi?

Since I'm not going to have time to nanny the comments for part of today, why don't we all just mull it over? If you want to call me names, you know where that kind of thing will be welcome. You've got options.

And then there's this. Same. Old. Story.

UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: I have opened comments on this post, at least for a while, as I am now once again able to monitor them.

UPDATE, 7:24 p.m.: It continues to get worse.

Comments (15)

It's a gun thing.

If you haven't got one you can't shoot one.

In the clubs it's also an OLCC thing.

If you go to a bar carrying, you'd better be legal to carry. If you aren't, they better not let you in. Metal detectors (wands) are cheap, reliable and ought to be mandated by the OLCC (or the city) for establishments with bad track records, as should increased security personnel. Those same places ought to be subject to increased inspections by the OLCC for serving violations, too. Any and all increased costs must be borne by the licensee. A graduated system of sanctions holds responsible establishments harmless.

Anyone in the business knows what probably will cause trouble and those who choose to court danger should pay the price.

Outside of clubs, the penalties for illegal possession should be drastically increased and the law vigorously enforced.

Want to spend money where it counts?

Enforce the laws.

well, thanks to the BIG O I now have the pleasure of reading your BLOG. I enjoy it and I don't think your post about the slaying in downtown PDX was the least bit racist....au contraire, you care what happens to people.

I call BS. The Merc may be trying to gain new readers, which I suppose qualifies as "news". We may disagree at times, but there was nothing "racist" in your post.

Clearly, the dying print media's growing desperate.

I dunno. I think the O realizes that what's said on blogs is important to many of its readers. And this was a pretty visible episode, by Portland standards. In a slow news week, I guess it's a story of some kind. Maybe.

I would say in large part, a gun problem. Like it or not, the United States has a gun culture. Last I saw, the homicide rate in the United States, especially by firearms, is the highest per capita of anywhere in the Western World. It just takes a lot more work to knife or bludgeon someone to death.

I don't know what the answer is, or if there is a good one. It seems to be episodic, and if you crack down on the clubs, it will just flair up somewhere else.

Now, maybe we should do something about death by automobile since those far outnumber death by gun in this country. In fact, if you look at the stats, death by gun is declining, while death by poisoning is increasing. And apparently nearly has surpassed death by firearms.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5550a6.htm

Perhaps Portland is an anomoly, however I have no reason to believe that it is, and I'm willing to bet that death trends closely match the national trends.

In 1993, according to this document (http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=29794)
on page 8, Portland had 54 murders.

In 2005, according to this document (http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=122789) on page 11, Portland had 22 murders.

Also note if you compare those two documents, the rate of person crimes per 1,000 population has dropped by more than 50% (from 18 to 7)

Property crimes also dropped per 1,000, from 94 to 69.

And this is even though officers per 1,000 citizens dropped from 2.02 to 1.79.

Any crime is one too many, but its better than it was. The city should definitely hire more police, though.

The OSB on October 10, 2006, thought that bias was front page news. I even took a screen capture of their web page.
http://pdxnag.com/misc/20061010_OSB-bias.jpg

One of my incomplete papers in law school was for the present legal representative of The Zero, when he was an adjunct professor. My chosen topic, without any prompting, was discrimination in the legal system. There had been a contemporaneous case where a Spanish-interpreter did not know or reveal that that they did not know the native language of a defendant -- who ultimately got to go to PSU. I, as is usual, over-researched without ultimately reaching some definitive conclusion to put on paper (or at least turn in). The ironic thing that jumped out at me from the contents of the OSB page was that they too balked; they took an incomplete, like me.

The Zero's piece is not about race but about the use of it as a strategic distraction from addressing economic issues; as discussed in this blog and others.

I have more to say here (Shaping Public Opinion -- It Is What Papers Do), if you'll hear more than you project. You just might hear how a poor white boy with a fury vents cold dry economics.

Jack,

Perhaps I'm a bit of a dullard, but I found your "outrageous" comments rather innocuous.
Frankly, I'd probably consider attacks from the likes of The Portland Mercury & Loaded Orygun as badges of honor.

Well, you don't like anyone to call you nasty names, but from people like those, it matters less.

But it still matters because it can be dangerous, especially 'from people like those.' Personal attacks and anonymous drive-bys are the weapons of wimps. The DISCUSSION is important and the duty of a serious citizenry. If I need to line up, I'm on your side Jack. Iconoclasts perform important services to the rest of us too lazy or unskilled to do the same.

That's just it, Molly, there was no 'discussion' on the Merc blog, just petty name calling and much profanity. And Matt Davis is quoted to have said he was trying to start a discussion about race.

Yeah, right.

Jack, you are very right to be concerned, and probably should be commended for asking the questions even if not everyone liked HOW you asked them. However, [with the exception of the personal experience of the person at the Greek, true or not] I feel like the discussion is among people merely speculating, and the pool of contributors has very little experience with the people close to these crimes.

It's got little to do with clubs. Neither victim of the last two shootings were at a club, and the latest was a 14 YEAR OLD. It has to do with poverty, drugs, and money. And it's not a Portland problem, it's a "city problem" all around America. We have done a really good job of keeping it low, but we're not going to be the zero-murder city in America by changing OLCC rules.

Don't take it from me. Get on a Tri-Met bus in front of any rough Portland high school 20 minutes after class lets out. Walk to the back and sit down. Size up the situation and pipe up, "so what's with all these shootings recently?" You'll have a better answer than any of these commenters could give you.

In response to prior blogs, Jack is not a racist. I work with Jack. Look at his prior posting. He referred to the victim as "a young man." This is not insulting language. He asked what "the city" can do. This places the responsibility on the "city," not the victim. Then he says finding a solution to this problem is "more important" than material needs. Isn't this the right priority?

Bill, I greatly appreciate your coming to my defense. In fairness to everyone, I must say that some of the comments that were left by others on my original post were not the kind that should have been made while the victim's family and community were mourning him. Moreover, I did not phrase my own post carefully, and obviously some people read it as conveying a much different sentiment from the one I was trying to convey. The fact that what I wrote was actively distorted by others who knew better does not change the fact that I and my readers need to do better.

I started to write a reply yesterday and scrapped it.

The OLCC already puts a TON of pressure on clubs, and they do close down a fair number of them. They are fairly heavyhanded when it comes to enforcement (for better or ill--I don't care either way.)

I am 100% for an increase in the prison terms for unlawfull posession of a firearm. How about 40 or 50 years? Seriously, if they shouldn't be in posession, then we should treat as such.

I have a feeling that the problem with guns is actually an urban/rural thing. The simple truth is that most folks misunderstand guns: what they do and what they are *for*. Some education would solve that problem, but good luck getting the kids the education that will make them safe.


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