The Truth About ‘Rural Rage’

“the actual report concludes exactly the opposite: “The more rural the county, the lower the county rate of sending insurrectionists” to the January 6 Capitol riot. Moreover, when a peer-reviewed article in the journal Political Behavior compared rural and non-rural beliefs on whether politically motivated violence is a valid means for pursuing political change, it revealed that rural Americans are actually less supportive of political violence.”

How the nation’s capital became an outlier on violent crime

“In 2020, during the pandemic and after the murder of George Floyd, homicide and violent crime across the US soared. The number of murders that year represented the largest increase since the FBI began formally tracking national statistics in 1960.
But 2023 was different: Across the spectrum, violent crime and homicide dropped significantly from their 2020 peak, and murders fell more than 12 percent in cities, according to the FBI’s latest crime report. Last year saw “one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the United States in more than 50 years,” Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst, writes.

There were exceptions: In Memphis, Tennessee, murders skyrocketed in the 12 months following the killing of Tyre Nichols by city police, and in Shreveport, Louisiana, they jumped by more than 37 percent. But no other city has experienced a crime surge — or the accompanying national scrutiny about its meaning — like the nation’s capital has.

DC saw its deadliest year in more than two decades, with 274 people killed and a homicide rate that makes it among the deadliest cities in the country. Violent crime also spiked nearly 40 percent in the nation’s capital, driven largely by a surge of armed robberies and carjackings, many of them perpetrated by kids. The city reported more than 950 carjackings in 2023, and shocking news coverage about teen carjacking rings rattled residents and people who worked there.”

“DC’s lack of statehood partly explains why its criminal-legal system is more complicated. Most cities have local government and law enforcement agencies that operate in conjunction with state and federal law enforcement, but the District of Columbia, because of its status as a federal district, has a much more complex, overlapping system of agencies and offices.”

“Amid rising crime last year, city leaders passed emergency legislation last summer handing more power to police and prosecutors to go after people suspected of committing violent crimes; the council is working on a larger public safety bill that would expand upon last year’s legislation. In describing the turn from police reform efforts toward expanding powers for law enforcement, Mayor Muriel Bowser told the Washington Post late in 2023 that “the pendulum is swinging back to the middle.”

Other major cities that enacted police reforms post-2020 didn’t see rising violence like DC did in 2023, making it less likely that any recent legislative changes are directly responsible for the violent crime surge. Research shows that when it comes to preventing crime, certainty of getting caught is a greater deterrent than severity of punishment — and the city has serious challenges catching those who commit certain violent crimes.”

“DC faced its largest police shortage in roughly 50 years in 2023, after being unable to meet its recruitment targets or keep pace with attrition. While the city isn’t alone in struggling with staffing shortages, police in the city are also arresting far fewer people than they used to.”

“the arrests in DC declined the most in areas where violent crime surged. In another analysis of police staffing in early 2023, DC Crime Facts also found that police weren’t deploying heavily in areas where crime was rising the fastest, raising questions about whether there were enough police focused on the “hot spots,” areas where crime is more likely to happen. Decades of research shows that targeting hot spots is an effective strategy for significantly reducing crime.”

Hamas used horrific sexual violence, raping and mutilating Israeli women and girls on October 7: NYT

“A harrowing new report by The New York Times detailed horrific accounts of sexual violence carried out by Hamas during its October 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.
Allegations of rape were made almost immediately after the attacks, which Israel said left some 1,200 people dead.

But many of the accounts were not from direct witnesses, sparking debates about whether they could be relied upon.

The Times said it carried out exhaustive work on its investigation, citing more than 150 interviews, video footage, photos, and GPS data.

It concluded that in at least seven locations women and girls appeared to have been the victims of sexual assaults or mutilations.

One witness interviewed by the outlet was Sapir, a 24-year-old accountant who only gave her first name.

She said she saw gunmen rape and kill at least five women while she was hiding near Route 232, around four miles southwest of the Nova music festival, which was targeted by Hamas on October 7.

She told the outlet that she saw “about 100 men” as they dished out weapons and passed wounded women between them.

In a particularly disturbing and graphic account, Sapir said that she saw the attackers cut the breast off of one woman as she was being raped and pass it between them before throwing it on the ground. “They play with it, throw it, and it falls on the road.”

“That day, I became an animal,” Sapir said. “I was emotionally detached, sharp, just the adrenaline of survival. I looked at all this as if I was photographing them with my eyes, not forgetting any detail. I told myself: I should remember everything.”

Another witness, Raz Cohen, said he survived the attacks by hiding in the dried-up bed of a stream along Route 232. He told the Times that he saw five men dragging a young, naked woman across the ground.

“I saw the men standing in a half circle around her. One penetrates her. She screams. I still remember her voice, screams without words,” Cohen said.

“Then one of them raises a knife,” he added, “and they just slaughtered her.””

Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, briefly explained

“Since the Six-Day War of June 1967, the state of Israel has planned and funded Jewish outposts throughout the West Bank; other settlers have moved in without the state’s explicit backing. The settlers believe they have a right to be there, even though most of the international community views the settlements as illegal.
These populations are largely separated by Israel’s complex security infrastructure, including military checkpoints, armed patrols, a separation barrier, and color-coded identification cards and license plates. This system dictates all aspects of daily life for West Bank residents.

Some settlers have for years harassed and attacked the Palestinians living there, often with impunity and occasionally with the support of Israeli soldiers. In the weeks since October 7, however, the rate of violence has significantly increased. It is already the deadliest year since the Second Intifada, and is getting bad enough for the eyes of the world to occasionally leave Gaza and look to the West Bank.

“I continue to be alarmed about extremist settlers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank,” President Joe Biden said in late October, comparing the attacks to “pouring gasoline on fire.”

Meanwhile, popular support for Hamas has surged among Palestinians in the West Bank as faith in the Palestinian Authority plummets.”

“There are ideologically driven settlers who believe that the West Bank is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and that they have every right to build homes and establish Israeli sovereignty in these areas, no less so than Israel had a right to establish settlements in 78 percent of historic Palestine, the borders of Israel prior to 1967. And this is an argument that they make to their detractors in Israeli politics.

The second type of settler is just an ordinary middle-class or upper middle-class person who is moving there because there are financial incentives to do so. You can have a nicer home, a larger home, a less expensive home. And because it has all been set up in a way that makes it painless to live there and gives you the sense that this is really no different than any other suburb, members of the middle class do move there. What happens over time is they often start to shift ideologically after moving there because every human being naturally wants to feel justified in what they’re doing.

The third type are ultra-Orthodox Jews, and they historically had avoided living in settlements. But that changed. And they live in a few settlements, but they’re very large and dense. And those settlements are, for the most part, closer to the edge of the West Bank, closer to the boundary with pre-1967 Israel.”

“The Palestinian and Jewish communities in the West Bank are entirely segregated and the settlements have gates at their entrances and security guards at those gates. Palestinians are not allowed to enter them unless they are coming as pre-approved workers, as cleaners or gardeners or construction workers.”

“settler violence is a broad term that includes everything from settlers going and burning down olive trees of Palestinians who live nearby. It includes raids on Palestinian communities in the middle of the night. It includes activities that Israeli officials even have referred to as pogroms, such as the burning of all kinds of property in the town of Huwara earlier this year or in the town of Turmus Ayya last June.

The Palestinians who are attacked are entirely defenseless in this situation. [Israel points to terror attacks by Hamas, including a November 30 shooting at a bus stop in west Jerusalem, as a reason to maintain security measures.] They know that if they lay a single finger on an armed settler who enters their home, they can be arrested and put in jail and locked up in what is known as administrative detention, which is detention without trial or charge. Israel can do that for six months to somebody, and then extend it indefinitely.

And so when a Palestinian encounters a settler militia, they know that putting their finger on that settler is not putting their hand on an individual. It’s putting their hand on the entire state of Israel, this enormous machine that controls their every movement and that can arrest them and their family members at any moment.”

“When there are cases filed against settlers for attacks on Palestinians, fewer than 10 percent result in an indictment and only 3 percent result in a conviction.”

While the world is watching Gaza, violence fuels growing tensions in the occupied West Bank

“While the world is focused on the war in Gaza, tensions have risen in the occupied West Bank, where 55 Palestinians were killed over the past week in clashes with Israeli troops, arrest raids and attacks by Jewish settlers. U.N. monitors said it was the deadliest week for Palestinians in the territory since at least 2005.”

A shocking assassination highlights escalating violence in Ecuador

“Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian presidential candidate who ran heavily on an anti-corruption message, has been assassinated less than two weeks before the nation’s presidential elections. Villavicencio, a centrist candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement, was gunned down after a political rally on Wednesday, a shocking act in a country that’s historically been peaceful until recent years.
His killing underscores a recent surge in drug-related violence in Ecuador, and has prompted new scrutiny of the growing presence of cartels in the region.”

Why Tucker Carlson’s text message about “white men” matters

“In the text, Carlson describes watching a video of several Trump supporters beating up an (alleged) antifa member on the streets of Washington, DC. His reaction is nuanced: He confesses to feeling a certain vicious bloodlust while watching the video — “I really wanted them to hurt the kid” — but realizes that this is a horrific impulse that ought to concern him. “I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed,” Carlson writes.

But the most important line is one where he describes the attack in racial terms: “Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight.”

His obvious implication is that nonwhite men gang up on defenseless opponents all the time, whereas whites only commit violence honorably.”

“is it any worse than mainstreaming the “great replacement” conspiracy theory developed by white supremacists? Is it more offensive than saying immigrants make America “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided”? Is it more racist than downplaying the killings of unarmed Black men by the police, or accusing Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson (who is Black) of putting on a fake “sharecropper” accent?

Tucker has done all of these things on the air”

“A core part of Tucker Carlson’s message is that he, and his viewers, are colorblind: that they are standing up for the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. against liberals who want to polarize America along racial lines for their own nefarious purposes. “You can’t attack people, whole groups of people on the basis of their race and ethnicity. Not in the media, especially,” he said in a representative February broadcast.”

“Seeing whites as at once the master race and victims is common in racist thought. Nazi propaganda described Jews as both inferior to Aryans and their conspiratorial oppressors; modern-day white supremacists routinely warn about the prospect of “white genocide,” a specter that Carlson also invoked on his show.
But Carlson’s maneuver was to sever the theory of white victimhood from its explicit white supremacist roots. Fox viewers should stand up for white interests not because whites are the superior race, in this narrative, but because they’re being victimized by the dastardly Democrats and race-mongers who are standing in the way of racial harmony.”

Haiti’s gang violence crisis, briefly explained

“Gang violence has killed more than 530 Haitians this year and 187 in the past two weeks alone, as the security and political situation in the Caribbean nation continues to devolve. Decades of corrupt leadership and weakened democratic institutions — supported by the United States — have brought a state of terror and lawlessness to Haiti without an achievable political solution or even an end to the violence in sight.
The violence, concentrated in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and the surrounding areas, is caused by political and economic factors including the decimation of the country’s largest economic driver, agriculture, and subsequent urban migration, small arms proliferation, and a political class willing to weaponize Haiti’s struggles to cling to power. The person nominally in charge of the country, acting Prime Minister and President Ariel Henry, lacks a true mandate to power and has proven incapable of managing the chaos, instead proposing to deploy the country’s young and fragile military to maintain order.”

“Violence by groups and gangs connected to the state is not new in Haiti, but a number of factors have contributed to the gangs’ power at the present moment. Political leaders as far back as François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Haiti’s populist elected leader-turned-dictator from 1957 through 1971, have formed and utilized armed groups external to national security forces for protection or to enforce their own agendas and self-interest, according to an October report from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.

The present gangs are primarily affiliated with two groups, G-Pep and G9, which fight for control of Port-au-Prince. An estimated 60 percent of the capital is under the control of these groups, which terrorize civilians not only with threats of murder, but also abduction for ransom, extortion, and sexual violence, often at random.”

Why fear of crime more than crime itself is holding back America’s downtowns

“While crime has risen since the pandemic in most US cities, it’s not spiking in downtowns.”

“Violent crime has long been concentrated in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods that have also been marked by segregation, discrimination, and disinvestment. But crimes in those areas, Love said, tend to get less media attention than those that occur downtown.”

“And therein lies the problem. People don’t want to go downtown because they’re worried. But the best way to make people feel safe again downtown … is to have more people there. The best way to square that circle, Grabar suggests, is that downtowns should try and attract residents instead. That means converting offices to residences and building new housing.”