Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Brightside of Crimewaves

 Tuning into the evening news has begun to take on all the charming qualities of a seventies Scorsese flick. Some nights I have to wipe the blood from the screen. From coast to coast, from sea to rising sea, the mean streets of America are being rocked by a crime wave the likes of which we've never seen. After a thirty year drop in violent crime, 2020 has seen the biggest single year jump in homicides since they began recording such grim statistics in the 1960's, with a 25% rise in a single year. And 2021 has all the makings of a Charles Bronson sequel.

Naturally, the partisan elites are tripping over their limp dicks looking for a convenient scapegoat to blame so there home team of feckless plutocrats can score points over the bodies. The Democrats, led aimlessly to brunch by Geritol poster boy Joe Biden and his graycare handlers, are making a big to-do out of blaming this all on America's toxic love affair with the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, their doppelgangers in the GOP are having a field day blaming the whole bloodbath on Black Lives Matter and the evils of moderate police reform. If you've figured out already that I think they're both full of shit then give yourself a prize and make it something sexy.

While it's true that more Americans than ever before happen to be packing heat during an explosion of gun violence, American gun ownership continued to rise precipitously through out those thirty years between 1990 and 2020 when crime dropped like two eagles making love. This includes periods of time both before and after the Assault Weapons Ban with seemingly zero meaningful fluctuation. Liberals love to blame violence on guns but the truth is it makes about as much sense as blaming burglary on crowbars. It's a red herring for people who lack the will and/or intelligence to ask why people are actually pulling the fucking trigger? What is it about the last two years that pushed America from armed to armed and dangerous?

Never missing an opportunity to out-stupid their rivals, Republicans and their frothing flunkies on cable news want to blame this whole damn thing on us not being nice enough to the cops. As silly as this sounds, I do believe they are accidentally in the right neighborhood in that I suspect that last summer's uprisings and this years rise in crime share the same energy, but if anything the police have brought this upon themselves and the rest of us by behaving like the criminals they statistically fail to catch. Furthermore, defunding the police has largely become an empty campaign catch phrase for glad handing progressives. The few cities that have actually gone through with such reforms have watered them down to the point of fecklessness, and many of the most violent cities in the country like Detroit and Memphis haven't passed any at all. America's police are just a bunch of tax addicted crybabies hooked on playing the victim card like every other garden variety psychopath, and the right are more than happy to hand the sniveling creeps a microphone.

So if not gun rights or police reform then what is the real reason for America's frightening new craze of street violence? Where is the scapegoat? And here I come with the harsh truth again. There is none. Crime experts still can't even come up with an explanation for the thirty year drop we saw before this spike. All the statistics are notoriously fickle, especially when you consider that the primary sources for them are organized crime outfits like the FBI and your local police department. People have blamed everything from abortion to Krampus for the peace wave and now that the party is over, they're left chasing their tails to explain why it ended. The truth is, I can't tell you why Americans are killing each other like it's 1979 again. I can only give you the theory of one mad recluse with too much time on her hands.

The last big crime wave this country saw in the 70's and 80's came on the heals of the epic fail of the 1960's, when America's faith in it's own institutions was at an all time low. After My Lai, Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and one too many dead Kennedys to chock up to cruel coincidence, American's on both the left and the right were set adrift on a sea of nihilism and trampled faith. With Cointelpro, the FBI had effectively murdered the Civil Rights Movement in it's tracks as it was finally hitting it's revolutionary stride and the gorey spectacle of the Vietnam War had ended as anticlimactically as it had begun, with little recognition of failure and Hueys being pushed into the South China Sea. The government, the press, and even many of the renegades who defied them had all been exposed as corrupt and cowardly failures. The illusion of power those institutions had long held was shattered along with the economy, so the everyday losers of the lumpenproletariat lashed out in ways both big and small without having anymore idea why than the elitist experts who studied them.

This twenty year violent hangover caused by the failures of liberal democracy only ended with the economic boom of the Clinton years, which we all now know was little more than a clever illusion built on a series of fickle bubbles inflated by neoliberal scam artists like Alan Greenspan. The rabble was kept in line for a while even after the Great Recession with the empty handed promises of Barack Obama and the bombastic hot air of Donald Trump. But these desperate illusions along with any illusion of our government being in control of anything but the media were all shattered by their inability to prevent an easily containable pandemic and the subsequent police state overreach of the lockdowns which sent our Peter Pan economy to hell in a handbasket where it probably belongs.

People are pissed off and hopeless. Their own figure heads behave like feral children with chainsaws so why shouldn't they? At the risk of being burned at the stake for heresy, believe it or not, this may not be the worst development in recent history. America really is a fucked up place and this turmoil proves that at least America's vital signs are working. With multiple new cold wars and a climate holocaust on the horizon, I would be more concerned if Americans remained docile, well behaved, sheep like they were in the Clinton and Bush years. Crime is not an aberration but a reflection of society, and to me, this crime wave shows that America's mask of sanity has cracked and at least the poorest American's are sharp enough to realize it. Their instincts are completely natural. Their actions just need to be directed away from each other and towards the state that has failed them.

This is how a crisis becomes an opportunity. After all, what is a criminal but a revolutionary with a lack of direction? Fred Hampton had the right idea before he was wacked for his wokeness. He realized that in the 60's urban jungle of South Chicago, street gangs held the highest potential to be their neighborhood's answer to the Vietcong. This is why our government had to kill him. When the derelicts of this sinking ship we call a country finally realize that we have the crew outnumbered and stop slitting each other's throats, then this shitshow called empire is officially over with enough time to reach the lifeboats. God help me, but I'm rooting for the criminals.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post

*  Mr. Brightside by the Killers

*  Wild One by Iggy Pop

*  Tommy Gun by the Clash

*  Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones

*  Suffragette City by David Bowie

*  Police Truck by Dead Kennedys

*  Get Your Gunn by Marilyn Manson

*  Saints by the Breeders

*  London Calling by the Clash'

*  Hug From a Dinosaur by Torres


  1. Whether or not the presents of guns is responsible for the growth of violence, the handiness of the solution to administrate death at a finger twitch must have some influence on general behavior. The problems now facing the general population are obviously not being faced adequately by either the government or by private power and desperate people are offered desperate solutions with everybody packing heat. Average citizen appeal to the government to behave to solve the real problems facing humanity in general and the desperate problems of debt and loss of homes and even the basics of getting enough to eat and feed their children are no doubt powerful enough to evoke maximum and dangerous response.

  2. America is just shy of 4 million square miles (3.78m, actually). Within that, there are about two dozen large cities whose INNER cities (amounting to maybe 400 sq.mi. in total) account for virtually ALL of the violent crime in that 3.78m sq.mi. If there's a bright side to the crime waves, it is that America-outside-the-ghetto is as safe as it has historically been.

    1. Even if you are correct that most of the area is untouched, what real difference does that make when most of the people ARE affected in some way?

      Just as after the 1960's the state has failed to deliver the goods to a majority of the people. Due to the despair, hopelessness, and powerlessness which follows, people are getting desperate in terms of finding a solution.

      In spite of the differences in the rhetoric used by liberals and conservatives, their proposed solutions are essentially identical, or, at least, isomorphic: give the state more power, let the state fix everything. Where have we heard that before?

  3. Nicky, good stuff. As usual, you've hit the nail on the head. The state has fucked things up, and it is the state we should be aiming our ire at. If only the pent up feelings of rage, hopelessness and powerlessness could be aimed at the proper target, we would finally end up with a world much less violent than that of the last 5000 years. What violence remained would be isolated, an occasional act of self defense, or an occasional aggressive act by a lone crazy, but never the massive aggression of an organization with a legal monopoly on violence.