Crime in New York City

The crime rate in New York City is lower than it’s been in generations:

New York City finished 2016 tied for its second lowest number of homicides in the modern era of record keeping, driving the city’s rate for each 100,000 residents to the lowest level among major U.S. cities except San Diego.

NYPD figures show 335 killings last year, down from 352 in 2015. The fewest killings were in 2014, with 333; 2013 also recorded 335 homicides. The 2016 number is preliminary and might be adjusted upward if certain cases are reclassified as homicides.

Total shootings, defined as discharge of a gun in which someone is injured, totaled 998, down from more than 1,100 in the prior year.

Since hitting a record high of 2,245 homicides in 1989, New York City killings have declined markedly and are comparable to what the city experienced in the 1960s, when record keeping differed from the CompStat method initiated in 1994 by then-commissioner William Bratton.

And it could be even lower if other states had stronger gun laws:

A gun-trafficking ring in Virginia brought more than 200 legally purchased guns up the I-95 corridor to New York, where they unwittingly sold them to an undercover detective, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.

The indictment of 627 counts charged 24 people, some of whom have violent criminal records and ties to the Bloods street gang, with conspiracy and illegal weapons sale and possession. In all, the authorities recovered 217 guns, including 41 assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and a Thompson submachine gun.

In a phone call in September, Antwan Walker, of Highland Springs, Va., said it was to buy guns in Virginia.

“There is no limits to how many guns I can go buy from the store, you know what I mean?” he said.

But we have to allow such people to buy an almost unlimited number of guns because FREEDOM.

A tornado in Queens

I haven’t heard of this before (maybe I’m sheltered):

A waterspout with winds up  to 70 mph churned onshore and turned into a tornado toward Breezy Point,  officials said, a Queens neighborhood on the western edge of the Rockaway  peninsula.

Amateur video captured  images of the twister spiraling a mixture of sand and debris, which was largely  flung onto a nearby baseball field, according to Ross Dickman, a National  Weather Service spokesman.

The funnel churned about  600 yards inland before dissipating and was thought to be a relatively  low-strength twister, Dickman said. But it still had enough power to knock down  trees and power lines, causing minor structural damage to nearby buildings.

A second confirmed tornado  touched down in Brooklyn, another New York City borough, around 11:30 a.m.,  according to the weather service. This twister was about 50 yards wide as it  traveled a half mile in Canarsie, about 9 miles north of the other reported  tornado.

Still talking about NYC mosque?

Wow, people are really milking this proposed Muslim community center in NY City. It’s been headline news for weeks now. The news today brings an interesting juxtaposition with two stories.

The first talks about a coverup:

The British government and the Roman Catholic Church colluded to cover up the suspected involvement of a priest in a 1972 bombing that killed nine people and injured 30, a new report said yesterday.

and the second talk about a possible planned genocide (Bahati is one of the authors of the Ugandan law that will put gays in prison for life or kill them–the full story is partially here, the full article is not free):

Sharlet accompanied Bahati to a restaurant and later to his home, where Bahati told Sharlet that he wanted “to kill every last gay person.”

“It was a very chilling moment, because I’m sitting there with this man who’s talking about his plans for genocide, and has demonstrated over the period of my relationship with him that he’s not some back bender — he’s a real rising star in the movement,” Sharlet says. “This was something that I hadn’t understood before I went to Uganda, that this was a guy with real potential and real sway and increasingly a following in Uganda.”

What makes this interesting is that both stories are about Christians and yet I have seen no group that is trying to now assert that we should be careful of Christians. The idea is ludicrous–as it should be. As it should be for Muslims and yet it’s not.

A mosque in New York City

Robert Wright is indeed naive:

Just to show you how naïve I am: When I first heard about the plan to build a mosque and community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, I didn’t envision any real opposition to it.

If he had paid any attention to politics in the US over the last several years, he would know that politicians will lie and demagogue about ANY thing if they think they can get some attention from it. Once you see Sarah Palin’s name attached to a protest, for example, you can be assured it’s a manufactured controversy.

The things you need to know about this are that the building used to be a Burlingtion Coat factory and has been mostly vacant since 9/11 (when the landing gear of one of the 9//11 planes crashed through the roof) and the local community planning board voted to allow it 29-1 with 10 abstentions). If the people in the area are fine with the building then it should be built.

Terrorists to be tried in NY City

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others are going to be tried for their crime in New York City. It seems to me that this is a simple proposition: a crime was committed in the US, so the perpetrators of the crime should be tried in the US. Given that, we need to follow the rules of law in the US Constitution where every person is guaranteed a fair trial (and everyone is equal before the law, no matter how rich or poor, no matter how bad or good, no matter anything except the amount of evidence that shows their guilt). It shows how far we’ve fallen that this is not universally agreed upon. Instead we get statements like:

“The Obama Administration’s irresponsible decision to prosecute the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in New York City puts the interests of liberal special interest groups before the safety and security of the American people,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement. “The possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators could be found ‘not guilty’ due to some legal technicality just blocks from Ground Zero should give every American pause.”

and (this is Palin):

Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision. […]

Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their “clients.” The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans.

and:

“It gives an unnecessary advantage to the terrorists and why would you want to give an advantage to the terrorists, and it poses risks for New York,” Mr. Giuliani said in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He also interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday.”

and:

It shows a willingness to disclose how our intelligence process works and offer [the suspects] a platform in our legal system to gather intelligence for themselves,” Mukasey said before an audience of conservative lawyers at the national Federalist Society’s annual legal convention in Washington.Holder’s plan “creates a cornucopia of intelligence for those still at large and a circus for those being tried,” Mukasey said.

Unfortunately it’s not just Republicans:

Sen. Webb (D-VA) responds to Holder announcement on trials for KSM and others …

“I have never disputed the constitutional authority of the President to convene Article III courts in cases of international terrorism. However, I remain very concerned about the wisdom of doing so. Those who have committed acts of international terrorism are enemy combatants, just as certainly as the Japanese pilots who killed thousands of Americans at Pearl Harbor. It will be disruptive, costly, and potentially counterproductive to try them as criminals in our civilian courts.

And there are conservatives that have the right perspective:

Former Republican Congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, have teamed up to urge the Gitmo detainees be taken to the U.S.

“The scaremongering about these issues should stop,” Barr, Keene and Norquist wrote.

“Civilian federal courts are the proper forum for terrorism cases,” they wrote. “Civilian prisons are the safe, cost effective and appropriate venue to hold persons in federal courts.”

In his article decrying the cowardice of these people, Glenn Greenwald has links that show how that many other countries have also relied on their civil courts and tried terrorists in country. I haven’t seen any survey of relatives of 9/11 victims, but at least some think we need this kind of trial.

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