Wednesday, November 10, 2004
On the bulletin board: You can sometimes find some interesting things regarding the state of journalism on the bulletin board. Someone posted New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield's annual article on the drop in the crime rate.
Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates
By FOX BUTTERFIELD
The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.
The continuing increase in the prison population, despite a drop or leveling off in the crime rate in the past few years, is a result of laws passed in the 1990's that led to more prison sentences and longer terms, said Allen J. Beck, chief of corrections statistics for the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and an author of the report.
Year after year, the Times doesn't get the story. The increase in the number of criminals in prison is why the crime rate has dropped. They can't rob, rape or murder you when they're behind bars.
Some unknown person came to Butterfield's defense -- and completely missed the point -- by highlighting that he is reporting on an annual report. Well, yes, but that's not the criticism.
Also on the bulletin board was a clip of San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell's latest column:
Political tempers are running hot even after the election. On Saturday, Gary Jimenez discovered two tires slashed on his Volvo station wagon with its four anti-Bush bumper stickers. Lest he miss the point, the vandals left a note on the windshield that said: "We voted . . . Now you can either move to another country (maybe France, Germany, Iran or Pakistan will take you) or stop your whiney belly aching. This country was founded by righteous God-fearing men of integrity like George W. Bush. Now, take off these bumper stickers. We don't want to see them again."
The individual who posted the clip added the editorial comment: "Welcome to W's America."
There are nuts on both sides. If whiny liberals want to tar 51 percent of the nation with some jerk who slashed a teacher's tires, then I suppose we get to tar 48 percent of the country with this guy.
An armed man demanding media attention took a pregnant employee from the Mexican consulate hostage Tuesday and was shot on a sidewalk and critically wounded by police. The woman was rescued unharmed.
Officers responding to a report of a kidnapping in progress confronted a suspect about 8:30 a.m. outside the consulate and shots were fired, Sgt. Catherine Plows said.
The suspect, apparently shot in the head by police, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition, police Assistant Chief George Gascon said.
The man who took the hostage had a large homemade sign, written in English, attached to his body. It was not clear what the sign said from the video.
KCAL-TV broadcast a portion of the man's sign, which read: "I LIE THEREFORE I EXIST." and "G.O.P. & FANS."
Everybody needs to just take a deep breath and tone down the rhetoric.