Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, December 22, 2012

AN AUGUST CRIME WAVE

Lincoln Steffens [1886-1936], the great New York muckraking reporter, told the story in his autobiography of a slow August when no news worth reporting was coming into the City Desk.  Steffens and his colleagues, as a lark, decided to create a crime wave, which they did, to the horror of the newspaper reading public, by simply reporting every crime, large and small, on the police daily blotter.  Normally newspapers ignore most of these crimes, everything from purse snatchings to murders, unless some element of the story catches the eye and seems newsworthy, but in a great city like New York there are always plenty of crimes to report, if one wants to bother.  After several days, during which public hysteria grew and calls for action echoed in City Hall, the reporters got bored and stopped reporting the contents of the police blotter.  Miraculously, the crime wave subsided, and order was restored to the streets of Gotham.

The Huffington Post, to its great credit, has taken a leaf from Steffens' notebook.  Their top headline, screaming in large type, lists murder after murder committed in the past twenty-four hours somewhere in the United States.  The point, of course, is to gin up support for gun control legislation, now that the horror in Newtown has caught the fickle attention of the public.  I have no idea whether The Huffington Post's gimmick will have any measurable effect, but full marks to them for trying.

4 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

Yes, I caught that. Powerful, nonetheless. I counted 102 deaths Huffingtonpost list, with 2 or 3 surviving gun shot wounds. Here's another datum that struck me as powerful: Beginning with Martin Luther King - as number 1 - how many Americans have been killed by guns up to this point? Ans: one million - which comes out to around 62 per day everyday, if I did my math right.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Where did you get that statistic from? It is very powerful.

Jerry Fresia said...

Well, I wish could point to an authoritative source, but I can't. It came from one of the talking heads awhile back on TV. I just googled around and found that one ABC journalist cites the same number and references the Children's Defense Fund: http://abcn.ws/MyExXD

Jerry Fresia said...

Here it is: click on "overview":

http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/gunviolence#CDF