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Crime & Violence/ Midweek Open Lines

Date Tuesday - March 15, 2016
Host George Noory
Guests Barry LatzerOpen Lines

With an JD from Fordham University and a PhD in Political Science, Barry Latzer, is a renowned criminologist and professor emeritus of Criminal Justice at the the City University of New York. During the first half, he discussed how starting in the late 1960s, the United States suffered the biggest rise in violent crime in its history. Long-term cycles of crime indicate that economic downturns and upswings are not consistently related to violent crime, he suggested. Violent crime soared during periods of great prosperity, such as in the 1920s and the late 1960s, and declined during recessions, such as in the late 1930s and after 2007, he pointed out.

Whenever you get a rise in the population of young males from the ages of 18 to 25, that's a red flag for a possible cycle of violent crime, but we are not currently experiencing an increase in that demographic, he detailed. Regarding gun violence, he noted that in 75% of the cases, they involve disputes between people that know each other, such that concealed "right-to-carry" laws are not relevant to most of these crimes. And while much media attention is given to cases of mass murders, Latzer did a computation of the last few decades, and discovered that the total death toll from mass murders was 5,528, versus 684,000 people killed in conventional murders-- 124 times as many victims.

Throughout American history, different social groups have engaged in various amounts of violent crime, and no consistent relationship between the extent of a group's socioeconomic disadvantage and its level of violence is evident, he said. Impoverished Jewish, Polish, and German immigrants had relatively low crime rates, while disadvantaged Italian, Mexican, and Irish entrants committed violent crime at very high rates. It's not a matter of biology or genetics, but rather a cultural manifestation that includes a belief or value in using violence to resolve interpersonal conflicts, he argued.

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Midweek Open Lines were featured in the latter half. Shawn told accounts of sleepwalking on Ambien, in which he cooks meals in his kitchen while asleep. In one incident, he sloppily heated two different kinds of lentil soup over the stove, and then ate the concoction over the sink. Mike in Ohio shared his contention that John Kasich (who just won the Ohio primary) is going to end up with more delegates than Donald Trump and will be the Republican candidate. Craig related an incident in 2010, when he loaded up his truck with 88,000 lbs, and "and all of sudden it looked like I was looking through a fishbowl when I was trying to drive this thing, and that's all I remember." He initially suspected he was abducted by aliens when he woke up nine hours later (he was actually inside an MRI machine), and doctors discovered he had a cyst in his brain that blocked a ventricle.

News segment guests: John Curtis, Howard Bloom

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