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Old 06-07-2012, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordBalfor View Post
As someone who's first degree was a BA in History I would say the short answer is "No".

The longer and more complex answer is well, longer and more complex.

For one thing, it depends on who you ask and what statistics you are looking at. Certainly if you are black in Alabama you have much more freedom, equality and opportunity now than you had in 1960.

I searched but have yet to come up with a really good set of overall crime statistics for the entire period from 1900-2007 (if anyone comes up with a good link I'd appreciate it). I have found statistics for various periods within that period and graphs which show stats for a specific crime (say murder) for most of that time, but nothing that covers all crime for the entire period.

The stats I did see indicated very high murder rates during the depression (other crime was likely higher too I would think). This didn't surprise me at all - remember this was the prohibition ("gangster") era. There was a drop off during WW II and in increase in the late 1950's and another drop in 1990's. In general, although crime seems to be increasing, it looks like it's still pretty low by historical measures.

Certainly during the 50's and 60's there did seem to be an uptic in crime, but it's hard to say how much of that was due to the drug culture of the hippy movement. Almost certainly some was, but it seems to me that the automobile culture that came about during this period may be just as much responsible. Consider back in the 40's when few folks had cars (and less money in general). Back then neighborhoods were tighter because people couldn't move about so freely and easily. Folks tended to live "in town" rather than the spread out suburbs (without cars you needed a trolley or busses etc to get to work). Folks also tended to stay put in the same location for longer periods of time. All in all we were all just a whole lot less mobile so everyone tended to know everyone else in the neighborhoods. Everyone knew who the troublemakers were and they all tended to keep an eye on each other.

With the mass availability of the automobile a mobile culture developed and neighborhoods as we knew them began to break down. People moved about (sometimes clear across the continent) and towns and cities began to become far more anonymous, with people coming and going far more frequently than they used to. It seems to me that anonymity brings with it a likely increase in crime since one of the deterents to commiting a crime is the potention disfavor of your friends/neighbors/family and the shame you would bring upon them. When you don't know your neighbors (or care what they think of you) I think you are lot more likely to prey upon them. As mentioned, the development of this mobile car-based culture of course moved along at more or less the same time as the rock culture (actually started in the 50's and continued into the 60's) so it seems to me that it too can take part of the blame.

You also have to keep in mind that you have the actual statistics and then you have the public perception. It seems pretty clear to me that whatever the statistics say, public perception is that crime is pretty bad. Personally I think a lot of that can be blamed on the media. Afterall, listen to your local news and if you live in a large/medium sized city almost certainly the first 3-4 stories each evening will be about murders, rapes etc. This gives the impression that it's commonplace because we hear about it so often. It also gives the impression (either correctly or incorrectly) that crime is much worse than it used to be. The fact is, such crimes happened in the 30's 40's and 50's well, but the media coverage was not so widespread or sensational as it is now.

Think about it. A girl is kidnapped in Georgia (or whereever) and it leads the national news (how many times have you seen a similar news story?). You live in Chicago, or Seattle or LA and the national news is telling you about a kidnapping half a continent away. WHAT does that really have to do with YOU? Is the kidnapper a possible threat to you and your kids? Not really. Is it really news that affects you? Not really. Are there more important national stories that you should hear instead? Of course there are. But the media feeds on sensational stories and nowadays a single incident occurs 1,000 miles away and somehow the kidnapper is a threat to you and your loved ones. People naturally tend to react as if it were much closer to home and the impression people are left with is that such crimes happen all the time everywhere. I'm not trying to minimize the horrific nature of such crimes, but the fact is your loved ones are FAR more likely to be killed in a car accident than taken by a kidnapper half a continent away. In any event the point I'm trying to make is that constant media exposure creates a climate of fear which is not really justified and gives the impression that crime is lot worse than it used to be when that is not necessarily true (it's merely being reported more often and in a more widespread manner).

Ken
I think that is an absolutely fantastic post. As for the part I've bolded, I find it very interesting. I have a theory very similar to yours, but in my thinking was relating it to the difference between a small town and larger city. My keyword relating to said theory is "social accountability", which is basically what you described. In an isolated town of 10,000 people in a county of 35,000, like where I went to HS, you can't just steal a car and go joyriding without getting caught. You can't rob a store or person and just vanish into blocks and blocks of the city or to the other side of town. You can't drive around delivering drugs to people so openly that it's almost as if it's legal. You can't prostitute or troll public places for gay sex without being known. The latter is an absolutely incredibly widespread phenomenon that is largely ignored and not acknowledged, not just by the media, but even by police departments. But ALL of those things are rampant in Kansas City, a city of a half a million in a metro of over 2 million, where I currently live. It seems social accountability decreases as the given population of an area rises. Micro-communities (true neighborhoods), like what you described, can exist in major cities, but few do anymore. Everything has become so anonymous because of mobility. It's crazy. I think you're really onto something with that being a reason for many seemingly downfalls in our society.

I should add that I absolutely agree with you about the sensational media too. In this very thread you can see evidence of its impact in those who have a difficult time comprehending that there was crime several decades ago. The worst impact I think the sensational media has though is that it gives people a negative view about humanity. People are afraid of strangers, which makes it harder to get to know your neighbors. There are a lot of people out there who suspect somebody they don't know could be all sorts of things they really aren't because of being blasted with scary crap from the news all the time. Think about Dennis The Menace. Today people might think Mr. Wilson is a pedophile just because he is friends with and entertaining of Dennis. And I think that sort of suspiciousness and divisiveness is disgusting and horrible for our society.

Last edited by MOKAN; 06-08-2012 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,425,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCN View Post
Crime has been happening since Cain slew Abel or was it the other way around.

United States Crime Rates 1960 - 2010

I think the way we think about crime is the problem. There seems to be no sympathy for the victim and everybody is bending over backwards to make sure the criminal is not wronged in any way. .
Isn't that a misstatement of the actual goals? Our Bill of Rights protections were not crafted with the idea of protecting the rights of criminals, they were designed to protect the rights of people accused of crimes. The very way you chose to write it.."..make sure the criminal is not wronged in any way." suggests that you already have any accused, convicted. It is supposed to be "..make sure the suspect is not wronged in any way."

The alternative is to assume everyone arrested is guilty, and if so, why would we need to bother with trials much less rights against self incrimination, unlawful search and seizure etc?

Of course if what you have in mind is a return to the glory days of vigilante justice and lynch mobs, such fine distinctions would probably not strike you as relevant.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:07 AM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
14,489 posts, read 11,474,558 times
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didnt it all go wrong with prohibition in the US. allowing the black market with gangs to open speakeasys, and sell illicit booze..
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:02 PM
 
3,280 posts, read 4,600,818 times
Reputation: 3069
Quote:
Originally Posted by MOKAN View Post
Think about Dennis The Menace. Today people might think Mr. Wilson is a pedophile just because he is friends with and entertaining of Dennis.
Similarly, with the bachelor character "Daddy Warbucks" who adopted "(Orphan) Annie" in the famous Broadway musical, calling her his "best friend".
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:20 PM
 
Location: FL
1,717 posts, read 2,501,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The thing I would argue with your parents about it the "downhill since then" statement. All of the issues you highlighted certainly started to increase in the mid-60's, but then they peeked around 1990-95 and have been declining ever since.

Here are the actual curves from the BJS:
Interesting thing about that chart and one of my theorys is that mid 80's it was swinging up. Pretty close to the dawn of cable TV, mass advertising, you ain't cool or keeping up with the Jones, if you don't have it and people will do anything to get it. Way more exposure and coverage of it led a lot of people to do it cause everyone else is.

The public has had enough by 1995, "What is going on, he had 27 felonies prior to committing that murder/rape" or "he was just released two weeks ago from prison before the murder", politicians respond and the revolving door shuts.

Nowadays it seems more late teen/early 20's first time offenders are 20+ - LWOP'd so not much of an opportunity for the classic career criminal of years ago.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,730 posts, read 5,088,410 times
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Default Escape From Alcatraz.

Speaking of crime, have any of you seen or heard from Frank Morris or Clarence and John Anglin lately? It was exactly 50 years ago tonight that the trio made their escape from notorious Alcatraz prison, never to be seen or heard from again. The general consensus is that they drowned in the the swift cold currents of San Francisco Bay, but there have been a few doubters that think that they made it. One more mystery that may never be solved for certain.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:16 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,136 posts, read 21,121,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by questioner2 View Post
I think I read somewhere that 1965 was the start of America's crime wave. That was the start of the hippie movement and crime started to go up with the breakdown in society connected with drugs, rock music and a lack of respect for authority. It has been downhill since then.

My parents said that before that year life was more peaceful, the crime rate was very low, families were stronger, illegal drug use was limited and kids behaved in school.

Historians: was 1965 the start of the downward spiral in American society?
Many people I know have stated the downward turn of morals in America started when we were forced to take prayer out of schools.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,425,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCN View Post
Many people I know have stated the downward turn of morals in America started when we were forced to take prayer out of schools.
So then the solution to declining morals would be turning America into a theocracy with compulsory religious beliefs and practices?

Isn't that the Taliban solution?
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:14 AM
 
Location: Iowa
2,586 posts, read 2,887,211 times
Reputation: 3062
I hardly think teaching kids christianity in school equates to what the Taliban is teaching their kids in school. Christianity and Islam are different religions and produce different results when applied. I could go into that a bit further but think most people can take a look around the world and see what works and what don't.

Kids need guiding principals such as the ten commandments, the golden rule, heaven and hell, to know that there is life after death and they will be judged for thier life's work by god. It's not hard to make a kid laugh, but it's a lot harder to make them feel the deeper emotions so many of them are lacking, such as guilt, shame, not being a bully, ect. Those are the building blocks that make a moral person that knows right from wrong, and good from evil. Not saying it can't be done without religion, but religion is the most effective way to achieve that goal. So many parents are not teaching their kids any morals at all, and society has to pay the price for it. The value of teaching them christian principals at an early age greatly outweighs the value of letting a kid float along from what they learn off TV and what they might be able to pick up from their left wing school teachers. Parents and schools are doing such a bad job teaching kids the moral values they need, that I think religious education should be mandatory, especially in high crime areas where it would do the most good. It's worth a try, nothing else is working.

Not to say that christian institutions have not suffered from bad leadership from time to time in the modern era, such as many (but not all) TV evangelists from the 80's on the protestant side, or the occasional catholic priest gone bad.....but YOU DON"T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER ! And I'm not saying you should force a jewish or muslim kid to learn christianity if the parents do not want it and already have their kids involved in religious education. There should be various forms of religious education in public schools depending on the numbers from each religion, and an opt out for students that are too few in number to justify having a classroom for them.

A little more about drugs and the prohibition thing, when you look at what went on in the 20's, you see lots of city people flocking to speakeasys and would swear that it was a total failure. Most people did not have the money to frequent these places on a regular basis and get loaded every night like they did before prohibition. Rural americans did not have a speakeasy around every corner and moonshine was expensive. I'm sure the rate of alcoholism declined dramatically durring that time, and would bet it never recovered to the pre 1920 levels, even after prohibition was over, since FDR jacked up the taxes on beer and liquor 4 times higher than it was before prohibition. I think it did have some benefit to the wives of would be alcoholics in those days, and not a total failure.

I can't believe so many people think it would be better to remove prohibition on hard drugs. Can you imagine LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, Opium, Morphine, Extasy, Oxycontin, Meth and any others you can think of being on the store shelf for 5 bucks a box ? Are you people crazy ? How long do you think it would be before the hospitals and cemeterys were packed full of people from that stuff ? Talk about a healthcare cost nightmare, and it's not just poor minorities that would be effected, there are a lot of Rush Limbaugh's out there that want to get loaded too. It's too great of a temptation, people would not be able to handel it. In many ways I think people could handel it better back before 1914 than they could today, as they had family support and had to keep it together enough to hold a job and feed themselves. Now people don't have the discipline they used to, they don't have a large family to take care of, they ARE GOING TO GET LOADED the likes of which you have never seen if they legalize that stuff ! Look at what happened to China with opium and what Mao had to do to stop it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:34 AM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
18,946 posts, read 21,929,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mofford View Post
I hardly think teaching kids christianity in school equates to what the Taliban is teaching their kids in school. Christianity and Islam are different religions and produce different results when applied. I could go into that a bit further but think most people can take a look around the world and see what works and what don't.

Kids need guiding principals such as the ten commandments, the golden rule, heaven and hell, to know that there is life after death and they will be judged for thier life's work by god. It's not hard to make a kid laugh, but it's a lot harder to make them feel the deeper emotions so many of them are lacking, such as guilt, shame, not being a bully, ect. Those are the building blocks that make a moral person that knows right from wrong, and good from evil. Not saying it can't be done without religion, but religion is the most effective way to achieve that goal. So many parents are not teaching their kids any morals at all, and society has to pay the price for it. The value of teaching them christian principals at an early age greatly outweighs the value of letting a kid float along from what they learn off TV and what they might be able to pick up from their left wing school teachers. Parents and schools are doing such a bad job teaching kids the moral values they need, that I think religious education should be mandatory, especially in high crime areas where it would do the most good. It's worth a try, nothing else is working.

Not to say that christian institutions have not suffered from bad leadership from time to time in the modern era, such as many (but not all) TV evangelists from the 80's on the protestant side, or the occasional catholic priest gone bad.....but YOU DON"T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER ! And I'm not saying you should force a jewish or muslim kid to learn christianity if the parents do not want it and already have their kids involved in religious education. There should be various forms of religious education in public schools depending on the numbers from each religion, and an opt out for students that are too few in number to justify having a classroom for them.

A little more about drugs and the prohibition thing, when you look at what went on in the 20's, you see lots of city people flocking to speakeasys and would swear that it was a total failure. Most people did not have the money to frequent these places on a regular basis and get loaded every night like they did before prohibition. Rural americans did not have a speakeasy around every corner and moonshine was expensive. I'm sure the rate of alcoholism declined dramatically durring that time, and would bet it never recovered to the pre 1920 levels, even after prohibition was over, since FDR jacked up the taxes on beer and liquor 4 times higher than it was before prohibition. I think it did have some benefit to the wives of would be alcoholics in those days, and not a total failure.

I can't believe so many people think it would be better to remove prohibition on hard drugs. Can you imagine LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, Opium, Morphine, Extasy, Oxycontin, Meth and any others you can think of being on the store shelf for 5 bucks a box ? Are you people crazy ? How long do you think it would be before the hospitals and cemeterys were packed full of people from that stuff ? Talk about a healthcare cost nightmare, and it's not just poor minorities that would be effected, there are a lot of Rush Limbaugh's out there that want to get loaded too. It's too great of a temptation, people would not be able to handel it. In many ways I think people could handel it better back before 1914 than they could today, as they had family support and had to keep it together enough to hold a job and feed themselves. Now people don't have the discipline they used to, they don't have a large family to take care of, they ARE GOING TO GET LOADED the likes of which you have never seen if they legalize that stuff ! Look at what happened to China with opium and what Mao had to do to stop it.
Christianity and Islam are not that different and anyone who thinks that Christianity can't yeild Taliban-like results when applied doesn't know anything about history. Here in this country we venerate the Puritans because they came here seeking religious freedom, but the fact is, when the Puritans siezed power in England under Oliver Cromwell, they instituted Taliban-like rule throughout that country.

For example - makeup was banned and religous "police" thugs roamed the city streets seeking out women who wore it - forceably scrubbing it from their faces and beating them when they resisted. Sound familiar?

In addition, colorful dress was banned and people were expected to where somber black, with women covered from neck to toe. Those who refused were beaten and stripped. Sound familiar?

In addition, Holiday celebrations (including Christmas), feasts and decorations were banned as "frivolous" and those who insisted on doing so were publically humiliated and placed in the stocks. Sound famliar?

Theatres and pubs were closed down and most sports banned as "sinful" and "wasteful" uses of time that might better be used from productive work and worshiping of God. Sound familiar?

ALL these Taliban-like laws (and plenty of others) were put into place by CHRISTIANS.

Eventually it got so bad that the English revolted against Cromwell and the Puritans and (after Cromwells' death) managed to overthrew them to re-instate the Monarchy. Think about that - they were so bad that having a KING was considered perferable. There's a reason the word "puritanical" has such BAD connotations - they were HORRIBLE to live under- truly the TALIBAN of their day.

So, the truth is, there is NO fundimental difference between Islam and Christianity that makes one "dictatorial" and the other not. It all depends on HOW the religion is interpreted and the NATURE of the people leading the religion. The Puritans came HERE seeking religious freedom, but when THEY had power over others, they took away those very freedoms they came here to American to keep. NO religion is necessarily good or bad - it all depends on HOW it's implimented and WHO is doing the implimentation. ANY religion - Christianity included - can be a VERY scary thing when "true believers" are in charge - just ask those who suffered under Cromwell (or those who suffered and died during the Inquisition).

Ken

Last edited by LordBalfor; 06-13-2012 at 02:50 AM..
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