Monday, January 10, 2011

A single death is a tragedy, except when it isn't.

So the homicide numbers for Indy in 2010 were released, with the final tally standing at an even, round hundred. I take interest in the fact that they subtract from the publicized total the dozen or so non-criminal homicides, where the "victim" was a bad guy shot by a good guy during the commission of a crime.

The reason I take interest in this fact is that they don't subtract the number of homicides where the decedent was just standing there, minding his own business, on a street corner in the rough part of town, at three o'clock in the morning, with a pocketful of dope and an arrest record that could wear the letters off the "PG DWN" key at the station house. People in the lines of work that occasionally involve draping sheets over these corpses have a grisly colloquialism for this sort of homicide they use when you and I aren't around: They're called "N.H.I. killings", for "No Humans Involved".

Maybe it's callous of me, but I wonder what Indy's total would be if we subtracted these, too?


Anonymous said...

Might I suggest replacing "victim" with "decedent"?

Tam said...

Good point. I'll use scorn quotes instead.

Standard Mischief said...

A few years ago, when real estate was booming, Washington DC was experiencing gentrification even in it's worst quarters. Because of that, bordering P.G. county (long known as the armpit suburb of DC) suddenly had a surge in drug related murders.

County Executive Jack Johnson (man of the people, and now facing felony corruption charges himself) was quoted in the Bowie-Blade as advocating certain rental complexes in the epicenter of the crime-wave be torn down as a remedy.

I found this attitude simply stunning, though it's a solution, I'm sure, for the very lowest drug infested crime problem. Just tear down the affordable housing to drive up the cost of living in the area and shift the problem residents back over the line to DC again.

Standard Mischief said...

having trouble finding the ~2006 era murder map, so here's the one from early 2011.

There's one flyer on the above map, the remainder show the worst neighborhood in the county, right over the DC line.

I think the string went as far as a murder per day for the first nine days of the year.

Murphy's Law said...

I used to call those "Misdemeanor Homicides" because the value of the deceased was less than a hundred dollars.

Anonymous said...

Most of them. If you don't play around, or sell drugs, or indulge in a criminal lifestyle, your risk of getting murdered is really rather low. Leaving out that group just leaves the domestics and the folks who work cheap retail.

genedunn said...

Why would they exclude them? Statistically and legally, they are murders. The others (where someone shoots someone in self defense) are technically not murders, they are justified homicides. The number excluded likely includes where nefarious actor "X" shoots nefarious actor "Y" who was trying to jack him in a drug deal. After all, in most municipalities, if you are dealing drugs and someone tries to shoot you... self defense is still legal, despite your chosen vocation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying its a "tragedy" either way... but it is a murder that is investigated and potentially prosecuted as such.

Anonymous said...

Hard to justify the homicide squad budget if they have to type in 1 instead of 100.

Next thing, you'll be wanting them to break down the SWAT deployments between grabbing up violent felons and reports of indoor gardening.

Statistics are to keep the white folks scared and maintain job security, dammit, turn off that light!


Tam said...


"The number excluded likely includes where nefarious actor "X" shoots nefarious actor "Y" who was trying to jack him in a drug deal."

Only if "X" was discovered and prosecuted, a notoriously uncommon result in the classic NHI incident.

Jason said...

"Only if "X" was discovered and prosecuted, a notoriously uncommon result in the classic NHI incident."

I blame Sumdood. He's the number one killer of kids who were getting ready to think about turning their lives around, going back to high school and getting out of gangs.

Anonymous said...

From Tom Givens newsletter.

"Here in Memphis, the situation is quite different. In 2005, in Memphis there were 21 justifiable
homicides. Only 3 were done by police officers—18 were done by private citizens. In
2007 the numbers were even higher. In 2007, there were 32 justifiable homicides in Memphis.
Five involved police officers, while the other 27 involved private citizens. Thus, in
those two years, 85% of the justifiable homicides in Memphis were done by private citizens
in self defense."


Anonymous said...

The key word is "homicides". Legally there are several types of homicides: accidental, negligent, justifiable and criminal.

How did they treat Bisard's victim?

Tam said...

Well, "shot by the police" was removed from the total, so why not remove "run over by the police" too?

Anonymous said...

"Misdemeanor murder" was the Manhattan DA's Office term. If the decedent had a pending criminal case, the judge would be advised that "the matter had been adjourned to a superior tribunal".

staghounds said...

There used to be a crime here called "Shooting or discharging a missile into an occupied dwelling", which we changed to "shooting or discharging a missile into occupied clothing".

I've also heard the solved ones called "twofers".

And the number?

Subtract the ones you describe cuts it to fifty or so.

Thirty to thirty five are domestics, which are very often situations where the victim repeatedly enters the den of the dangerous lion.

So you have twenty thirty where the victim is doing nothing to contribute. Driving down the road when the drunk smashes him, clerking at the store, looking funny at the wrong mean drunk, being in the line of fire for that blind spare.

Randy said...

Legally there are several types of homicides: accidental, negligent, justifiable and criminal.

You left out "praiseworthy"

Stretch said...

"Chlorine murder"
It cleans out the gene pool.

Don M said...

The good thing about pursuing the NHI killings is you quite often find out that the NHI killed family is now more willing to rat out the decedent's business partners, and thus provide insight into said business partners' operation

Firehand said...

Somebody, a few years ago told of speaking to some people in an area of Los Angeles with lots of gang killings; the general sentiment was "If the bastards would just shoot each other and not hurt innocent bystanders, we wouldn't care how many of each other they shot."

Drang said...

@Firehand: Again, I am reminded of the guys back in Detroit who got arrested when found standing across the street from a burning crack house, gas cans at their feet; one of them told the officer "That'll teach 'em to sell drugs in our neighborhood!" "Sir, I have to read you your rights..." "Where you gonna find a jury?"
The story goes that they were convicted of misdemeanor playing with matches...