The sky tonight is amazing. I am entranced and can't stop watching its changes, the glow. Right now there is a lightness among the clouds. We may actually get some rain. We saw a rainbow tonight as we drove home from seeing the movie Public Enemies with Johnny Depp.
It is R for violence, richly and obviously deserved. I checked Wikipedia to get a sense of the "true" story. It is hard to see Johnny Depp as a "bad guy." Even when he is a pirate, he triumphs. We agreed that almost everyone in this movie came across as a "bad guy." The FBI certainly doesn't shine and it is a chance to see J. Edgar Hoover begin to build his power base.
We both walked out a bit shaky, though we did calm down enough for dinner out. I think what most surprised me is the similarities to now. This is the beginning of private scrutiny. How much can we allow for the "public good"? What do we give up? An amazing number of FBI agents are killed in the pursuit of Dillinger. Is it justified? Dillinger learned many of his skills in jail and created connections there, too, when he was over-punished for a simple crime. That led to all that he did. It is odd to see a movie where the hero of the film is a bad guy and clearly will die brutally in the end and he does. I wonder what the purpose was in making the film. Is it just a study in personalities and how people develop on different sides of the law and what is the law and how much do we spend on catching criminals and solving crimes? I would give this movie four out of five stars with a warning that it is very violent and there is a great deal of shooting.
I found myself while watching the film again thinking of Tiburon with its, in 2007 and 2008, "recorded 196 thefts, 37 burglaries and a dozen stolen cars." I thought of Oakland, which as the crow flies, is just across the bay.
Runoz in his column has this to say: http://www.ronoz.com/Oaklands%20crime.h
Oakland's Crime: Not So Bad?
[September 29, 2008]
"The FBI released its annual ‘Crime in the United States’ report Monday, based on 2007 crime statistics collected from police departments throughout the country. The report shows a 17 percent decline in Oakland murders from the previous year, and smaller-but-consistent reductions in almost every other kind of crime. The end result is a 2 percent dip in crimes reported overall." ...San Francisco Chronicle, and repeated by Oakland officials.
The above comment is incredible and incredulous. To claim any sort of sunshine credit that our murders are down 17% from last year is to be in a stupor about the "Paradigm Escalation" of violence in Oakland over the past almost four years. Remember, it's not the FBI who tells us about our own crime rates. It's Chief Tucker who tells the FBI.
Since 2001, there have been 385 Americans killed by gunfire and other lethal means in Afghanistan (KIA). Since 2001, there have been 847 Americans killed by gunfire and other lethal means in Oakland. The similarity intended is that each such death was a life stolen, a future destroyed, a family grieving. The name given to the Afghanistan campaign is Operation Enduring Freedom.
There are officials who announce through silent megaphones that Oakland suffered more violence in the 1990's, but they seem to say it as if to excuse the violence today. It is true that in the early 1990's there were record high numbers of violent crimes across the U.S. Fortunately, in recent times the violence elsewhere has generally receded. In the early 1990's, New York City reached a high of 2,606 murders, and in 2007 they had 496... a reduction of -81%. Chicago had 2,245 murders in 1990, and that dropped to 443 in 2007... a drop of -80%. For you "Boston Miracle" fans, it had a peak 152 murders in 1990, and in 2007 they were 65... a drop of -57%. Los Angeles reached a high of 1,092 in 1992, and in 2007 they had 396... a reduction of -64%. In 1991 there were 482 murders in Washington D.C., and in 2007 they had 181... a drop of -62%.
In 1992, Oakland set a record with 165 murders, and by 1999 murders dropped to 60... a reduction of -64%. The problem, contrary to other large cities, is that in 2006, 2007, and 2008, Oakland has returned to the very high levels of violence. There were 145 murders in Oakland in 2006, for an increase of +142% over the low in 1999. In 2007, there were 120 murders, for an increase of +100%. In 2008, we're in line for 143 murders, for an increase of +138%.
The question then becomes which city needs to be monitoring license plates. I realize that Oakland has more ways to enter and leave and so it would be more difficult but most people would not equate murder with the theft of a car.