Okay, Let’s Talk About Crime

I’ve forgotten the name of the old-time pundit who first summed up the biggest problem we humans face, but Mark Twain is often credited with a variation of it. “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

That observation has never been more apt. In this, our age of the Internet, it’s the things Americans “know” that just aren’t so that have given us our polarized, fraught politics. Think of the things so many Americans wrongly think they know: the 2020 election was stolen, climate change is a hoax, vaccines cause autism and don’t ward off disease, President Biden can control the prosecutor and jury in a state-level trial, the economy is in recession …the list goes on.

Here in Indiana, anyone unfortunate enough to have weathered the vicious and fact-free food fight that was the Republican primary contest for Governor heard increasingly ridiculous claims about crime in the United States. (I’m surprised that anyone listening to–and actually believing–those claims had the courage to leave their homes.)

It really isn’t easy to be and remain this uninformed, but quite obviously, lots of folks manage to believe what they want to believe, easily ascertainable facts be damned.

I recently came across some data on crime, and those facts tell a rather different story than the one being peddled by the GOP.

Despite false claims by Donald Trump that crime has increased under President Joe Biden, PolitiFact confirms that in 2022, the violent crime rate neared a 50-year low.

That’s not all. Preliminary statistics for 2023 indicate the lowest levels of violent crime ever recorded, dropping below previous records in 2014 and 2019. And that’s still not all, because right now it appears that 2024 is still trending down…

There are fewer violent crimes now than there were in 1971 under Richard Nixon, despite a population that has increased by over 100 million people. Today we are experiencing not simply fewer crimes per person, but fewer crimes overall. According to FBI statistics, there were over 5 million fewer violent crimes in the United States last year than in the final full year of Ronald Reagan’s “tough on crime” administration.

After peaking in 1991 under George H. W. Bush, violent crime has been slowly declining year over year. There have been a few exceptions: Some categories of violent crime, including murder, were up in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic. Even then, those numbers didn’t come close to the levels seen in the 1980s or 1990s.

The numbers in the quoted article–together with their links to official sources of the data– directly contradict one of the GOP’s major talking points. That was the barely veiled racist claim made in virtually all of those nasty commercials, the claim that it is immigrants who are generating this invented “crime wave.” (“Be very afraid of those Brown people”…)

Since the statistics show that crime is actually going down, Trump has also jumped in with a false attack on FBI crime statistics, adding “fake numbers” to the list of things he can dismiss when they don’t fit his narrative. Fox News has also been leading the charge to undercut the truth by pushing an evidence-free claim from a recently formed right-wing group insisting that America has suddenly developed an issue with counting crimes.

Well, when the evidence fails to support one’s preferred world-view, I guess the only thing you can do is attack the veracity of the evidence. Or–as the linked article suggests–revise your definition of what constitutes a crime.

Only 18% of Republicans admit that Jan. 6 insurrectionists were violent and 45% believe punishment of those who fought with police, smashed their way into the Capitol, and tried to capture members of Congress has been too harsh. An eyebrow-raising 86% of Republicans don’t hold Trump to blame for any of it. But then 85% of Republicans don’t believe Trump should be prosecuted for any of the crimes he’s been charged with so far. It turns out Republicans are soft on crime—so long as it’s Republican crime.

I guess if a Republican does it, it isn’t a crime.

Also, the increasing incidents of violent weather aren’t evidence of climate change, the stock market hasn’t recently reached unprecedented highs, unemployment isn’t at a 50-year low…

As that old saying goes, it isn’t not knowing (and knowing that we don’t know) that gets us into trouble–it’s knowing things that “just ain’t so.”

Give these partisan ideologues credit. It isn’t easy avoiding fact-based reporting in order to double down on those preferred “alternative facts.” Of course, listening only to Faux News helps….


  1. BAGL (Busted America’s Greatest Loser) does not want to be outdone by the North Koreans. His cabal of trolls and felons will launch hot air balloons during anticipated 104f weather during rally in Los Vegas ladened with garbage imported from Mar-a-Lago to release among the apparent throng of the grieved. No worries. The news this morning reported BAGL has ordered 30,000 bottles of water flavored by Trump’s Own Sour Grapes and Bitters for his base to gargle and wash it down.

  2. I think the truism comes from Will Rogers. If you believe that the government always lies, you might be okay with an attempted coup. That’s what tfg has been looking for since 2016. The more people who believe that nothing happened on January 6, 2021 the better.

    The first thing the authoritarian does after the coup, is take over the media. That sets the upcoming coup in a whole other category since they already control so much of what we hear every day. Only MSNBC and CNN will be left to deal with. That shouldn’t be too hard, since the right wing has a ton of control over local broadcast systems. It’s going to take a miracle to get us through these next few years.

  3. In my view, Faux “News” is the true creator of MAGA, and a real threat to the entire world. The day the channel was created was a dark day for the Earth.

    There is, however, one specific thing I like about the channel: Jessica Tarlov. She is brilliant, and watching her work over the others on The Five chokes me up a bit, brings a tear to my eye. It also provides a fair bit of (somewhat shameful, somewhat embarrassing) entertainment. Given her intelligence and education, it’s not actually a fair fight, but I’m absolutely okay with that. 🙂

  4. Any comments on social media about the economy are “things are terrible”. One discussion I saw the other person kept pushing, “what is your personal experience?”. The answer from the most vocal person was that they had a grocery budget and had to switch from frozen orange juice because it was too expensive. They then blew it when they explained they were now drinking grapefruit-orange juice and had to dilute it with sparkling water. Kind of sounds like a first world problem when your sacrifice involves substituting sparkling water.

    Life has to be pretty bad when you don’t believe your own personal experiences be it on crime or the economy.

  5. “Okay, Let’s Talk About Crime” Maybe a few of you on the blog will remember my attack, permanent injuries and robbery on my own driveway at 11:00 in the morning on April 21, 2014. The Deputy Prosecutor refused to add Battery charges against the attacker and his getaway driver because, “The more charges we file, the more charges we have to prove.” They were provided with the detective’s report of my attack and that of the IMPD Forensic Officer’s full examination with pictures of my injuries and the hours later hospital diagnosis but chose not to. They also chose not to investigate the hundreds of dollars of charges against my two credit cards within hours of my attack, the Fraud Division of my bank provided full information of the fraud within FOUR DAYS. Undercover IMPD officers had been supposedly following the attackers after being identified 4 days earlier when they attacked a 90 year old woman; she was elbowed in the face, breaking her glasses which cut up her face and knocked out one tooth. I was the only one of four victims who gave a Victim Impact Statement two years later in May 2016 when it finally got into court. He was sentenced to FORTY-SIX YEARS, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS TO SERVE IN PRISON AND TWENTY-ONE YEARS SUSPENDED. He was released Tuesday, June 4, 2024, after EIGHT YEARS in the Plainfield Department of Corrections Center. And so it goes with too many criminals in all states.

    Let’s look at the GOP in action at the federal level; the House refused to renew President Biden’s Affordable Connectivity Program which provided aid to low income users of the Internet, it ended in April. Today, on my cell phone I received a news item that Indiana Gov. Holcomb has proposed a $51 MILLION bill to cover Broadband assistance in this state. If passed, this piles the full cost on Indiana tax payers when the aid WAS available for coverage to be continued by President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill but House members at the federal level, including Indiana’s Representatives, stopped the coverage rather than apply President Biden’s campaign promise to aid low income Internet users.

    “It really isn’t easy to be and remain this uninformed, but quite obviously, lots of folks manage to believe what they want to believe, easily ascertainable facts be damned.” If Holcomb’s bill is passed and enacted, it will appear Indiana Republicans are the providers of Internet assistance for low income user who will pay for it with increased taxes; the majority will view it as President Biden’s not fulfilling his campaign promise to them. And the Republican refusal to continue this aid isn’t a crime in the legal sense.

  6. There were many reason I stopped voting republican. trumps 2016 win of the NH primary was just the last straw. I’d stopped watching FOX years earlier because I’d come to realize it wasn’t “fair & balanced” when they went on and on about President Obama putting his feet up on a coffee table as he sat in the Oval Office and heavens to Megatroy he wore a ( gasp) tan suit. Once FOX was in the rear view mirror fact checking became easier. I don’t recall being really surprised to find that credible sources usually leaned towards “the left”, ( on a world wide scale facts leaned to the center. America has very, very few actual leftist). I enjoy arguing with some former associates but their insistence on repeating trumps nonsense and their rationalizing why Bidens policies are “unfair” ( student loan forgiveness) or not working, when the evidence says they are working and making the country better off, is frustrating. Their belief that Biden has weaponized DOJ is unshakable. What I find really amazing is that it is clear they aren’t listening to their leader when he tells them exactly what he wants to do. They insist he didn’t say what he clearly said. I hope the economy continues to improve. That should help those who are, for some reason, “undecided” into Bidens camp. I love history and see the strong and undeniable resemblance to 1920s Germany in trumps campaign. We are in deep trouble if the RNC engineers a trump EC win as it, helped by Russia as we now know but trump supporters deny, did in 2016.

  7. The criminals always lie. The criminals always hate the cops. The criminals always think they’ve been wronged by the law. So, when you hear the orange hairball and his fellow-Republican mobsters whine about the DOJ – and all the rest – feel comforted in knowing that they are the criminals. Easy call.

  8. Does anyone else remember back when there were fewer weather related natural disasters some of the evangelical and baptist preachers claimed it was God punishing ‘those’ people for their sins? Yet, when a natural disaster hit the areas they resided in there was complete silence on the cause.

    Now that climate change seems to cause a new disaster almost weekly those preachers have had to move on to some other far-fetched subjects to lie about to their parishioners.

  9. Also the fact that MAGA still believes Fox News after they settled a lawsuit for 3/4 billion dollars for lying boggles my mind. Coupled with the disinformation campaign that America’s enemies are waging in support for t*ump and his minions and it is clear that for American democracy to survive MAGA must be defeated at the ballot box.
    The question is always “what are you going to do about it?” I suggest taking some kind of meaningful action; donate what you can in terms of time and money to grass-roots organizations such as “Postcards for Swing States”, or any other that rings your bell. It may be a futile effort, but at the end of the day you can say that you did something.

  10. James et al,

    As I do from time to time when the question directly comes up “what are you going to do about it?” – I offer your joining with/helping with my national all-volunteer organization, CommonGoodGoverning. In our 7+ years we have helped to elect US House leaders like Conor Lamb (PA), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Dean Phillips (MN), Elaine Luria (VA) and Kathy Manning (NC). In 2022, we helped Adam Frisch nearly defeat Lauren Boebert in Colorado. In 2023, we helped stop the Virginia legislature from becoming a GOP super-majority. And, at this very moment, we have another chance to stop Lauren Boebert in a primary in a couple of weeks. Our next challenge, beat the super- MAGA GOP candidate for governor of NC, Mark Robinson.

    We work from our homes and computers to develop contacts to build peer-to-peer campaigning among the two groups least likely to register and vote, minorities and young people. You can join our community and cheer us on or join and get directly involved. No dues. Interested in learning more? Drop me an email at lester.levine@gmail.com. THANKS SHEILA FOR LETTING ME SHARE THIS.

  11. Effective wealth distribution requires ever-expanding workforces, which have been well satisfied over our lifetimes. Now that oligarchs are in control, they will, of course, not address the problem of too many human mouths to feed; they will profit from it. That leaves nature to solve the problem, and she is working on it but has not yet fully unleashed her full arsenal of chaos production. This is all knowable and well known, but it’s an unusual problem, so we tend to sweep it under the rug and let someone in the future actually deal with it as we make things worse every day.

    Of our choices in November, one is too conventional, but the other is a lying, unlawful living oligarch who actually promises to make everything worse for us.

    Easy decision, no?

  12. The “Law and Order,” and “Family Values” party has abandoned either concept for the sake of their “Dear Leader.” Not that they would not have done so for the sake of more money and/or power…which leads to m ore money.
    The crimes we need to really be paying attention to, nowadays, are taking place in the Supreme Court, and on the floor of the House.
    Yes, Faux Un-News bears much of the blame for the predicament in which the country swirls!

  13. Well, of course, crime is bad. That’s why we need so many guns in the US. 😉

    While violent crimes are down, property-related crimes are up due to drug addiction. After all these years of our heavily armed drug wars, we still refuse to admit it has been an abject failure. Does anyone still not believe our government is not making a profit off of illicit drugs?

    Our military guarded poppy fields for 20 years in Afghanistan, and at the same time, America had a heroin addiction problem. The US blamed it all on Mexico even though journalists were uncovering the DEA bringing in shipment after shipment to Chicago on military cargo planes.

    Now, it’s caused by China and its fentanyl trade through Mexico. This is how the CIA maintains its “off balance sheet” operations worldwide. The schemes haven’t changed since VietNam.

    Anybody watching Fox News for 10 minutes feels their blood pressure rise. It’s all fear-based. The fear causes anger, which you can see in every Republican official. This is why those Fox viewers carry handguns into Walmart when they shop.

    As for lying and disinformation, every politician lies as easily as telling the truth. The really good ones have to be sociopaths. As Jeffrey Sachs says, “Washington is full of sociopaths.” I follow a good sample of Republicans and Democrats on X, and their lies are pervasive. They are allowed on media unchallenged. Their lies are easily debunked, but the media refuses to challenge them on even the egregious lies.

    Even the administration’s spokespeople lie their asses off daily. They are corrected by independent journalists daily. It isn’t hard to find their prevalent lies. This is another reason the legacy media is collapsing. Check out what is happening at the WaPo.

    Lastly, the internet makes fact-checking lies and fake memes easier than ever. Just type in what you check, and you’ll get pages of accurate links to articles debunking the lies.

    Ignorance is laziness—no excuse for repeating lies.

  14. While violent crimes are down, property crime isn’t. For most voters, the former is not something in their lives, the latter is.

  15. Todd. So you believe all politicians are equally bad? Are you an anarchist?

  16. Sharon, politicians may intend to be truthful and honest when they start out, but they must be very good at lying if they want to move up the ranks. The officials in Washington are liars, and so are their spokespeople. Jeffrey Sachs said Washington is full of sociopaths, which explains why they rise to the top. Most of the politicians with a conscience end up alcoholics or drug addicts.

    Biden is one of the worst liars, but he’s been doing it his whole career – 40+ years. Due to his age and lack of cognitive skills, he’s gradually slipping up. He should have retired after this year.

  17. Lester’s false equivalent remark to Todd is well..silly.

    At least Todd doesn’t appear to be a member of a false resistance whose real purpose is to support the establishment.

    The Powell Memo on how to crush dissent did its work all too well.

  18. Simpletons believe the most simple answers and support simple solutions. That’s the fundamental issue. Can any democracy survive its peasantry?

  19. Sheila, PLEASE send your blog to every news room in town and invite them to ask an and all questions they wish.

  20. False equivalency is comparing Trump as an equivalent to Biden. There is no equivalency between these two. Biden may lie/have lied, but if Trump is speaking, he is lying. The other presidential candidates have little to no chance of winning, so those voters taking the “high ground” and voting for third parties will undoubtedly influence the outcome of the election. Prepare for 4 more years of Trump 24/7 and be sure to blame the Democrats.

  21. “According to FBI statistics, there were over 5 million fewer violent crimes in the United States last year than in the final full year of Ronald Reagan’s “tough on crime” administration.”

    I tried to find these numbers. Source?

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