Crime and Viruses

Violent crime is on the rise. The most recent upward trend started with the lockdown and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The FBI will soon be reporting numbers from 2020 in its Uniform Crime Report. I want to prepare readers for that report by presenting a trend line historical data on violent criminal offenses from the government’s Crime Data Explorer. The media reports that violent crime is rising after a several decades of decline. This is true. We don’t see it yet on the chart, but we can see the past. See the chart below. The long-term downward trend in violent crime is truly historic, falling from a peak exceeding 750 offenses per 100,000, to a low of nearly 360 per 100,000 by 2014. The way the CDE constructs the chart downplays the magnitude of the decline. Violent crime was cut by more than half between the early 1990s and 2014.

Source: https://crime-data-explorer.app.cloud.gov/pages/explorer/crime/crime-trend

What changed in 2014? Ferguson, Missouri. On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown in self-defense. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was violently assaulting him. What we see after the shooting of Brown, pushed out in outrage by the fabrication of what is known as the “Hands Up” myth, has come to know known as the “Ferguson Effect.” Heather Mac Donald analyzes the Ferguson Effect in her book The War on Cops, published in 2016 (see Demoralization and the Ferguson Effect; The Problematic Premise of Black Lives Matter). Her work would be followed by a spate of peer-reviewed empirical studies confirming her claim that there is no systemic racism in police shootings (see The Myth of Systemic Racism in Lethal Police-Civilian Encounters).

The nation enjoyed a return to the downward trend in violent crime during the Trump presidency, as the job market improved, especially for those minorities overrepresented in serious crime, and illegal immigration was sharply restricted. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the establishment leveraged the pandemic and racial unrest (which it had prepared) to advance its color revolution and drive the populist president from office. (See Color Revolution, Joe from Scranton, and PEDs; The Campaign to Portray Ordinary America as Deviant and Dangerous. More on this in the second section of today’s entry.) See the chart below for the period covering the Obama and Trump’s presidencies.

Source: https://crime-data-explorer.app.cloud.gov/pages/explorer/crime/crime-trend

What explains the decline in violent crime before “Hands Up” and BLM? It is explicable primarily by the vast expansion of the criminal justice apparatus during the 1990s—more cops, tougher courts, and longer prison sentences. I want to remind readers that I have for many years been highly critical of the approach the progressives took to dealing with criminal violence. (Folks bristle when I describe the New Democrats as “progressives,” but I remind them that the “third way” policies pursued by the Democratic Leadership Council were in fact developed by the Progressive Policy Institute.) The anti-crime measures that became law under Clinton, the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, building upon the tough-on-crime approach of the 1980s, represented the largest and most expansive crime bill in the nation’s history. (See The Neoliberal Approach to Criminal Justice and Trump’s First Step Act; Joseph Biden, Mass-Incarcerator-in-Chief and Other Accomplishments)

I would rather not see an expansion of the criminal justice apparatus and the shift to crime control because of its effects on working class people, especially black and brown civilians. However, I no longer make my criticisms on the grounds of systemic racism. As I have blogged about a lot lately, there is no evidence of that, and, without evidence, an objective person cannot continue claiming that the criminal justice apparatus, is in any significant degree, designed to be racially oppressive (see, for example, The Myth of the Racist Criminal Justice System). I have confessed that my early thesis of racial caste effects in this period, advanced in my graduate work, does not hold up. (Thankfully, I never published my dissertation, even though it was in line with academic consensus then. That said, here is the most workable version of my original argument stripped of its critical race theory elements: Mapping the Junctures of Social Class and Racial Caste: An Analytical Model for Theorizing Crime and Punishment in US History.)

My criticism of progressives opting for a criminal justice response in place of a populist national economic strategy that aggressively pursues public infrastructure investments, reshores manufacturing, and restricts immigration continues. But this critique must recognize that globalization is the established project and it forces us to choose between less-than-optimal options. Globalization will require a populist-nationalist revolt to turn things around. In the meantime, working people need protection from the criminogenic results of globalization of production (offshoring and mass immigration) and the progressive idling of black Americans in disorganized inner-city urban areas. The antiracist racist tactics of delegitimizing policing and depolicing crime-ridden neighborhoods explains the rise in crime in Obama’s second term and the current crime wave, because it takes the handcuffs off of the criminogenic conditions of late capitalism. In light of this, the best option is to resist weakening of the criminal justice apparatus.

* * *

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.” For this, the elites and the experts wrecked the world (see A Moral Panic. A Year Later). At least they wrecked it for ordinary people. Silicon Valley was at the same time enriched and strengthened its grip on humanity. Just as they did in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington, the corporate security state pulled a lot of things off the shelf and the state policing apparatus was pushed deep into the order of things, its social logic elaborated and entrenched. (I will be dropping soon a lengthy essay on the new fascism.)

When I suggest that the lockdown was, among other things, part of the strategy to get Trump out of office, I am told that the lockdowns were worldwide. But the inference there presumes that anti-Trump sentiment was a uniquely American affair, that there was no a global desire to get Trump out of office. The Chinese Communist Party certainly wanted Trump out of (and Biden into) office. The CCP wanted not only a trusted ally in Washington (“Dear Hitler…” or Joe Biden is the Neville Chamberlain of Our Time) but also to hide the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and we have just learned that researchers in Wuhan conspired with NIH officials to delete the record of the genetic sequencing of the virus early in the pandemic. Moreover, it was not only China who desired a change in the White House. Nor was Trump and the America First movement the only manifestation of populist-nationalism that needed suppressing. The European establishment have their own popular working class revolt to deal with.

On this high-tech wiping of fingerprints from the scene the crime (remember, the CCP also erased the wet market), US virologist Jesse Bloom of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center discovered the information scrubbed from the NIH database and reconstructed it (34 sequences). In a scientific paper released Tuesday, Bloom details the contents of “a data set containing SARS-CoV-2 sequences from early in the Wuhan epidemic that has been deleted from the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive.” The data cast doubt on the theory that the virus originated in a Wuhan wet market. “There is no plausible scientific reason for the deletion,” writes Bloom. “It therefore seems likely the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence.” You think? That this was a cover story was obvious from the git-go. How is it deniable now? (Yet the media is still trying.)

There is other evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is a ruse to transform global economics and politics. A recent development gives us a compelling example. Recall that the FDA approved mRNA technology for emergency use. Crucial steps in vaccine development were suspended because of the emergency conditions. Now the Novavax vaccine is out and the early trials are impressive. It should get emergency use authorization, right? But we are told that it could be months before it appears on the market. Could it be that there is no emergency? (Take a look at the below chart and judge for yourself.) If so, then the emergency use authorizations should be terminated. Or could it be that Novavax is not mRNA technology?

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html

Novavax data show similar efficacy against COVID-19 as mRNA (better—especially against variants) but with fewer and less severe side effects (both mRNA vaccines cause blood clotting and heart inflammation). The old technology works. It’s also a lot cheaper to make and less expensive to buy than the mRNA vaccine, which was developed from gene therapy technology. If nations switched from mRNA to Novavax, their governments would save money on vaccines, achieve better results, and spend less money compensating those injured and made sick by vaccines (which is a large and growing number). But that’s no good because Moderna and Pfizer, both market aggressive, secretive, and entangled with governmental elites, are making massive profits from the taxpayer subsidy and the consumer lure of “new and improved” technology. Big Pharma a long-term interest in replacing the old technology with the new and Moderna and Pfizer are at the forefront. As the stockbroker told us: “In devastation, there is opportunity.”

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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