Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More guns, less crime?

For many years the news media and the police in New Orleans made a fatal mistake. That is, until 1997. Boston, New York and many other cities still have it wrong and more people die from being shot, because of this policy error.

In 1997 - the New Orleans Times Picayune changed their editorial policy from the usual story; "Witless, vulnerable dupe of a cab driver - easily slain in a remote area, by a lone gunman, who used the taxi for his get-away. Police have few leads" This actually inspires more aggression against the apparently unarmed cab driver.

When it becomes less apparent that the driver is unarmed, crime goes down.

The Times Picayune newspaper published an editorial that called partitions ineffective but also said they probably should be required for taxis. I called the writer of the editorial and suggested that portraying cab drivers as vulnerable... is risky, for cab drivers.

The standard operating procedure, as advised by the police authorities, is, for the driver to yield to aggressors and surrender anything demanded by the assailant.

I suggested that the Times Picayune newspaper start describing New Orleans cab drivers as deadly, when faced with a deadly threat. I suggested they run with the angle that it is dangerous to try to rob a New Orleans cab driver, not easy. After all, it is true, that many New Orleans cab drivers DO carry firearms.

That conversation took place in 1997. From 1994 to 1997 - 13 cab drivers were shot dead. After the change in the editorial policy took place in 1997, the murder rate went to zero for over ten years. This happened in the deadliest city, in the deadliest occupation. Had the usual editorial policy remained in place, as many as 30 cab drivers might have been shot dead in those ten years.

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