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Slippin' and Slidin' Becomes Shakin' and Jivin'


You really have to love the New York Times editorial page.

Yesterday, the Times editorialized against what it views as the promiscuous use of life without parole.  It notes that:

...use of the sentence has gone far beyond death penalty cases, even as violent crime rates have declined....In the last decade in Georgia, one of the few states with good data on the sentence, about 60 percent of offenders sentenced to life without parole were convicted of murder. The other 40 percent were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, sex crimes, drug crimes and other crimes including shoplifting.

The editorial ends with this:

A fair-minded society should revisit life sentences and decide whether an offender deserves to remain in prison or be released on parole. And a fair-minded society should not sentence anyone to life without parole except as an alternative to the death penalty.

Can you spot the razzle-dazzle?


Actually, it's in several places.  The Times says that LWOP has "gone far beyond death penalty cases, even as violent crime rates have declined," apparently unaware that, as considerable research has shown, more severe sentences have in significant measure caused the crime rate to decline.

Then it says, conspicuously without fencing off capital cases, that a "fair minded society" should "revisit life sentences and decide whether an offender deserves to remain in prison or be released on parole," even while elsewhere seeming to accept the idea that LWOP is a justifiable alternative to the death penalty.

That serves to tee up the real kicker, which lurks in the closing line.  The Times maintains (emphasis added) that "a fair-minded society should not sentence anyone to life without parole except as an alternative to the death penalty."

Hello!!! Is this not the same New York Times that crusades against the death penalty under any cricumstances?  Of course if, as the Times would have it, the death penalty simply did not exist in the law, then it would be nonsensical to refer to "an alternative to the death penalty."  And that directly implies  --  guess what  --  that a "fair minded society" could not sentence anyone to LWOP either! 

Translation:  When abolitionists solemnly tell us that we can drop the death penalty because we'll be just as safe with LWOP,  they're saying it with their fingers crossed.  It's not just a shake-and-jive; it's a bait-and-switch.  They have absolutely no intention of supporting LWOP, as the Times's editorial usefully, if unintentionally, makes clear. 

Don't be conned.  The ink won't even be dry on the death penalty repealer bill when its sponsors  --  the same ones who were touting LWOP as the "safe" alternative  --  will launch the campaign to repeal LWOP too, it being, dontcha know, "merely a slow-motion death sentence," barbaric, a violation of human rights, a denial of the possibility of redemption, etc., et al.

Since deceit is the only way abolitionists can win, there is, of course, no particular reason to expect it to be limited to the moratorium with no ending date or the dozens of "innocents" who've been executed.  Thanks to the NYT, abolitionist deceit has yet another sterling illustration.



Here's another nugget from the NY Times editorial: "Nationwide, the racial disparity in the penalty is stark. Blacks make up 56.4 percent of those serving life without parole, though they are 37.5 percent of prisoners in all state prisons."

What the editorial doesn't tell you is the following: "According to Bureau of Justice statistics, between 1976 and 2005, blacks, while 13 percent of the population, committed over 52 percent of the nation's homicides and were 46 percent of the homicide victims. Ninety-four percent of black homicide victims had a black person as their murderer.

Blacks are not only the major victims of homicide; blacks suffer high rates of all categories of serious violent crime, and another black is most often the perpetrator."


yankalp --

Superb comment. Thanks. Race baiting is right up there with (and linked at the hip to) deceit as a staple of NYT editorials.

I believe that liberals like the New York Times editorial board do themselves quite a disservice in the long term by not acknowledging certain realities. You'll notice that even much of their liberal readership has pointed out that the Times' stances on criminal justice and illegal immigration are irrational and unrealistic at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. Taking the tack they have, the Times risks losing credibility with even their core mostly liberal readership.

Apropos today's editorial on LWOP, rather than pretending not to know why blacks are overrepresented in the criminal justice system (by the way, today they didn't post a fact-based comment of mine similar to the one I made above yours), wouldn't it be much more interesting and useful to get down to why there is such a terrible problem in the black community and, more importantly, trying to figure out what can realistically be done about it?

The NYT every now and again prints something quite thoughtful. It just never happens on the editorial page.

I have to wonder how much they actually care about their credibility outside their own bubble there in Manhattan. Their readership has been on the wane for years. I think it was last year things got so bad they had to sell the building to some Mexican billionaire.

You put your finger on the problem. There is just nothing resembling an honest assessment of the other side. I don't mind ideology -- I have my own -- but ideology at the cost of intellectual integrity is a bad bargain.

You point to one glaring example in the editorial. Another, which I neglected to mention heretofore, lies in the editorial's claim that LWOP was imposed for shoplifting.

Now you and I and anyone with even slight experience with the criminal justice system knows that can't possibly be true. There's some story we aren't being told. Maybe there's a three-strikes law in play; I have no idea because the Times simply clams up on the underlying facts.

But to premise the view that LWOP is a grotesquely unforgiving punishment on the false notion that you can get it for shoplifting is, in addition to dishonest, absurd. As you say, it erodes their credibility.

When an advocate has a good argument, he doesn't need to hide the ball or engage in grossly misleading omissions, about race or anything else. When that kind of stuff is undertaken, you know right off that the advocate DOESN'T BELIEVE IN THE MERIT OF HIS OWN CASE, honestly stated.

You're spot on. The Times is almost openly showing contempt for its own readers. Thus they can be expected to continue to do what they've been doing for years -- leave.

And to them, I say: Welcome to C&C. You may disagree with much of what gets said here, but we don't hide the ball.

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