Crime news headlines these days cause my eyes to glaze over and my brain to lock up, like a cheap virus-infected computer. I think my body attempts to reject the news because today’s crimes just aren’t what they used to be, and I sometimes find myself longing for the good old days, when most murders were easy to solve, and catching many of the bad guys was as simple as shooting fish in a well-stocked bathtub.
In fact, it wasn’t all that odd for the murderer himself to phone the police, confessing his deeds to the dispatcher. A guy robbed a liquor store…we all knew who did it, and we simply drove to his house and waited for the thug to come home. Sometimes the crook’s wife or mother offered us a glass of iced tea to sip on during the wait, which usually wasn’t too long. Even so, there was often time to play with the kids or toss a saliva-soaked rubber ball to the family’s three-legged dog a couple dozen times. You know, I often wonder about the correlation between bad guys and dogs with three legs. They do seem to go hand in hand.
Burglars back in the day… Well, there were a dozen or so of them in each small town, and each had his own style, so, again, cops most often knew the suspect’s name sometimes even before they broke out their Sirchie fingerprint kits (notice how I subtly worked in the name of a Writers’ Police Academy sponsor).
Anyway, a quick glance at today’s crime headlines started the all-too-familiar eye-spinning.
Murder, Kidnapping, Shooting Spree Leaves Four Dead, Teen Strangles Neighborhood Girl, Python Kills Small Boys, Rape, Cop Beats Man, Man Beats Cop, Parents Charged With Killing Their Kids, In 2011 There Were Four Arrests Per 100 U.S. Citizens…
Whoa, four arrest for every 100 citizens? Did I read that headline correctly? That one definitely stopped my eyes in mid whirl. Could that stat be true? If so, then out of everyone at the WPA—instructors, volunteers, and recruits (attendees), well, we should automatically take 12 of them straight to jail.
Two full Greyhound buses pass by on the highway—4.5 of the passengers are destined for incarceration.
The FBI says (in the year 2011) that 1 in 207 of us were arrested for drug crimes. 531 out of 100,000 went to lockup for property crimes. 172 for violent crimes (rape, murder, assault).
Has it always been this way? If not, what are the differences in how crime is handled today as opposed to “back when?” Let’s take another look at the headlines for a moment and choose just two, and then reminisce to days gone by to learn why there weren’t as people people arrested in those days.
1. Erbie Bowser, Former Dallas Maverick’s ManiAAC’s Dancer Arrested Four Killing Four, Wounding Four Others
Okay, for starters, I don’t normally associate murder with men who belong to a troupe whose hobby is to dance at pro basketball games while wearing oversize Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader uniforms. But, it seems that Bowser was searching for his girlfriend at the two houses where, for some reason, he killed four people (two of the wounded were innocent young boys—11 and 13).
In the old days, had Mr. Bowser entered someone’s home, ranting and raving about his girlfriend, the entire family would have shown him the door. Had he resisted, then Pops and Uncle Ralph would have enhanced their message of “Go away,” with a couple of Louisville Sluggers.
The three-legged dog might have joined in as well, taking a chomp on the intruder’s rear end. You see, back in the day, guns weren’t used all that often as a “first-resort” like they are today. Not at all. A fellow would first have to endure, at minimum, a black eye and a roll across a gravel driveway before going back to his pickup to retrieve the pistol he kept beneath the seat. And, everyone knew to get the heck out of Dodge when a man reached for something under his truck seat. It was indeed time to scatter.
So “back in the day” wins this round. No one dies.
2. Man Won’t Face Animal Cruelty Charges For Blowing Up Family Dog
Christopher W. Dillingham of Stevenson, Washington is the proud owner of a fireworks stand. He also used to own a golden retriever. Ah…you already see where this is going. You should be detectives.
But, authorities say they couldn’t charge the man with animal cruelty because the dog died instantaneously. Instead, the suspect was charged with reckless endangerment and possession of an explosive device.
Dillingham told police that his girlfriend had given him the dog and that she’d “put the devil” in it. Prosecutors are considering other charges.
Way back when, if a man killed his dog at 4am it was sort of his business. Neighbors would have probably assumed the animal was rabid, or something of that nature. But to set off an explosion that early in the morning, when Pops and Uncle Ralph have to be at the foundry at 6 for another 12-hour shift in the grueling heat. Well, Mr. Dillingham had better hope there was enough black powder left to immediately send himself to the moon, because two angry foundry workers would be on their way over in their boxers, each carrying a ball bat and a whole lot of mad.
I believe “back when” is again the winner since justice would have come immediately in the form of several lumps on the head and a few kicks to the hind parts, courtesy of Pops and Uncle Ralph.
I’ve added a third headline as a bonus.
3. Man Accused Of Attacking Pig To Appear In Court
Benjamin Fullwood of Effingham County Georgia, was arrested for attacking and stabbing a pig multiple times. Then, as if the edged weapon attack didn’t do enough damage, he had his two pit bulls repeatedly bite the unarmed porker.
Fullwood told officers that he was afraid that Oliver (the pig) might hurt nearby children, so he screamed and jumped on Oliver’s back, trying to kill the animal with his knife.
This one is timeless. Today or way back when—you attack a pig and you go to jail. And the reason why is obvious. There’s no loyalty among swine. They’ll squeal on you in a heartbeat.