Monday, October 27, 2014

The rich have a right to profit from polluting and killing the poor



I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that we should have the right to dump enormous amounts of toxic waste on the front lawn of one of the Koch Brothers or any other wealthy energy or chemical executive.

Or at least not in a manner that was intended to be taken seriously; although it is almost certainly said on occasion to point out the enormous hypocrisy in our current system.

For all practical purposes energy and chemical executives have a right to profit from polluting and killing the poor and it has been standard operating procedure for decades. There have been numerous studies or other reports pointing out the enormous inequity when it comes to the benefits from environmental destruction, which goes overwhelmingly to the wealthiest, and the costs, which goes overwhelmingly to those without political power.

If anyone were to attempt to make an argument that those that receive the benefits deserve it based on their merits because they work harder or do other things to benefit society it wouldn't take long before it flunked the laugh test or more importantly any rational test comparing the merits of the argument. The people that do most of the labor to produce products or mine energy are often the ones that pay the price in environmental destruction while the wealthiest rely much more on their political connections rather than their worth.



When enough people get together and protest the inequity the political and media response along with the response by the police only indicates that it is even bigger than most people realize; assuming people actually hear about it. The media and politicians routinely ignore the vast majority of the protests so most people never even hear about it, assuming they rely on traditional commercial media, which fortunately a shrinking percentage of the population is.

At best they might slow down the environmental destruction or in some rare occasions, where there is enough political power, and perhaps the upper middle class with enough money they might partially reverse the process; however when this happens the pollution is often increased elsewhere to compensate so there is little or no net gain.

Then, if they attempt to increase their chances of getting heard, after the consolidated media ignores them, the police arrest them for one trivial charge or another, usually trespassing or what they call disorderly conduct, although it is often much more orderly than the police or many of the allies of the energy companies.

The police, rarely if ever, open up an investigation to find out how many people are being killed by pollution and consider negligent mass homicide charges against energy and chemical executives.

No, I didn't mean that as a joke; this really would be justified if they actually investigated real crimes or things that should be considered real crimes.

If you're reading this then you probably already rely on alternative news outlets so you might not need back up do conclude that oil and coal executives are profiting off the pollution of the poor but here's a good article on it that is relatively recent anyway:

Low-Income, Black, And Latino Americans Face Highest Risk Of Chemical Spills 05/02/2014

The people who face the greatest threat from potential toxic chemical disasters are disproportionately low-income, black, or Latino, according to a study released Thursday by three environmental groups.

Compared to the national average, the 134 million people who live closest to U.S. chemical facilities are 75 percent more likely to be black, 60 percent more likely to be Latino, and 50 percent more likely to be poor, the study showed. The demographics of these areas — called “fenceline zones” — show a troubling “pattern of ‘environmental racism,’” among chemical and petroleum companies, the report said.

“The question now is: what will it take for government and industry to finally act to prevent disasters, and protect the communities and workers whose safety and security are unfairly and unequally put in jeopardy?” the report, said. It was written by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Coming Clean, and the Center for Effective Government. Complete article


This is just one of many studies to find similar results. It claims to do certain types of research for the first time, and I trust this is true; but others have provided additional types that go back decades.

However like the vast majority of these studies it either hasn't been mentioned at all in the traditional media or they only mentioned it briefly and quickly forgot it, while selling an enormous amount of propaganda ads, that won't stand up to scrutiny, which they don't provide, for the oil and coal companies.

Another report indicates that Half The Country Lives With Unsafe Air Pollution, American Lung Association Report Finds; but that was hardly reported either in the traditional press and there is little or nothing being done to address the problem.

Robert Bullard has also been reporting on this for decades and he has provided an enormous amount of evidence, including plenty listed below, to indicate that this is an enormous problem. He has been considered by some to be the father or "dean of environmental justice;" however this is probably only among those that are familiar with the environmental movement since the traditional media doesn't provide him with much if any coverage; and most people probably never heard of him.

I'm sure there is additional research to indicate that the worst of the inequity isn't even in the United States but around the world where our media doesn't even report about most damage at all unless it is really big.

This can't go on indefinitely as indicated by another study which has just come out:

Climate Change And Rising Violence Are Linked, According To 55 Scientific Studies 10/23/2014

According to a new review of 55 separate studies, there is a meaningful connection between climate change and human violence.

The working paper, put out by researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research, is what’s called a meta-analysis: a study of studies, in effect. After going through numerous analyses of the relationship between climate change and violence in various settings, the researchers settled on 55 of the most rigorous pieces of work. They then evaluated the picture painted by those studies, and worked to amalgamate their findings into a single statistical result.

They looked at conflicts between individuals — “domestic violence, road rage, assault, murder, and rape” — as well as conflicts between larger human groups — “riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups.” The end result? The researchers determined that changes in drought and rainfall patterns, but especially increases in temperature, all have a meaningful link to increases in both forms of violence. “We find that deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase the risk of conflict, often substantially, with average effects that are highly statistically significant,” the researchers wrote. Complete article


Just because the media doesn't cover it doesn't mean that all these environmental disasters aren't happening. A handful of these disasters have eventually been reported and even made fairly wide spread news like Love Canal, PG&E as exposed by Erin Brockovich and Civil Action as portrayed by John Travolta; but the vast majority of disasters including the racial and class connection gets much less attention.

If a growing portion of the third world continues to become less inhabitable and a growing portion of the USA that can no longer be ignored then it is a matter of time before the political establishment has to address the problem one way or another.

Attempts by many of those with the most political power to describe environmentalists as terrorists clearly aren't inclined to help much. But fortunately the environmental movement is demonstrating how foolish these claims are and it is only raising more doubts about those that make these absurd claims, assuming the environmental movement has a reasonable chance to get their views across, which isn't happening in the traditional press.

There is a growing amount of evidence to indicate that if we can get past the overwhelming amount of political power of the energy companies then much more can be done to reverse this environmental destruction and a lot of it can be done without sacrificing quality of life like the following study:

We can provide power to everyone without a huge leap in emissions, study finds 10/20/2014

When we talk about international climate action, it’s often taken for granted that developing countries need room to pollute as they pull their citizens out of poverty. More than a billion people worldwide don’t have access to electricity, the argument goes, and getting them connected will require major development projects that will come hand-in-hand with significant new emissions.

But that might be a false assumption, according to a new paper in Nature Climate Change.

Shonali Pachauri, a researcher with the Austrian International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, finds that the world’s poorest people use so little energy at the moment that initially, upon being connected to the grid, they will not make much of a difference at all. Complete article


This study clearly doesn't apply to everything but a little basic sense indicates a lot of other things that can be done to reduce pollution without harming quality of life and often even increase quality of life. This includes increased production of Geo-transfer heating and cooling which can be done anywhere and it can be powered by increased amounts of solar panels and wind turbines which are less expensive than they used to be.

One of the most important thing that can be done to change this is to simply stop buying things that we don't need. A shocking percentage of the products sold in the USA are things that have been hyped up through deceptive ads that have little or not practical use and do nothing to improve the quality of life.

Unfortunately when corporations take a portion of the money they obtain fraudulently from consumers and use it for more deceptive advertising that speech receives much more protection than the speech of environmentalists that are telling the truth about these scams because they aren't passing on the cost of their speech to those that they scam.

Or to put it bluntly fraudulent corporate speech receives much more protection under the first amendment than sincere speech thanks to the perverted interpretation by the Supreme Court.

If this continues then a growing portion of our country and world will continue to deteriorate; and the longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to reverse the process assuming we don't pass a point of no return without realizing it.



Recently according to an article, Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26 in Germany. On several occasions when I have heard about disasters like these I have done searches to find out how many more have happened that weren't reported as widely and quickly found an enormous amount of additional disasters.

I have no doubt that if I did another search then many more would turn up including many in the USA; although there are probably more elsewhere; but they're less inclined to report it especially the USA media.



The following is some related material including the first two chapters of Robert Bullard's book "Dumping in Dixie" and additional material from him and others.

The SXSW kids are about to get schooled by Robert D. Bullard the dean of environmental justice 10/03/2014

Robert D. Bullard

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality by Robert D. Bullard CHAPTER ONE Environmentalism and Social Justice

The environmental movement in the United States emerged with agendas that focused on such areas as wilderness and wildlife preservation, resource conservation, pollution abatement, and population control. It was supported primarily by middle- and upper-middle-class whites. Although concern about the environment cuts across racial and class lines, environmental activism has been most pronounced among individuals who have above-average education, greater access to economic resources, and a greater sense of personal efficacy.[1]

Mainstream environmental organizations were late in broadening their base of support to include blacks and other minorities, the poor, and working-class persons. The "energy crisis" in the 1970s provided a major impetus for the many environmentalists to embrace equity issues confronting the poor in this country and in the countries of the Third World.[2] Over the years, environmentalism has shifted from a "participatory" to a "power" strategy, where the "core of active environmental movement is focused on litigation, political lobbying, and technical evaluation rather than on mass mobilization for protest marches."[3]

An abundance of documentation shows blacks, lower-income groups, and working-class persons are subjected to a disproportionately large amount of pollution and other environmental stressors in their neighborhoods as well as in their workplaces.[4] However, these groups have only been marginally involved in the nation's environmental movement. Problems facing the black community have been topics of much discussion in recent years. (Here, we use sociologist James Blackwell's definition of the black community, "a highly diversified set of interrelated structures and aggregates of people who are held together by forces of white oppression and racism."[5]) Race has not been eliminated as a factor in the allocation of community amenities. Complete article




Dumping in Dixie: CHAPTER TWO Race, Class, and the Politics of Place

POVERTY, POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES by Robert D. Bullard

The cruel, increasingly usual prison punishment no one is talking about 10/06/2014

Ohio’s Clean Energy Programs Save Customers $2 For Every $1 They Spend

84,000 Lives Threatened By Sea Level Rise In New England

Congressman Denies Manmade Climate Change, Calls It ‘An Agenda-Driven Science’

Republican Bill Cuts Funding For Climate, Social, Economic Research By $160 Million

Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels

California Regulators Decide Utilities Can’t Charge Solar-Killing Fees

The Denver Post’s ‘Energy And Environment’ Section Is Produced By The Oil And Gas Industry

Why Are 20 Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?

Bombshell: Study Ties Epic California Drought, ‘Frigid East’ To Manmade Climate Change

Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 What Is Environmental Justice?

Chapter 3 Title VI and Environmental Justice

Chapter 4 Environmental Justice Litigation and Remedies: The Impact of Sandoval and South Camden

Chapter 5 Alternative Dispute Resolution and Meaningful Public Participation etc. or go to http://www.usccr.gov/ and search for "Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice" to get PDF

[PDF]Chapter 3 - United Church of Christ

PDF]Chapter 7 – Anatomy of the Urban Parks Movement: Equal .. The Quest for Environmental Justice Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution


Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Insurance and media companies are encouraging lots of murders





I don't know about you but I don't remember Alex Trebek ever saying the following in one of his commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance:

Hi I'm Alex Trebek and I want to recommend Colonial Penn Life Insurance because the payout when you die is so pathetic that your relatives would never use it as a motive to kill you and collect insurance money; and when you buy our insurance a portion the money you pay won't be used as an incentive for other troubled people that kill their relatives for insurance money.

This shouldn't be too hard to figure out if you consider the basic principles of insurance. Insurance is basically pooled risk but the cost of administering the pooling of risk has to be deducted from the amount of money that is collected from consumers before paying out to minimize losses. Otherwise Insurance companies would have gone bankrupt long ago. On top of that when you have for profit insurance companies then the profits also have to be deducted from the pool of money collected from consumers.

This means that regardless of what any commercial for insurance says all expenses for all insurance companies have to be deducted from the pool of money collected from policy holders so the more money they spend on commercials that make insurance seem like a magical replacement of lost, stolen or damaged goods the less they have to pay for actual claims.

Did you notice one commercial, ever, that actually gave you accurate information about insurance that helps you make decisions. Do you really believe that all these discounts we advertise are for real?

Have you ever heard the phrase marked up to mark down? Fine print? If it sounds to good to be true it probably is?

Have you ever heard about someone who tries to get away with murder for insurance money? Does it seem like it happens over and over again? Have some of these stories involved people that actually did collect and keep the money until they got caught years later?

Where do you think the money that provides an incentive for these murders comes from?

It doesn't come from your insurance policy if you buy it from Colonial Penn Life Insurance because unlike other insurance policies we don't collect enough money from our customers to provide an incentive for murder; nor do we collect enough to pay out much for policy holders when they die so one way or another something in the fine print is going to give us an excuse to avoid giving you much money at all when you die.

We'll still scam you for enough money to pay for all these commercials but we won't scam you by as much money as other insurance policies; however we're hoping you'll buy our insurance because now for the first time we're providing a commercial that actually tells you something much closer to the truth than all other insurance commercials!


My best guess is the reason that I don't remember him saying this is because he never said; if he had even if I missed it it almost certainly would ahve stirred up discussion and caught my attention which I would have remembered.

Let's face it no matter how dignified the media makes Alex Trebek look, he's still a scam artist and so are most if not all celebrities that do commercials. The entire advertising industry is encouraging distortions or outright lies.

Let's assume for the sake of argument there is an exception what would it be?

Don't expect me to come up with one.

The media uses all these murders for entertainment purposes and rarely ever informs the public about efforts that might actually work to reduce crime. They use the "public's right to know" as and excuse to justify all this coverage and hype about murder and celebrities; but they withhold the information that would be most helpful for the public when it comes to reduce crime and don't allow those that would inform the public about this to get air time.

Apparently the "public's right to know" only applie3s to information that helps increase p[rofits for the media and their advertisers, not information that primarily benefits the public.

The highest profile case in the news right now is probably Utah man, accused of killing wife for insurance money, cried over her dead body at hospital: report 12/08/2013; which is currently being tried in court. It wasn't too long ago that the highest profile story was the hot car death in Georgia. Warrants: Toddler’s dad told family how to collect $27K life insurance 07/04/2014

I didn't keep track of the majority of the coverage on that story but I find it surprising that anyone would even buy life insurance for a baby. When I first learned about life insurance we were taught that it was only for adults in case of emergency so families wouldn't be left destitute if the bread winner died and they had no income. The media practically never discusses this although if people search the internet it isn't hard to find information raising doubts about these insurance policies. Chuck Jaffe exposed both Colonial Penn Life Insurance as Stupid Investment of the Week 02/15/2007 and Gerber Life College Plan 03/11/2011 which is now being heavily advertised on TV including many news shows.

There are plenty of other advisers that strongly recommend that people never buy life insurance for children but they're not in the high profile media, only much lower profile articles that can easily be found by those that look for them, but not the complacent majority.

On some of the rare occasions where they do discus the fact that life insurance might provide an incentive for murder they often say that there is no way of knowing how often this might happen.

This isn't quite true.

One of the reasons they might say this is because some of them get away with it and there is no way of knowing how often that happens, which is true; but they have records of the incidents where it does happen and if they spent a small fraction of the money they use on deceptive advertising they could do much more to figure out how often they get caught.

The FBI already has a lot of this information on file; and the insurance companies also must have a much better idea how often it happens than the general public although they have an incentive to keep that information confidential.

The insurance companies might have an incentive not to do this research if they can avoid it but the FBI is supposed to work for the public and it is hard to imagine why they wouldn't do so unless they're under political pressure. However even without their resources which could and should provide better results it is possible to get a better idea how often insurance is a partial factor on many murders. A search on Murderpedia for "insurance money" turns up about 800 results and they have a total of about 6,800 entries. This is potentially almost 12% of all the murders in their database, assuming they all turn out to be insurance related murders. However that is almost certainly not the case. I checked to see approximately how many they might be and relatively quickly found over eighty entries without skipping many. This probably means that even though it almost certainly won't be over ten or eleven percent there is a good chance that it will come to at least six to eight percent and virtually guaranteed that it will be at least two or three.

If the same percentage applies to the murders in the United States it could come to nine to twelve hundred murders per year that are related to insurance. However my best guess is that this is probably still high but it is not unreasonable to assume that it is probably at least one to three percent which comes to at least 150 to 450 murders related to insurance per year.

As I said the numbers from a review of FBI files which are already compiled, although they're not completely public, would almost certainly be more reliable; and it is virtually guaranteed that such a review would enable changes that could help reduce these murders and the incentive to kill people for insurance.

At least when it comes to insurance related murders on planes they already seem to have done this. Between 1949 and 1965 there were nine planes mostly in the USA or Canada blown up for insurance that I could find. Since then there was one more in South Africa, 1988 and another in China 2002. I don't know for certain why they've been reduced but it is almost certainly a change in policies at airports or selling insurance.

There has also been some precedent for wrongful death lawsuits against insurance companies; however I doubt if this is used very widely and the vast majority of the public almost certainly doesn't know about it making it less likely they'll take advantage of the possibility, however slight.

The media would of course be in the best position to inform the public about how to minimize the risk of insurance fraud, whether it involves inciting murder or just selling bad insurance policies. Unfortunately the media collects and enormous amount of revenue from the insurance companies that profit off of this giving some people the impression that they might have an incentive to avoid coverage of it.

I don't know about you but I don't remember Little Boy George Stephanopoulos ever saying the following in one of the episodes of "This Week With Little Boy George Stephanopoulos":



Hi welcome to This Week With Little Boy George Stephanopoulos, I'm Little Boy George Stephanopoulos.

Recently there was a widely publicized story about a hot car death of a toddler that might have been for insurance in Georgia. Some people have expressed concern that we might have a conflict of interest when reporting on this subject since we have also been selling ads for Gerber Life College Plan on our show.

Nothing could be further from the truth and to eliminate any doubts we will be looking into this issue in depth to find out if insurance does anything to provide incentives for murder, whether it is for children or not. Over the years there must have been dozens if not hundred of stories in the news about murders were done partly, if not entirely so the killers could try to collect insurance money.

The media has rarely if ever discussed the possibility that the practice of selling life insurance might increase potential for murder.

Until now.

It is unlikely that many if any of these killings were solely done for insurance money but after we take a closer look at how many there are we will have a better idea of how much an impact insurance might have on the murder rates and while we're at it we'll take a closer look at what other potential contributing causes might exist and how to address them.

One of the things we'll do is take a close look at Tips On Child Life Insurance so that we won't be presenting just one side of the story in our ads for Gerber Life Insurance for children. The truth of the matter is that in order to accrue much value in most insurance policies you would have to pay into it for a long time and there is a much bigger chance that you will run into problems with financing somewhere along the line.

In most cases the way caring parents might respond is by dropping the life insurance policies, which would mean that for the insurance company most of the money they paid prior to that would be profit with no risk, but for consumers it would mean a total loss.

The insurance companies are fully aware of that but they make appeals to emotions when selling to people. This is potentially where a problem could come in. If some people are in serious trouble with debt partially because of the insurance policy, and possibly because of other reasons like gambling problems or loss of a job then they might become desperate.

A small percentage of these people might act out of desperation and if the same insurance that helped them get into financial trouble also offers them a way out then it could be an incentive to either commit a desperate act, or perhaps more likely go into depression and act out of negligence.

If this is the case then we will do what we can to inform the public to the best of our ability if the insurance might have something to do with it and if there are other contributing causes like financial instability we will take a closer look at the causes of that.

In some cases the causes that lead up to many people winding up in serious financial trouble if often gambling or fraudulent financial scams, whether they're insurance scams or other types. we will investigate these and report on them so that the public will have the information they need to make their decisions and vote for candidates that address these problems to the best of they're ability.

There have been similar concerns about our selling advertising for many troubled financial institutions like Enron or Worldcom then remaining silent until they were in so much trouble that they inevitably collapsed in huge scandals that went undetected even though there was an enormous amount of evidence months if not years ahead of time.

Also, even though we have been selling an enormous amount of ads to the Koch Bothers, BP and coal companies we will do much more to report on the environmental damage that they're doing so that we can demonstrate that advertising doesn't create a conflict of interest for media institutions even when large corporations have consolidated into a small number of oligarchies.

This should eliminate any doubt that we might not be trying to do our best to provide the public with the information that they need to know to participate in a democratic process.

Thank you this is Little Boy George Stephanopoulos reporting for ABC; and be sure to keep watching while we follow up on this.


Yea I'm quite certain the reason why I don't remember Little Boy George saying that is because he never said it.

Let's face it George is a scam artist too. He isn't even trying to report on the news anymore than any of other reporters for the traditional media. They're far more interested in selling advertising for profit than they are in reporting the news and what they do report is almost always more for entertainment purposes than to inform the public how to reduce crime or solve any other problems.

Insurance companies may not kill any people directly but they are by far the biggest perpetrators of insurance fraud. In addition to deceiving the policy holders about the risks and pay outs of insurance they pass on the cost of all other insurance fraud to the consumers.

On top of that the government has to foot the bill for all the insurance fraud and incarceration of criminals that commit them, excluding well connected insurance executives. This is what they call a negative externality; and instead of insurance companies or policy holders footing the bill for it tax payers pay for this.

Like Alex Trebek said "Otherwise Insurance companies would have gone bankrupt long ago."

Or maybe he never actually said that, at least not that I remember.

21 Shocking Murder for Life Insurance Plots (#4 Was Caught on Video!) 10/31/2014

Life Insurance and Murder! Whodunit? The husband, for the insurance money!

5 notorious, homicidal tales of life insurance fraud including some that initially paid off

Black Widow Murders of two homeless people with a third planned 2008

Fla. man convicted of murdering newlywed wife for $1M life insurance policy 04/22/2014

What happens to a life insurance claim when foul play is involved?

Life Insurance and Murder!

Life Insurance Policies As An Incentive To Murder, And The Duty Of Reasonable Care by Norman L. Tolle 2002

Over the years, a number of state courts have recognized the validity of wrongful death claims against life insurance companies for their improper issuance of life insurance policies.[1]In particular, several state courts have permitted these actions to proceed under general tort law principles.[2]

These court decisions suggest that life insurers should make certain that they exercise reasonable care when underwriting policies so as not to provide an incentive to murder through the issuance of their life insurance policies. The concern is more than theoretical. Recently, for example, federal officials in New York charged that two men had obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance proceeds by obtaining insurance policies on "a large number" of individuals who thereafter had been killed.[3]Although public policy is rather clear that a life insurance policy obtained by one having no insurable interest in the life of the insured is void at its inception,[4]an insurer that issues such a policy may face liability for wrongful death in the event that the insured is murdered by someone who receives the benefits of the policy -- and damages may well exceed the policy's face amount. .....

..... Conclusion: Although life insurance policies procured by a person who does not have an insurable interest in the insured's life may be void, they still can lead to an insurer's liability under various theories adopted by a number of courts across the country. Insurers, therefore, should put appropriate procedures in place -- and require that the procedures are followed -- to help make certain that life insurance policies only are issued to those who have an insurable interest in the life of the insured and that the insured is aware of the existence of the policy. Complete article


Commercial Airline Bombing History

Commercial Aircraft Blown Up by Bombs For Insurance Payoffs

Profiting from tragedy: how airlines can make money when planes crash

8 facts that explain what’s wrong with American health care

Fraud: why should I worry? Dina Abdelhaq suffocated her seven-week-old daughter Tara to collect $200,000 in life insurance money to feed her gambling addiction in 1995. Jobless and on welfare, the Illinois resident was deeply in debt from riverboat gambling. Tara died in her crib just two weeks after Abdelhaq took out a life policy on the child. Abdelhaq received 21 years in prison for insurance fraud in 2000.

10 shocking revelations in the hot car death hearing

7 Black Widows and 16 Dead Husbands

15 Cases of High Profile Murders to Commit Life Insurance Fraud

Tips On Child Life Insurance

4 Life Insurance Policies You Should Never Buy

Kathy Augustine's Family Outraged About 48 Hours Mystery Show 05/23/2007

Charles Augustine's Death Ruled Natural 05/01/2007

But They did find the metabolite of succinylcholine, succinylmonocholine. (Forensic Files 2010) Narrator: A metabolite means it's a by-product of succinylcholine. If you don't look for it, you don't find it. And that's not a condescending answer. That is the truth. Narrator: There has never been a documented case of succinylmonocholine produced as a result of embalming fluid. However, in Charles Augustine's case, there were no records of which embalming fluids were used. So, this possibility, however remote, could not be eliminated. Therefore, the medical examiner did not change the manner of his death to homicide.





The following are a list of over one hundred murders for insurance from Murderpedia. This is more than one and a half percent of the entries they have and there is probably between two and eight percent counting ones not on this list:

Rodriguez, Angelina September 9, 2000

Miyoko Sumida 6 murders 2003 - 2011

Brenda E Andrew November 20, 2001

Teresa Stone March 31, 2010

Audrey Marie Hilley May 25, 1975

Adele Craven July 12, 2000

Debra Jean Milke December 2, 1989 Milke also had a $5,000 insurance policy in effect on her only child's life.

Mark Edward Lundy 2 parents on August 29, 2000

Lyda Catherine Ambrose 5 victims 1917 - 1920

Judith Hawkey November 3, 2003

Richard Pryde Boggs April 16, 1988

Herman Webster Mudgett 27 plus victims 1886 - 1894

Josephine V. Gray 2 or 3 victims March 3, 1974 / November 9, 1990 / June 21, 1996

Christie Michelle Scott August 16, 2008 Scott was convicted last month of killing her six year-old son, Mason Scott, last August. Prosecutors contend that she set fire to her family's Signore Drive home in Russellville and allowed Mason to die in the fire so she could collect $175,000 in life insurance policies.

Kenneth and Sante Kimes 3 murder victims 1996 / 1998 Often houses owned by Ken and Sante would mysteriously burn to the ground and an insurance firm would have to write an even larger one.

Billi Jo Smallwood 2 children for husbands insurance money November 18, 2008 Army wife found guilty of setting fire to home killing kids aged 9 and 2 in blaze 'set for husband'

Nanny Hazel Doss 8 to 11 victims 1920s - 1954

Anna Cunningham 5 victims 1918 - 1922

Dr. John Dale Cavaness killed his 2 children April 7, 1977 / December 13, 1984

Gabriel Arturo Garza Hoth 3 victims in Mexico April 17, 1991 / October 3, 1992 / May 11, 1997

Gary W. Ploof November 3, 2001

Wendi Elizabeth Andriano October 8, 2000

Bruce Rich December 23, 1995

Susan Grund November 4, 1992

Marie Noe 8 victims 1949 - 1968 Neither the police nor the District Attorney would speculate on a motive for the killings, though they confirmed that the parents had taken out insurance policies on six children.

Angela Garcia 1999 PDF In a 5-2 vote, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Angela Garcia, who was convicted of killing her two children in a 1999 house fire on Cleveland's East Side. The court rejected the appeal and ended the case without comment. Justices Paul Pfeifer and Francis Sweeney dissented. Garcia, 25, was charged with setting fire to her home to collect $40,000 in insurance. Her children, Nyeemah, 3, and Nijah, 2, died in the fire. The case twice ended in mistrials before a third jury convicted Garcia in 2001 of aggravated murder, aggravated arson and insurance fraud. She is serving two life prison terms.

Martha Lowenstein Marek 4 victims 1932 - 1937

Catherine Flannagan and Margaret Higgins October 2, 1883

Debra Hartmann June 8, 1982

Shirley Elizabeth ALLEN November 1, 1982

Stacey Castor 2 husbands early 2000 and August 20, 2005

Lawrence Horn 3 victims March 3, 1993

David Lee Fisher November 21, 1983

Dr. Glennon Engleman at least 7 victims 1954 - 1980

Johnny Ray Anderson December 1, 1981

Katherine A. Mock, and Elain Kay Young March 23, 2006

Peter Ventura April 15, 1981

Patrick Lane Moody and Wanda Robbins September 16, 1994

Pierre Corneille Faculys Basson 8 or 9 victims 1903 - 1906

Kimberly Hricko February 14, 1998

Karen Tobie and Lynne Blake June 30, 2004

Stella Nickell June 5/11, 1986

Alexander 'Sandy' Keith, Jr 88 victims December 11, 1875

Henry Keogh March 18, 1994

Amy A. Gilligan at least 5 victims 1908 - 1916

Gina Lynn Spann May 11, 1997

Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon 2 to 5 victims February 3, 1995 - June 23, 1996

Lynn Turner 2 victims March 3, 1995 / January 22, 2001

Eva Coo June 14, 1934

Susan Diane Hendricks 5 victims April 13, 2006 / October 14, 2011

Michael Apelt December 23, 1988

Elicia Hughes June 3, 2004

Maureen McDermott April 28, 1985

Robin Lee Row 3 victims February 10, 1992

Rev. Walter Dworecki August 7, 1939

Robert S. James 3 victims 1932 - 1935

Eugene Marie Chantrelle January 1, 1878

Martha Needle 5 victims 1885 - 1894

Belle Sorenson Gunnes November 11, 1859

James Campbell 2 possible victims hung jury followed by acquittal March 10, 1997

Dr. John Baksh 1983

Mary Frances Creighton 1 to 3 victims 1923 / 1935

Thomas York 2 victims 1978 / 1981

Lindi Nomso Mangaliso December 16, 1984

Kara Lounsbury 2 victims January 14, 2009

Toshihiko Hasegawa 3 victims November 1979 - December 1983

Earle Dennison 1 or 2 victims May 1, 1952

Mary Ellen Samuels 2 victims December 8, 1988 / June 27, 1989

Randolph G. ROTH July 23, 1991

Cynthia Sommer cleared after serving over two years in jail February 18, 2002

Mary Ann Cotton perhaps 21 or more victims 1857 - 1872

Kang Ho-sun 10 victims 2006 - 2008

Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis, Matthew Shallenberger, and Rodney Fuller 2 victims October 30, 2002

Deidre Michelle Hunt, Kosta Fotopoulos and Bryan Chase who was killed instead of receiving a cut of insurance October 20/November 4, 1989

Charles Stuart October 23, 1989

Anne Marie Stout June 10, 2007

Misty Keller Witherspoon Convicted Of Murder In Husband's Death September 13, 2005 The State also presented evidence that after Quinn's death, his survivors received $82,102.27 in government death benefits;  $91,000.00 in life insurance;  and $24,138.68 from a 401(k).  In total, defendant received $197,240.95 as a result of Quinn's death.

Frederick L. Small was convicted of killing his wife in New Hampshire To collect insurance money September 28, 1916

Carol M. Bundy (August 26, 1942 – December 9, 2003) was an American serial killer. Bundy and Doug Clark became known as "The Sunset Strip Killers" after being convicted of a series of murders in Los Angeles during the late spring and early summer of 1980. The victims were young prostitutes or runaways. July-August 1980 In February 1980, Doug set fire to his car outside the Jergen's factory, while he was working night shift, in order to claim the insurance. He later bragged to Carol that the real reason was to destroy evidence.

Shawna Nelson Found Guilty In Love-Triangle Slaying of Heather Lynn Garraus January 23, 2007 Garraus was the wife of a Greeley police officer Ignacio Garraus, who had an affair and fathered a child with Nelson, a former Weld County dispatcher. Ignacio Garraus broke off the three-year affair a month before the shooting. .... Under redirect, Ignacio said he did not know his wife had a life insurance policy on herself. He said she had told him he was heavily insured. .... Ignacio has been unemployed since resigning from the Greeley Police Dept. He says he's concentrating on taking care of Victoria. When initially asked about a $200,000 life insurance policy, Ignacio said he has not received that settlement. Later, he said it came out to be $168,000.

John Ronald Brown convicted of homicide Self-appointed sex change specialist - Practising medicine without a license May 9, 1998 He was also charged with allowing patients to work as unqualified, medical assistants (allegedly as barter for their own subsequent surgery), failing to hospitalize a patient who had developed a life-threatening infection and making false claims on medical insurance forms.

Franklin Delano Floyd killed Cheryl Ann Commesso, 18 (a nude dancer) Fit of anger - Heated arguments March 13, 1989 1989/ A warrant is placed on Franklin for insurance fraud, he is accused of drilling holes in the bottom of his boat to collect insurance money.

Psychologist Michelle Theer, Her Internet Affair with John Diamond, and The Murder of Air Force Captain Marty Theer December 17, 2000 They said the motive was to collect insurance and death benefits.

Mexican hit man Mario Benjamin Murphy, 25, confessed to carrying out a contract murder on James Radcliff at the behest of Radcliff's wife and her boyfriend. They were hoping to collect on a $100,000 insurance policy. July 28, 1991

Lisa Donlon Found not guilty on all counts by a jury on April 3, 2013 Victim of domestic violence October 7, 2010 He said the trial wasn’t about money — despite what Kalytiak implied, Lisa Donlon didn’t even know about her husband’s $400,000 insurance policy — nor was it about an affair she said she’d had with a co-worker.

Catherine Thompson: Black; age 42 at crime; murder (she hired killer) of her husband in Westwood (Los Angeles County) on 6-14-1990; sentenced on 6-10-1993. June 14, 1990 A judge on Thursday sentenced a Westwood auto shop owner's widow to death for contracting her husband's murder so that she could collect on a $400,000 life insurance policy.

Robert Hansen Flew 17-21 victims into the Alaskan wilderness and hunted them down like wild game 1973 - 1983 In January 1981, he opened a bakery at 9th and Ingra, using $13,000 from the insurance settlement of a faked burglary of his home.

Barbara Stager (born October 30, 1948) is an American woman who was convicted in 1989 of murdering her husband, Russell Stager, in 1988. Stager is also suspected of the earlier murder of her first husband, Larry Ford, who died in nearly identical circumstances. February 1, 1988 Representatives from two insurance companies testified that the defendant received in excess of $46,000 in insurance proceeds as a result of Larry Ford's death.

Kent Leppink died by gunshot in 1996. His former fiancée, Mechele Linehan, was convicted of murdering him, but the judgment was reversed on appeal. May 2, 1996 At trial, Linehan was accused of conspiring with John Carlin to kill Leppink. The government said that Linehan's motive was that she was the beneficiary of Leppink's $1 million life insurance policy. Leppink changed the beneficiary on the policy a few days before his death.

William Thomas Zeigler Jr., killed His wife Eunice, her parents Perry and Virginia Edwards, and Charles Mays Jr., an employee To collect insurance money December 24, 1975

A French killer-for-profit, Henri Girard insured his victims' lives before poisoning them with home-grown germ cultures and collecting the cash. 1912 / 1918

Donna June Enright drugged her stepfather and set the blaze to collect insurance money October 17, 1996

Dieter Riechmann was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Kersten Kischnick To collect insurance money October 25, 1987

Along with an accomplice, Jack Edward Alderman beat his wife Barbara Alderman with a crescent wrench, then choked her and put her under water in a bathtub to be sure she was dead. ...The motive for the murder was life insurance money from a policy supplied by her employer, the City of Savannah. September 21, 1974

Joan Shannon persuaded her 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth to kill David Shannon March 20, 1927

Farmer, Graham Backhouse, is jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court for trying to kill his wife with TX a car bomb in order to claim her life insurance. April 30, 1984 He is given a second life sentence for killing a neighbour, Colyn Bedale-Taylor, with a shotgun, in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Sandra Camille (Powers) Bridewell Never convicted of murder. Plead guilty to one count of identity theft in return for a sentence of two years in prison on February 28, 2008 05/0/2017

A Taiwanese woman named Lin Yuru, successively murdered her own mother, mother in law and husband in order to use their insurance money to pay off her gambling debts. 2008 - 2009 Madam Hou died at the scene and Lin subsequently received NT$5.06 million in insurance claims. ... That month, Lin also bought life insurance for her four-year-old son. .... Lin called for help after finding her mother-in-law dead in bed. She later received NT$7.43 million from insurers. .... Mr Liu died and Lin later claimed NT$4.75 million from insurers.

Cheryl Gasper and beau Randall Knight, 56, were charged after cold-case investigators reopened the unsolved killing in 2009. July 3, 1994 Pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on October 5, 2010. Sentenced to 18 years to life in prison on November 13, 2010 Investigators said Knight and the victim's wife had planned to use proceeds from Andie Gasper's $100,000 life insurance policy to build a dream house together. Andie Gasper and Knight were stationed together at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1980s, when Cheryl Gasper and Knight became involved.

Jesse James Hollywood Sentenced to life in prison on July 14, 2009 for murder to cover up insurance scheme August 8, 2000 Benjamin Markowitz was a frequent customer of his, accumulating an unpaid debt of around $1,200. Perhaps more importantly, Markowitz threatened to reveal a $36,000 insurance scam Hollywood was involved it. He sold a sport car for parts and reported it stolen in an attempt to defraud his insurance agency.

Justice Story: Dr. Alice Wynekoop kills her daughter-in-law, Rheta, in Chicago mansion November 21, 1933 Oddly affectionate doctor had taken out two life insurance policies on son's wife just weeks before the murder

Their main claim centers around the $2 million life insurance policy Pamela Phillips took out on ex-husband, the $400,000 she is accused of transferring to convicted hit-man Ron Young and bombshell testimony from a former friend. 05/1/2017

George Smith AKA John Lloyd killed Beatrice "Bessie" Mundy, 31 / Alice Burnham, 25 / Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, 38 for insurance 1912-4 The next was Alice Burnham, a plump and pretty young nurse who met Smith in Southsea in September 1913. On their wedding day on November 4, he took her to a doctor who certified she was healthy enough to take out a £500 insurance policy on her life, with Smith the beneficiary. Life insurance was also the death warrant for Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd (nee Lofty).

Judge Joe Peel and the Chillingworth Murders another judge June 15, 1955 The partner, Harold Gray, was given a brutal beating but survived. The motive, police charged, was a $100,000 insurance policy on Gray's life.

As the evidence unfolded, Bill Hale had organized the deaths of Mollie’s mother, Lizzie Q, her cousin, Henry Roan, Anna, and the Smiths in order to cash in the insurance policies and oil head rights of each wealthy family member. Bill Hale, his nephews, and the ranch hands hired by the rancher to murder the Osage Indians were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Mollie Kile’s family in 1925. 05/0/2017

Henry Colin Campbell Burned the bodies - Met his two victims through a matrimonial agency - To collect insurance money 1928 / 1929

Rhonda Orr gets 88 years for Little Elm fire that killed husband To collect insurance money May 14, 2003

Misty Keller Witherspoon Convicted Of Murder In Husband's Death September 13, 2005 The State also presented evidence that after Quinn's death, his survivors received $82,102.27 in government death benefits;  $91,000.00 in life insurance;  and $24,138.68 from a 401(k).  In total, defendant received $197,240.95 as a result of Quinn's death.

Frederick L. Small was convicted of killing his wife in New Hampshire To collect insurance money September 28, 1916

Carol M. Bundy (August 26, 1942 – December 9, 2003) was an American serial killer. Bundy and Doug Clark became known as "The Sunset Strip Killers" after being convicted of a series of murders in Los Angeles during the late spring and early summer of 1980. The victims were young prostitutes or runaways. July-August 1980 In February 1980, Doug set fire to his car outside the Jergen's factory, while he was working night shift, in order to claim the insurance. He later bragged to Carol that the real reason was to destroy evidence.

Shawna Nelson Found Guilty In Love-Triangle Slaying of Heather Lynn Garraus January 23, 2007 Garraus was the wife of a Greeley police officer Ignacio Garraus, who had an affair and fathered a child with Nelson, a former Weld County dispatcher. Ignacio Garraus broke off the three-year affair a month before the shooting. .... Under redirect, Ignacio said he did not know his wife had a life insurance policy on herself. He said she had told him he was heavily insured. .... Ignacio has been unemployed since resigning from the Greeley Police Dept. He says he's concentrating on taking care of Victoria. When initially asked about a $200,000 life insurance policy, Ignacio said he has not received that settlement. Later, he said it came out to be $168,000.

John Ronald Brown convicted of homicide Self-appointed sex change specialist - Practising medicine without a license May 9, 1998 He was also charged with allowing patients to work as unqualified, medical assistants (allegedly as barter for their own subsequent surgery), failing to hospitalize a patient who had developed a life-threatening infection and making false claims on medical insurance forms.

Franklin Delano Floyd killed Cheryl Ann Commesso, 18 (a nude dancer) Fit of anger - Heated arguments March 13, 1989 1989/ A warrant is placed on Franklin for insurance fraud, he is accused of drilling holes in the bottom of his boat to collect insurance money.

Psychologist Michelle Theer, Her Internet Affair with John Diamond, and The Murder of Air Force Captain Marty Theer December 17, 2000 They said the motive was to collect insurance and death benefits.

Mexican hit man Mario Benjamin Murphy, 25, confessed to carrying out a contract murder on James Radcliff at the behest of Radcliff's wife and her boyfriend. They were hoping to collect on a $100,000 insurance policy. July 28, 1991

Lisa Donlon Found not guilty on all counts by a jury on April 3, 2013 Victim of domestic violence October 7, 2010 He said the trial wasn’t about money — despite what Kalytiak implied, Lisa Donlon didn’t even know about her husband’s $400,000 insurance policy — nor was it about an affair she said she’d had with a co-worker.

Catherine Thompson: Black; age 42 at crime; murder (she hired killer) of her husband in Westwood (Los Angeles County) on 6-14-1990; sentenced on 6-10-1993. June 14, 1990 A judge on Thursday sentenced a Westwood auto shop owner's widow to death for contracting her husband's murder so that she could collect on a $400,000 life insurance policy.

Robert Hansen Flew 17-21 victims into the Alaskan wilderness and hunted them down like wild game 1973 - 1983 In January 1981, he opened a bakery at 9th and Ingra, using $13,000 from the insurance settlement of a faked burglary of his home.

Barbara Stager (born October 30, 1948) is an American woman who was convicted in 1989 of murdering her husband, Russell Stager, in 1988. Stager is also suspected of the earlier murder of her first husband, Larry Ford, who died in nearly identical circumstances. February 1, 1988 Representatives from two insurance companies testified that the defendant received in excess of $46,000 in insurance proceeds as a result of Larry Ford's death.

Kent Leppink died by gunshot in 1996. His former fiancée, Mechele Linehan, was convicted of murdering him, but the judgment was reversed on appeal. May 2, 1996 At trial, Linehan was accused of conspiring with John Carlin to kill Leppink. The government said that Linehan's motive was that she was the beneficiary of Leppink's $1 million life insurance policy. Leppink changed the beneficiary on the policy a few days before his death.

William Thomas Zeigler Jr., killed His wife Eunice, her parents Perry and Virginia Edwards, and Charles Mays Jr., an employee To collect insurance money December 24, 1975

A French killer-for-profit, Henri Girard insured his victims' lives before poisoning them with home-grown germ cultures and collecting the cash. 1912 / 1918

Donna June Enright drugged her stepfather and set the blaze to collect insurance money October 17, 1996

Dieter Riechmann was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Kersten Kischnick To collect insurance money October 25, 1987

Along with an accomplice, Jack Edward Alderman beat his wife Barbara Alderman with a crescent wrench, then choked her and put her under water in a bathtub to be sure she was dead. ...The motive for the murder was life insurance money from a policy supplied by her employer, the City of Savannah. September 21, 1974

Joan Shannon persuaded her 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth to kill David Shannon March 20, 1927

Farmer, Graham Backhouse, is jailed for life at Bristol Crown Court for trying to kill his wife with TX a car bomb in order to claim her life insurance. April 30, 1984 He is given a second life sentence for killing a neighbour, Colyn Bedale-Taylor, with a shotgun, in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Sandra Camille (Powers) Bridewell Never convicted of murder. Plead guilty to one count of identity theft in return for a sentence of two years in prison on February 28, 2008 05/0/2017

A Taiwanese woman named Lin Yuru, successively murdered her own mother, mother in law and husband in order to use their insurance money to pay off her gambling debts. 2008 - 2009 Madam Hou died at the scene and Lin subsequently received NT$5.06 million in insurance claims. ... That month, Lin also bought life insurance for her four-year-old son. .... Lin called for help after finding her mother-in-law dead in bed. She later received NT$7.43 million from insurers. .... Mr Liu died and Lin later claimed NT$4.75 million from insurers.

Cheryl Gasper and beau Randall Knight, 56, were charged after cold-case investigators reopened the unsolved killing in 2009. July 3, 1994 Pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on October 5, 2010. Sentenced to 18 years to life in prison on November 13, 2010 Investigators said Knight and the victim's wife had planned to use proceeds from Andie Gasper's $100,000 life insurance policy to build a dream house together. Andie Gasper and Knight were stationed together at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1980s, when Cheryl Gasper and Knight became involved.

Jesse James Hollywood Sentenced to life in prison on July 14, 2009 for murder to cover up insurance scheme August 8, 2000 Benjamin Markowitz was a frequent customer of his, accumulating an unpaid debt of around $1,200. Perhaps more importantly, Markowitz threatened to reveal a $36,000 insurance scam Hollywood was involved it. He sold a sport car for parts and reported it stolen in an attempt to defraud his insurance agency.

Justice Story: Dr. Alice Wynekoop kills her daughter-in-law, Rheta, in Chicago mansion November 21, 1933 Oddly affectionate doctor had taken out two life insurance policies on son's wife just weeks before the murder

Their main claim centers around the $2 million life insurance policy Pamela Phillips took out on ex-husband, the $400,000 she is accused of transferring to convicted hit-man Ron Young and bombshell testimony from a former friend. 05/1/2017

George Smith AKA John Lloyd killed Beatrice "Bessie" Mundy, 31 / Alice Burnham, 25 / Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, 38 for insurance 1912-4 The next was Alice Burnham, a plump and pretty young nurse who met Smith in Southsea in September 1913. On their wedding day on November 4, he took her to a doctor who certified she was healthy enough to take out a £500 insurance policy on her life, with Smith the beneficiary. Life insurance was also the death warrant for Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd (nee Lofty).

Judge Joe Peel and the Chillingworth Murders another judge June 15, 1955 The partner, Harold Gray, was given a brutal beating but survived. The motive, police charged, was a $100,000 insurance policy on Gray's life.

As the evidence unfolded, Bill Hale had organized the deaths of Mollie’s mother, Lizzie Q, her cousin, Henry Roan, Anna, and the Smiths in order to cash in the insurance policies and oil head rights of each wealthy family member. Bill Hale, his nephews, and the ranch hands hired by the rancher to murder the Osage Indians were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Mollie Kile’s family in 1925. 05/0/2017

Henry Colin Campbell Burned the bodies - Met his two victims through a matrimonial agency - To collect insurance money 1928 / 1929

Rhonda Orr gets 88 years for Little Elm fire that killed husband To collect insurance money May 14, 2003

Mass murders on airplanes

Julian Andrew Frank in North Carolina 33 victims For insurance money January 6, 1960

John "Jack" Gilbert Graham in Colorado 44 victims To collect insurance money November 1, 1955

Joseph Albert Guay in Canada 23 victims September 7, 1949 purchased a $10,000 insurance package ... A later incident, the bombing of United Airlines Flight 629 on November 1, 1955 (by a man, John "Jack" Gilbert Graham, wishing to kill his mother for insurance) was apparently inspired by the Albert Guay affair.

Zhang Pilin in China 111 victims May 7, 2002 Just several days after the disaster, there were reports that a passenger named Zhang Pilin had purchased seven air insurance policies worth a total of 1,400,000 RMB (about 170,000 USD) prior to boarding the flight.

Francisco Gonzales in California 44 victims May 7, 1964 The next morning he took out a $100,000 insurance policy on his life and then went to Reno airport where he bought a ticket on Pacific Air Lines flight 773 to San Francisco.

Thomas G. Doty 44 victims Bomb on a plane (suicide committed as an insurance fraud by a passenger) Missouri May 22, 1962


Monday, October 13, 2014

Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit



Slovenian criminologists made it clear that they understand a simple concept that many Americans might agree with, assuming they consider it, "Politicians have learnt that crime and especially fear of crime is also helpful to follow their own interests: to be elected again." (On Crime Policy, Crime Control and Crime Prevention–Slovenian Perspectives by Gorazd Meško and Helmut Kury)

As I pointed out in my previous post "Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse" Slovenia is one of the European countries with murder rates less than one per hundred thousand, at only .7, compared to the United States rate of 4.7. Their criminologists may not spell the same way we do but their efforts to address crime seem to be working better than ours, for one reason or another. They also have incarceration rates that are less than one tenth of the rates in the United States.

As I indicated in the previous post one of the states with the lowest murder rates is Vermont, which probably has the most active grass roots political organization in the country. Vermont has had an active Progressive Party where citizens have been active at the grass roots level for quite some time now. Minnesota and Maine are also among the states with the lowest murder rates and they have had active grass roots organizations as well.

I'm not aware of a scientific study that indicates that these grass roots organizations are the cause of their low crime rates but it doesn't take much thinking about the details behind some of them to come to the conclusion that it is virtually guaranteed that they are. Another major contributing factor is almost certainly that the states with the lowest crime rates are mostly rural states without abandoned inner cites. In most cases these areas are more likely to have active grass roots organizations and people are more likely to know people in their own neighborhoods.

It is virtually guaranteed that these reasons do more to keep crime down than politicians lock them up and throw away the key crime policies, which appeal to emotions but have major problems and don't work.

Large cities typically have bigger crime problems but a review of United States cities by crime rate indicates that a few of them with the most progressive political organizations also have some of the lowest crime rates, especially compared to other cities. Only twenty out of seventy-four of the largest cities with populations above 250,000 have below average murder rates. Only one out of the ten states with over one million people in it has below average crime rates; and most of the others have significantly higher crime rates.

The one city over one million is San Diego, which is probably the most progressive of the ten largest cities. Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon are among the cities with the strongest grass roots political organization in the country; Seattle recently elected one of the few socialists, Kshama Sawant, to local office and they have among the lowest crime rates for large cities. Madison Wisconsin doesn't quite have enough people to cross the 250,000 mark for this list of large cities but it is only 10,000 short and it has well below average murder rates and this is where David Couper, who wrote Hazing and Bullying in the Police Academy was police chief for twenty years.

However contrary to what many people have been led to believe the police are almost certainly not the most effective crime preventors at all. The most effective way to prevent crime involves finding the contributing causes of crime and preventing those before it becomes necessary to call in the police. This is almost certainly a major part of the reason why cities and states with stronger grass roots organizations participating in politics often have lower crime rates; assuming they pursue the right policies at the grass roots levels. There are a lot of southern cities and states that pursue the politically popular policies of "lock them up and throw away the key" but they have some of the highest crime rates including murder in the country. However even in the South there are some exceptions; in Austin and El Paso Texas they both have well below average murder rates, especially for large cities in the south.

However a relatively quick search of the internet is enough to see that it appears they might have more progressive grass roots efforts than the majority of the south.

Perhaps one of the best recent examples where grass roots efforts have succeed in dramatically bringing down crime rates is Richmond, California where they elected Gayle McLaughlin, one of the few Green Party candidates, thanks to a strong grass roots effort; and some of the same grass roots efforts appear to be contributing to numerous other improvements, including standing up to corporate corruption and efforts to address the root causes of crime, not just punish people after the fact.

In addition to some of the usual problems for large cities, like home foreclosures, and lack of funds for eduction, Richmond also has had major problems with Chevron's oil refinery and the pollution it has brought especially when there have been explosions or other disasters. This ahs finally spurred many people to stand up to a lot of the corporate corruption and it has helped bring down their crime, as indicated in several articles including the following.

Richmond reports lowest homicide total in 33 years, credits multipronged efforts 01/06/2014

RICHMOND -- Just six years removed from being ranked among the nation's 10 most dangerous cities, Richmond's 2013 homicide total was its lowest in 33 years. Total reported crimes also continued a decade-long fall and were more than 40 percent lower than the 2003 total. .....

Sixteen people were killed in Richmond in 2013, the lowest total since 1980 and a far cry from the 40-plus tallies of just a few years ago.

"We have a ways to go, but we're headed in the right direction," said police Chief Chris Magnus. "The reputation of Richmond as a dangerous city is not well-deserved anymore; that is becoming the Richmond of the past."

The decline in homicides and overall crime -- Richmond has not had more than 26 homicides in any year since 2009 -- can be attributed to a range of factors, law enforcement and anti-violence officials say, including better police-community relations, improved youth-outreach programs and changing demographics.

On the police side, Magnus has reformed a long-beleaguered department with an infusion of young officers, a focus on data-driven resource deployment and an emphasis on building community trust.

"We don't cast a wide net or move into hot spots like an occupying force, which fosters distrust among community partners," Magnus said. "We are surgical; we concentrate on people that need to be focused on."

At the same time, the ONS employs agents who build relationships with more than 60 young men and teens, identified through criminal records and other data as potential violent offenders. The program includes educational, counseling and job-placement support.

Operation Ceasefire, a volunteer campaign, helps give former gang members and violent offenders job training and counseling.

"We have built relationships with the people who may have otherwise perpetrated gun violence, and helped them become influential peacemakers," Boggan said. ....

"Part of crime reduction is not incarcerating kids in awful places where they become more violent," Krisberg said.

The 16 homicides in 2013 are the lowest total since 1980, when 15 people were killed. The lowest number on record, dating to 1971, was 12 homicides in 1973. But Richmond has about 105,000 residents today, up from just under 75,000 in 1980, according to U.S. Census data, meaning the homicide rate per capita in 2013 was the lowest in the city's recorded history. Complete article


Right or wrong the media often picks up on the most dramatic aspect of events, whether it is crime prevention or anything else; and this is no exception as indicated by the following article that puts emphasis on efforts "Paying People Not to Kill," which also creates what many people may consider shock value that tehy wouldn't go for. However they're doing something right and it is worth, at least considering if this is part of it.

Did This City Bring Down Its Murder Rate by Paying People Not to Kill? August/2014

It was a crazy idea, but Richmond, California, wouldn't have signed off on DeVone Boggan's plan if it had been suffering from an abundance of sanity. For years, the Bay Area city had been battling one of the nation's worst homicide rates and spending millions of dollars on anti-crime programs to no avail. A state senator compared the city to Iraq, and the City Council debated declaring a state of emergency. In September 2006, a man was shot in the face at a funeral for a teenager who had been gunned down two weeks earlier, spurring local clergy to urge city hall to try something new—now. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten," says Andre Shumake Sr., a 56-year-old Baptist minister whose son was shot six times while riding his bicycle. "It was time to do something different."

Richmond hired consultants to come up with ideas, and in turn, the consultants approached Boggan. It was obvious that heavy-handed tactics like police sweeps weren't the solution. More than anything, Boggan, who'd been working to keep teen offenders out of prison, was struck by the pettiness of it all. The things that could get someone shot in Richmond were as trivial as stepping out to buy a bag of chips at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Boggan wondered: What if we identified the most likely perpetrators and paid them to stay out of trouble?

Boggan submitted his proposal. He didn't expect the city to come back and ask him to make it happen. "They asked me for a three-year commitment and told me to put on my seatbelt," he recalls.

In late 2007, Boggan launched the Office of Neighborhood Safety, an experimental public-private partnership that's introduced the "Richmond model" for rolling back street violence. It has done it with a mix of data mining and mentoring, and by crossing lines that other anti-crime initiatives have only tiptoed around. Four times a year, the program's street team sifts through police records and its own intelligence to determine, with actuarial detachment, the 50 people in Richmond most likely to shoot someone and to be shot themselves. ONS tracks them and approaches the most lethal (and vulnerable) on the list, offering them a spot in a program that includes a stipend to turn their lives around. While ONS is city-funded and has the blessing of the chief of police, it resolutely does not share information with the cops. "It's the only agency where you're required to have a criminal background to be an employee," Boggan jokes.

So far, the results have been promising: As this story went to press, 65 of the 68 "fellows" enrolled in the program in the previous 47 months were still alive. One had survived a shooting and three had died. In 2007, when Boggan's program began, Richmond was America's ninth most dangerous city, with 47 killings among its 106,000 residents. In 2013, it saw its lowest number of homicides in 33 years, and its homicide rate fell to 15 per 100,000. Rates are dropping nationwide, but not so steeply. (In 2013, nearby Oakland's homicide rate was 23 per 100,000; Detroit's was 47 per 100,000.) Complete article


Not surprisingly there are people, like Courtland "Corky" Boozé, that think that this program isn't what is bringing the crime rate down; and they might be right. However unless their sure it probably wouldn't be in there best interest to end it too soon especially since it will almost certainly be phased out anyway. The program officially cuts off when they're 25, although they try to keep in touch anyway even if there aren't more payments. And on top of that if it doesn't continue to keep bringing crime rates down then there would be no reason to keep it; but if it does then presumably their would be fewer troubled kids in the long run that would be eligible for the payments anyway.

One other important factor that should be kept in mind is that low crime rates require a functional economic and social system, which many abandoned inner cities don't have. This isn't unique to abandoned inner cities; it is a global problem.

Off the coast of the Horn of Africa there ahve been numerous stories about problems with piracy and kidnapping for ransom. What these stories rarely ever mention is what happened prior to these events and the fact that many of the pirates are former fisherman that can no longer earn a living that way. The reason for this is because large corporations have over fished the area with industrial fishing operations and at the same time other large corporations have polluted the area making it less capable of supporting fish.

That part of the story is almost never mentioned by the traditional news media nor do they mention that they're doing something similar when they cram large number of African Americans in inner cities with little or no education or employment opportunities.

This virtually guarantees high crime rates but the impact by decisions made by politicians is rarely explained by the media to the public.

Benjamin, a student cited by Jonathan Kozal gets right to this point when he says, "Put them over there in a big housing project. Pack them tight. Don’t think about them. Keep your hands clean. Maybe they'll kill each other off." (Jonathan Kozol “Amazing Grace” 1995 p.40-1)

In the long run continuing this drop in crime and keeping it down will have to break the cycle and create a functioning economic, social and political system that functions properly and Richmond seems to being doing this in several other ways that may not seem related to reducing crime including their efforts to stand up to corporations foreclosing on homes, stop Chevrons polluting, and stand up to the expansion of charter schools that have been proven not to work and often involve an attempt to control the education system by corporations with little or no local control.

One of the most important conclusions some of my past posts on preventing crime, and at least one or two of my future posts, is that preventing white collar crime of numerous kinds will help prevent blue collar crime. For one thing white collar crime does an enormous amount to increase poverty and this is a major contributing cause to crime; and some other types of white collar crime, like gambling, also increase crime in other ways. Unlike most other politicians Gayle McLaughlin really does seem to be doing this as indicated in numerous stories including, Richmond, California Mayor Occupies Wall Street. She has also indicated that she is not willing to go along with corporate attempts to increase their control of the educations system in a letter supporting Oakland's mayor for not joining the so-called race to the top, Mayor McLaughlin of Richmond, CA objects to RTTT; and other grass roots efforts have indicated that the citizens don't support corporate take over of their schools either, Proposed charter school in Richmond, CA sparks heated debate

In New England we have a major Democratic candidate for governor spending an enormous amount of money to tell the public that she is standing up to big banks and powerful corporations; however I have no idea what she is actually doing or where she gets the money to buy all the propaganda telling us she will help us. As far as I can tell the best reason to vote for her is that her Republican opponent would be even worse, assuming you accept the false claim that we can only chose between the Democratic candidate sponsored by corporations or the Republican candidate also sponsored by some of the same corporations instead of the independent candidates that the media tells us don't have a chance.

To the best of my knowledge Mayor McLaughlin isn't spending so much money to tell her constitutes that she will represent them but she seems to be doing more to demonstrate it with her actions, and although they still have a long way to go they're going in the right direction. They could also be demonstrating for many other large cities methods that would be much more effective than going along with the traditional tactics promoted by the media and the political establishment.

These grass roots efforts that have much more impact on reducing crime are rarely ever mentioned by the media. Instead they give traditional politicians plenty of time to promote their policies; occasionally echoing the ideas that come from the grass roots level if that is what it takes to get elected. On the rare occasion that a real grass roots candidate gets elected the traditional media only pays attention that the local level; otherwise other people might get the idea they can elect their own candidates as well.

(This is part of a series of posts exploring the root causes of violent crime and ways to recognize and prevent them. Past posts on the subject include Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows; Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?; How does gambling and gun control impact violent crime?; Politics, not technology, caused botched executions; Wal-Mart crime: Rolling Back Safety more than prices?; States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations; Teach a soldier to kill and he just might; How much does Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates?; and Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse.)

Another possible contributing factor that may not seem to directly impact crime might be urban farming or the slow food movement, which encourages more community involvement in some cases. This is often accompanied by improvements in what ahs become the Slow Democracy movement described by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout in a book by that name. The following are a couple excerpts from articles describing how this might help reduce crime.

Growing Power?: Social Benefits From Urban Greening Projects by Lynne Westphal

.... This home style tree planting on America Street in Charleston, South Carolina, is a lesson in “standard sociology,” to use the words of Danny Burbank, the city’s superintendent of grounds maintenance and urban forestry. Because the event was organized and implemented entirely by members of Charleston’s East Side neighborhood, a low-income area with high crime rate, the new street trees live happily in the ground as well as in the hearts of the planters. ....

Reducing Crime and Drugs

The effects on crime are only hinted at in the Story of the East Side neighborhood in Charleston (above). Some practitioners report reduced crime and drug dealing on blocks after tree planting, although they rarely do so in print (personal communication with Susan Phillips, formerly with Philadelphia Green). There are several reasons why greening projects might reduce crime.

The new gardens and trees lead to people being outside more, sitting on their porches, talking with their neighbors, working in the garden—and more eyes to see the negative things on the block. This presence also provides social pressure against illegal activities.

Some times the police or firefighters join the greening projects (Ricard. 1994). By working together planting trees, residents and police come to know each other as people rather than as perpetrators and aggressors, which can lead to cooperation in efforts to reduce crime in the affected neighborhoods. It can also work against ‘profiling’—a procedure of guessing who is likely to be engaged in criminal activity based on external characteristics like race and gender.

Finally, trees and gardens are thought to create a higher quality neighborhood, which in turn, fosters more civil behavior. Anthony Bouza (quoted above), as a police captain in Harlem, planted trees in front of the police station houses. Asked by an officer why they were planting trees, Bouza replied “Because I want the [residents] to have beauty and nature … They lead to civilized behavior.” (Kostouros, 1989). Complete article PDF


Metro Detroit Goes Slow And Tastes The Difference Not only are poverty-stricken families provided with fresh food, but these community gardens have also been shown to have rehabilitative effects and reduce crime in their surrounding areas. They have done what food is meant to do: provide nourishment and bring people closer together.

For additional information on this subject or more back up see the following articles:

How to reduce gun crime in California? Why not pay people not to shoot each other?

Richmond California: A city that pays criminals to behave

Huffington Post: Richmond, California Mayor Occupies Wall Street

Seattle Crime Rates

Portland Oregon Crime Rates

Madison Wisconsin Crime Rates

Richmond California Crime Rates

San Diego California Crime Rates

San Francisco California Crime Rates

Community Gardens

Let them eat kale: In Harlem, a farm share for the people

Lynne Westphal

Crime Down Across California: Attorney General

San Diego County's violent crime rate dips in 2013