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Seven years ago, I wrote in VDARE.com about a local crime to use as an example of how improvements in technology were making it harder to be a career street criminal, a theme Steven Pinker elaborated upon three years later in The Better Angels of Our Nature:
One of the creepier experiences I had last year was walking past the TV as the local news reported on a woman who had been knifed repeatedly in the neck and face by a robber in her apartment. As the broadcast introduced more details about the nameless victim, I started to feel a horrible sense of inevitability: the victim was somebody I knew. Finally, when the reporter mentioned the victim had been a Peace Corps volunteer, I found my wife to tell her that some intruder had attempted to murder her friend T., but that she was in stable condition in the hospital.
Just two weeks later, T. was back at work, speaking through a voice amplifier. She said that while doing paperwork on her bed on Saturday night, she had fallen asleep and failed to lock her door. The robber had walked in at dawn and awakened her. When she said, “Take my laptop,” he replied, “But you’ve seen my face,” and started stabbing her (seven times, by one report). Her screaming brought neighbors out of their apartments, so the would-be killer made a run for it, taking her computer, cell phone, and credit card.
A day or two later, however, I had another TV news-related hunch, this time an encouraging one. I was driving past the North Hollywood Police Station and there was a local news satellite truck pulled up out front with a vaguely familiar TV reporter preparing to go live. I thought, “Maybe the cops caught the bastard!” I hurried home, turned on the news, and they went immediately to their man out in front of the police station announcing the arrest of the attempted murderer of my wife’s friend.
[The perp] wasn’t exactly a criminal mastermind. He used her credit card at his local Jack-in-the-Box and called all his friends in his Latino street gang on her cell phone. When the cops came down hard on the gangmates, they rolled over on him and said he always went to Jack’s for breakfast. There, the police collared him the next day.
All these years later I have some more good news to report. The victim got some very good plastic surgery, got married, and, recently, had a baby. My wife spent a few hours with her old friend last week, and reports the baby is adorable.
So, chalk one up for the emerging Surveillance State.
I was going to post a picture of the baby, but decided not to due to the emerging Surveillance Society. My original article did a good job of balancing detail with protecting the privacy of the victim — I got an email from the victim’s cousin, who turned out to be a VDARE reader, thanking me for telling his cousin’s story, but nobody outside her extended family figured out to whom I was referring. But now with Google offering reverse image lookup, I hesitate to post even a picture of her baby, even though all babies look kinda alike (to me, although my wife would definitely disagree with that).