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Ferguson Is a Story of the Section 8 Era
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In the optimistic days after WWII, big cities built giant urban housing projects to accommodate the poor. For example, Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis was designed by Yamasaki, architect of the World Trade Center, on the most advanced principles of modernism. Obviously, taking poor blacks out of their lead paint-encrusted tenements and raising them in advanced Bauhaus designs would prove the bigots wrong.

Pruitt-Igoe went on to be home to the future Heavyweight Champs Leon and Michael Spinks, before it was blown up in 1972.

Pruitt-Igoe, 1972

These days, big cities don’t want to accommodate the black poor anymore; they want them to leave. The powers that be prefer for poor blacks to leave town with Section 8 rent subsidy vouchers that go further in declining suburbs like Ferguson. For example, Hanna Rosin’s 2008 Atlantic cover story American Murder Mystery documented how homicide rates were declining in central Memphis and rising in inner suburbs due to demolition of old housing projects and subsidized relocation of their tenants out of the city.

Poor blacks are the biggest Hot Potato in modern America. Liberal white urbanites realize today that their ancestors made a terrible mistake in the Postwar era by ceding much of the most valuable urban land in America to poor blacks. So they are offloading poor blacks on the less powerful, such as residents of second rate suburbs and of undistinguished small towns. But for this process, in which trillions of dollars of real estate values are at stake, to proceed smoothly without complaints from the less well connected about what is coming their way, it’s important to Control Discourse, to periodically demonize various minor league white people for engaging in pattern recognition.

If you think intelligently, while everybody else had had crimestop pounded into their heads so all thought shuts down when the topic of race comes up, you can make a lot of money in real estate.

The same dynamic is at work in Ferguson in relation to St. Louis. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Countenance):

Why did the Michael Brown shooting happen here?

8 hours ago • By Jesse Bogan • [email protected] Denise Hollinshed • [email protected] and Stephen Deere • [email protected]

FERGUSON • Long before the nation rested its collective conscience on the protests along West Florissant Avenue, there was a different mobilization going on.

Hundreds of people were moving out of their urban neighborhoods to this north St. Louis County suburb seeking a safe and affordable place to live.

They found it in an isolated corner of Ferguson that was flush with sprawling apartment complexes. Far from Ferguson’s leafy residential streets and quaint downtown, many people didn’t even know the apartments were part of the city until young Michael Brown was shot and killed there Aug. 9.

But not the police. They knew.

After decades of relative calm and stability, the apartments have become a tinderbox for crime. Canfield Green Apartments and the nearby Oakmont and Northwinds complexes are a study of the slow encroachment of poverty and social distress into what had been suburban escapes.

Angela Shaver has witnessed that sea change since she moved into Canfield Green Apartments 20 years ago. The state employee said she raised a prom queen there and sent her off to college.

There used to be a swimming pool. Now, there’s a bullet hole in the door below her.

That shooting, and many others, happened long before all the vigil candles melted in the middle of the street for Brown.

Even as Shaver explained the frequency of gunfire, she was cut off by a sudden blast coming from Northwinds Apartments, a hulking spread with more than 400 low-income units.

Boom!

Shaver paused to listen. No screams. No more shots. She picked up the interview where she’d left off.

“I hate to say I got used to them,” she said of the gunshots.

Ferguson’s crime and poverty rate is lower than some of the other North County municipalities. But the small southeast corner of the city where the apartments are glows bright red on crime maps.



That area along West Florissant Avenue and just east of it accounted for 18 percent of all serious crimes reported between 2010 and August 2012, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis of crime data provided by St. Louis County.

The area accounted for 28 percent of all burglaries, 28 percent of all aggravated assaults, 30 percent of all motor vehicle thefts and 40 percent of all robberies reported in the city of 21,000 people. …

It’s a cluster of densely populated complexes that stand apart from the predominantly single-family streets of Ferguson.

On a map, the area sticks out like an appendage, one that was added to Ferguson by annexation. Many of the children who live there aren’t even part of the Ferguson-Florissant school system.

Adding to that isolation, police have blocked off nearly all access roads to the apartments with concrete barriers, fences and gates.

The nearly all-white police force has struggled to maintain control and respect from many African-Americans who live there as officers try to clamp down on crime.

There is a common perception that police stop people without reason.

“If you stay here, they basically think you are a thug,” said Gerard Fuller, 19, who is headed to Arkansas Baptist College in a few days on a basketball scholarship.

The Brown shooting dug into that nerve. The response seems to have as much to do with socioeconomic factors as it does opinions about race relations and police brutality in communities across the country that have struggled to integrate.

In St. Louis County alone, African-American poor are six times as likely as white poor to live in areas of concentrated poverty.

The apartment complexes located on the fringe of Ferguson — the self-proclaimed “Community of Choice” — give a glimpse of what that looks like.

The eruption of looting and violent protests and the national attention it drew give a glimpse of the implications.

Some call Ferguson an affordable Kirkwood. …

In the 1960s, Ferguson annexed the land where Brown would be shot by police. He was walking back home to his grandmother’s apartment in the Northwinds complex.

Ashley Nowden, 29, had lived in Northwinds for six years before she hastily moved out in January after being burglarized three separate times. She connects the rise of crimes to an increase in low-income renters.

“It is a younger crowd now,” she said.

Maine-based Eagle Point Companies bought Northwinds in 2005 and poured $12.5 million into refurbishing the complex, thanks in part to low-income housing credits. Part of the deal was that to be eligible to live there, residents can earn no more than 60 percent of the median income in the area.

Northwinds is one of 31 affordable housing properties like it that Eagle Point owns across the U.S.

Laura Burns, president of the company, said she thought crime was under control at Northwinds, but she acknowledged residents tend to be nomadic.

“We have a lot of turnover,” she said. “Some of our residents unfortunately are not in a position to pay the rent for whatever reason.”

Louis Smith, 68, sees the sprawling apartments as yesterday’s high-rise public housing complexes, such as Pruitt-Igoe.

“After they tore these projects down, a lot of people started coming everywhere, everywhere, man,” said Smith, a retired McDonnell Douglas machinist who moved out of Canfield Green in the 1980s to buy a nearby home.

He said his wife, who is involved with the neighborhood watch, has complained to city leaders about unchaperoned and unruly children who come over from the apartments and destroy property.

“The women work,” he said of apartment residents. “The guys stay home, smoke dope and walk around harassing people.

“You can’t say nothing to them,” he added. “They’ll cuss you out.”

Ferguson real estate broker Georgia Rossel also took aim at the apartments.

“Apartments don’t promote community,” said Rossel, who also serves on the planning and zoning board in nearby Jennings. “People are just in and out. They don’t stay.” …

Canfield Green was mostly white when Kevin Edwards and his family moved in 12 years ago. It has since been filled mostly with African-Americans.

Edwards, 50, who is black, gives credit to the complex’s owners for maintaining the property.

“They keep it nice,” he said of neatly trimmed lawns and shrubs.

He says Canfield residents are no different from anyone else. “People here get up in the morning and go to work, try to pay their bills and raise families,” he said.

But the complex attracts a rough element. People with open warrants cruise the sidewalks. And that draws in police. …

Tim Bryant, Steve Giegerich, Walker Moskop and Tim O’Neil, all of the Post-Dispatch, contributed to this report.

 
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  1. The closest thing Marin County, California has to a Ferguson, Missouri a little town town called Marin City.

    It is 38 percent Black, not a majority but a big enough minority to cause a lot of social problems in that town. It has the highest crime rate in all of Marin County.

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  2. Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT wrote a statement signed by over 2 dozen fellow urban policy experts debunking Rosin’s 2008 atlantic article. It would be interesting to get your response to it. I’ll link to it below.

    http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/P3/

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    Actually, genius, you seem to have linked to page 3.

    Did you mean this link:

    http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/
    , @Art Deco
    The problem with these chaps is that they're very invested in the social-service-apparat's thousand little 'interventions'. They are also invested in attempting to make the social landscape of urban centers an artifact pleasing to themselves. Problems:

    1. Rental housing is a frequently 'replenished' good. The purchase of rental housing does not require sophisticated planning and risk assessment which saving for retirement or contingent medical expenses might. It's something well within the competence of people with truncated time horizons. You have to know the rent and know what your paychecks add up to and know what your monthly debt service adds up to and attempt as best you can to work it so that the sum of rent and debt service does not exceed a quarter your monthly take-home pay.

    2. The most salient consideration in housing decisions (accept at the very bottom of the market) would be amenity. That's quite sensitive to personal tastes, and handing people housing coupons rather than cash is likely to leave some people with unfulfilled preferences that could have been sated with cash. (The same observation applies to subsidized groceries and utilities).

    3. Slum neighborhoods have four salient characteristics: a deficit of ordinary retail trade, a decrepit built environment, schools which are disorderly and academically vapid, and insecurity borne of crime. Housing vouchers do not address these problems well or at all. The best they do is marginally improve the built environment by injecting more money into rental housing; however, what they giveth they taketh away by making it vexatiously difficult to evict problem tenants.

    4. The foregoing problems can be addressed, but it involves policies that sociologists and public interests lawyers (and their misfeasant allies on the bench) consider vulgar. Instead of moving people around (and often moving problems around), we might just work on improving the quality of life in slums. That's going to require measures which enhance the intensity of social discipline in these parts of town, and if your whole approach to social problems is to give people things, you cannot abide that.
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  3. “If you stay here, they basically think you are a thug,” said Gerard Fuller, 19, who is headed to Arkansas Baptist College in a few days on a basketball scholarship.

    Chances are better than even that Fuller is a thug, or at least has pronounced thuggish tendencies. A lot of the racial dysfunction in America can be traced back to the peculiar institution which is “college sports”. Large numbers of young men – mostly, let’s be honest, young black men – who should never get within a million miles of an institution of higher learning are admitted to them under the “college sports” fig leaf.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Wow - you are part of the problem. Way to go - prejudging that young man based on . . . what? That he's black and plays sports? I'm betting if you were a policeman and saw him walking down the street and Ted Bundy (or any serial killer, or mass shooter, they're all white), and you had to choose which one to stop and "check on", you'd harass the black ball player heading to college and let Bundy or Holmes (the Colorado theater shooter) or Adam Lanza (the shooter who massacred school children) go on their merry way, cause they don't fit YOUR preconceived notion of a thug. Well I'm pre-judging you as a racist redneck with thuggish tendencies and jealous that you're not very athletic. Based on your comments and the impression they made on me.
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  4. Here is a paper and a policy brief further challenging Rosin’s arguments, maintaining that, rather than housing voucher recipients contributing to increased crime, voucher recipients simply move into neighborhoods where crime is already rising for independent reasons.

    Even Rosin described this theory as “plausible”.

    Rosin’s article was a good start on a subject that not many people had investigated at the time. It sparked a fairly sizable academic literature. You should familiarize yourself with some of it before you act like Rosin’s 2008 Atlantic article is the last word on the subject again.

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    • Replies: @Steve
    I used to work in residential property management and the company's portfolio was about 50% Section 8. The system as it is today basically monetizes babies in that the more kids a mother has, the higher up they get on the waiting lists and the lower their rent will be. Many residents with enough kids actually received money every month above and beyond what the fairmarket rent would have been for their unit. There are no fathers in Section 8 today. That would imply an over 18 year old living in the unit (that could supposedly hold down a job) which would lower their subsidy or disqualify the family from Section 8 all together. What we were seeing is that when the kids reach 18, they had to leave so as not to affect the mothers rent. Daughters would start having babies at 16 or 17 so they could jump onto the Section 8 money train when they turned 18. Many "donated" grandchildren to grandma when they moved out so grandma's rent didn't go up. The boys, since they don't factor into the Section 8 equation, would join the local gang and get into drug dealing and other offenses. For housing, the boys would develop a "harem" of single mothers on the properties where they would rotate residence every day or so to beat the Section permanent residency rules. They would keep their belongings in trash bags in the middle of the floor because Sect8 rules say the property owner can only search closets and furniture for illegal residency evidence.
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  5. “Chances are better than even that Fuller is a thug, or at least has pronounced thuggish tendencies. A lot of the racial dysfunction in America can be traced back to the peculiar institution which is “college sports”. Large numbers of young men – mostly, let’s be honest, young black men – who should never get within a million miles of an institution of higher learning are admitted to them under the “college sports” fig leaf.”

    I wonder how many African American males there would be in universities today if athletic scholarships did not exist ? It would probably put a major dent into Black male enrollment.

    It would not affect White male and Asian male enrollment into universities too much if athletic scholarships did not exist.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Exactly. I thought "thug" as soon as I read it.

    Now that I think about it, the thug has graduated to "rapist."
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  6. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Pruitt-Igoe went on to be home to the future Heavyweight Champs Leon and Michael Spinks, before it was blown up in 1972.

    Wait. Was some poor white supremacist executed for that horrible crime?

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  7. These suburbs need to zone out construction of apartments. I have noticed my nearby big city is allowing apartments to be built right on the surrounding suburbs city limits. This forces the suburbs to basically police the inner city people who will reside there.

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  8. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @matt
    Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT wrote a statement signed by over 2 dozen fellow urban policy experts debunking Rosin's 2008 atlantic article. It would be interesting to get your response to it. I'll link to it below.

    http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/P3/

    Actually, genius, you seem to have linked to page 3.

    Did you mean this link:

    http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/

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  9. “He was walking back home to his grandmother’s apartment in the Northwinds complex.”

    I love how this pure speculation is portrayed as self evident fact. For all anyone knows he was on the prowl for more victims to beat and rob.

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    • Replies: @Bob124
    My grandmother used to smoke cigars.
    , @Anonymous
    I suspect that your right, he was thug a bully that used hids fists to take whatever he wanted. The town should say good riddance to bad garbage!
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  10. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    So I went to the erstwhile document provided above (via the corrected link) and found this cute statement:

    Another program, called HOPE VI, has provided local public housing agencies in about 200 cities with funds to tear down some old, badly deteriorated public housing developments and replace them with newly constructed “mixed-income” developments. The latter become home to both professionals and low-income families. (Emphasis added)

    Someone is living in cloud cuckoo land. Haven’t you heard of gentrification? Professional people do all they can to move away from “low-income” people.

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  11. One possible race relation archetype I’m noticing is that humans from all parts of the earth don’t like Japanese architects making monumental modernist buildings in American. These buildings must come down and come down hard- epically with bombastic musical accompaniment or leave behind two and only two mushroom clouds of dust.

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  12. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:

    Do blacks’ behavior problems derive mainly from a low general intelligence factor, so that if you could raise their IQ by another 15 or so points, they would behave more like white people? Or does the low g factor exist independently of the high discount rate on the future and impulse-control issues?

    I’ve wondered about this because lately I’ve seen articles about the alleged brain hacking effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), like these two:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/brain-hacking-having-incredible-effects-131836274.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/09/prepare-to-be-shocked/375072/

    Naturally this technology plays into transhumanist fantasies about boosting human intelligence, but the speculations seem to have neglected, perversely, the vast amount of research into IQ over the past century which continues to explain and predict a lot about human performance in the real world, despite the denialism and propaganda to the contrary. I would find these speculations more interesting if they broached the idea that if this technology really works, we should consider experimenting on the black population to see if we can “uplift” them usefully:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_(science_fiction)

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  13. The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject. It deserved a lot more skepticism from the right-blogosphere, but it confirmed prejudices, so it never received anything but applause.

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one

    The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject.
     
    This seems like an excellent reason to question her article. It seems quite like the two female Scandinavian researchers who claimed in a paper that women had to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same acclaim or something, and then lost the floppies the data was on so no one could try to check their results.
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  14. You can run but you can’t hide.

    White flight but lose the fight.

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  15. How about some Section 8 demographic information!

    Here is Chicago’s, which unfortunately does not clearly break out non-hispanic whites, but I still made an educated guess:

    http://www.thecha.org/pages/hcv_program_demographics/101.php

    Here is the data as reported that mixes up whites and hispanics:

    White (including Hispanic white) 10,401
    Black 85,652
    Asian 112
    Unknown Race 567

    Ethnicity (All Participants)
    Hispanic 9,263
    Non-Hispanic 86,152
    Unknown Ethnicity 1,429

    I don’t think Chicago has many hispanics who also identify as black, so first subtracting out the “others” as likely nearly all hispanics, then subtracting the remaining figure from the all white figure, my “adjusted” figures are:

    Black 85,652 (88% of section 8 recipients v. 32.9% of Chicago’s population)
    Hispanic 9,263 (10% v. 28.9%)
    Non-hispanic White 1,722 (2% v. 21.7%)
    Asian 112 (0% v. 5.5%)

    Now let’s look at Dubuque, Iowa Section 8 users:

    http://www.cityofdubuque.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2703

    White 71.4% of Section 8 v. 90.7% of population
    Black 24.5% v. 2.2%
    Hispanic 2.3% v. 2.2%
    Pacific Islander 1.3% v. 0.1%***
    Asian 0.4% v. 1.3%

    ***(Dubuque’s program is small, so strange the overuse by PIs appears is like just noise, there are only 10 PIs on it total, likely just 2 or 3 families).

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  16. Section 8 Housing is code word for Tyler Perry voters.

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  17. New York, city that never sleeps.

    But also…

    the city that forever stops-and-frisks(the Negroes).

    So, why are NY Libs judging other white folks in other parts of the country?

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  18. Negro strength, size, and aggression.

    Troublesome inheritance indeed.

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  19. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    “Liberal white urbanites realize today that their ancestors made a terrible mistake in the Postwar era by ceding much of the most valuable urban land in America to poor blacks.”

    That doesn’t work as an explanation. Why did they only start to realize it around 1991? Why not in 1985 or 1979 or 1973? I suspect that upscale people started to move back into the cities in the early 1990s because that’s when the crime rate started to go down. Cities became less scary for them. But why did the crime rate start going down in 1991 and not in 1985 or 1979 or 1973? That I don’t know. Could have been a decline in lead atmosphere levels, a change in drug use patterns, the increase in the incarceration rate, something else. Steve, you do this sort of sociological musing full time and you’re free from most of the ideological delusions that shackle the other guys who do it full time. You could be the one to figure it out: why is crime going down?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It went up when liberals cut down on imprisonment. It went down a decade or so after conservatives raised imprisonement.
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  20. bomag [AKA "doombuggy"] says:

    The response seems to have as much to do with socioeconomic factors as it does opinions about race relations and police brutality in communities across the country that have struggled to integrate.

    This sums up the zeitgeist: integration is a struggle. We must work hard at this, like Sisyphus.

    And let us be sure and blame socioeconomic factors. We wouldn’t want to consider any others too much.

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  21. @Anon
    "Liberal white urbanites realize today that their ancestors made a terrible mistake in the Postwar era by ceding much of the most valuable urban land in America to poor blacks."

    That doesn't work as an explanation. Why did they only start to realize it around 1991? Why not in 1985 or 1979 or 1973? I suspect that upscale people started to move back into the cities in the early 1990s because that's when the crime rate started to go down. Cities became less scary for them. But why did the crime rate start going down in 1991 and not in 1985 or 1979 or 1973? That I don't know. Could have been a decline in lead atmosphere levels, a change in drug use patterns, the increase in the incarceration rate, something else. Steve, you do this sort of sociological musing full time and you're free from most of the ideological delusions that shackle the other guys who do it full time. You could be the one to figure it out: why is crime going down?

    It went up when liberals cut down on imprisonment. It went down a decade or so after conservatives raised imprisonement.

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  22. What a waste, Pruitt–Igo was first occupied in 1954 and demolished in 1972. It didn’t even last 20 years. And I bet when it opened, it was very nice. They had a top notch architect design it. This is the kind of place that Matt Yglesias is always saying he wants, with high density living in the cities to make delivery of food and other services more efficient. Yet it failed and we all know why.

    People can live in buildings like this. Look at how they live in Hong Kong. Yet they are not at each other’s throats. There has to be something in the culture and/or genetics of populations that determine whether they can live in close proximity. I guess it’s sort of like how some animals can live in groups at a zoo while others must have their own space.

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    • Replies: @Realist
    Yep, there are plenty of such projects, and worse, in Eastern Europe, but they are not riddled with crime.
    , @Art Deco
    And I bet when it opened, it was very nice. They had a top notch architect design it. This is the kind of place that Matt Yglesias is always saying he wants, with high density living in the cities to make delivery of food and other services more efficient. Yet it failed and we all know why.

    Actually, it was a modernist horror. Good riddance to architectural rubbish.
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  23. Part 2:

    What percentage of Dubuque’s white, black, hispanic, and asian populations live in Section 8 housing?

    The city only provides data on the race of the head of the household, not other members. So I have to make a simplifying assumption that all members are the same rate. 1562 people in 780 households in Dubuque live in Section 8. I.e., the average Section 8 household has almost exactly 2 people living in it (2.0025).

    Whites: 1114 out of 52,336 (1 in 47)
    Blacks 382 out of 1256 (1 in 3.3)
    Hispanics 36 out of 1282 (1 in 36)
    Asians 6 out of 770 (1 in 128)

    In other words, Section 8 policy in Iowa is black policy. The program pays the rent for 30.4% of the city’s black population, a number that would likely be higher if there were not a multi-year wait list to get on the program.

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  24. Ghetto America (or the leadership that manipulates it) seems to assign living qualities to inanimate objects, such as locations. Many poor blacks don’t seem to understand that it’s the people who make a neighborhood. They think it’s the nice buildings, new schools and pretty parks that create the mojo. Or the lack of such which creates the voodoo. Do they not see how they ruin everywhere they move to?

    My kids’ (nice) public school is mostly white, which is in line with the county’s demographics. Probably 5 or 6% of the student body is black or part black. Many of those kids are actually good students because their parents made a commitment to live in an area with high performing schools. The ones who are transfers from other areas, however, or live in scattered site housing projects, do poorly. It doesn’t matter where they live or where they send their kids to school.

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  25. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @anon
    The problem with Rosin's piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject. It deserved a lot more skepticism from the right-blogosphere, but it confirmed prejudices, so it never received anything but applause.

    The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject.

    This seems like an excellent reason to question her article. It seems quite like the two female Scandinavian researchers who claimed in a paper that women had to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same acclaim or something, and then lost the floppies the data was on so no one could try to check their results.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Yeah, I've searched Google, academic databases, everything for any sort of paper, scholarly or otherwise, by Janikowski and Betts on this and nothing at all. Given the important nature of the issue, it makes no sense that they wouldn't release anything on these results.
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  26. matt says:

    Doorman,

    So I went to the erstwhile document provided above (via the corrected link) and found this cute statement

    I’m confused. Were you under the impression that you’ve made a substantive rebuttal to the piece, or did you just want to squeal with delight over the uncovering of yet another instance of liberal hypocrisy?

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  27. matt says:

    Sailer,

    It [crime] went up when liberals cut down on imprisonment. It went down a decade or so after conservatives raised imprisonement.

    Even the most conservative criminologists would never give this as the sole answer. As cited in an old Alex Cockburn piece recently featured on this very website, James Q. Wilson believed “that greater incarceration can explain about one-quarter or more of the crime decline.” Certainly the decline in crack and powder cocaine use after 1991, to name just one example, accounts for a substantial chunk of the decline, as Wilson recognized.

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  28. Housing projects like this have failed all over the world. Here in Australia and even monoracial Ireland(wiki search:Ballymun Flats in U2 song). Not good to have people with lots of problems living in these high rises. Too many shared walls and shared spaces. Not enough partitioning and containment of problems. Brings out in worst in women and men. Not exactly a race thing. My wife grew up in one them in Malmo, Sweden. Her main complaint were old men flashing her in elevator.

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  29. “anon says

    The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject. It deserved a lot more skepticism from the right-blogosphere, but it confirmed prejudices, so it never received anything but applause.”

    I never read Rosin’s article, but my prejudices were confirmed (or rather, created) by the effects of section 8 renters in the city where I live. People see this stuff all around them – it really doesn’t matter what this or that Atlantic article happens to claim.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Section 8 renters are, by definition, poor. They are also disproportionately likely to be minorities. Both of these independently correlate with crime. So yes, more Section 8 residents is likely to correlate positively with crime. But what are the relative explanatory powers of them being Section 8 residents vs them being poor and black?
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  30. “iSteveFan says

    What a waste, Pruitt–Igo was first occupied in 1954 and demolished in 1972. It didn’t even last 20 years.”

    Look at the bright side. The Phillip Glass composition made it all worthwhile.

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  31. @The most deplorable one

    The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject.
     
    This seems like an excellent reason to question her article. It seems quite like the two female Scandinavian researchers who claimed in a paper that women had to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same acclaim or something, and then lost the floppies the data was on so no one could try to check their results.

    Yeah, I’ve searched Google, academic databases, everything for any sort of paper, scholarly or otherwise, by Janikowski and Betts on this and nothing at all. Given the important nature of the issue, it makes no sense that they wouldn’t release anything on these results.

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  32. “Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT wrote a statement signed by over 2 dozen fellow urban policy experts debunking Rosin’s 2008 atlantic article. ”

    Let him debunk Ferguson.

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  33. […] Source: Steve Sailer […]

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  34. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Anon
    "anon says

    The problem with Rosin’s piece is that the criminology professors (husband and wife team) she cites never released their data or methodology or anything else written on the subject. It deserved a lot more skepticism from the right-blogosphere, but it confirmed prejudices, so it never received anything but applause."

    I never read Rosin's article, but my prejudices were confirmed (or rather, created) by the effects of section 8 renters in the city where I live. People see this stuff all around them - it really doesn't matter what this or that Atlantic article happens to claim.

    Section 8 renters are, by definition, poor. They are also disproportionately likely to be minorities. Both of these independently correlate with crime. So yes, more Section 8 residents is likely to correlate positively with crime. But what are the relative explanatory powers of them being Section 8 residents vs them being poor and black?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A big question involving Section 8 is the relative weight of nature and nurture. Piling up huge numbers of poor black people in Pruitt-Igoe or Cabrini Green was said to have been bad nurture, and that overall crime would be less if bad apples were spread out more across the landscape by giving the Cabrini Greeners vouchers to go find their own accommodations. This is not an unreasonable point of view.

    Of course, one possibility is that studies would tend to overrate the good nurture effects by focusing on early movers. If you are the first person to move from a housing project in St. Louis to nice suburban Ferguson, the nurture effects probably would be good because you are getting away from people like yourself. On the other hand, if you are the 5000th housing project refugee to wind up in one corner of Ferguson, well, like Buckaroo Banzai used to say, wherever you go, there you are.

    Anyway, it's not clear to me a priori what the outcome would most likely be.

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  35. @iSteveFan
    What a waste, Pruitt–Igo was first occupied in 1954 and demolished in 1972. It didn't even last 20 years. And I bet when it opened, it was very nice. They had a top notch architect design it. This is the kind of place that Matt Yglesias is always saying he wants, with high density living in the cities to make delivery of food and other services more efficient. Yet it failed and we all know why.

    People can live in buildings like this. Look at how they live in Hong Kong. Yet they are not at each other's throats. There has to be something in the culture and/or genetics of populations that determine whether they can live in close proximity. I guess it's sort of like how some animals can live in groups at a zoo while others must have their own space.

    Yep, there are plenty of such projects, and worse, in Eastern Europe, but they are not riddled with crime.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I lived on the 10th or 14th floors of the ugliest Modernist high rise in Houston (Sid Richardson College at Rice U.) from 1976 to 1980 and then lived on the 18th floor of a high rise in Chicago from 1982-1986. My Chicago neighbors were quite respectable, although I can say the same for my dorm mates at Rice. They probably would have been better behaved in terms of not shooting water balloons at other dorms using immense sling shots if the other dorms had been equally tall. But Sid Rich had the military advantage of the high ground, so what are you going to do?
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  36. @anon
    Section 8 renters are, by definition, poor. They are also disproportionately likely to be minorities. Both of these independently correlate with crime. So yes, more Section 8 residents is likely to correlate positively with crime. But what are the relative explanatory powers of them being Section 8 residents vs them being poor and black?

    A big question involving Section 8 is the relative weight of nature and nurture. Piling up huge numbers of poor black people in Pruitt-Igoe or Cabrini Green was said to have been bad nurture, and that overall crime would be less if bad apples were spread out more across the landscape by giving the Cabrini Greeners vouchers to go find their own accommodations. This is not an unreasonable point of view.

    Of course, one possibility is that studies would tend to overrate the good nurture effects by focusing on early movers. If you are the first person to move from a housing project in St. Louis to nice suburban Ferguson, the nurture effects probably would be good because you are getting away from people like yourself. On the other hand, if you are the 5000th housing project refugee to wind up in one corner of Ferguson, well, like Buckaroo Banzai used to say, wherever you go, there you are.

    Anyway, it’s not clear to me a priori what the outcome would most likely be.

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    • Replies: @george
    The maximum income requirements under sec 8 are similar to public housing, and require participants to stay poor and usually unmarried. Extra kids are a plus.

    Section 8 comes in 2 types. Tenant based and project based. Project based is the one recreating the old urban housing projects in small towns. So if sec 8 is coming your way it might be possible to negociate a tenant based system with FedGov.

    Wherever you go, there you are ... and your thug relatives that live within 500 miles too. In wilkes barre pa section 8, aka sherman hills, much of the problems were caused by visitors from newly fashionable Brooklyn NY.
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  37. @Realist
    Yep, there are plenty of such projects, and worse, in Eastern Europe, but they are not riddled with crime.

    I lived on the 10th or 14th floors of the ugliest Modernist high rise in Houston (Sid Richardson College at Rice U.) from 1976 to 1980 and then lived on the 18th floor of a high rise in Chicago from 1982-1986. My Chicago neighbors were quite respectable, although I can say the same for my dorm mates at Rice. They probably would have been better behaved in terms of not shooting water balloons at other dorms using immense sling shots if the other dorms had been equally tall. But Sid Rich had the military advantage of the high ground, so what are you going to do?

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  38. “Yep, there are plenty of such projects, and worse, in Eastern Europe, but they are not riddled with crime.”

    Even Eastern European Gypsies on average are tame compared to African Americans when it comes to high rates of violent crimes.

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  39. The Myth of Pruitt-Igoe is a great documentary, definitely worth your time. The buildings themselves were one of the problems. The buildings were nice and shiny when first built, but too expensive to maintain. Fixing elevators is not cheap. Originally there were rules against male overnights, but that sort of white paternalism didn’t last long. I think it’s on Netflix.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The elevators at Sid Rich College at Rice were a nightmare. The university finally spent the money to fix them after the umpteenth time in which dorm residents got stuck in an elevator, but this time the elevator control panel caught fire and the escape hatch in the ceiling was bolted shut. Rob Sisk climbed through the trap door in the ceiling of the other elevator, had another student move the elevator to the same level as the burning level, leapt across the chasm, unbolted the trap door and helped the students climb out. Rob Sisk:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rob-sisk/14/ab4/395

    , @Steve Sailer
    The elevators at Sid Rich College at Rice were a nightmare. The university finally spent the money to fix them after the umpteenth time in which dorm residents got stuck in an elevator, but this time the elevator control panel caught fire and the escape hatch in the ceiling was bolted shut. Rob Sisk climbed through the trap door in the ceiling of the other elevator, had another student move the elevator to the same level as the burning level, leapt across the chasm, unbolted the trap door and helped the students climb out. Rob Sisk:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rob-sisk/14/ab4/395

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  40. @bjdubbs
    The Myth of Pruitt-Igoe is a great documentary, definitely worth your time. The buildings themselves were one of the problems. The buildings were nice and shiny when first built, but too expensive to maintain. Fixing elevators is not cheap. Originally there were rules against male overnights, but that sort of white paternalism didn't last long. I think it's on Netflix.

    The elevators at Sid Rich College at Rice were a nightmare. The university finally spent the money to fix them after the umpteenth time in which dorm residents got stuck in an elevator, but this time the elevator control panel caught fire and the escape hatch in the ceiling was bolted shut. Rob Sisk climbed through the trap door in the ceiling of the other elevator, had another student move the elevator to the same level as the burning level, leapt across the chasm, unbolted the trap door and helped the students climb out. Rob Sisk:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rob-sisk/14/ab4/395

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  41. […] Steve Sailer looks at some history. […]

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  42. Off topic, but when did these letters signed by multiple academics denouncing someone’s ideas take off? With the Bell Curve? It seems like it is becoming more common.

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  43. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    “Or does the low g factor exist independently of the high discount rate on the future and impulse-control issues?”

    IQ and impulse control must be at least somewhat independent. Lots of population groups – Mexican mestizos, low-caste East Indians, SE Asians – have low mean IQs and good impulse control.

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  44. From the Peter Drier article Matt links to: “Meanwhile, boys who relocated do show modestly higher rates of involvement in property crime, on average, but there is some evidence that this reflects trips back to the old neighborhood—or other high-poverty areas where relatives and peers get the movers into trouble.

    It would be nice if he had quoted the actual numbers. In any case, the argument of the piece (at one point) seems to be that crime went up among the poor for other reasons all over the city, from which he infers that poor people using section 8 housing to relocate to mixed-income neighborhoods cannot explain the increase in crime rates there. Then elsewhere he makes the point that section 8 vouchers only account for a fraction of the number relocating — more were able to move because of other forms of income assistance, the earned income tax credit most importantly.

    In other words, section 8 was only responsible for a fraction of the increase in crime in those areas. He does not indicate whether that fraction is greater, less than, or equal to the fraction of newcomers using section 8, but the fact that the program uses a lottery to hand out vouchers rather than gainful employment (as in the case of the earned-income tax credit) does not bode well.

    It certainly does not follow that section 8 should be exonerated, let alone expanded. It just means that the statistics were not (and still are not?) available to prove Rosen’s assertion when she made it. As for Matt’s summary, that because crime went up among poor people all over the city for independent reasons, that therefore section 8 cannot explain the increase in mixed- income neighborhoods, that is a non sequitur. Section 8 cannot explain the increase in the crime rate over all but it certainly can help explain the increase in the crime rate in certain neighborhoods into which poor people were moving.

    Anyway that’s me reading. Maybe I’m wrong.

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  45. @iSteveFan
    What a waste, Pruitt–Igo was first occupied in 1954 and demolished in 1972. It didn't even last 20 years. And I bet when it opened, it was very nice. They had a top notch architect design it. This is the kind of place that Matt Yglesias is always saying he wants, with high density living in the cities to make delivery of food and other services more efficient. Yet it failed and we all know why.

    People can live in buildings like this. Look at how they live in Hong Kong. Yet they are not at each other's throats. There has to be something in the culture and/or genetics of populations that determine whether they can live in close proximity. I guess it's sort of like how some animals can live in groups at a zoo while others must have their own space.

    And I bet when it opened, it was very nice. They had a top notch architect design it. This is the kind of place that Matt Yglesias is always saying he wants, with high density living in the cities to make delivery of food and other services more efficient. Yet it failed and we all know why.

    Actually, it was a modernist horror. Good riddance to architectural rubbish.

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  46. @matt
    Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT wrote a statement signed by over 2 dozen fellow urban policy experts debunking Rosin's 2008 atlantic article. It would be interesting to get your response to it. I'll link to it below.

    http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/P3/

    The problem with these chaps is that they’re very invested in the social-service-apparat’s thousand little ‘interventions’. They are also invested in attempting to make the social landscape of urban centers an artifact pleasing to themselves. Problems:

    1. Rental housing is a frequently ‘replenished’ good. The purchase of rental housing does not require sophisticated planning and risk assessment which saving for retirement or contingent medical expenses might. It’s something well within the competence of people with truncated time horizons. You have to know the rent and know what your paychecks add up to and know what your monthly debt service adds up to and attempt as best you can to work it so that the sum of rent and debt service does not exceed a quarter your monthly take-home pay.

    2. The most salient consideration in housing decisions (accept at the very bottom of the market) would be amenity. That’s quite sensitive to personal tastes, and handing people housing coupons rather than cash is likely to leave some people with unfulfilled preferences that could have been sated with cash. (The same observation applies to subsidized groceries and utilities).

    3. Slum neighborhoods have four salient characteristics: a deficit of ordinary retail trade, a decrepit built environment, schools which are disorderly and academically vapid, and insecurity borne of crime. Housing vouchers do not address these problems well or at all. The best they do is marginally improve the built environment by injecting more money into rental housing; however, what they giveth they taketh away by making it vexatiously difficult to evict problem tenants.

    4. The foregoing problems can be addressed, but it involves policies that sociologists and public interests lawyers (and their misfeasant allies on the bench) consider vulgar. Instead of moving people around (and often moving problems around), we might just work on improving the quality of life in slums. That’s going to require measures which enhance the intensity of social discipline in these parts of town, and if your whole approach to social problems is to give people things, you cannot abide that.

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  47. So Janikowski and Betts (not a criminologist, BTW) didn’t publish; how many researchers don’t publish when their data doesn’t fit their theory? Paging Robert Putnam!

    The important distinction about what’s happening now is that the Section 8 people are being priced out of the city and are ending up in the suburbs. With 1-bedroom apartments in Boston going for $2,500+, that $1,400 housing voucher doesn’t go very far. But it does in that suburb 3 towns away, and the subway line is nearby.

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  48. Beware of social policy experts. Here are citations to two papers that indicate Section 8 type programs *are* associated with more crime in the receiving neighborhoods. Good grief, how could it be otherwise?

    1. Kleinhans and Varady, “Moving Out and Going Down? A Review of Recent Evidence on Negative Spillover Effects of Housing Restructuring Programmes in the United States and the Netherlands.” Intl J of Housing Policy 2011.

    “USA and Dutch research highlights concern among public officials, politicians and community activists that this clustering is resulting in higher crime, increased neighbourhood dissatisfaction (among existing residents), more conflicts between residents, lower school test scores, etc….[E]xisting evidence regarding negative spillover effects is compelling enough to warrant expanded and improved monitoring of both relocation and neighbourhood change patterns and to initiate programmes to address the concerns of residents in destination areas.

    2. Susan J. Popkin, Michael J. Rich, Leah Hendey, Chris Hayes, Joe Parilla and George Galster, “Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Making the Case for Responsible Relocation.”Cityscape (2012), pp. 137-160.

    “The research in this article examines the effect on crime rates of public housing transformation in Atlanta and Chicago… [O]n average, negative effects emerge for some neighborhoods with modest or high densities of relocated households compared with conditions in areas without relocated households.”

    Authors from Brookings, Urban Inst and HUD as publisher=>pro Section 8 priors. To me, this is pretty damning.

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  49. “Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT ”

    I skimmed over the article, and mostly it seemed to be an exercise in point-missing. Do Section 8 vouchers bring crime with them to the burbs? They’re coy about answering that, because the answer is “of course they do.”

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  50. The majority of blacks simply aren’t fit to live in a civilized society. The so called “good”, “hard working” blacks are also a big part of the problem since they often take the side of black criminals when they clash with police out of racial loyalty. And they elected Obama, who despises white people, at a 95% clip, so that should tell everyone where their hearts and passions truly lies.

    Countless formerly bucolic white communities have been destroyed when blacks move in en masse. Racial integration of black and white has utterly failed on all fronts because it is not natural. If anything, race relations are more toxic than ever and I see no reason for that trend to reverse until people come to their senses and acknowledge racial differences are real (not pseudo-science) which will preclude black and white from coexisting.

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  51. “anon says:

    Section 8 renters are, by definition, poor. They are also disproportionately likely to be minorities. Both of these independently correlate with crime. So yes, more Section 8 residents is likely to correlate positively with crime. But what are the relative explanatory powers of them being Section 8 residents vs them being poor and black?”

    Section 8 voucher holders are probably not more criminal than the population they are drawn from. But I would think that the effect of section 8 vouchers would be obvious. They give those people the money to go live where you live. And even if the individual section 8 voucher is not a criminal, she (and mostly likely is a she) has baby-daddies, sons, uncles, etc. – and they are quite likely trouble. And now – you get to have them for your neighbors. Here you paid a bunch of money – in the town where I live, the rent at the nice apartment complexes (i.e., the ones not in black neighborhoods) is anywhere from 50-100% higher – to not live around lawless, troublesome people, and then the government imports them right next door. And you get to pay for it too!

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  52. “Art Deco says:

    4. The foregoing problems can be addressed, but it involves policies that sociologists and public interests lawyers (and their misfeasant allies on the bench) consider vulgar. Instead of moving people around (and often moving problems around), we might just work on improving the quality of life in slums. ”

    Or, we could just stop paying them to procreate.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Or, we could just stop paying them to procreate.

    TANF is a program of modest dimensions and has time limits (which the Administration has tried to gut). It's a small part of the problem in the slums.
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  53. “matt says

    I’m confused. Were you under the impression that you’ve made a substantive rebuttal to the piece, or did you just want to squeal with delight over the uncovering of yet another instance of liberal hypocrisy?”

    You seem to be under the impression that you have rebutted (no – not merely rebutted – refuted!) the contention that section 8 vouchers have been a deletorious policy for the white middle-class (who, of course, are also forced to pay for those same vouchers). You haven’t.

    And this, all on the basis of a letter printed in the NHI’s magazine. Do you think the NHI would ever publish anything that tended to undermine the section 8 program? Do you really view them as a fair, disinterested party in the matter?

    I’m quite capable of observing the world around me. I don’t need a gaggle of stuffed-shirt academic jerk-offs to tell me what to think, Matt.

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  54. @Steve Sailer
    A big question involving Section 8 is the relative weight of nature and nurture. Piling up huge numbers of poor black people in Pruitt-Igoe or Cabrini Green was said to have been bad nurture, and that overall crime would be less if bad apples were spread out more across the landscape by giving the Cabrini Greeners vouchers to go find their own accommodations. This is not an unreasonable point of view.

    Of course, one possibility is that studies would tend to overrate the good nurture effects by focusing on early movers. If you are the first person to move from a housing project in St. Louis to nice suburban Ferguson, the nurture effects probably would be good because you are getting away from people like yourself. On the other hand, if you are the 5000th housing project refugee to wind up in one corner of Ferguson, well, like Buckaroo Banzai used to say, wherever you go, there you are.

    Anyway, it's not clear to me a priori what the outcome would most likely be.

    The maximum income requirements under sec 8 are similar to public housing, and require participants to stay poor and usually unmarried. Extra kids are a plus.

    Section 8 comes in 2 types. Tenant based and project based. Project based is the one recreating the old urban housing projects in small towns. So if sec 8 is coming your way it might be possible to negociate a tenant based system with FedGov.

    Wherever you go, there you are … and your thug relatives that live within 500 miles too. In wilkes barre pa section 8, aka sherman hills, much of the problems were caused by visitors from newly fashionable Brooklyn NY.

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  55. @Taco
    "He was walking back home to his grandmother’s apartment in the Northwinds complex."

    I love how this pure speculation is portrayed as self evident fact. For all anyone knows he was on the prowl for more victims to beat and rob.

    My grandmother used to smoke cigars.

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  56. From segregation to Sectionation.

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  57. It [crime] went up when liberals cut down on imprisonment. It went down a decade or so after conservatives raised imprisonement.

    No, no Steve this can’t be right. Oh, sure you can quote FACTS to me, but as a good liberal I still don’t believe it. Must find the RIGHT answer. I’ll search the liberal newspapers and magazines and get back to you with the REAL reason.

    It could be the crime stats are less racist now, but that’s a guess.

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    • Replies: @Lurker
    No, no Steve this can’t be right. Oh, sure you can quote FACTS to me, but as a good liberal I still don’t believe it. Must find the RIGHT answer. I’ll search the liberal newspapers and magazines and get back to you with the REAL reason.

    In fact even that would be unlikely. What you, as a hypothetical liberal, would do is find a clip from a movie which runs counter to the original point, post it and then settle back knowing that, somehow, you had refuted the evil hatefacts.

    Eg the video in this news story is a fact:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/06/26/video-woman-attacked-as-toddler-son-tries-to-intervene/

    Its a black-on-hispanic violent assault witnessed by other blacks who did nothing but film it and certainly did not call the cops. I pointed this out (not at that site) and am now banned but not before having this stinging rebuke delivered to me:

    http://www.theblubber.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/1319738930_homer_simpson_hides_in_hedge.gif

    Because white people also stand back and dont get involved. See this clip proves it! A fictional character, a cartoon character no less, has equal standing with real life.

    Thats how it works.

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  58. BTW, I wonder who owns this “Eagle Point” which specializes in Section 8 housing. And I wonder if they have “connections” to any powerful Democrats in congress.

    Just paint me cynical.

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  59. @bjdubbs
    The Myth of Pruitt-Igoe is a great documentary, definitely worth your time. The buildings themselves were one of the problems. The buildings were nice and shiny when first built, but too expensive to maintain. Fixing elevators is not cheap. Originally there were rules against male overnights, but that sort of white paternalism didn't last long. I think it's on Netflix.

    The elevators at Sid Rich College at Rice were a nightmare. The university finally spent the money to fix them after the umpteenth time in which dorm residents got stuck in an elevator, but this time the elevator control panel caught fire and the escape hatch in the ceiling was bolted shut. Rob Sisk climbed through the trap door in the ceiling of the other elevator, had another student move the elevator to the same level as the burning level, leapt across the chasm, unbolted the trap door and helped the students climb out. Rob Sisk:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rob-sisk/14/ab4/395

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  60. […] Ferguson is a story of the Section 8 Era – The Unz Review […]

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  61. @Mr. Anon
    "Art Deco says:

    4. The foregoing problems can be addressed, but it involves policies that sociologists and public interests lawyers (and their misfeasant allies on the bench) consider vulgar. Instead of moving people around (and often moving problems around), we might just work on improving the quality of life in slums. "

    Or, we could just stop paying them to procreate.

    Or, we could just stop paying them to procreate.

    TANF is a program of modest dimensions and has time limits (which the Administration has tried to gut). It’s a small part of the problem in the slums.

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  62. @Honesthughgrant

    It [crime] went up when liberals cut down on imprisonment. It went down a decade or so after conservatives raised imprisonement.
     
    No, no Steve this can't be right. Oh, sure you can quote FACTS to me, but as a good liberal I still don't believe it. Must find the RIGHT answer. I'll search the liberal newspapers and magazines and get back to you with the REAL reason.

    It could be the crime stats are less racist now, but that's a guess.

    No, no Steve this can’t be right. Oh, sure you can quote FACTS to me, but as a good liberal I still don’t believe it. Must find the RIGHT answer. I’ll search the liberal newspapers and magazines and get back to you with the REAL reason.

    In fact even that would be unlikely. What you, as a hypothetical liberal, would do is find a clip from a movie which runs counter to the original point, post it and then settle back knowing that, somehow, you had refuted the evil hatefacts.

    Eg the video in this news story is a fact:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/06/26/video-woman-attacked-as-toddler-son-tries-to-intervene/

    Its a black-on-hispanic violent assault witnessed by other blacks who did nothing but film it and certainly did not call the cops. I pointed this out (not at that site) and am now banned but not before having this stinging rebuke delivered to me:

    Because white people also stand back and dont get involved. See this clip proves it! A fictional character, a cartoon character no less, has equal standing with real life.

    Thats how it works.

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  63. “Art Deco says:

    TANF is a program of modest dimensions and has time limits (which the Administration has tried to gut). It’s a small part of the problem in the slums.”

    TANF, SNAP, Section 8. It all adds up. And they aren’t a small part of the problem if they permit irresponsible people to have children they otherwise wouldn’t have had, thereby creating other problems which someday can spawn problems of their own.

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  64. matt says:

    The responses I’ve gotten are about what I’d expected from this crowd: tough-guy posturing and aggressively stupid tirades about the vices of fancy book-learnin’. I’ll respond to the comments that actually attempted to engage the evidence and arguments cited, or attempted to present counter-evidence.

    Luke Lea,

    In any case, the argument of the piece (at one point) seems to be that crime went up among the poor for other reasons all over the city, from which he infers that poor people using section 8 housing to relocate to mixed-income neighborhoods cannot explain the increase in crime rates there.

    I assume you’re referring to this, from p. 3 of Dreier and de Souza Briggs:

    There is some evidence that most Memphis families with Section 8 vouchers, including those displaced from public housing, moved to areas that were already on the decline, with rising crime rates, caused by private disinvestment and the exodus of middle income families to Memphis’ suburbs.

    That will be important later. Remember that.

    Then elsewhere he makes the point that section 8 vouchers only account for a fraction of the number relocating — more were able to move because of other forms of income assistance, the earned income tax credit most importantly. In other words, section 8 was only responsible for a fraction of the increase in crime in those areas.

    Rosin had argued that Section 8 moved poor people from former housing projects (including, presumably, criminals and those who bring criminals with them) from the projects to mixed-income neighborhoods. This, Rosin claimed, had led to increased crime in destination neighborhoods.

    As Dreier and de Souza Briggs point out, however, Section 8 was only a relatively small part of the “deconcentration of poverty” that occurred in the 1990s. That trend was driven by other federal programs like EITC, but also by market forces like gentrification, a strong economy, and rising wages for the poor. As a result, poor people moved away from areas with high concentrations of poverty. If poor people moving away from their old neighborhoods causes increased crime in destination neighborhoods, then Section 8 is a pretty small part of that.

    You write:

    It certainly does not follow that section 8 should be exonerated, let alone expanded.

    At issue is not whether Section 8 is a good program. At issue is whether there is some “story of the Section 8 Era” (to quote the title of the blog post): a crime boom in the exurbs fueled by housing vouchers for poor people.

    (I will point out that even if it were the case that Section 8 leads to higher crime in destination-neighborhoods, that can hardly be taken as a knockdown argument against the program, unless you also oppose a strong economy and higher wages for the working-poor on similar grounds.)

    The only evidence that Sailer cited to support the existence of this phenomena was a 2008 Atlantic article whose substantial part was based unpublished data that found a simple correlation between the proportion of Section 8 recipients in a neighborhood and crime rates.

    As for Matt’s summary, that because crime went up among poor people all over the city for independent reasons, that therefore section 8 cannot explain the increase in mixed- income neighborhoods, that is a non sequitur. Section 8 cannot explain the increase in the crime rate over all but it certainly can help explain the increase in the crime rate in certain neighborhoods into which poor people were moving.

    No, the argument is that crime was already going up in the neighborhoods into which Section 8 recipients were moving. They were moving into neighborhoods that were deteriorating for reasons that preceded and were independent of the influx of Section 8 recipients, they didn’t cause the deterioration themselves.

    A 2012 Furman Center study, which I’ve already cited, and which is summarized here, did indeed find the simple positive correlation that Rosin’s researchers found. However, after controlling “for pre-existing differences between the neighborhoods where voucher holders tend to settle and other neighborhoods, crime trends in the broader area, and selected neighborhood characteristics that vary over time,” any statistically significant correlation vanished. They summarize:

    In short, our research shows that crime is not following households with vouchers into neighborhoods. However, we do find a relation- ship between current crime in a neighborhood and future voucher use in that neighborhood, suggesting that households with vouchers are locating in neighborhoods where crime levels are already high.

    —-

    “jb” cites two papers. I’ll take them one at a time.

    Kleihans and Varady is a “Review of Existing Evidence”. The existing evidence at the time (2011) was, and I quote the paper now, “scarce and incomplete”. The authors write in their conclusion:

    We as “realists” argue that even though existing empirical evidence does not establish causality, the qualitative and quantitative evidence is compelling enough to show the need for better monitoring of neighbourhood change and programs to address the concerns of residents in destination neighborhoods. (pp. 30-31)

    In your quotation from the abstract, you redacted this sentence:

    Few researchers have, however, been able to go beyond correlations and establish cause-effect relations between the inmovement of public/social housing relocatees and increased social problems.

    Since this paper is not original research, but a “review of existing evidence”, this is a pretty important sentence to leave out.

    In the next sentence, you bolded this part:

    [E]xisting evidence regarding negative spillover effects is compelling enough to warrant expanded and improved monitoring of both relocation and neighbourhood change patterns and to initiate programmes to address the concerns of residents in destination areas..

    That’s a pretty weird part of the sentence to emphasize. Clearly, given what I’ve just quoted from this paper and the abstract, they don’t believe that existing evidence is compelling enough to establish a cause-effect relationship between clustering of Section 8 recipients and increased crime, but “compelling enough to warrant and expanded and improved monitoring” of programs for deconcentrating poor people. In other words, the evidence isn’t enough to establish the conclusion, but it’s enough to warrant caution.

    The following year (2012), two important studies on this subject were published, more substantial than anything reviewed in Kleihans and Varady. One was the Furman Center Study I summarized above, which found no statistically significant correlation between crime and Section 8 recipient concentration in census tracts once the pre-existing conditions of the areas were controlled for. The other is the very Urban Institute study you cite. Let’s take a look at what it actually says.

    From the summary here:

    Once the number of relocated households reached a certain threshold, crime rates, on average, decreased less than they would have if there had been no former public housing in- movers. (p. 2)

    The study looked only at Chicago and Atlanta. In Chicago it found that statistically significant differences in crime rates among census tracts don’t appear until the concentration of public-housing relocates reaches 2 to 6 per 1,000. Neither property nor violent crime in Atlanta is affected until the concentration reaches 6 to 14 per 1,000, and a census tract in Chicago must meet the same threshold before gun crime goes up (pp. 5-6).

    52% of census tracts in Chicago had 0 to 2 per 1,000 former public housing residents during the study period, below the threshold for increased crime.

    In Atlanta, 41% of census tracts had a concentration above the threshold during at least some part of the study period, and only 13% were above the threshold for a majority of the period. (p. 7)

    That’s for former residents of the projects. For traditional voucher recipients, there is no relationship between their concentration and crime in a census tract in Atlanta, and the crime rate isn’t affected in Chicago until their presence hits 64 in 1,000. (p. 6).

    Furthermore, the authors note that

    the tracts in both cities that experienced the greatest impact on crime associated with relocated households are neighborhoods that were already vulnerable, with high rates of poverty and crime before the arrival of public housing relocation households. In other words, our story is not the popular version of previ- ously stable communities spiraling into decline because of public housing residents moving in, but rather a story of poor families moving into
    areas that were already struggling.

    This is similar to the story that the Furman Center study tells as well.

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  65. matt says:

    A lot of people have brought up anecdotes about their time in Section 8-destination neighborhoods. I should say a word about that.

    For what it’s worth, I once lived in an apartment complex with many Section 8 recipients in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood, and I found it safer and more pleasant to live than working class white neighborhoods I’ve also lived in. Anecdotes are not data, obviously.

    More importantly, these anecdotes are beside the point. No one is disputing that Section 8-recipient concentration correlates with increased crime. The question is whether the former causes the latter. Your neighborhood could have been going to hell before the Section 8 people arrived, and you blamed it on them anyway. Indeed, that is what the studies I’ve cited suggest.

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  66. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Steve,

    You do not seem to have explored the notion that a lot of what happens in politics is well-connected people getting politicians to vote public money for projects they can deliver. Ie, transferring money from the middle class to the well connected.

    For example, Section 8 housing.

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  67. Matt, I noticed you addressed some of the sentences in my comment, but not all of them. How about this one:

    In other words, section 8 was only responsible for a fraction of the increase in crime in those areas. He [Drier] does not indicate whether that fraction is greater, less than, or equal to the fraction of newcomers using section 8, but the fact that the program uses a lottery to hand out vouchers rather than gainful employment (as in the case of the earned-income tax credit) does not bode well.

    A much more general problem with practically all social science research is the absence of error bars on the quality of the data and the generally very poor quality of the data in general, as a consequence of which it is difficult if not impossible to draw firm conclusions one way or the other on almost any controversial issue. Thus confirmation bias plays a big role. Would you dispute this?

    Speaking of which, if you don’t mind me asking what is your professional background? Do you admit to any personal bias on the issue? Also, an aside: your agruments could be improved with greater cogency and concision.

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  68. A much more general problem with practically all social science research is the absence of error bars on the quality of the data and the generally very poor quality of the data in general,

    It’s absolutely standard to report the confidence interval associated with any beta weight.

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  69. TANF, SNAP, Section 8. It all adds up.

    SNAP is a program with 3x the budget of TANF and a huge potential clientele; I’m not sure how many households are actually signed up, but the ratio of annual expenditure to households meeting income criteria is something like $2,500 per household; that’s suboptimal, but you’re not livin’ large on that kind of dough. Also, SNAP and Section 8 are not limited to people of child-bearing age, so it’s rum to refer to it as as a subsidy to procreation. (While we’re at it, American blacks are not exceptionally fertile. Their tfr is around 2.1, just the replacement level).

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  70. “Luke Lea says

    Speaking of which, if you don’t mind me asking what is your professional background? Do you admit to any personal bias on the issue? Also, an aside: your agruments could be improved with greater cogency and concision.

    Or by being right.

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  71. “Art Deco says:

    Also, SNAP and Section 8 are not limited to people of child-bearing age, so it’s rum to refer to it as as a subsidy to procreation. (While we’re at it, American blacks are not exceptionally fertile. Their tfr is around 2.1, just the replacement level).”

    No, it is quite correct to refer to it as such. What do you think baby-mommas with 6 or 7 kids by as many fathers live off?

    “(While we’re at it, American blacks are not exceptionally fertile. Their tfr is around 2.1, just the replacement level).”

    I’m not concerned by the fertility of blacks as a whole, but by those who will spawn the next generation of thugs. Not paying them to spawn them, would result in fewer such thugs.

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  72. “matt says:

    The responses I’ve gotten are about what I’d expected from this crowd: tough-guy posturing and aggressively stupid tirades about the vices of fancy book-learnin’.”

    When that fancy book-learnin’ is the product of self-interested academics with an idealogical axe to grind, I think it is very much in order to call it in to question.

    By the way, your typical left-wing posturing suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you is some kind mouth-breathing neanderthal doesn’t impress me. I would wager that I am at least as well read as you, and probably more extensively educated.

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  73. “matt says

    For what it’s worth, I once lived in an apartment complex with many Section 8 recipients in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood, and I found it safer and more pleasant to live than working class white neighborhoods I’ve also lived in. Anecdotes are not data, obviously.”

    Nowadays, a working-class white neighborhood is often one with lots of blacks in it. How many blacks lived in or around that neighborhood?

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  74. @Taco
    "He was walking back home to his grandmother’s apartment in the Northwinds complex."

    I love how this pure speculation is portrayed as self evident fact. For all anyone knows he was on the prowl for more victims to beat and rob.

    I suspect that your right, he was thug a bully that used hids fists to take whatever he wanted. The town should say good riddance to bad garbage!

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  75. I own quite a few rental houses in neighborhoods that are popular for section 8 vouchers. We’ve had a few section 8 tenants, but in general, we prefer to have people who can pay their own way — they tend to be a much better class of renter.

    We’ve seen section 8 tenants in action: multi-generational benefit-eaters, endlessly irresponsible, spending their utility vouchers on alcohol and drugs. That’s usually when we evict them, when they don’t pay their gas, electric and water bills: we don’t want our properties pipes freezing because there’s no heat in the winter, or human waste piling up because the water got shut off. We don’t want health department citations. We don’t want our properties abused and trashed. And these people care nothing about the properties they live, decent behavior, or bettering themselves.

    Invariably these women are single moms with multiple children by multiple irresponsible men in and out of their lives. Their own mothers are on the dole or disability. Generations have passed since there was a married, working, functional family in the mix.

    It’s mind-bending to watch the day to day reality — the drugs, the alcohol, the SNAP card fraud, the crime and violence, then be told by the mainstream media and the lefties living in their half million dollar homes who never come within miles of these neighborhoods how these people are just “misunderstood” or “victims.”

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  76. @Jefferson
    "Chances are better than even that Fuller is a thug, or at least has pronounced thuggish tendencies. A lot of the racial dysfunction in America can be traced back to the peculiar institution which is “college sports”. Large numbers of young men – mostly, let’s be honest, young black men – who should never get within a million miles of an institution of higher learning are admitted to them under the “college sports” fig leaf."

    I wonder how many African American males there would be in universities today if athletic scholarships did not exist ? It would probably put a major dent into Black male enrollment.

    It would not affect White male and Asian male enrollment into universities too much if athletic scholarships did not exist.

    Exactly. I thought “thug” as soon as I read it.

    Now that I think about it, the thug has graduated to “rapist.”

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  77. @matt
    Here is a paper and a policy brief further challenging Rosin's arguments, maintaining that, rather than housing voucher recipients contributing to increased crime, voucher recipients simply move into neighborhoods where crime is already rising for independent reasons.

    Even Rosin described this theory as "plausible".

    Rosin's article was a good start on a subject that not many people had investigated at the time. It sparked a fairly sizable academic literature. You should familiarize yourself with some of it before you act like Rosin's 2008 Atlantic article is the last word on the subject again.

    I used to work in residential property management and the company’s portfolio was about 50% Section 8. The system as it is today basically monetizes babies in that the more kids a mother has, the higher up they get on the waiting lists and the lower their rent will be. Many residents with enough kids actually received money every month above and beyond what the fairmarket rent would have been for their unit. There are no fathers in Section 8 today. That would imply an over 18 year old living in the unit (that could supposedly hold down a job) which would lower their subsidy or disqualify the family from Section 8 all together. What we were seeing is that when the kids reach 18, they had to leave so as not to affect the mothers rent. Daughters would start having babies at 16 or 17 so they could jump onto the Section 8 money train when they turned 18. Many “donated” grandchildren to grandma when they moved out so grandma’s rent didn’t go up. The boys, since they don’t factor into the Section 8 equation, would join the local gang and get into drug dealing and other offenses. For housing, the boys would develop a “harem” of single mothers on the properties where they would rotate residence every day or so to beat the Section permanent residency rules. They would keep their belongings in trash bags in the middle of the floor because Sect8 rules say the property owner can only search closets and furniture for illegal residency evidence.

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  78. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Greenstalk
    “If you stay here, they basically think you are a thug,” said Gerard Fuller, 19, who is headed to Arkansas Baptist College in a few days on a basketball scholarship.

    Chances are better than even that Fuller is a thug, or at least has pronounced thuggish tendencies. A lot of the racial dysfunction in America can be traced back to the peculiar institution which is "college sports". Large numbers of young men - mostly, let's be honest, young black men - who should never get within a million miles of an institution of higher learning are admitted to them under the "college sports" fig leaf.

    Wow – you are part of the problem. Way to go – prejudging that young man based on . . . what? That he’s black and plays sports? I’m betting if you were a policeman and saw him walking down the street and Ted Bundy (or any serial killer, or mass shooter, they’re all white), and you had to choose which one to stop and “check on”, you’d harass the black ball player heading to college and let Bundy or Holmes (the Colorado theater shooter) or Adam Lanza (the shooter who massacred school children) go on their merry way, cause they don’t fit YOUR preconceived notion of a thug. Well I’m pre-judging you as a racist redneck with thuggish tendencies and jealous that you’re not very athletic. Based on your comments and the impression they made on me.

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