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Moneyballing Serial Killers

Here’s an interesting Bloomberg article on a retired journalist named Thomas Hargrove and his Murder Accountability Project. He has built a huge database of unsolved murders across America and uses it for purposes like alerting police departments that there might be a serial killer at work. For example, he tried to warn Gary, Indiana police department that his algorithm showed a high likelihood that all those youngish women being strangled in recent year there weren’t just caused by bad luck. The Gary cops ignored him until some guy they arrested for a new murder started confessing to several of the old ones identified by Hargrove.

Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm

Thomas Hargrove is building software to identify trends in unsolved murders using data nobody’s bothered with before.
by Robert Kolker
February 8, 2017, 4:00 AM PST

Here in L.A. a freelance journalist named Christine Pelisek did something similar to alert the cops about the Grim Sleeper serial killer.

It seems like these kind of datamining moneyball techniques have tended to turn up overlooked black serial killers.

Our society developed a big stereotype that serial killers are white. And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers. But that racial stereotype probably led cops to miss the existence of several black serial killers.

It’s kind of like how our society has a stereotype that quality football receivers are black, which is mostly accurate. But Bill Belichick, the smartest man in football, has exploited this common racial prejudice to find affordable quality white receivers.

In our culture, it’s disastrous to one’s career to be overly biased against blacks, but almost nobody notices if you are overly biased against whites.

Also, here’s an interesting graph of trends in murder clearance rates by police departments.

 
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  1. ‘…In our culture, it’s disastrous to one’s career to be overly biased against blacks, but almost nobody notices if you are overly biased against whites…’

    Well the fact that Black serial killers are overlooked may be a result of bias.

    Or it could be that cops in places like Gary are comparatively overworked, underpaid, and simply not as good as cops elsewhere.

    Or, I suppose, both. But more the latter than the former.

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  2. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Interesting – that graph is the basis of the confused argument behind Ghettoside – “Black men are killed and nobody cares. But don’t arrest black men cause we put too many black men in prison.”

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    • Replies: @anon
    Which just goes to show when your dealing with blacks, you just can't win.
  3. In our culture, it’s disastrous to one’s career to be overly biased against blacks, but almost nobody notices if you are overly biased against whites.

    Are you kidding me, Steve? They sure do notice if you’re biased against whites — it’s a career enhancer.

    What do you think all those “Chief Diversity Officers” do all day? Identify and promote employees who are anti-white…

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  4. And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers.

    Not according to Radford University /FGCU serial killer database, which is the authoritative source.

    In recent decades blacks have been 56% of serial killers. And blacks have always been over-represented among serial killers, going all the way back to 1900.

    Source:

    http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Serial%20Killer%20Information%20Center/Serial%20Killer%20Statistics.pdf

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    • Replies: @onetwothree
    Thanks for the input Professor Statistics.
    , @res
    Worth noting that Steve said over-represented relative to run of the mill killers. In the 2015 FBI statistics blacks represented 51.1% of arrests for murder: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-43

    Nonetheless, as Trelane correctly points out, blacks manage to exceed even that outsized (for 13% of the US population) performance as serial killers. During the current decade (2010-2015) blacks were 59.8% of serial killers. The biggest increase happened from 1980 to 1990 (when serial killers swung from majority white to plurality black). IMHO this fairly recent change helps explain why so many people don't realize this (I originally guessed Trelane was wrong about Steve's actual point and was double checking).

    That RU/FGCU database has a great deal of interesting detail. Thanks for posting it. Some highlights:
    Page 6 - U.S. Serial Killers Percentage by Race and Decade. The key table for this question. See above.
    Page 10 - Debunking the "commonly cited profile of a serial killer in the U.S. being a white, male, in his mid to late twenties". Turns out that profile matches 7.7% of 1990-2016 US serial killers.
    Page 12 - Serial killer IQ, 271 killers had average 94.5, median 86.0, range 54-186. A variety of breakdowns, most interesting I thought was the 3 bombers had an average IQ of 140.3.
    Page 14 - The US represented 67.6% of the serial killers for the countries surveyed (mostly developed). That's 15.5x overepresented by population.
    Page 20 - The rise and fall of victims from the late 60s to the late 80's peak and back down to the present is dramatic (especially given the increased population). Can also see this in the page 5 yearly averages per decade and the earlier annual tables.

    Worth noting this: "The statistics in this report are based on the serial killer definition derived by the FBI at its 2005 symposium in San Antonio, TX: The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events."
    , @JohnnyGeo
    Interesting stat, but that doesn't contradict the premise. Serial killers can be mostly black and still be whiter than regular killers.
  5. According to expert Eric Hickey (Serial Murderers and Their Victims, 2016, p. 245) 45% of all US serial killers 2000-2o14 were identified as black.

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  6. The obvious outlier in homicide clearance rates is black men. I suspect that’s due to the increase in gang-related violence.

    Some murders are easy to solve. If it’s domestic violence, as a lot of white murders are, you just pick up the male spouse. If it’s the result of a fight between acquaintances there’s a good chance the police will make the connection.

    In contrast if it’s a gang-related murder the odds are good it was a drive-by performed by a comparative stranger, and none of the people close to the murder will to talk to the police. See the recent murders in Chicago, where the 2016 homicide clearance rate is 19%.

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    • Replies: @Inductivist
    I imagine the rate for Hispanic males is similar since the percentage of them that belong to gangs is at least that of blacks.
  7. I need to invent a “moneyball” “algorithm” for finding things that other people haven’t used “big data” to “disrupt” yet

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  8. The universe of serial killers is only a little bit more black and less white than the general population. But, compared to your typical violent crime, which is very disproportionately black, this is why serial killing “seems” white.

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    • Disagree: res
    • Replies: @Langley
    La Griffe Du Lion's take may be based on old data.

    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/serial.htm
    , @res
    This is a popular but wrong stereotype. See Trelane's PDF link and my response to his comment.
  9. @Boomstick
    The obvious outlier in homicide clearance rates is black men. I suspect that's due to the increase in gang-related violence.

    Some murders are easy to solve. If it's domestic violence, as a lot of white murders are, you just pick up the male spouse. If it's the result of a fight between acquaintances there's a good chance the police will make the connection.

    In contrast if it's a gang-related murder the odds are good it was a drive-by performed by a comparative stranger, and none of the people close to the murder will to talk to the police. See the recent murders in Chicago, where the 2016 homicide clearance rate is 19%.

    I imagine the rate for Hispanic males is similar since the percentage of them that belong to gangs is at least that of blacks.

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  10. What percentage of white women who are murdered are murdered by their husband/boyfriend? Ballpark. 75%? 90%? That no doubt accounts for the high clearance rate.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I read a few thousand of the L.A. Times "Homicide Blog" posts and a lot of murders of white women were instantly followed by the suicide of the boyfriend / husband / son perpetrators: not a real complicated kind of case to clear.
    , @syonredux

    What percentage of white women who are murdered are murdered by their husband/boyfriend? Ballpark. 75%? 90%? That no doubt accounts for the high clearance rate.
     
    Some homicide stats for Black women:

    The disproportionate burden of fatal and nonfatal violence borne by black women has almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on black men. In 2000, black women were murdered at a rate more than three times higher than white women: 3.18 per 100,000 versus 1.01 per 100,000.
     

    Victim to Offender Relationship

    Compared to a black man, a black woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. More than 10 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (492 victims) than were killed by male strangers (48 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2000. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 54 percent (267 out of 492) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Ninety-five percent (575 out of 603) of the homicides of black women where the race of the male offender was known were intra-racial.
     
    http://www.vpc.org/studies/dv5two.htm
  11. BTW, I suspect the government statistics on gang-related homicides are entirely bogus. For example:

    ” Gang violence accounted for about 5% of black homicides and about 7% of white homicides.”

    https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/bvvc.pdf

    A greater percentage of white homicides than black homicides are gang-related? It’s possible, I suppose, but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable that the uncleared homicides are gang-related but not reported as such because nobody’s talking. Also, recent reporting from Chicago recently claims “Roughly 90 percent of this gun violence, police say, flows from gangs.”

    There’s a lot of interesting data being hidden by those uncleared homicides, which leads to streetlight-oriented search patterns for lost keys.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    ” Gang violence accounted for about 5% of black homicides and about 7% of white homicides.”

    A greater percentage of white homicides than black homicides are gang-related? It’s possible, I suppose, but that seems unlikely.
     
    It's possible that a lot of the "white" homicide victims attributed to gang violence aren't really white at all, but rather latino.
  12. “Chief Moose” also made this mistake of thinking serial killers must be white. Chief Moose even went so far as to suspect the DC sniper was travelling in a white car, wearing white clothing and firing a white gun (with white bullets).

    He was white, had to be. Just had to be since as everyone knows serial killers are white.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Chief Moose was a complete moron, but no one said anything because he was black. He had everybody in the DC area looking for a white guy in a white van.
    , @anon
    I remember how the media back then had all the analyst and profilers saying the shooter was a white male. When it turned out they were totally wrong you just heard nothing. No apologies, retractions, nada.
  13. Even the estimable La Griffe du Lion thought that serial killers must be white. Some kind of criminality diversity space function seemed to prove this. Even to Griffe.

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  14. @countenance
    The universe of serial killers is only a little bit more black and less white than the general population. But, compared to your typical violent crime, which is very disproportionately black, this is why serial killing "seems" white.

    La Griffe Du Lion’s take may be based on old data.

    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/serial.htm

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  15. Our society developed a big stereotype that serial killers are white. And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers. But that racial stereotype probably led cops to miss the existence of several black serial killers.

    Myth #2: All Serial Killers Are Caucasian.
    Reality: Contrary to popular mythology, not all serial killers are white. Serial killers span all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. The racial diversity of serial killers generally mirrors that of the overall U.S. population. There are well documented cases of African-American, Latino and Asian-American serial killers. African-Americans comprise the largest racial minority group among serial killers, representing approximately 20 percent of the total. Significantly, however, only white, and normally male, serial killers such as Ted Bundy become popular culture icons.

    Although they are not household names like their infamous white counterparts, examples of prolific racial minority serial killers are Coral Eugene Watts, a black man from Michigan, known as the “Sunday Morning Slasher,” who murdered at least seventeen women in Michigan and Texas; Anthony Edward Sowell, a black man known as the “Cleveland Strangler” who kidnapped, raped and murdered eleven women in Ohio; and Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, a Mexican national known as the “Railroad Killer,” who killed as many as fifteen men and women in Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/5-myths-about-serial-killers-and-why-they-persist-excerpt/

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    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Real conversation I overheard from two feminists in 1981:

    "Have you been hearing about all of those murders in Atlanta?"

    "Yes, it sounds like the Klan is doing it."

    "I know, like, Reagan has just enabled all of these racists."

    "But, yeah, I saw an article the other day saying that maybe the killer was a black guy ...."

    "Yeah."

    " .... or even that he was, like, gay."

    [SILENCE]
  16. Read More
    • Replies: @JohnnyGeo
    Houston has had some serious scandals involving the city crime lab falsifying evidence. So maybe there's some gaming going on.
  17. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anon
    Interesting - that graph is the basis of the confused argument behind Ghettoside - "Black men are killed and nobody cares. But don't arrest black men cause we put too many black men in prison."

    Which just goes to show when your dealing with blacks, you just can’t win.

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  18. Right after 911 I got a fund raising letter from the ACLU asking me to donate money and report any hate crimes against Muslims, immigrants, etc. I reported the hate crime now know as 911, that was perpetrated by Muslims, immigrants, people of color, Asians & Africans, some of whom where illegal aliens. Never heard from them again.

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  19. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “Our society developed a big stereotype that serial killers are white”.

    Wonder exactly who was responsible for promoting that particular stereotype anyways?

    Didn’t Morgan Freeman want to play the part of Hannibal Lecter and was not chosen?

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  20. @syonredux

    Our society developed a big stereotype that serial killers are white. And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers. But that racial stereotype probably led cops to miss the existence of several black serial killers.
     

    Myth #2: All Serial Killers Are Caucasian.
    Reality: Contrary to popular mythology, not all serial killers are white. Serial killers span all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. The racial diversity of serial killers generally mirrors that of the overall U.S. population. There are well documented cases of African-American, Latino and Asian-American serial killers. African-Americans comprise the largest racial minority group among serial killers, representing approximately 20 percent of the total. Significantly, however, only white, and normally male, serial killers such as Ted Bundy become popular culture icons.
     

    Although they are not household names like their infamous white counterparts, examples of prolific racial minority serial killers are Coral Eugene Watts, a black man from Michigan, known as the “Sunday Morning Slasher,” who murdered at least seventeen women in Michigan and Texas; Anthony Edward Sowell, a black man known as the “Cleveland Strangler” who kidnapped, raped and murdered eleven women in Ohio; and Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, a Mexican national known as the “Railroad Killer,” who killed as many as fifteen men and women in Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois.
     
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/5-myths-about-serial-killers-and-why-they-persist-excerpt/

    Real conversation I overheard from two feminists in 1981:

    “Have you been hearing about all of those murders in Atlanta?”

    “Yes, it sounds like the Klan is doing it.”

    “I know, like, Reagan has just enabled all of these racists.”

    “But, yeah, I saw an article the other day saying that maybe the killer was a black guy ….”

    “Yeah.”

    ” …. or even that he was, like, gay.”

    [SILENCE]

    Read More
  21. @Boomstick
    BTW, I suspect the government statistics on gang-related homicides are entirely bogus. For example:

    " Gang violence accounted for about 5% of black homicides and about 7% of white homicides."

    https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/bvvc.pdf

    A greater percentage of white homicides than black homicides are gang-related? It's possible, I suppose, but that seems unlikely. It's more probable that the uncleared homicides are gang-related but not reported as such because nobody's talking. Also, recent reporting from Chicago recently claims "Roughly 90 percent of this gun violence, police say, flows from gangs."

    There's a lot of interesting data being hidden by those uncleared homicides, which leads to streetlight-oriented search patterns for lost keys.

    ” Gang violence accounted for about 5% of black homicides and about 7% of white homicides.”

    A greater percentage of white homicides than black homicides are gang-related? It’s possible, I suppose, but that seems unlikely.

    It’s possible that a lot of the “white” homicide victims attributed to gang violence aren’t really white at all, but rather latino.

    Read More
  22. There’s also a stereotype that serial killers work alone.

    Most do, but there are exceptions there too.

    Also a stereotype that they’re males. Mostly they are. It depends on whether you include examples such as a woman running a boarding house and poisoning the renters was a serial killer or not (her motive was money, not the thrill of the kill).

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Also a stereotype that they’re males. Mostly they are. It depends on whether you include examples such as a woman running a boarding house and poisoning the renters was a serial killer or not (her motive was money, not the thrill of the kill).
     
    In The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Pinker has an interesting discussion regarding male vs female serial killers. If memory serves, he notes that male serial killing mirrors the male sex drive. Murder is impersonal (most male serial killers do not know their victims), and violent, penetrative methods are preferred. Female serial killers, in contrast, operate according to feminine drives. The victims are well-known to the killer (family members, friends), and the methods used are perversions of intimacy (smothering, poisoned food, etc).
  23. @Frau Katze
    There's also a stereotype that serial killers work alone.

    Most do, but there are exceptions there too.

    Also a stereotype that they're males. Mostly they are. It depends on whether you include examples such as a woman running a boarding house and poisoning the renters was a serial killer or not (her motive was money, not the thrill of the kill).

    Also a stereotype that they’re males. Mostly they are. It depends on whether you include examples such as a woman running a boarding house and poisoning the renters was a serial killer or not (her motive was money, not the thrill of the kill).

    In The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Pinker has an interesting discussion regarding male vs female serial killers. If memory serves, he notes that male serial killing mirrors the male sex drive. Murder is impersonal (most male serial killers do not know their victims), and violent, penetrative methods are preferred. Female serial killers, in contrast, operate according to feminine drives. The victims are well-known to the killer (family members, friends), and the methods used are perversions of intimacy (smothering, poisoned food, etc).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverley_Allitt

    "Beverley Gail Emma Louise Allitt (born 4 October 1968) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six children. The crimes were committed over a period of 59 days between February and April 1991 in the children's ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, where Allitt was employed as a State Enrolled Nurse."
     
    How she thought she could get away with it I do not know. Whereas Dr Shipman was able to kill hundreds. "When a doctor goes wrong, he is among the first of criminals".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Shipman
  24. @Chuck
    What percentage of white women who are murdered are murdered by their husband/boyfriend? Ballpark. 75%? 90%? That no doubt accounts for the high clearance rate.

    I read a few thousand of the L.A. Times “Homicide Blog” posts and a lot of murders of white women were instantly followed by the suicide of the boyfriend / husband / son perpetrators: not a real complicated kind of case to clear.

    Read More
    • Replies: @G Pinfold
    This makes me think of James Ellroy... for some reason.
    I'd like to see your take on him as another of LA' s famous sons. I must admit to a massive literary crush on him around fifteen years ago. But Bloods a Rover, with its ostentatious negrophilia and cuckish finale, put me right off. I only mention this because I just googled him in the spirit of 'where is he now' and it reads as if he is still a 'scary right winger'. What gives? Did I miss an episode of the soap opera where he threw the yoke of the pop psychology he was clearly labouring under?
  25. @Chuck
    What percentage of white women who are murdered are murdered by their husband/boyfriend? Ballpark. 75%? 90%? That no doubt accounts for the high clearance rate.

    What percentage of white women who are murdered are murdered by their husband/boyfriend? Ballpark. 75%? 90%? That no doubt accounts for the high clearance rate.

    Some homicide stats for Black women:

    The disproportionate burden of fatal and nonfatal violence borne by black women has almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on black men. In 2000, black women were murdered at a rate more than three times higher than white women: 3.18 per 100,000 versus 1.01 per 100,000.

    Victim to Offender Relationship

    Compared to a black man, a black woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. More than 10 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (492 victims) than were killed by male strangers (48 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2000. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 54 percent (267 out of 492) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Ninety-five percent (575 out of 603) of the homicides of black women where the race of the male offender was known were intra-racial.

    http://www.vpc.org/studies/dv5two.htm

    Read More
  26. @Steve Sailer
    I read a few thousand of the L.A. Times "Homicide Blog" posts and a lot of murders of white women were instantly followed by the suicide of the boyfriend / husband / son perpetrators: not a real complicated kind of case to clear.

    This makes me think of James Ellroy… for some reason.
    I’d like to see your take on him as another of LA’ s famous sons. I must admit to a massive literary crush on him around fifteen years ago. But Bloods a Rover, with its ostentatious negrophilia and cuckish finale, put me right off. I only mention this because I just googled him in the spirit of ‘where is he now’ and it reads as if he is still a ‘scary right winger’. What gives? Did I miss an episode of the soap opera where he threw the yoke of the pop psychology he was clearly labouring under?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I only read one book by Ellroy. It was good, but kind of too disgusting for me. I'm pretty genteel and this was too much of a trip through a sewer in a glass bottomed boat. I threw it away after I finished it because I didn't want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    On the other hand, Ellroy's introduction he wrote recently for a reissue of Joe Wambaugh's The Onion Field is touching. He talks about how he was a homeless junkie constantly stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but one item he shoplifted that he wouldn't sell was Wambaugh's magnum opus The Onion Field. He stole it the first day it came out, read it over and over, and resolved to stop being a despicable bum and become a writer like his hero, Wambaugh.

    Of course the late Curtis Hanson's movie adaptation of Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential" is really good. The ending seemed a little silly, but a great cast and a great look.

  27. @Trelane

    And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers.
     
    Not according to Radford University /FGCU serial killer database, which is the authoritative source.

    In recent decades blacks have been 56% of serial killers. And blacks have always been over-represented among serial killers, going all the way back to 1900.

    Source:
    http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Serial%20Killer%20Information%20Center/Serial%20Killer%20Statistics.pdf

    Thanks for the input Professor Statistics.

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  28. @G Pinfold
    This makes me think of James Ellroy... for some reason.
    I'd like to see your take on him as another of LA' s famous sons. I must admit to a massive literary crush on him around fifteen years ago. But Bloods a Rover, with its ostentatious negrophilia and cuckish finale, put me right off. I only mention this because I just googled him in the spirit of 'where is he now' and it reads as if he is still a 'scary right winger'. What gives? Did I miss an episode of the soap opera where he threw the yoke of the pop psychology he was clearly labouring under?

    I only read one book by Ellroy. It was good, but kind of too disgusting for me. I’m pretty genteel and this was too much of a trip through a sewer in a glass bottomed boat. I threw it away after I finished it because I didn’t want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    On the other hand, Ellroy’s introduction he wrote recently for a reissue of Joe Wambaugh’s The Onion Field is touching. He talks about how he was a homeless junkie constantly stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but one item he shoplifted that he wouldn’t sell was Wambaugh’s magnum opus The Onion Field. He stole it the first day it came out, read it over and over, and resolved to stop being a despicable bum and become a writer like his hero, Wambaugh.

    Of course the late Curtis Hanson’s movie adaptation of Ellroy’s “L.A. Confidential” is really good. The ending seemed a little silly, but a great cast and a great look.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    . I threw it away after I finished it because I didn’t want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.
     
    The Black Dahlia. It's based on the infamous Elizabeth Short (nicknamed the Black Dahlia by the press) murder case back in 1947. Didn't read the book, but I did see the absolutely terrible Brian De Palma film version. About the only good thing that I can say about it is that Scarlett Johansson looks ravishing in 1940s outfits:

    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/BPRJ5M/scarlett-johansson-the-black-dahlia-2006-BPRJ5M.jpg

    http://www.scarlettjohansson.hu/gallery/The_Black_Dahlia/02_Scarlett_Johansson.jpg

    RE: Ellroy,

    Like you, I've only read one of his books (American Tabloid), and I didn't much care for it. The "telegraphic" prose style got wearisome after a while, and the characters were all extremely unpleasant.

    Ellroy seems to have started out as a Chandler disciple (he appeared on a South Bank episode on Chandler), but has since transferred his allegiance to Hammett:

    "Chandler wrote the kind of guy that he wanted to be, Hammett wrote the kind of guy that he was afraid he was. Chandler’s books are incoherent. Hammett’s are coherent. Chandler is all about the wisecracks, the similes, the constant satire, the construction of the knight. Hammett writes about the all-male world of mendacity and greed. Hammett was tremendously important 
to me."
     
    , @anon
    John Gregory Dunn's True Confessions was another take on it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009W749MM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    He was a hell of a writer. I like the ambiguous, American, 'soft' corruption. I suppose with the American urban Catholic version, it is a little urban/explicit than other versions.

    Funny about how it always touches back on real estate.
    , @Formerly CARealist
    If you don't like depraved books, how did you get through Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood? I actually made it more than half way through when I decided that was enough and I threw it in the trash.

    But I've seen you reference it several times. Not sure I understand your tastes.
  29. Steve, that’s disappointing. I thought you were going to say you once raced him on your skateboard in the canal that’s always in the movies, but I suppose LA is a big place.
    I think his political trilogy starting with American Tabloid would be more your cup of tea… but then again, if you didn’t like his early stuff his style probably wouldn’t grow on you. He definitely improved perceptibly with every effort up to The Cold Six Thousand.

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  30. @syonredux

    Also a stereotype that they’re males. Mostly they are. It depends on whether you include examples such as a woman running a boarding house and poisoning the renters was a serial killer or not (her motive was money, not the thrill of the kill).
     
    In The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Pinker has an interesting discussion regarding male vs female serial killers. If memory serves, he notes that male serial killing mirrors the male sex drive. Murder is impersonal (most male serial killers do not know their victims), and violent, penetrative methods are preferred. Female serial killers, in contrast, operate according to feminine drives. The victims are well-known to the killer (family members, friends), and the methods used are perversions of intimacy (smothering, poisoned food, etc).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverley_Allitt

    “Beverley Gail Emma Louise Allitt (born 4 October 1968) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six children. The crimes were committed over a period of 59 days between February and April 1991 in the children’s ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, where Allitt was employed as a State Enrolled Nurse.”

    How she thought she could get away with it I do not know. Whereas Dr Shipman was able to kill hundreds. “When a doctor goes wrong, he is among the first of criminals”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Shipman

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    • Replies: @anon
    Outside of offing whiny old boilers, i wonder how good of a doctor Harold was.
    Reminded me of that Mayor in Japan, about 15 years ago, who stated that all women at menopause should be euthanased, because they were incapable of any positive contribution to society afterwards.
    Hordes of angry feminists brought him before a Court, seeking money, but the Judge threw it out.
    , @AndrewR
    Perhaps she didn't want to.

    If I were a medical professional serial killer, I would try to keep the "died under my care" numbers within one SD of the mean.
  31. Can’t speak for anywhere else, but in Chicago snitches get stitches (if they are lucky).

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  32. There might be another angle to the assumption that serial killers are White.

    We can suspect (with perhaps a 98% success rate) that the perpetrators of senseless, random violence and killings cataloged in the MSM are Black … the kind where one or more people spray rave parties with gunfire or spray crowds with gunfire in “drive-by” shootings. The violence is the outcome of a pervasive lack of impulse control among an identifiable racial demographic.

    Serial killers often engage in long-term planning, cunning, and stealth, which makes them harder to identify and bring to justice. In the best sociopathic tradition, it is as if they are taunting the authorities with respect to who is smarter. It’s a “mind game” and, therefore, the perpetrators are thought to be White.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Discordiax
    I don't think the super-high-IQ serial killer is supported by the data. There are some colorful examples like the Unabomber and the Zodiac Killer, but a lot of them turn out to be more like Son of Sam or the Starkweather killers, average to below-average IQ but high percentile crazy.

    But Hannibal Lecter is a much more interesting and memorable character than whoever Woody HArrelson was playing in "Natural Born Killers."

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the relatively large number of dead bodies piling up made it easier for them to escape detection for longer.
    , @Pericles
    As I vaguely recall, Bill James's book (recommended here by our host) made the point that most serial killers weren't the diabolical geniuses we see on TV but usually evaded the dragnet of law enforcement by moving to the next state after killing a few victims of marginal social interest.
  33. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous Nephew
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverley_Allitt

    "Beverley Gail Emma Louise Allitt (born 4 October 1968) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six children. The crimes were committed over a period of 59 days between February and April 1991 in the children's ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, where Allitt was employed as a State Enrolled Nurse."
     
    How she thought she could get away with it I do not know. Whereas Dr Shipman was able to kill hundreds. "When a doctor goes wrong, he is among the first of criminals".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Shipman

    Outside of offing whiny old boilers, i wonder how good of a doctor Harold was.
    Reminded me of that Mayor in Japan, about 15 years ago, who stated that all women at menopause should be euthanased, because they were incapable of any positive contribution to society afterwards.
    Hordes of angry feminists brought him before a Court, seeking money, but the Judge threw it out.

    Read More
  34. @Anonymous Nephew
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverley_Allitt

    "Beverley Gail Emma Louise Allitt (born 4 October 1968) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six children. The crimes were committed over a period of 59 days between February and April 1991 in the children's ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, where Allitt was employed as a State Enrolled Nurse."
     
    How she thought she could get away with it I do not know. Whereas Dr Shipman was able to kill hundreds. "When a doctor goes wrong, he is among the first of criminals".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Shipman

    Perhaps she didn’t want to.

    If I were a medical professional serial killer, I would try to keep the “died under my care” numbers within one SD of the mean.

    Read More
    • Agree: Frau Katze
    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    Nonetheless, Shipman probably killed 250 people over a decade or more, whereas Beverly Allitt was detected within 2 months (although that's still pretty bad, but I guess the first reaction of a hospital to high death rates wouldn't be 'who's the killer nurse?').

    anon - post-menopausal women still have a great deal to offer - like love to their families. And many are still great at their jobs. There's a lot to be said in nursing, say, for a nurse who's 'been there and done that' (obviously BA wasn't one of those).

  35. Possibly stupid questions.

    1. When talking about “black serial killers”, are we mostly talking about
    Case A: Esoteric maniacs several standard deviations outside the norm, acting out bizarre compulsions
    Case B: Generic low-IQ low-FTO brutes with a higher body count.

    For Case A, my first suspicion would be that those traits would be fairly evenly distributed. (Possibly wrong, of course. I often see comments about blacks having higher rates of psychopathy, but even that’s not John Wayne Gacy-style “serial killing.”)

    2. Either way, serial killers are objectively rare. (Even Case B types generally have a limited set of opportunities to kill before they age out of the trade.) If John Wayne Gacy levels of crazy are evenly distributed across races, or just much less unevenly, then it’s not super-surprising that a meaningful percentage of the unsolved-black-homicide pile is from serial killers.

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  36. @TheJester
    There might be another angle to the assumption that serial killers are White.

    We can suspect (with perhaps a 98% success rate) that the perpetrators of senseless, random violence and killings cataloged in the MSM are Black ... the kind where one or more people spray rave parties with gunfire or spray crowds with gunfire in "drive-by" shootings. The violence is the outcome of a pervasive lack of impulse control among an identifiable racial demographic.

    Serial killers often engage in long-term planning, cunning, and stealth, which makes them harder to identify and bring to justice. In the best sociopathic tradition, it is as if they are taunting the authorities with respect to who is smarter. It's a "mind game" and, therefore, the perpetrators are thought to be White.

    I don’t think the super-high-IQ serial killer is supported by the data. There are some colorful examples like the Unabomber and the Zodiac Killer, but a lot of them turn out to be more like Son of Sam or the Starkweather killers, average to below-average IQ but high percentile crazy.

    But Hannibal Lecter is a much more interesting and memorable character than whoever Woody HArrelson was playing in “Natural Born Killers.”

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the relatively large number of dead bodies piling up made it easier for them to escape detection for longer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the relatively large number of dead bodies piling up made it easier for them to escape detection for longer.
     
    The 2009 fiction movie "The Lovely Bones", which takes place in the 1970s, is a quite compelling take on the victim of serial killer, and how it affects the family. One of Mark Wahlberg's better performances as the victim's father.
  37. @AndrewR
    Perhaps she didn't want to.

    If I were a medical professional serial killer, I would try to keep the "died under my care" numbers within one SD of the mean.

    Nonetheless, Shipman probably killed 250 people over a decade or more, whereas Beverly Allitt was detected within 2 months (although that’s still pretty bad, but I guess the first reaction of a hospital to high death rates wouldn’t be ‘who’s the killer nurse?’).

    anon – post-menopausal women still have a great deal to offer – like love to their families. And many are still great at their jobs. There’s a lot to be said in nursing, say, for a nurse who’s ‘been there and done that’ (obviously BA wasn’t one of those).

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Shipman is such an extraordinary outlier that a pub conversation might include the phrase "Apart from Shipman, .....". I even saw a telly cop show last week with that line in it.
  38. My “favorite” unsolved murder right now is the case of Jessica Chambers, who got doused in gasoline and set on fire in December 2014.

    Podunk little town of only 500 people where, I promise you, everybody knows everybody’s business, but this white girl gets burned alive and nobody don’ know nuffin.

    The investigation has turned up a whole network of repulsive thugs who’ve been charged with a number of crimes. Most of the charges are low-level drug offenses; how “gangsta” can you get in rural Mississippi, after all? What they’re really trying to do is get somebody to talk but apparently black gangs have incredible omerta.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    You burn the coal, you pay the toll.

    Of course, the real criminals here are Hollywood for putting out so much propaganda glamorizing sexual relations with blacks for white girls and a glance through any of the classic movie etc channels will show that they have been doing it for a long time.

    While it was British, perhaps To Sir With Love was the first one down the slippery slope.

    SCUM.

    , @David In TN
    The Jessica Chambers "Mississippi Burning" murder is NOT unsolved. A 28-year old black male names Quentin Tellis goes on trial for the murder on June 19.

    Did you not know this?
  39. “And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers.”

    Well first of all, to become a serial killer you have to be smart enough to get away with it at least a couple of times. That’s why blacks are less likely to become serial killers than just plain old killers. It’s not that they’re less likely to be that sick – it’s that they’re less likely to be that smart.

    That’s why I would also guess that the number of serial killers is going down. Thanks to various tracking technologies, security cameras, DNA evidence, and better sharing of evidence across police jurisdictions, it’s a lot harder to get away with murder these days. Even a really smart serial killer like Ted Bundy left an awful lot of evidence around that would have quickly gotten him caught if he were murdering today. He would have been smart enough to be aware of those risks, but they’re hard to avoid no matter how smart you are.

    If the chances of a smart murderer getting away with it 40 years ago were 50% and today are 25%, then the chances of committing 5 murders until you get caught then vs. now are (1/2)^4 vs. (1/4)^4 – 1 in 16 vs. 1 in 256. The odds against getting away with a large number of murders increase exponentially. That’s probably also why spree killers attract more of our attention these days than serial killers. Thread just aren’t as many mass serial killers as there used to be.

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  40. I have read that contrary to what you see in movies, psychopathic serial killers are of below average intelligence (ok, this was in Cracked, but I think they were citing academic literature). The argument that they make is “look how clumsy and disorganized these guys like Gacy or Dahmer were”. Many serial killers are caught because they make incredibly obvious mistakes or rack up body counts that are too high to ignore.

    Is this a sampling error though ? Are there a lot of serial killers out there who have their act are together not too greedy in the number of their victims and not get caught.

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  41. @The Anti-Gnostic
    My "favorite" unsolved murder right now is the case of Jessica Chambers, who got doused in gasoline and set on fire in December 2014.

    Podunk little town of only 500 people where, I promise you, everybody knows everybody's business, but this white girl gets burned alive and nobody don' know nuffin.

    The investigation has turned up a whole network of repulsive thugs who've been charged with a number of crimes. Most of the charges are low-level drug offenses; how "gangsta" can you get in rural Mississippi, after all? What they're really trying to do is get somebody to talk but apparently black gangs have incredible omerta.

    You burn the coal, you pay the toll.

    Of course, the real criminals here are Hollywood for putting out so much propaganda glamorizing sexual relations with blacks for white girls and a glance through any of the classic movie etc channels will show that they have been doing it for a long time.

    While it was British, perhaps To Sir With Love was the first one down the slippery slope.

    SCUM.

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  42. I wasn’t sure if you listened to anything when we had dinner Steve but it appears you caught this. What you missed is the WHY.

    Black serial killers don’t want to get caught. They don’t see anything wrong with what they are doing and usually feel immense pride in following their society’s rules. Serial killers are absolutely routine in the black community but they don’t have that niggling need to get caught that characterizes most white serial killers. They don’t intentionally leave clues, don’t send letters to the newspaper, don’t ritualize killing and don’t start or stop based on age. In other words, none of the alleged markers of a serial killer are there.

    A second reason is that the profilers of serial killers see themselves in the white killers and don’t get the mindset of black serial killers. Profilers are obsessive, ritualistic people (i.e. get to work between 8:24am – 8:26am) so that is what they notice. Casual, routine killing as a way of life is way outside their mental world.

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  43. @Trelane

    And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers.
     
    Not according to Radford University /FGCU serial killer database, which is the authoritative source.

    In recent decades blacks have been 56% of serial killers. And blacks have always been over-represented among serial killers, going all the way back to 1900.

    Source:
    http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Serial%20Killer%20Information%20Center/Serial%20Killer%20Statistics.pdf

    Worth noting that Steve said over-represented relative to run of the mill killers. In the 2015 FBI statistics blacks represented 51.1% of arrests for murder: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-43

    Nonetheless, as Trelane correctly points out, blacks manage to exceed even that outsized (for 13% of the US population) performance as serial killers. During the current decade (2010-2015) blacks were 59.8% of serial killers. The biggest increase happened from 1980 to 1990 (when serial killers swung from majority white to plurality black). IMHO this fairly recent change helps explain why so many people don’t realize this (I originally guessed Trelane was wrong about Steve’s actual point and was double checking).

    That RU/FGCU database has a great deal of interesting detail. Thanks for posting it. Some highlights:
    Page 6 – U.S. Serial Killers Percentage by Race and Decade. The key table for this question. See above.
    Page 10 – Debunking the “commonly cited profile of a serial killer in the U.S. being a white, male, in his mid to late twenties”. Turns out that profile matches 7.7% of 1990-2016 US serial killers.
    Page 12 – Serial killer IQ, 271 killers had average 94.5, median 86.0, range 54-186. A variety of breakdowns, most interesting I thought was the 3 bombers had an average IQ of 140.3.
    Page 14 – The US represented 67.6% of the serial killers for the countries surveyed (mostly developed). That’s 15.5x overepresented by population.
    Page 20 – The rise and fall of victims from the late 60s to the late 80′s peak and back down to the present is dramatic (especially given the increased population). Can also see this in the page 5 yearly averages per decade and the earlier annual tables.

    Worth noting this: “The statistics in this report are based on the serial killer definition derived by the FBI at its 2005 symposium in San Antonio, TX: The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events.”

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  44. @countenance
    The universe of serial killers is only a little bit more black and less white than the general population. But, compared to your typical violent crime, which is very disproportionately black, this is why serial killing "seems" white.

    This is a popular but wrong stereotype. See Trelane’s PDF link and my response to his comment.

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  45. @Trelane

    And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers.
     
    Not according to Radford University /FGCU serial killer database, which is the authoritative source.

    In recent decades blacks have been 56% of serial killers. And blacks have always been over-represented among serial killers, going all the way back to 1900.

    Source:
    http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Serial%20Killer%20Information%20Center/Serial%20Killer%20Statistics.pdf

    Interesting stat, but that doesn’t contradict the premise. Serial killers can be mostly black and still be whiter than regular killers.

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  46. @Trelane
    "Chief Moose" also made this mistake of thinking serial killers must be white. Chief Moose even went so far as to suspect the DC sniper was travelling in a white car, wearing white clothing and firing a white gun (with white bullets).

    He was white, had to be. Just had to be since as everyone knows serial killers are white.

    Chief Moose was a complete moron, but no one said anything because he was black. He had everybody in the DC area looking for a white guy in a white van.

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  47. @Steve Sailer
    I only read one book by Ellroy. It was good, but kind of too disgusting for me. I'm pretty genteel and this was too much of a trip through a sewer in a glass bottomed boat. I threw it away after I finished it because I didn't want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    On the other hand, Ellroy's introduction he wrote recently for a reissue of Joe Wambaugh's The Onion Field is touching. He talks about how he was a homeless junkie constantly stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but one item he shoplifted that he wouldn't sell was Wambaugh's magnum opus The Onion Field. He stole it the first day it came out, read it over and over, and resolved to stop being a despicable bum and become a writer like his hero, Wambaugh.

    Of course the late Curtis Hanson's movie adaptation of Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential" is really good. The ending seemed a little silly, but a great cast and a great look.

    . I threw it away after I finished it because I didn’t want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    The Black Dahlia. It’s based on the infamous Elizabeth Short (nicknamed the Black Dahlia by the press) murder case back in 1947. Didn’t read the book, but I did see the absolutely terrible Brian De Palma film version. About the only good thing that I can say about it is that Scarlett Johansson looks ravishing in 1940s outfits:

    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/BPRJ5M/scarlett-johansson-the-black-dahlia-2006-BPRJ5M.jpg

    http://www.scarlettjohansson.hu/gallery/The_Black_Dahlia/02_Scarlett_Johansson.jpg

    RE: Ellroy,

    Like you, I’ve only read one of his books (American Tabloid), and I didn’t much care for it. The “telegraphic” prose style got wearisome after a while, and the characters were all extremely unpleasant.

    Ellroy seems to have started out as a Chandler disciple (he appeared on a South Bank episode on Chandler), but has since transferred his allegiance to Hammett:

    “Chandler wrote the kind of guy that he wanted to be, Hammett wrote the kind of guy that he was afraid he was. Chandler’s books are incoherent. Hammett’s are coherent. Chandler is all about the wisecracks, the similes, the constant satire, the construction of the knight. Hammett writes about the all-male world of mendacity and greed. Hammett was tremendously important 
to me.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    I read "American Tabloid " and "The Cool Six Thousand " but became unhappy with the mixing of fiction and recent history (same applies to De Lillo for "Libra" and "Underworld.")

    Apparently in "The Black Dahlia ", Elroy kicked off the trend by conflating details of the unsolved rape and murder of his mother with the infamous Short case:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Dahlia

    Wambaugh and Walter Mosley are the best , with an honourable second place to Lawrence Block for the Keller novels.

  48. @Anonymous Nephew
    Nonetheless, Shipman probably killed 250 people over a decade or more, whereas Beverly Allitt was detected within 2 months (although that's still pretty bad, but I guess the first reaction of a hospital to high death rates wouldn't be 'who's the killer nurse?').

    anon - post-menopausal women still have a great deal to offer - like love to their families. And many are still great at their jobs. There's a lot to be said in nursing, say, for a nurse who's 'been there and done that' (obviously BA wasn't one of those).

    Shipman is such an extraordinary outlier that a pub conversation might include the phrase “Apart from Shipman, …..”. I even saw a telly cop show last week with that line in it.

    Read More
  49. @Veracitor

    Houston has had some serious scandals involving the city crime lab falsifying evidence. So maybe there’s some gaming going on.

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  50. Kinda sorta OT.
    algorithm . . . pattern recognition . . . profiling?
    Pattern recognition being a major component of IQ.
    Of course, IQ doesn’t really exist, says all the usual suspects.
    Interesting which people-groups are against pattern recognition and its good fruit.

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  51. @Discordiax
    I don't think the super-high-IQ serial killer is supported by the data. There are some colorful examples like the Unabomber and the Zodiac Killer, but a lot of them turn out to be more like Son of Sam or the Starkweather killers, average to below-average IQ but high percentile crazy.

    But Hannibal Lecter is a much more interesting and memorable character than whoever Woody HArrelson was playing in "Natural Born Killers."

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the relatively large number of dead bodies piling up made it easier for them to escape detection for longer.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the relatively large number of dead bodies piling up made it easier for them to escape detection for longer.

    The 2009 fiction movie “The Lovely Bones”, which takes place in the 1970s, is a quite compelling take on the victim of serial killer, and how it affects the family. One of Mark Wahlberg’s better performances as the victim’s father.

    Read More
  52. I found Ellroy’s book about the death of his mother a very interesting take on the vanished world of Los Angeles and Southern California in the 1950′s and the 1960′s. Explains a lot about Ellroy’s take on the world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Dark_Places_(book)

    Read More
    • Replies: @David In TN
    I've read two of Ellroy's books. "My Dark Places," about his mother's unsolved murder is a pretty good true crime story. The other I read, "American Tabloid," is a cartoon, tried some of his other novels, not worth the time.

    I once saw him interviewed. He said something like "Crime fiction is "bull****." Ellroy contended real criminals are neither interesting or sympathetic.
  53. There is something fishy about that graph. The clearance rates for male and female black victims converges in 1976, the rates for white victims also converge in 1976. Frankly, this looks like somebody just drew pretty lines rather than actually entering data points.

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  54. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Steve Sailer
    I only read one book by Ellroy. It was good, but kind of too disgusting for me. I'm pretty genteel and this was too much of a trip through a sewer in a glass bottomed boat. I threw it away after I finished it because I didn't want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    On the other hand, Ellroy's introduction he wrote recently for a reissue of Joe Wambaugh's The Onion Field is touching. He talks about how he was a homeless junkie constantly stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but one item he shoplifted that he wouldn't sell was Wambaugh's magnum opus The Onion Field. He stole it the first day it came out, read it over and over, and resolved to stop being a despicable bum and become a writer like his hero, Wambaugh.

    Of course the late Curtis Hanson's movie adaptation of Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential" is really good. The ending seemed a little silly, but a great cast and a great look.

    John Gregory Dunn’s True Confessions was another take on it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009W749MM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    He was a hell of a writer. I like the ambiguous, American, ‘soft’ corruption. I suppose with the American urban Catholic version, it is a little urban/explicit than other versions.

    Funny about how it always touches back on real estate.

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  55. @The Anti-Gnostic
    My "favorite" unsolved murder right now is the case of Jessica Chambers, who got doused in gasoline and set on fire in December 2014.

    Podunk little town of only 500 people where, I promise you, everybody knows everybody's business, but this white girl gets burned alive and nobody don' know nuffin.

    The investigation has turned up a whole network of repulsive thugs who've been charged with a number of crimes. Most of the charges are low-level drug offenses; how "gangsta" can you get in rural Mississippi, after all? What they're really trying to do is get somebody to talk but apparently black gangs have incredible omerta.

    The Jessica Chambers “Mississippi Burning” murder is NOT unsolved. A 28-year old black male names Quentin Tellis goes on trial for the murder on June 19.

    Did you not know this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    Oh. Never mind.

    Seriously, did not know. Media interest seems to have dropped off.
  56. @Bob123
    I found Ellroy's book about the death of his mother a very interesting take on the vanished world of Los Angeles and Southern California in the 1950's and the 1960's. Explains a lot about Ellroy's take on the world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Dark_Places_(book)

    I’ve read two of Ellroy’s books. “My Dark Places,” about his mother’s unsolved murder is a pretty good true crime story. The other I read, “American Tabloid,” is a cartoon, tried some of his other novels, not worth the time.

    I once saw him interviewed. He said something like “Crime fiction is “bull****.” Ellroy contended real criminals are neither interesting or sympathetic.

    Read More
  57. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Trelane
    "Chief Moose" also made this mistake of thinking serial killers must be white. Chief Moose even went so far as to suspect the DC sniper was travelling in a white car, wearing white clothing and firing a white gun (with white bullets).

    He was white, had to be. Just had to be since as everyone knows serial killers are white.

    I remember how the media back then had all the analyst and profilers saying the shooter was a white male. When it turned out they were totally wrong you just heard nothing. No apologies, retractions, nada.

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  58. @syonredux

    . I threw it away after I finished it because I didn’t want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.
     
    The Black Dahlia. It's based on the infamous Elizabeth Short (nicknamed the Black Dahlia by the press) murder case back in 1947. Didn't read the book, but I did see the absolutely terrible Brian De Palma film version. About the only good thing that I can say about it is that Scarlett Johansson looks ravishing in 1940s outfits:

    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/BPRJ5M/scarlett-johansson-the-black-dahlia-2006-BPRJ5M.jpg

    http://www.scarlettjohansson.hu/gallery/The_Black_Dahlia/02_Scarlett_Johansson.jpg

    RE: Ellroy,

    Like you, I've only read one of his books (American Tabloid), and I didn't much care for it. The "telegraphic" prose style got wearisome after a while, and the characters were all extremely unpleasant.

    Ellroy seems to have started out as a Chandler disciple (he appeared on a South Bank episode on Chandler), but has since transferred his allegiance to Hammett:

    "Chandler wrote the kind of guy that he wanted to be, Hammett wrote the kind of guy that he was afraid he was. Chandler’s books are incoherent. Hammett’s are coherent. Chandler is all about the wisecracks, the similes, the constant satire, the construction of the knight. Hammett writes about the all-male world of mendacity and greed. Hammett was tremendously important 
to me."
     

    I read “American Tabloid ” and “The Cool Six Thousand ” but became unhappy with the mixing of fiction and recent history (same applies to De Lillo for “Libra” and “Underworld.”)

    Apparently in “The Black Dahlia “, Elroy kicked off the trend by conflating details of the unsolved rape and murder of his mother with the infamous Short case:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Dahlia

    Wambaugh and Walter Mosley are the best , with an honourable second place to Lawrence Block for the Keller novels.

    Read More
  59. @David In TN
    The Jessica Chambers "Mississippi Burning" murder is NOT unsolved. A 28-year old black male names Quentin Tellis goes on trial for the murder on June 19.

    Did you not know this?

    Oh. Never mind.

    Seriously, did not know. Media interest seems to have dropped off.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Didn't fit the narrative, so it was ignored. Now if the races had been reversed . . .
    , @David In TN
    For his personal convenience, the judge for the Jessica Chambers murder trial pushed it back to October. We'll see if it becomes a national morality play per Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony.
  60. @anon
    John Gregory Dunn's True Confessions was another take on it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009W749MM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    He was a hell of a writer. I like the ambiguous, American, 'soft' corruption. I suppose with the American urban Catholic version, it is a little urban/explicit than other versions.

    Funny about how it always touches back on real estate.

    +1 on John Gregory Dunne as a writer.

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  61. @The Anti-Gnostic
    Oh. Never mind.

    Seriously, did not know. Media interest seems to have dropped off.

    Didn’t fit the narrative, so it was ignored. Now if the races had been reversed . . .

    Read More
  62. @Steve Sailer
    I only read one book by Ellroy. It was good, but kind of too disgusting for me. I'm pretty genteel and this was too much of a trip through a sewer in a glass bottomed boat. I threw it away after I finished it because I didn't want it in my house. It was about LAPD detectives trying to solve the Blue? Black? Dahlia sex murder in the 1940s and so they round up all the usual suspects, each more depraved than the last. Too much depravity for my tastes.

    On the other hand, Ellroy's introduction he wrote recently for a reissue of Joe Wambaugh's The Onion Field is touching. He talks about how he was a homeless junkie constantly stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but one item he shoplifted that he wouldn't sell was Wambaugh's magnum opus The Onion Field. He stole it the first day it came out, read it over and over, and resolved to stop being a despicable bum and become a writer like his hero, Wambaugh.

    Of course the late Curtis Hanson's movie adaptation of Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential" is really good. The ending seemed a little silly, but a great cast and a great look.

    If you don’t like depraved books, how did you get through Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood? I actually made it more than half way through when I decided that was enough and I threw it in the trash.

    But I’ve seen you reference it several times. Not sure I understand your tastes.

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  63. @TheJester
    There might be another angle to the assumption that serial killers are White.

    We can suspect (with perhaps a 98% success rate) that the perpetrators of senseless, random violence and killings cataloged in the MSM are Black ... the kind where one or more people spray rave parties with gunfire or spray crowds with gunfire in "drive-by" shootings. The violence is the outcome of a pervasive lack of impulse control among an identifiable racial demographic.

    Serial killers often engage in long-term planning, cunning, and stealth, which makes them harder to identify and bring to justice. In the best sociopathic tradition, it is as if they are taunting the authorities with respect to who is smarter. It's a "mind game" and, therefore, the perpetrators are thought to be White.

    As I vaguely recall, Bill James’s book (recommended here by our host) made the point that most serial killers weren’t the diabolical geniuses we see on TV but usually evaded the dragnet of law enforcement by moving to the next state after killing a few victims of marginal social interest.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Right. Even today, if all you wanted to do was kill prostitutes, it would be pretty easy to kill a couple in one town, and then move on, especially if you changed you MO.
  64. @Pericles
    As I vaguely recall, Bill James's book (recommended here by our host) made the point that most serial killers weren't the diabolical geniuses we see on TV but usually evaded the dragnet of law enforcement by moving to the next state after killing a few victims of marginal social interest.

    Right. Even today, if all you wanted to do was kill prostitutes, it would be pretty easy to kill a couple in one town, and then move on, especially if you changed you MO.

    Read More
  65. @The Anti-Gnostic
    Oh. Never mind.

    Seriously, did not know. Media interest seems to have dropped off.

    For his personal convenience, the judge for the Jessica Chambers murder trial pushed it back to October. We’ll see if it becomes a national morality play per Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony.

    Read More

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