With Columbus, Ohio in the news, from WBNS in Columbus:
Last year, Columbus set a new high with 175 homicides with 2021 already at 60 in mid-April.
Author: Lacey Crisp
Published: 6:41 PM EDT April 19, 2021
There have been 60 homicides in the city of Columbus this year. That is twice the number the city had last year in the same time frame.
Homicides in Columbus in 2020 were up 67% over 2019.
This reminds me of an interesting epistemological question: how do you tell the difference between a man-bites-dog example and an example that shows the kind of thing that can happen when one or more bell curves are shifted to the right of the national average?
For instance, in 2019, Eliud Kipchoge ran the 26.2 mile distance of the marathon in under two hours. You could call this a man-bites-dog story because nobody had ever done that before. Or you could call it a stereotypical bell curve story because Kipchoge is just about the single most stereotypical marathon great ever: not only is he a Kenyan, but he is from the famous Kalenjin running tribe. And not only is he a Kalenjin, he’s from the Nandi highlands. And not only is he from Nandi, he’s from the town of Eldoret, the world’s epicenter of great distance runners.
Not everybody understands that the press naturally promotes Man-Bites-Dog stories. For example, much of the public has an enormously warped sense of who is doing most of the murdering in America because the press loves man-bites-dog stories about whites murdering nonwhites, and gives these relatively rare events vastly more coverage than nonwhites murdering whites or, especially, nonwhites murdering nonwhites.
In one sense, the Columbus story of the late Knife Girl trying to disembowel two other girls is interesting because it’s a Man-Bites-Dog story or, to be precise a Girl-Tries-to-Knife-Other-Girls story, which are less common than Man-Knifes-Man stories.
Yet, Black-Girl-Knifes-Black-Girl stories are more common than could be hoped. For example, also in Ohio this week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
Cincinnati police charge 13-year-old girl in stabbing death of another girl, also 13
Chris Mayhew, Cameron Knight
April 20, 2021
Cincinnati police said a 13-year-old girl has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of another 13-year-old girl on Monday.
Officers were called at 9:08 p.m. Monday to Topridge Place in Winton Hills, according to a Cincinnati Police Department release. Police said they found a 13-year-old with a stab wound. The incident happened in the green space between two buildings.
“During a verbal dispute, (the teen) pulled out a pocket knife and cut the victim on the right side of her neck causing her death,” court documents state.
Nyaira Givens, 13, died from her injuries at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
My impression is that the Columbus knife mayhem that was averted at the last fraction of a second by the police officer shooting Knife Girl is less of a Man Bites Dog story (although the cop’s superb reactions to the utter chaos were unusually impeccable, like a scene from a Tom Cruise movie, only vastly more confusing) than it is the kind of thing that happens when bell curves are shifted.
Females rarely murder other females, but blacks in 2019 were 8.2 times per capita as likely to be known murder offenders as were other races. So the odds are that if we see insane video of a 16-year-old girl trying to carve up 2 other girls into ground chuck even though the cops had already arrived that Knife Girl would be black are quite high.
Conversely, that young officer Nicholas Reardon performed remarkably has a nature and nurture element as well: his father recently as the Columbus police department’s chief of training, having trained 700 cadets. Reardon’s upbringing and inheritance for police work is out on the right side of the bell curve.