Federal Bureau of Investigation
Frank Kameny never thought he would live to see what happened on April 23, 2009. Over five decades earlier, in December of 1957, Kameny was fired from his job at the Army Map Service. Two years earlier, he had been arrested in a police sting at a San Francisco men’s room, a routine incident in an era when local authorities devoted significant resources in the entrapment of homosexuals.
In a few weeks, an FBI subcommittee will begin the long-overdue work of changing the bureau’s definition of rape. The current definition, which is more than 80 years old, has long drawn criticism for its restrictive language, which excludes a number of kinds of rape and distorts the FBI’s national statistics. That distortion not only warps the public’s perception of the scope of the problem; it also leads to an insufficient allocation of resources to organizations that address it. The prospect of a new definition raises the question: Just how far off are the current statistics?
Just in time for the tenth commemoration of the carnage at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania comes a detailed report from The Miami Herald about a wealthy Saudi family deserting its lush abode in Saratoga, Florida just two weeks before the mass killings. Hey, maybe it’s just a coincidence.
On September 24, 2001, Donna Glessner was boxing up donations at the fire station in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Two weeks before, United Flight 93 had crashed into a reclaimed strip mine about three miles away, killing its 40 passengers and crew members. The station in this town of 245 had become a supply depot, providing necessities to the hundreds of outsiders who had flooded the area: sweatshirts, bug spray, toothbrushes, and so much homemade food that a refrigerated trailer had to be brought in just to hold it.
When I was in high school, a certain former president moved to town, along with his ambitious wife, eager to establish herself as a bona fide—if recent—New York transplant. Select excursions into the quiet downtown, a few lunches at the local diner, and a visit or two to the public schools followed their arrival. Increased security became commonplace, but I was still surprised one day to see burly men in jackets emblazoned with “FBI” prowling the school grounds.
I doubt the rest of the country is as preoccupied with all things Bulger as we are here in Boston. After several days, still the chit chat—everywhere—is about getting Whitey. (Do you think the FBI wanted him not to be found?
Elmer Pratt, the prominent Black Panther known by his nom de guerre, Geronimo ji-Jaga, died at 63 on June 2 in Tanzania. He had served 27 years in prison in Los Angeles for murder, the first eight in solitary confinement, and had been denied parole 16 times before his sentence was vacated and he was freed.
There was more good news about the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list today: Just seven weeks after being able to mark "DECEASED" over Osama bin Laden's photo, the bureau can now mark "CAPTURED" over the picture of James "Whitey" Bulger, the South Boston mob boss wanted for 19 murders, not to mention racketeering, narcotics distribution, and extortion.
The hacking group Lulz Security has made a mockery of internet security this past month, hacking into and stealing data from a number of company and government networks, including Fox, the United States Senate, and an FBI affiliate. Just today, the group has hit the servers of a gaming magazine and three hugely popular online games.
Last week the FBI’s report on crime in 2010 showed that both property and violent crime rates had fallen to their lowest levels in 40 years. A recent post by Richard Florida raised some interesting points about the latest numbers, particularly in parsing the trends in big cities versus smaller communities and pointing to what demographics might tell us about these changes. Steven Raphael and I recently took a look at crime trends in the nation’s largest metro areas to figure out how the large national declines in both violent and property crime rates since the 1990s have played out across cit