Text and Violence
October 06, 2010, 12:38 AM
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From the NYT:
A former parolee with a long history as a petty criminal was convicted of capital crimes on Tuesday for his part in a nighttime home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., three years ago that left a woman and her two daughters dead. The jury deliberated less than one full day.

The defendant, Steven J. Hayes, who, the testimony showed, described his eager anticipation of the crime with an �LOL� — laughing out loud — text message hours before taking part in murder, rape, kidnapping and assault at the home of the Petit family, was convicted of 16 of 17 crimes in all; he was acquitted of arson.

A few years ago in VDARE, I explained some of the reasons why it was much harder now to get away with crimes than in, say, 1965, when people still left their car keys in the ignition switches of their unlocked parked cars. Back then, "You could pursue a lucrative career in auto theft just by climbing into random cars and driving them away."

Since I wrote that, the spread of communications via text rather than speech means that conversations get archived permanently. If you have a street gang, you can threaten to kill a potential witness who might have heard you mention your crime, but you can't threaten to kill a Verizon server farm.

Granted, most potential criminals are pretty dim, but the lesson has to be slowly sinking in by now from all the police procedural shows on TV that the cops have all sorts of ways to follow up electronic trails on your actions. Sure, you could make like Ben Affleck's bankrobber gang in "The Town" and have a long checklist of track-covering steps like microwaving the video camera data storage box and pouring bleach all over the crime scene to wipe out DNA evidence, but, that's starting to seem like real work. If you and you're pals are that foresightful and competent under pressure, you could get real jobs, like being a NASCAR pit crew or working on the crew filming a bankrobber movie or whatever, and not have to go to prison all the time.

Think of it this way: Imagine a 13-year-old who looks up to his 20-year-old gangbanger cousin, who is sharp enough to have stayed out of jail so far. The cousin tells the kid that if he wants to be a real gangsta and do real crimes, he can't be playing around posting pictures of himself and his homies flashing gang signs on MySpace, he can't text to his friends the address of the place where they're going to buy some drugs, he can't put the address of the guy he buys drugs from into his PDA, he can't be sending Twitter messages about where he's going, he can't even own a normal cell phone with a permanent phone number for girls to call him on because the cops can track what cell he was in and disprove his alibis.

In other words, to be an old school original gangsta, he's got to give up a lot of the methods that kids these days socialize. And what's the fun of that?