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Gender: Male
Hometown: AZ
Member since: Sun Oct 14, 2012, 10:57 PM
Number of posts: 8,015

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Psychotherapist, Inventor, & Entrepreneur

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Why not?

It is the rules of the game as they stand. That is your sides justification for the insane amounts of money pandering that Clinton is doing because, hey it is the rules of CU, so use 'em to win.

The myth of the "super predator", the 1994 Crime Bill, Clinton & Sanders.

This topic is all over DU today. And while some of the debunking has been started, I still see even very prominent Clinton supporters on these boards trying to convince us that 'super predators' were real. They were violent gang youth in minority inner city neighborhoods that had to be stopped. And if you did not support it, some have suggested, well you did not support helping other minorities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The New York Times reported this week on the "superpredator" myth, which 20 years ago led nearly every state in the country to expand laws that removed children from juvenile courts and exposed them to adult sentences, including life without parole.

A documentary by Retro Report, The Superpredator Scare, tells the story of how influential criminologists in the 1990s issued predictions of a coming wave of "superpredators": "radically impulsive, brutally remorseless" "elementary school youngsters who pack guns instead of lunches" and "have absolutely no respect for human life." Much of this frightening imagery was racially coded.

In 1995, John DiIulio, a professor at Princeton who coined the term "superpredator," predicted that the number of juveniles in custody would increase three-fold in the coming years and that, by 2010, there would be "an estimated 270,000 more young predators on the streets than in 1990." Criminologist James Fox joined in the rhetoric, saying publicly, "Unless we act today, we're going to have a bloodbath when these kids grow up."



Yes, folks it was a myth.

That some even accept the 'reality' of a super predator myth is very much the problem. It is the only way some can justify Clinton's condescending dismissal of Ashley Wiliams and their continued support for Hillary Clinton.

During the 1990's, I was a young graduate student in psychology. My first internship and first job was working with gang members in a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Tucson. I really hadn't planned on working with such a population. I was heavy into psychodynamic psychology (think Jung & Freud!) and somatics, but the all white staff felt that this blue eyed light brown skinned big strong man (6'2" and 185 at the time) would be best suited for the position. It is interesting to note that I was one of two minorities employed there professionally. Oh, sure, the Hispanics ran the kitchen, the grounds crew, etc. But I was the youth therapist and Buck, a wonderful & funny black man, was the physical education director. Everyone else were white.

I worked, of course, predominantly with minorities - young black and hispanic men and women - lost in a world of inner city poverty, addicted to drugs like cocaine that were being glorified by whites in movies about the wealthy and the elite, and lashing out in violence and in rage due to the trauma, fear, and hurt that they individually and collectively felt. Some may not think that Tucson had much of a gang problem. They did and still do. The illegal drug flow went from Nogales to Tucson and then directly west to San Diego and north to Phoenix before heading west to LA. The Bloods and the Crips were involved as well as La Raza and later Los Zetas.

These were tough kids to get through to. Drug addiction, trauma, rage and pain, and lack of deep self-knowledge about what was really happening in their communities and why. About this time a small group of criminologists starting pushing a bogus pseudo-psychological theory on our entire culture that these young 'colored' kids were 'super predators' and worse yet, that any of these young 'colored' kids could become super predators unless we did something drastic to stop them. I remember the breathless discussions about the topic at morning intakes and special in-services on how to deal with this new 'population'.

The only kid that I ever saw that was a true psychopathic predator was, ironically enough, a young Mexican man whose father was a doctor and whose mother was a lawyer living in the only nice neighborhood in Nogales, on the US side, of course. A gun was brought to this kid during a 'family & friends' week visit, and he tried to kill me. He shot at me three times at near point blank range. Had he not been still totally fucked up coming off detoxing from all of the drugs he was addicted to, I would have been dead. Somehow all three bullets missed. I still have the metal briefcase my father gave me the birthday before I started my internship. The bullet dent is still there. The orderly and I took him down, and that was that. I testified later that week, that yes, once he turned 18, he should go to adult lock up. But that was the only one out of hundreds that I worked with during those years.

The Clintons and the Gores not only bought into this myth, but they were in positions of leadership to turn this myth into public policy. Hillary Clinton's famous speech is a part of that history. A fundamentally racist belief was given credence by their actions and support. Do y'all remember Tipper Gores push against 'dirty lyrics' in popular music? Well that was part of it. These kids were not allowed to wear blue or red every while in treatment. They couldn't listen to rap or any song that had 'unsuitable' lyrics. It was the age old white American fear of the violent and over-sexualized colored youth, except now, Hispanics were as much as part of the myth as AA's.

Did the Clintons try to help me and my colleague battle this myth and offer real treatment and solutions for these kids? Not on your life! And worse, they pushed crime bills that treated these kids as adults. So the young black man in my office wanting to change was moved to an adult prison because he had a gram of cocaine with intent to sell. The young Hispanic woman wanting to change was moved to an adult prison because she had an assault charge for beating up a store clerk during a robbery for drug money.

The criminologists' amicus brief summarized extensive research data demonstrating that "the predictions by the proponents of the juvenile superpredator myth" were wrong. "Yet," it concluded, "the superpredator myth contributed to the dismantling of transfer restrictions, the lowering of the minimum age for adult prosecution of children, and it threw thousands of children into an ill-suited and excessive punishment regime." The research shows that these new laws "had no material effect on the subsequent decrease in crime rates," and yet almost all of these laws remain on the books. And while the Supreme Court in Miller struck down mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children, thousands of kids remain sentenced to die in prison as states fight retroactive application of the decision to sentences imposed during the height of the superpredator panic.

For 20 years this myth has still lingered with all of these laws still on the books federally and in most states. I know that Zimmerman saw Martin not as a kid with some Skittles but rather as a potentially dangerous 'super predator'. The over-militarized cops killing young blacks are also seeing 'super predators' and not kids with toy guns or just fucked up teens stealing and doing drugs but always able to change given the help they need. So no it is not outrageous for this young woman to wonder if Clinton and those that support her still see & believe that myth given that we have video evidence of Clinton's firm acceptance and promoting of that myth. She also wonders if the world around her sees her as a 'super predator' or at least a potential one as well. I would say that the heart of the young BLM movement is a direct result of this myth's influence on crime and punishment in this country now some 20 years after its inception.

And unlike the Clintons who pushed it 100%, Sanders was given a damned if you do, and damned if you don't choice with that omnibus crime bill. He spoke out against it repeatedly. Here is one such example.

He tried to get aspects altered. But the question came down for him does he vote against it which would mean also voting against the Violence Against Women Act and the Assault Weapon Ban or does he vote for it and secure passage of the Violence Against Women Act and Assault Weapon Ban. Bluntly, he would not have to make that choice if Bill Clinton was not a triangulator pushing 'hard on drugs and crime' from and for the right and 'protecting women and banning guns' from and for the left. He is directly to blame for that. She is to blame for pushing it just as hard. They do not get a pass. She definitely does not get a pass just because she didn't 'vote' for it. Yes, she did. She voted by promoting it and pushing it in the media. She voted for it by supporting her husbands efforts to get it passed.

Some are trying to blame the media. Well, the Clintons were just echoing what the media was pushing. Besides the blatant attempt to try and deflect from the yet again poor leadership of Hillary Clinton, this also shows us what we have known since the 1980's. The mainstream media news is nothing more than infotainment. If it bleeds, it leads. And the juicy myth of colored super predators was just too tasty for them to ignore. There was a sick feedback loop in place between the news media and the then DC elites which included Clintons and the Gores. For those of us in the trenches from law enforcement professionals to therapists and social workers, our jobs were made more difficult. Institutionalized racism at its finest drove the myth of the super predatory colored youth.

And now we see yet again that nothing has really changed for Hillary Clinton. She never apologized. Really, I can't imagine how even a verbal one would suffice. She has not called for the dismantling of this criminal justice system. She is offering only lukewarm platitudes that speak to modest social justice issues yet dismisses at every turn apparently any BLM activist that tries to hold her feet to the fire for her past beliefs and actions.

Sanders, on the other hand, has a history of strong civil rights. He needed to be pulled into the 21st century with some help from BLM and others. And he has put forth the strongest criminal justice reform package of any of the candidates up for election in 2016 on either side of the aisle. O'Malley's was a strong second but only because it lacked the economic justice reforms that must go hand in hand with any social justice. Anyone who has read and has even a cursory knowledge of the writings of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X understand that any chance at real change in this country for minorities involves economic AND social justice reforms. King called for an economic and social Bill of Rights not only for minorities but also whites.

1. A meaningful job “at a living wage” for every employable citizen.

2. A secure and adequate income for all who cannot find jobs, or for whom employment is inappropriate.

3. Access to land as a means to income and livelihood.

4. Access to Capital as a means of full participation in the economic life of America.

5. Recognition by law of the rights of people affected by government programs to play a truly significant role in determining how they are designed and carried out.

6. Recommit the Federal Government to the “Full Employment Act of 1946” and legislate the immediate creation of at least one million socially useful career jobs in public service.

7. Adopt the pending "House and Urban Development Act of 1968”.

8. Repeal the 90th Congress’s punitive welfare restrictions in the “1967 Social Security Act”.

9. Extend to all farm workers the right guaranteed under the “National Labor Relations Act” – to organize agriculture labor unions.

10. Restore budget cuts for bilingual education, Head Start, summer jobs, “Economic Opportunity Act”, and “Elementary and Secondary Education Acts.”


We speak as black men and women on behalf of black men and women. But the rights we insist upon do not apply only to our people. They are, as this nation has proclaimed, but not practiced, the principle for two centuries, the rights of all men.


Supporting someone who believed then and dismisses now the impact of that myth of the super predator on young AA's as well as all the young and disenfranchised is not someone who is going to bring about these necessary changes. The neoliberal way as evidenced by this Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994 will only continue to perpetuate it.
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