Happy Easter Monday - which is a holiday in much of Europe and the Commonwealth, but not in America, so I'll be keeping my regular date on "Tucker Carlson Tonight", live at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, with a rerun at midnight Eastern. Hope you can join me. Meanwhile, my round-up of the passing scene at the start of another week:
~I don't think I can quite claim this as one of my irritatingly cocksure vainglorious self-puffingly obnoxious Steyn I-Told-You-So moments, but I do believe I discerned the trend. From my Sunday Telegraph column of January 5th 2003:
Meanwhile, America's traditionally high and England and Wales's traditionally low murder rates are remorselessly converging. In 1981, the US rate was nine times higher than the English. By 1995, it was six times. Last year, it was down to 3.5. Given that US statistics, unlike the British ones, include manslaughter and other lesser charges, the real rate is much closer. New York has just recorded the lowest murder rate since the 19th century. I'll bet that in the next two years London's murder rate overtakes it.
I got a little ahead of my skis on that last line. Nevertheless:
London's murder rate has overtaken New York City's numbers for the first time ever, according to a new report.
Cultural stereotypes endure years past their sell-by date: New Yorkers still think of London as peaceable and civilized in comparison with their own city, whereas Londoners think of New York as Death Wish. But not so:
London overtook New York in murders for the first time in modern history in February as the capital endured a dramatic surge in knife crime.
Fifteen people were murdered in the capital, against 14 in New York. Both cities have almost exactly the same population.
London murders for March are also likely to exceed or equal New York's. By late last night there had been 22 killings in the capital, according to the Metropolitan police, against 21 in the US city.
Eight Londoners were murdered between March 14 and March 20 alone and the total number of London murders, even excluding victims of terrorism, has risen by 38% since 2014.
Interesting. But why exactly are terrorism victims - Westminster Bridge, London Bridge - excluded? As we all know from Mrs May, Mr Cameron and the rest, terrorism is nothing to do with anything: it's nothing to do with Islam, it's nothing to do with immigration, it's nothing to do with any socio-cultural factors... So presumably it's simply a criminal matter, in which case violent death at the hands of another person acting with intent ought surely to count as part of the murder statistics. Golly, you'd almost get the impression the authorities had come up with a system expressly designed to keep the numbers low...
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail lets us know the names of the dead:
Sadiq Mohamed, 20, Kentish Town
Abdikarim Hassan, 17, Kentish Town
Josef Boci, 30, Greenwich
Seyed Khan, 49, Ilford
Rotimi Oshibanjo, 26, Southall
Promise Nkenda, 17, Canning Town
Sabri Chibani, 19, Streatham Common
Lewis Blackman, 19, Kensington
Hasan Ozcan, 19, Barking
Hannah Leonard, 55, Swiss Cottage
Kwabena Nelson, 22, Tottenham
Mark Smith, 48, Chingford
Bulent Kabala, 41, Enfield
Saeeda Hussain, 54, Ilford
Juan Olmos Saca, 39, Peckham
What a positively Dickensian roll-call. Of the three names a Londoner might have had at the time of, say, Darkest Hour, Lewis Blackman was a black man stabbed to death by six teenagers; Hannah Leonard was a middle-aged Irish lady also stabbed to death, by a couple from Kilburn; and Mark Smith apparently met his end at the hands of a woman "of no fixed abode". At least eighty-five per cent of that grim toll would have been wholly unknown to pre-multicultural London, because neither perpetrators nor victims would have been residents of the United Kingdom.
If you were to say that on Twitter, Scotland Yard would stop investigating today's stabbing and investigate you instead. To modify a famous Philip K Dick line, reality doesn't cease just because Mrs May, the Metropolitan Police and everyone else who matters stop believing in it. Yet they are making a sustained attempt to suspend it. Thus, a British subject who Tweeted her differences of opinion with a "paediatric transgender" activist is now forbidden to leave the United Kingdom. Ten years ago, signing up a primary-school child for "gender re-assignment" was a radical position. Then it became received opinion. Now it's illegal to disagree with it.
To reprise my old line: In Britain everything is policed except crime. A great nation is dying in darkness.
~Rod Dreher noted two major news organizations' curious view of the Christian calendar. First, a correction from National Public Radio re their understanding of Easter:
An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Easter as 'the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven.'
Second, NBC News honcho Chuck Todd on the meaning of Good Friday:
I'm a bit hokey when it comes to "Good Friday." I don't mean disrespect to the religious aspect of the day, but I love the idea of reminding folks that any day can become "good," all it takes is a little selflessness on our own part. Works EVERY time.
No, it doesn't: That's just vapid, hollow, meaningless twaddle. "Good Friday" works - or worked for a couple of millennia - because it's particular.
Mr Dreher observes:
If I have to explain to you why the NPR correction and Chuck Todd's tweet betray massive ignorance of very basic facts of Christianity, then shouldn't you ask yourself why you don't know these facts? Even if you're not a Christian?
That's true. You don't publicly flaunt what NPR and Todd wrote because you're an atheist or agnostic; you do it because you're entirely severed from your civilizational inheritance. The old joke is that Nietzsche respected God enough to kill Him. To respect Him enough to kill Him, you have to know something about Him - as nineteenth-century atheists certainly did. Today we have know-nothings, cut off not so much from scripture but from all that derives therefrom - including, to pluck a small pleasure, the comedy of P G Wodehouse. From The Code of the Woosters, here's Bertie waking up with a stinker of a hangover:
I had been dreaming that some bounder was driving spikes through my head – not just ordinary spikes, as used by Jael the wife of Heber, but red-hot ones.
Richard Dawkins, the boffo bestselling atheist, quotes the above in his book The God Delusion - because, unbeliever as he is, he grasps that scriptural literacy is necessary to any truly satisfying understanding of almost the entirety of the western canon. He is unfortunately atypical in that respect: The gaping fatuous nullity of Chuck Todd's and NPR's Easter greetings is what's left when seven-eighths of the civilizational iceberg has melted away and the thin surface of invincible ignorance is left to bob around unmoored.
~Two Florida mass murders that made headlines around the world do not, at first glance, appear to have much in common. Yet it is striking that both the Parkland school-shooting case and the Pulse nightclub case were bungled by the FBI - in the former, by a failure to observe their own bureaucratic systems and pass on tips about the eventual perpetrator from their call center to the local office; and, in the latter, by rather darker and disturbing factors, from neglecting to tape their interviews with the young jihadist's widow to the revelation late in her trial that her deceased husband's Taliban-supporting father was, for mysterious reasons, an FBI informant.
That last all but sealed her acquittal. The jury foreman in the Noor Salman trial has now issued a statement:
A verdict of not guilty did NOT mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do. On the contrary we were convinced she did know.
Yet she walked. The lesson for Jihad Central is that women are cut considerable slack by western legal systems and that weaponizing Muslim wives - as they did in the Caucasus with their "black widows" - could secure further advantage. After all, it's hard to think of an identity-group category in North America and Europe that is not both more socially isolated and yet more deferred to by a fearful, politically correct citizenry.
That too relates to the other Florida slaughter. If you favor a diminution of Americans' rights to self-defense, the post-Parkland movement is going, so to speak, great guns - because it's vested in "children" with both absolute moral authority and boundless power. Its spokesman is now apparently the most powerful man in the country, yet, if you cross him, he protests that he is not a man at all but merely a child - and the wealthiest corporations in the land jump to yank their ads from those who disrespect the boy savant.
It's not hard to see the logic here, whatever your issue - climate change, grade-school gender transitioning, human cloning. Get the kids to front it because they're beyond criticism. And, when anybody does criticize, get the kids to bounce American corporations into serving as your shock-troops. To modify Stalin, "How many divisions has Hulu and Expedia and Jos. A. Bank?" Well, they've got an advertising division and they can take you out without firing a shot.
~Tomorrow, Tuesday, I'll be hosting another Clubland Q&A, taking questions from Mark Steyn Club members live around the planet for a full hour. The fun starts at 4pm Eastern Time in North America, which is 9pm in London, 10pm in Paris, 11pm in Cairo, midnight in Moscow and Wednesday morning in points east. If you'd like to shoot me a question, you'll find more details about the Club here. Or, if you're personally antipathetic to me but the lady next door's more partial, why not sign her up for a Gift Membership, or treat her to a SteynOnline gift certificate?