The philosophers of the Beverly Hills Police Department expand on the meaning of the Chasen murder
In a news story I quoted earlier today, Beverly Hills police described Harold Martin Smith, the murderer of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, as a man “down on his luck.” However, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, the police have surpassed that bit of potato compassion:
After three weeks of frenzied speculation about hired killers, gang initiations and Russian mobsters, Beverly Hills police said Wednesday that the shooting death of veteran movie publicist Ronni Chasen probably was a botched robbery by a small-time ex-convict who had grown desperate for money.The proper term for an attempted armed robbery in which the victim is killed is “felony murder.” Now, according to the police, a felony murder is a “botched robbery.”
But it gets better yet:
Smith, who had been evicted from the Harvey Apartments and was wanted by authorities for violating his probation, “was at a desperate point and was reaching out and doing desperate measures,” Det. Sgt. Michael Publicker said.Meaning, first, that Smith didn’t really intend to commit a crime or hurt anyone; he was a victim of life, acting under the pressure of circumstances. (Has Clarence Darrow come back from the dead and been hired as Beverly Hills police chief?) And meaning, second, that Smith didn’t intend to shoot Ronni Chasen several times in the chest, placing the bullets in close proximity to each other. No, the shooting just sort of happened by itself. Smith was intending only to commit a robbery, but somehow the robbery, all by itself, “went bad.” The robbery went bad. That silly old robbery just went off the tracks and, without Smith’s intent or participation, turned into a murder.
Furthermore, the expression, “a robbery gone bad,” implies that an act of armed robbery, in and of itself, is not bad. It’s only bad if it turns into murder. But of course a person who commits armed robbery is a person who is prepared to commit murder. The threat of murder is intrinsic in the very act of armed robbery, in which the perpeprator points a weapon at the victim and says, implicitly or explicitly, “Your money or your life.” So, when police describe a murder as a “robbery gone bad,” they are saying that pointing a deadly weapon at a person and threatening to kill him if he doesn’t hand over his money is not bad; it’s only bad if the perpetrator actually kills the victim. But if that were true, if robbery were not bad, why would robbery be a serious felony in every state of the Union?
A country in which police routinely speak in such non-causative, non-judgmental, nihilistic terms about violent crime, a country in which the public does not vigorously reproach the police for doing so, is a country that has lost the will to condemn and oppose evil, and therefore is a country that is doomed.
Robert B. writes:
The LA Times story also says:LA replies:
Unbelievable. He was “reaching out.”David B. writes:
I had been following the news about the Ronni Chasen murder. I was skeptical about its being a “Hollywood hit” or “contract killing.” I suspected from the start that the perpetrator was a street criminal.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 09, 2010 04:36 PM | Send