An article about an epidemic of murders of blacks, that says nothing about who is killing them
came upon in my e-mail Inbox a long exchange back in April between me and reporter Brian Hass of The Tennessean
about an article he had written, “Black homicides reach ‘crisis’ in Nashville.” I think the exchange is worth posting. I have not edited it, except for format. Unfortunately, the article itself is no longer available online at The Tennessean
. (Update: A copy of the article has been found and is posted in the next entry
From: Lawrence Auster
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 9:42 PM
To: Haas, Brian
Subject: Your article on black homicides in Nashville
I read your article,”Black homicides reach ‘crisis’ in Nashville.” Remarkable. In a 2,200 word article about black people being murdered in large numbers, you never once say WHO is killing them, namely, other black people. You treat the problem of black homicides as though blacks were being cut down by some mysterious, impersonal plague. You keep saying, over and over, “Why are so many blacks being killed?” But you never say, “Why are black people committing so many murders?” Because the reality is, every one of the blacks who has been killed was killed by another black. But you never say that.
A question for you. What is it like living inside a world of polite lies and euphemisms? What is it like, never to speak the truth? Is it fun? Is it satisfying?
New York City
Brian Hass replied:
From: Haas, Brian
To: Lawrence Auster
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 11:06.a.m.
Subject: RE: Your article on black homicides in Nashville
Congratulations on jumping from one assumption to another. The study did not address perpetrator, only victim. Had I had the information on the assailants, I would have printed that as well. But that doesn’t fit into your narrow world view does it? You’d rather assume all sorts of conspiracies to satisfy your own biases. It feels great to speak the truth. Particularly to people who don’t care to hear it.
And what is the truth you are speaking that I don’t care to hear?
Brian Hass replied:
The truth is this: Not every black killed in Nashville was killed by another black. I don’t know the exact numbers because—surprise, surprise—many are unsolved. I don’t have the luxury of assuming things like that. In addition, I am limited to the facts that I am presented with or discover through my reporting. The report I based my story on focused solely on victims. Victim data is far easier to obtain than assailant data for a multitude of reasons. The data does not back up this assertion you made: “Because the reality is, every one of the blacks who has been killed was killed by another black.” The statement you made is unknowable because we don’t have enough data on assailants. Indeed, it is demonstrably false as there have been white killers with black victims here in Nashville. Nor do the facts back up this assumption you made: “What is it like living inside a world of polite lies and euphemisms? What is it like, never to speak the truth? Is it fun? Is it satisfying?” If you have evidence that I have somehow lied in my story or have gotten something incorrect, please let me know and I will talk to my editor about printing a correction. But I deal in facts, not assumptions and gut feelings.
Your entire response to me shows that you are in a denial of reality. What is your article about? It’s about an epidemic of homicides of blacks. The entire context of the article implies and assumes that these are murders of blacks taking place within the black community, though you never actually say so. Now, if a couple of the murders were done by non-blacks, as you suggest in your last e-mail, that obviously doesn’t change the nature of the problem that you are writing about. And what is the problem? It is that blacks are being killed in very large numbers, because other blacks are killing them. But you never actually state that that self-evident point in your article, and when I pointed out to you that you hadn’t stated it, you got defensive and insisted that you were writing an honest article, and you used the idea that if not every single murder of a black was done by a black, then the idea that this is an epidemic of murders of blacks by blacks is false.
The fact that you ask, over and over in your article, “Why are so many blacks being killed?” while you never talk about the people who are killing them, shows that you are not even serious about answering your own question. The real question is, not “Why are so many blacks being killed?”, but “Why are so many people killing blacks?” And that question would direct us to the killers, not the victims. The victims wouldn’t have been victims had it not been for the killers. But you refuse to discuss the killers. Why? Because the killers are all, or virtually all, black. And you are so in denial of that simple reality that you not only refuse to discuss it in your article, but when I raised the point with you, you continued to deny it.
Face the truth about yourself, Mr. Haas: you are a person who refuses to look at reality, because the reality is not what liberalism says it’s supposed to be. And now I’ll bet that you will write back to me denying that you are a liberal and insisting that you are a person who just looks at the facts!
Brian Hass replied:
No, my story is very much grounded in reality. The data shows that blacks are being killed. It does NOT say that blacks are doing so. Yes, the inference is there, but I cannot report data that I do not have. Period. No matter how badly you want to hear it, I cannot report information that I do not have. There’s no denial. THE DATA WAS NOT THERE FOR THIS STORY. Here’s the hilarious thing about your baseless accusation: If I HAD that data, I would have reported the hell out of it. But I didn’t. You’re also employing a straw man with this statement: “But you never actually state that that self-evident point in your article, and when I pointed out to you that you hadn’t stated it, you got defensive and insisted that you were writing an honest article, and you used the idea that if not every single murder of a black was done by a black, then the idea that this is an epidemic of murders of blacks by blacks is false.” I never said that. At all. I responded to this statement that you made: “every one of the blacks who has been killed was killed by another black,” which is patently untrue. I never said the epidemic of black on black crime is false because some whites have killed blacks. I simply proved your statement wrong. There’s no need to twist my words, they’re all down there in this email chain. It’s funny that you say I’m refusing to face reality. I’ve reported a story based on facts. You’ve emailed me with unfounded accusations, assertions with zero evidence, “facts” that you have utterly failed to back up and even a nice straw man argument about something I never said. If you can find that I somehow “lied” in my story or made a factual error, point it out. Otherwise, I fail to see what continuing this discussion will do. You’ve clearly already made up your mind. Brian Haas
Mr. Haas, in all seriousness, you should be embarrassed by your hair-splitting reply to me. Your whole position comes down to the assertion that you did not deny that there is an epidemic of black on black homicides, because you were only contesting my statement that “every one of the blacks who has been killed was killed by another black.” But whether 100 percent of the murders of blacks in Nashville have been done by blacks, or 99 percent of them, is immaterial. The point is that this is a phenomenon of blacks killing blacks, a reality that you completely ignored in your article. For you, the author of a 2,200 word article about an epidemic of murders of blacks, to declare that you have no knowledge of the nature of these murders and of who is committing them, is laughable. It makes you appear to be a reporter who has zero knowledge and zero curiosity about the phenomenon that you are writing about.
Brian Hass replied:
Do you have data I don’t? If you do, please, provide it to me. I would love to take a look at it. Thanks for all of your help. Brian Haas
You’re the reporter on the scene. How about asking the Nashville police?
Then, how about reading the multitude of articles about black on black homicide in the U.S.?
Then, how about reading the multitude of complaints by black leaders about black on black homicide?
Also, if it’s not blacks who are killing the blacks in Nashville, who do you think is killing them? Are you suggesting that there has been a sudden uprising of white on black murders in Nashville? Or maybe Chinese on black murders?
Do you really want me to believe that you landed on planet Earth yesterday?
No, you don’t have to answer that question. You’ve already made it clear that, for all intents and purposes, you did land on the Earth yesterday. But you’re even worse than the typical newcomer to a new world or a new society, since most newcomers, let alone most reporters, have some curiosity about their new country, and it’s evident that you don’t.
Brian Hass replied:
I did. Nashville Police didn’t have that information. The data is not there. You assume I didn’t even attempt to address the issue. I worked on the story for two weeks, talked to ministers, police, prosecutors, academics, victims’ families. No one was able to provide assailant data for Nashville, the city of my focus. I don’t care who you think is doing the killing. It is irrelevant. I don’t care who I think is doing the killing. That’s irrelevant too. I’m limited by the facts, by what I can prove. I do not understand what you find so hard to comprehend here. I CANNOT REPORT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. I can only report the information that can be obtained. My job is not to confirm what you think is the case. My job is to collect as many facts and data as possible and assemble it into a story. Facts and data on assailants was simply not available for this story. It may be available in future stories. I certainly hope it is and if I can get reliable statistics for Nashville, I’ll be sure to include it in future stories. But I can’t just make stuff up or “go with my gut”, which is what you are advocating. Let me ask you this: How do I justify to my editors (or the community at large) printing the following: “Blacks are killing blacks at an unprecedented rate in Nashville.” How do I justify that if nobody is saying that? Or if there is no available data showing that fact? Please, tell me. I’d love to know. In any event, your implied assertion is that by not reporting assailant information (which, as I have stated, was simply not obtainable for my story), the entire story is invalid. I’d be willing to bet there are 42 grieving Nashville families who would be offended by that assertion.
When, at the end of our April correspondence (see immediately above), I said to Brian Haas that he obviously had made no effort to find out who the perpetrators were, he replied:
Nashville Police didn’t have that information. The data is not there. You assume I didn’t even attempt to address the issue. I worked on the story for two weeks, talked to ministers, police, prosecutors, academics, victims’ families. No one was able to provide assailant data for Nashville, the city of my focus. I don’t care who you think is doing the killing. It is irrelevant. I don’t care who I think is doing the killing. That’s irrelevant too. I’m limited by the facts, by what I can prove. I do not understand what you find so hard to comprehend here. I CANNOT REPORT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. I can only report the information that can be obtained. My job is not to confirm what you think is the case. My job is to collect as many facts and data as possible and assemble it into a story. Facts and data on assailants was simply not available for this story….
In fact, now that I have the article
at hand again, I see that Mr. Haas made numerous indirect but unmistakable references to the race of the murderers, which, to me, he adamantly denied knowing anything about. Here are samples from the article, followed by my responses. Each bulleted item is a direct quote.
- end of initial entry -
Nashville leaders seek solutions, call for community involvement.
[LA replies: Calling for “community involvement” to end the murders means that the murders are coming from the “community,”, i.e. the black community. Yet Mr. Haas denied having any knowledge of the race of the murderers.]
- Motives vary: abuse, domestic problems, drugs, gang activity, robberies. Some were students, parents. Others were gang members and drug dealers.
[LA replies: “domestic problems, drugs, gang activity, robberies”: these all indicate that the murders of the blacks were done by other blacks, yet Mr. Haas adamantly denied that he had ANY knowledge of the race of the murderers.]
- Why are Nashville’s black residents, particularly its black youths, at such risk? Answers are hard to find. Political, religious and law enforcement leaders rattle off a collection of possible reasons: geographic isolation, economics, Nashville’s racial history, politics, the breakdown of families, a lack of father figures, not enough jobs or recreation. Some blame movies, video games or rap music.
[LA replies: Every single one of these possible reasons are standard descriptions of problems within the black community. It is self evident from Mr. Haas’s own reporting that the killings are being committed by other blacks, yet he adamantly and repeatedly denied to me that he had ANY knowledge that the killers were black.]
- Colin Loftin, professor of criminology at the University of Albany, State University of New York, said that research has conclusively linked only one major factor to high homicide rates: poverty.
“Statistically, the big factor that’s consistent over time and place is economic status. You have very, very few homicides in a middle-class population,” he said.
Nashville’s black residents are almost twice as likely to have incomes below the poverty level, 2009 census data show. The average African-American family of four with two children brought in less than $22,000 a year.
Leaders say a sense of hopelessness in the poorest areas of the black community dominates attitudes.
“Those are the ones that are dangerous,” Maynard said. “Because they feel they have no future.”
[LA replies: Loftin is saying that homicides are committed by poor people without hope—a standard description of black people. Yet Brian Haas denied having any knowledge that the killers were black.]
- He said many children grow up knowing little more than the small world around them, a world that includes drugs, prostitution and violence on a daily basis. Navigating those streets becomes an exercise in survival, and anything that aids that survival is quickly adopted.
“I am out here by myself. Here come the Bloods. The Crips. They say, ‘We’ll take care of you,’ ” Price said. “Nobody seems to care. Nobody loves me. Gangs tell you, ‘We love you, be a part of us.’ I’m gonna die anyway, so I might as well go this way.”
[LA replies: So, Brian Haas lets on that many of these black homicide victims were themselves members of the Bloods and the Crips, which are, of course, black gangs, and that they were killed by other gang members. But he swore to me, on a stack of Bibles, that he had NO INFORMATION indicating the race of the murderers.]
S. Smith writes:
How the hell can there be “no available data?” Simply read the police and media reports that describe the suspects, arrested perps, convicted murderers etc. Sure this swpl reporter could have done that. What you’ve exposed is that Mr. Haas has no interest in pursuing an aspect of this story—even a vital aspect—if it leads him in a direction he doesn’t want to go. So he lies and feigns ignorance of “facts.”
Well done, Mr. Auster.
Forta Leza writes:
Being a liberal means not using your common sense when it comes to racial issues. Obviously the reason so many blacks are murdered is that they live near other blacks.
But you don’t even need to use common sense. A ten second Google search for “black on black homicide” came up with the following:
The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that from 2001 to 2005, more than nine out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks.
While African Americans comprise 13.5% of the U.S. Population, 43% of all murder victims in 2007 were African American, 93.1% of whom were killed were African Americans.
A United States Department of Justice report which surveyed homicide statistics between 1974 and 2004 stated that of the crimes surveyed, 52.2% of the offenders were Black, 45.8% were White, and 2% were Other Races. Of the victims in those same crimes, 50.9% were White, 46.9% were Black, and 2.1% were Other Races. The report further stated that “most murders are intraracial” with 86% of White murders committed by Whites, and 94% of Black murders committed by Blacks.
Tim W. writes:
Perhaps Mr.. Haas can search for the killers in Williamson County, It’s the wealthiest county in Tennessee and it’s just outside Nashville. Lots of rich white men in business suits live there, and according to many of our TV investigative dramas, that’s the main murderer demographic.
If it isn’t the rich white men then it might be the rich white youths. There have been nationwide reports recently of “youths” attacking people and then kicking them in the head when they’re down. Nashville is home to Vanderbilt University, a school filled with upscale whites of the Duke Lacrosse team variety. I suspect they would think it a great sport to go wilding in Nashville’s black neighborhoods, assaulting any innocent black person who crossed their path.
Another possibility is that country music fans are responsible. Many thousands of whites journey to Nashville annually to see the Grand Ole Opry. Country music is a racist genre as we know, with few black performers and a fan base that is exclusionary. It isn’t difficult to imagine some of these rednecks having a few beers after a George Strait performance and heading out to kill a few blacks.
Otherwise, I’m at a loss to explain who the murderers are. There’s no point looking for them in the black neighborhoods themselves, because Mr.. Haas assures us there’s no reason to suspect that black people are the killers. There exists no evidence to suggest that these black victims were killed by other blacks. None. I’m surprised at you, Lawrence, for not knowing this.
I sent my update, above, to Brian Haas (with all the references to “Brian Haas” changed to “you”), in which I showed all the indirect references in his article making it unmistakable that the killers of the black victims were themselves black, a fact that in his e-mails to me he had kept denying knowing anything about, and he has replied:
I’m sorry that you can’t let this one go. What you cite below are anecdotes, not numbers. And anecdotes from people who either don’t know the issue as well as law enforcement or only get a small picture of the homicides. What I would need would be numbers to prove what you are asking for. Not anecdotes and your “gut feeling” on the matter. I know that you’d like me to write a story to confirm your feelings on the matter, but I cannot do that without facts.
And you are intentionally misconstruing Loftin’s conclusion. His conclusion is the exact opposite: You cannot link homicide to race in a 1:1 relationship. He’s saying the ONLY factor that research has shown to affect homicides is poverty. NOT RACE. I asked him that specifically and he deep-sixed the idea that race and homicides were necessarily related.
And you are intentionally misconstruing what I know. I do not know, “that the people killing all these black people in Nashville are other blacks.” I have incomplete data—at best—to even try and answer that.
My job is not to report what you want, but the information that is available and verifiable. My position hasn’t changed and you still haven’t provided me any information that would have let me write a story showing that it’s all black people killing black people (I know that isn’t the case, in fact. There are white killers of black people from that year).
Please, really think about your motives for being so insistent on this issue. Is it really because you feel that the community isn’t being informed or is it your own personal beliefs that you simply must see reinforced in print?
Sometimes the facts simply aren’t there to make everyone happy.
[end of Hass e-mail]
Matthew H. writes:
Your exchange with Brian Hass is a beautiful exposition of leftist-media obtuseness. Funny that the people who invented the rhetorical gambit of seeking out the “root causes” of all society’s ills should be so incurious about them in cases like this.
The twisted syllogism seems to run as follows:
A. Blacks are messed up;
B. We’re not; therefore
C. Their being messed up is our fault.
By this time most Americans are so well trained that all one has to do is point out an example of A. and they will fill in B. and C. by themselves.
Astonishingly, the endless repetition of this shameful ploy has brought the most successful society in history to the brink of collapse.
Cindi S. writes:
They “need love” alright. FROM THEIR FATHERS.
Dan D. writes:
Your email correspondence with Mr. Haas is so Orwellian that an honest dialog with Mr. Haas is prime example #1 of the “crimethink” definition. However this amazing dialog appears to put Mr. Haas in a category that is the frozen lock-step denial of reality by present day liberals.
But I do wonder what sort of dialog, if any, would have elicited a less defensive response from Mr. Haas. Or can the question be stated as follows: “Why is the murder rate in the black community so much higher than in the white community?”
An answer to such a question, that would be compatible with Mr. Haas’s worldview might be something about the higher rates of poverty in the black community, and that blacks are killing blacks is irrelevant since the real culprit is poverty. So to keep insisting that Mr. Haas consider who the killers are is just to him irrelevant. A Mr. Haas response might be: “IT’S THE POVERTY MR. AUSTER.”
Hence the actual dialog, that is unspoken, is masked by the issue of black murderers, which Mr. Haas does not want to discuss because he thinks that that concern, or fact, is irrelevant and possibly even racist. Consider that similar challenges of motive regarding critics Mr. Obama’s handling of our country’s economic problems is merely a mask for racial hatred of a black president.
Similar thought processes and such defenses abound: Question the high rate of AIDS among gays and you are labeled a homophobe, which is the pejorative de jure. If a woman is attacked in an urban setting you must not raise concerns about the prudence of her exercising her “freedom.” Gays get AIDS because the rest of us are intolerant, women are attacked because society (men) are sexist, blacks are murdered because of poverty and racism.
Evolution, global warming, immigration policies, parenting issues, dating, men vs. women and a seemingly endless realm of Orwellian new ways to think correctly is a daily reminder of the traps an unwary and naturally curious fellow can be ensnared. Why risk the conflict—it’s just easier to be silent. Ahhh, the new tyranny.
Greg W. writes:
Mr. Haas is in a deep state of denial, or a pathological liar. No one in his right mind would NOT come to the conclusion that these murders are a result of black on black crime upon reading this article. Almost every paragraph paints this picture. When someone says “I’m afraid to walk out at night,” that’s code for “black neighborhood.”
No wonder Mr. Haas, or whoever, took down this article. It’s blatantly obvious that the murderers are black.
It may be that The Tennessean automatically takes down its online articles after a certain period of time. I’d have to check out the site to see of there are other three month old articles that are still online.
Greg W. writes:
Brian Haas wrote:
“He’s saying the ONLY factor that research has shown to affect homicides is poverty. NOT RACE.”
I suspect the research didn’t account for race at all, because that would show a pattern, and pattern recognition is evil. Did you ask Mr. Haas why poor white and Asian people don’t commit murder at anywhere close to the rates of poor blacks? This would indicate that it is not ONLY poverty, since people who are impoverished aren’t committing murder at the same rate. But, bringing this up would be an admission by Mr. Haas that race is real, and there are inherent differences within the races.
Jim C. writes:
I agree with your assessment of course, but you put him on the defensive with your original message, not to mention with your snide rhetorical question. No wonder things got a bit dicey.
The tone of my rhetorical question (“What is it like, never to speak the truth? Is it fun? Is it satisfying?”) may have been snide, but the substance of the question was entirely sincere on my part. Does he find it fulfilling—does it make him happy in the Aristotelian sense—to engage in such obfuscation?
Jim C. writes:
He’s lying about not knowing the perp data, which can easily be retrieved from local law enforcement or the FBI. Your exchange with him would make a hysterical premise for a film. I love it. It sure would be more interesting than that dumb You’ve Got Mail. But you need a title. OK, how’s “I’ve Got A Liberal: Get Me Out of Here!”
David B. writes:
I’ve seen articles like the one by Brian Haas several times. They always have a similar hand-wringing tone. Once, I saw one that said, “Many of the suspects were also black.” Not “nearly all” but “many.”
These articles will intone that blacks “are the main victims of homicide,” and imply that society is somehow at fault. I can’t recall a newspaper article that acknowledges that blacks are the perpetrators of homicide out of proportion to their percentage of the population.
James P. writes:
Not every black killed in Nashville was killed by another black … but if even a significant number had been killed by whites, do you think we would know about it? Haas would undoubtedly loooove to write that story: “Epidemic of Racist Hate Murders Strikes Nashville!” The story he refuses to write—“Epidemic of Blacks Killing Blacks”—is apparently a lot less interesting to him, and involves acknowledgment of reality rather than denial.
He says that many of the murders are unsolved, and thus he, in his journalistic purity, cannot write about the perpetrators because he does not have the facts. But what about the ones that have been solved? Is there really nothing to say about the epidemic of black-on-black homicide based on solved cases?
Josh F. writes:
Clearly, Mr. Haas is attempting to maintain a radically autonomous position, i.e., attempting to be detached from a certain reality without the consequence of appearing to be detached from said reality.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 15, 2011 05:27 PM | Send
He is attempting to exist in a state of all-accepting indiscriminancy (what many euphemize as nondiscrimination and tolerance). Such a position allows one maximum autonomy, but REQUIRES a total inclusion of all. By maintaining the incredible position that the “statistics” and “facts” aren’t there to SAY ANYTHING about WHO has a hand in this epidemic of murdered blacks, Mr. Haas is attempting to CONVERT you to an “equal” state of all-accepting indiscriminacy. That blacks are murdering blacks at epidemic rates IS irrelevant as there is no intent by Mr. Haas to stop this epidemic in the first place.
Mr. Haas knows that you know the WHO. He won’t budge because he doesn’t need to budge. He is “defensive” toward you because being one of the very few that won’t get on board with his all-accepting indiscriminacy, you are a real irritant. He has “submitted” to BRA because he is convinced that his best position is to exist in state of all-accepting indiscriminancy.