Saturday, December 18, 2010

What the Heartland Thinks of Life in New York City

Hardly a day goes by, you know, that some innocent bystander ain’t shot in New York City. All you got to do is be innocent and stand by and they’re going to shoot you. The other day, there was four people shot in one day—four innocent people—in New York City. It’s kind of hard to find four innocent people in New York. That’s why a policeman don’t have to aim. He just shoots anywhere. Whoever he hits, that’s the right one.

(Quoted in The New York Times, June 21, 1992.)

I ran the foregoing remarks on page 34 in my magazine, A Different Drummer, in the spring of 1992. The quote was from circa 1930, back when New York City was over 90 percent white, and a veritable crime-free paradise, compared to its present state. The speaker was one Will Rogers.

Of course, compared to rural white America, for whom Rogers spoke, New York City was a crime and vice-ridden hell. Still is.

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