10 Things about Murderers we Learned from “The First 48.”

The First 48Unlike most TV cop shows, this one showcases real murders, and therefore, real murderers. Here are 10 things about murderers that you’ll never pick up if you watch scripted TV shows, but any homicide cop could have told you:

  1. Murderers are career criminals, usually. Criminals are generally pretty stupid people. For every Professor Moriarty in fiction, there’s ten thousand full-retard street criminals in the Lifer Wing of the jug.
  2. Most victims don’t die for anything big. They are killed in petty disputes, or in the pursuit of de minimis thefts.
  3. There’s usually a lot of emotion involved in a murder. The exceptions are the robberies.
  4. A robbery turned murder is not, despite the show and even the cops using the term, a “robbery gone wrong.” It’s a robbery gone one of the two ways the robbers expected it to go; if some armed robbers never kill any of their victims, that’s strictly accidental. (This, then, suggests we ought to hit armed robbers a little harder in the sentence department; execution would work).
  5. Victims’ lives often parallel their murderers’, closely. For example, those shot by dope peddlers are usually fellow dope peddlers. Others are victims of their own bad taste in romantic partners. A few had the bad fortune to own something shiny that caught the eye of Self Esteem Generation, who killed them to perpetrate thefts.
  6. The younger the criminal, the more self-centered and depraved he or she tends to be.
  7. The entitlement culture is often comorbid in these young robbers. Sometimes a victim is a “striver,” trying to get ahead by honest means; the murderer never is.
  8. Murder is a crime of bad neighborhoods, and the neighborhood is bad for the same reason the murders happen there: there’s a lot of untended human pathogens there.
  9. None of the murderers have ever been productive human beings, and no good can come of releasing them some day. It would be more humane to put them down like rabid dogs, not least for their future victims.
  10. There is an uncomfortable racial element to murder statistics that is highly visible in these case studies, but it’s hard to tease out any real racial effect from the pernicious effects of American urban and welfare policy.

There are also things we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen a murder done with a legally-bought firearm on the show. We’ve never seen a murder where the firearm precipitated the crime. (It may have contributed to hotheaded urban “disrespect” killings). We’ve never seen a suspect who turned out to be someone from the gun culture — considering how standard that plot point is in TV, it seems to be a screenwriter fantasy of a piece with the same guys’ dread of “Eurotrash neo-nazis,” a group which has the virtue, from Hollywood’s viewpoint, of being too small and nonexistent to pursue a defamation action.

Because The First 48 deals with facts as they are, it’s nothing short of amazing that it’s allowed on the tube.

7 thoughts on “10 Things about Murderers we Learned from “The First 48.”

  1. Daniel

    Unfortunately, having cops on camera also leads to events like the Columbia, Mo SWAT raid of man’s home. Shots fired around children with a dead dog and nothing to show for it than a paraphernalia charge…


  2. Graw

    Hollywood has a real on neo-Nazis and armed townspeople. Rank that up with the best of liberal knowledge that “just isn’t so.” Another good one 24’s oft-used trope, that of the violent American reprisals on peaceful American Muslims shortly after a terrorist attack. And then there’s the idea that evil corporate white men false-flag terror operations (see: 24, Iron Man, Non-Stop). I laugh, but at a certain point perception becomes reality.

    Strangely, The Wire was written by an out-and-out liberal, but kept its integrity intact in exploring the Baltimore crime world and Democratic machine politics.

    #4 is particularly interesting to me because I always believed that career robbers didn’t want to have murders on their records. I guess I’ll have to watch the show.

  3. Jay

    Never forget that when you see large groups of people doing something stupid and self destructive, it is because they are somehow paid to do so. Number 10 is certainly uncomfortable but one must also note that this behavior is not evident among children raised in two parent families regardless of race. This is not an issue with race so much as the result of perverse government incentives from programs promoted as helping certain communities; i.e. the government is getting what it paid for. In this case, the politicians who vote for this largesse literally get re-elected on the bodies of their constituency.

  4. Chris

    I noted the racial composition of “The First 48” too. But I’ve also seen “Cops Reloaded” in which more than half the contacts are white – unlike “Cops” which was much more in keeping with “The First 48.” I wonder if liberal guilt is at work.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I dunno. In some jurisdictions cops will interact with mostly black criminals (and victims) and in some with mostly white. In New York City, it varies by precinct: you can be in a precinct that has three synagogues in it, in which case you get the occasional domestic, or you can be in the 44, in which case you might not be the guy that retires without ever drawing your gun. But in some places you have all the pathologies that people associate with an urban black underclass, except it’s a rural white underclass (or an urban one for that matter). Here in NH, cops get the same kinds of calls and the same kinds of depravity cops get anywhere, but in a state that’s 4-5% minority, the criminals are mostly fishbelly white in color.

  5. Aesop

    Some years back, National Review had a centerspread; one of the salient criminal stats was a non-commented blurb to the effect that if you factored out crime in the US committed by blacks, our crime rate was equivalent to that of Luxembourg. If they factored out hispanic crime, the rate dropped to that of Liechtenstein.

    Woe betide anyone who notes that when discussing the topic, because it’s the third rail, however inconveniently true it is.

    Not too many months back, we were shooting a TV show in a Spanish-language radio station, and they had the US Census maps with percentage of their target demographic indicated by percent.

    The week before, we’d been in a police division HQ, with crime maps prominent for the major crimes.

    Heaven forfend that I had uttered anything so impolitic as to note that the heavily hispanic neighborhoods were also the exact high-crime neighborhoods, with a 1:1 correspondence, such that it was a predictor of incidence.

    That doesn’t make all people of color crooks, but they bear the brunt of the crime victimhood, and provide the bulk of the perpetrators, beyond any shred of demographic correspondence, whether we say it or not.

    So we might as well say it.