• In 2006 the homicide rate in Indianapolis skyrocketed. In 2007 we accidentally elected a new Republican mayor, in no small measure because of the furor over the previous year’s murder rate.
We’re off to a record-breaking summer, as they say in the ad biz, up 60% from last year, poised to smash that record season. So much so that the local teleprompter readers have not been able to ignore it, the way they’ve ignored the rest of Mayor Gomer’s record. Indianapolis’ murder rate per 100,000 residents is now higher than Chicago’s.
It was my Poor Wife who’s pointed this out to me, my own memory being what scientists call “shitty”: during 2006 the climb to the new Homicide record was followed like the progress of a moon landing. Every station had a Homicide Graphic to go along with the daily count, which was announced, well, at least daily.
Today record-keeping has gotten a little sloppy. There’s no denying the problem, not when they’re finding multiple murders on a daily basis. But the scoreboards have been taken down.
Back then the issue was the city’s deep hole over police and fire pensions. The force was reduced. Democrat-Republican Mayor Bart Petersmythe signed onto a local option tax—set up by the state legislature—to pay down the debt. The proto-Teabag Republicans screamed about tax hikes. Right up to the day their man Gomer was elected. He’s kept it around to pay for other things.
Today the issue is the number of cops on the street; Indianapolis has about 75% of the force suggested for a city its size. The (Democrat-Republican controlled) City-County Council wanted to use $6 million earmarked for streets for a one-year effort to increase the number of new officers. Mayor Gomer vetoed it, and last night the Council failed to override that veto.
Meanwhile, the Gomer Plan, which was to simply shuffle assignments around and hope for some good numbers, gets touted as an actual Plan by the locals. He was on all four networks last night with a plan that would increase the number of Academy recruits in 2016. This was repeatedly referred to, on two channels I saw, as “in a couple years.” We not only need recall elections in this town, we need the right to recall news teams.
• Meanwhile, I got to catch some footage of Lance Armstrong entering some mountain bike race, and thanks so much. This on a channel, one of four, which can’t be bothered to mention that the Tour de France, the major event in what’s left of professional cycling after Juan Pelota, is presently entering its second week.
And I don’t blame them for ignoring it, because Americans who made that goon into a national hero don’t care anymore. But covering Armstrong entering a race somewhere was like breaking the story that a tertiary-syphilitic Al Capone had taken up home brewing.
• Speaking of which, I caught up with a woman on the Trail this morning who was decked out in yellow, and, just as I feared, it was some of that Armstrong “charity” finery. I wanted to ask her if she’d like to swap it for my Aaron Hernandez jersey.
• Last week USAToday ("The Nation's High School Newspaper") asked whether fans would ever forgive cycling for the Armstrong/Strongarm/doping era. They interviewed a couple of team managers who said, essentially, “Of course.” Then Team Sky dropped an entire field of professionals the first day in the mountains, and that social media thing exploded in accusations.
Team Sky got roughed up the following day, all except team leader/sure bet Chris Froome, which caused me not to twitter “I guess they’ve learned how to look like they’re not juiced.” So much for the question. If you fucking cheat you’re a fucking cheater. This is why fucking cheaters should be exposed, no matter how much money they have to throw around. Nobody who paid any attention at the time thought that Armstrong (and, yes, much of the rest of the sport) was clean.
• Which just put me in mind of Bashful John McCain, demanding some more of that US unilaterally magical action in every Middle Eastern country save one. Being exposed as a liar doesn’t make you right.