CODE

Looks like our old pal Neal Boortz is in some hot water after letting his mask slip off for a few minutes on air the other day:

(Atlanta) is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are – you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.

And:

This city harbors an urban culture of violence. And I want you to look around. You drive into the city. The railroad overpass is on the downtown connector covered with graffiti. And that– That is just an advertisement for everybody coming into this town that we really don't give a damn about those who would screw up our quality of life around here. We really just don't care. We don't care enough to paint over graffiti on the overpasses that come into our city, advertising welcome to Atlanta, here's some of our finest graffiti, from some of our finest urban thugs and their little gang signs.

The technique of using coded language to make racial appeals only works if sufficiently subtle. Unfortunately Boortz isn't bright enough to pull that off, instead ham-fistedly using terms like "urban" and "thugs" in place of "black". On the plus side, he gets his point across very effectively: his listeners should shoot some black people next time they leave the suburbs and venture into Atlanta.

Unsubtle racism aside, note the argument he is making here. Big cities like Atlanta are hellholes because there is too much crime (implicitly read: too many black people). But if "crime" is a key determinant of quality of life in a given place, small town 'murica certainly isn't the answer; since the 1970s a number of social forces – the meth epidemic, deregulation, supply side economics, Evangelical political militancy – have conspired to make the average small, rural town as much of a pit of despair as any big city. Among the boarded up storefronts, randomly exploding meth labs, third world teen pregnancy rates, and elderly, deranged population of fundamentalists, I'd take my chances with "urban thugs" in Atlanta over Pigsknuckle, Georgia.

What kind of community isn't a hellhole, Neal? Implicitly – and unsurprisingly given his audience – he is arguing that The Big City is wicked in comparison to its suburbs. In other words, Atlanta should be more like East Cobb and Sandy Springs…you know, where everyone has tons of money.

So Atlanta should be more like its suburbs, where the high financial bar for entry creates some of the wealthiest communities in the nation (GA-06 is one of the 10 wealthiest districts).

But income inequality is not a problem and income redistribution is the great Satan.

My butt itches.

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43 Responses to “CODE”

  1. FMguru Says:

    Funny, when I think of violence I think of predominantly white rural areas – lots of gun ownership, children out of wedlock, drunkenness, crumbling economies barely held together by federal welfare spending, corrupt and incompetent cops, and tons of methamphetamine production and consumption.

    Ugh, white people. Barely better than animals.

  2. Christopher Says:

    Curiously, his solution to urban thug violence is to import suburban Paul Kerseys! Fight fire with fire(power) I guess…

  3. sarah Says:

    everyone knows that violence solves violence! duh!

  4. Middle Seaman Says:

    Don't forget, it's them! They did, do and will do it. The only good people is us.

    No reason to get up in arms; that is the oldest trick in the book.

  5. eau Says:

    "…we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta."

    Yep, nothing says "urban renewal" like a few dead bodies lying around.

    Is somebody watching too much Walking Dead? Or not enough?

  6. Andy Brown Says:

    I do a lot of interviewing on public policy issues and I hate calling people in and around Atlanta. I've been seriously tempted to just excise all those zipcodes from our subjects database. You'll get racist diatribes calling anywhere, from Texas to Rhode Island – but people in Atlanta seem far and away the most anxious to get into it.

    Greater Atlanta is a special case. And by special I mean enthusiastically culturally pathological. And not in a good way.

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    Uhm, Mr. BoortZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,
    crime in urban areas has been dropping for years.

    It especially peaked during, or right after, Reagan and Bush "The Not Totally Fucking Stupid and Insane One" when they were importing cocaine to be made into crack in the inner cities during Iran-Contra in its heyday:

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm

    The reporter who covered this lost his career, and in 2004 was found dead with TWO gunshot wounds to the head – and the coroner determined that it was SUICIDE:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb

    'Nuff said, Mr. BoortZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  8. Seth Says:

    I grew up in ATL in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood right on the edge of the city. My mother, who was a stereotypical suburban Jewish liberal, used to listen to Neal Boortz for fun, the same way people my age (early 40s) used to listen to Rush Limbaugh in the early 90s. They're such blowhards that nobody could really be taking them seriously, could they? Really?

    I haven't lived in ATL since I moved away for college, but my impression is that Boortz has anointed himself Limbaugh-lite and gets off on outrage. A comment like this one lets him have it both ways; he gets to appeal to the basest racist violent impulses of his actual audience, and he gets to hear the ripples through audiences like this one.

  9. John Says:

    I'm actually kinda surprised that nobody caught his comment one or two days before this one, where he just outright said it: something to the effect of: "Our problem is young black and hispanic males! And oh yeah, now you people are going to call in and say, "You're a *Racist*!""

    I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but that's close to it, and certainly the gist of what he said. Boortz follows in the proud tradition, espoused heavily in the good ol' south, of the "I'm not a racist, but " meme.

    Georgia talkbots have this same mannerism, as they have Eric Ericson(sp?) on in the evenings and he does the exact same thing, using that pathetically lame "whiny liberal voice". Nothing says "sophisticated audience" like resorting to the tactics of elementary school children.

  10. acer Says:

    But he said "yo." That means he's "down."

    [Sips tall boy. Slowly cleans shotgun. Waits for influx of comment-tards.]

  11. JohnR Says:

    Ah, it's always nice to read commentary from Versaille. Reminds me to watch that bit of History of the World Part 1 again. You know, "It's good to be da king!"

  12. Major Kong Says:

    My in-laws live in southeastern Ohio, which is literally Appalachia. They don't like to come visit in the tough, gritty concrete jungle which (in their imagination) is Columbus Ohio. Seriously, you'd think I live in the South Bronx.

    I feel much safer here, than down there with its run-down trailers and burned out meth labs. There is no economy to speak of in that part of Ohio and drugs are everywhere.

  13. Hazy Davy Says:

    Sometimes, I show up to add intelligent commentary. Sometimes, I just show up to say things like:

    1) What Eau said…yep, the graffiti is a poor welcoming advertisement, but the corpses will be terrific.
    2) "The pit of despair. Don't even think about trying to escape. The chains are far too thick. Don't dream of being rescued, either; the only way in is secret." Yeah, that works.
    3) holy crap… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_of_despair

  14. Monkey Business Says:

    I think we've reached a tipping point. The inner cities are, in many cases, lawless war zones where a large percentage of the population is either imprisoned or has been. Rural communities have collapsed into drug abuse and fundamentalism. The richest suburbs are becoming gated, walled fortresses with their own private security forces. How long will it be until there's a spark and the great huddled, unwashed masses rise up and storm the proverbial castle?

  15. Elder Futhark Says:

    The really nice thing about Atlanta is they are losing all of their water in 2012.

  16. The Moar You Know Says:

    "I'd take my chances with "urban thugs" in Atlanta over Pigsknuckle, Georgia."

    I wouldn't. A lethal head injury is a bad thing regardless of the ethnicity of the person who inflicted it on you, and odds of getting one are pretty even in both locales. The only difference is that your body will get found in the city pretty quickly. In Pigsknuckle, they'll just dump you in the river or feed you to the sows. No body, no crime.

    I stay the hell out of any backwoods "hamlets" and out of most big cities in this country.

  17. Hawes Says:

    If your butt itches, Grover Norquist has some cream to sell you. It makes your ass go numb. Which is why all the GOP congresspeople are brain dead.

  18. Geds Says:

    3) holy crap… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_of_despair

    Wow. That's…disturbing doesn't even really begin to cover it.

  19. Ivan Ivanovich Renko Says:

    You'll get racist diatribes calling anywhere, from Texas to Rhode Island – but people in Atlanta seem far and away the most anxious to get into it.

    Yet the ATL has become something of a Mecca for the black bourgeoisie. I have heard so many times in the last few years how great it is there for black people.

    There's an old saying- "there's nothing a white man with a nickel hates more than a nigger with a dime."

  20. bb in GA Says:

    I live in one of the most rural of E GA's counties. I can see Pigknuckle from my house (to paraphrase Tina Fey.)

    Fulton County is where Atlanta is. I am not sure that my 'Assault' data for the Rural County may also include more than Aggravated, but let's not fuss over that. Maybe you will get your a$$ kicked more frequently than the State average, but nothing like ATL.

    I'll take my chances with my family (since I'm likely related to all the criminals in my County – :-) )

    //bb

    Georgia Stats 2009/100K State Fulton Rural E GA Cty

    Murder 5.7 11.4 0
    Rape 22.4 26.7 16.5
    Robbery 14.5 386.1 23.1
    Aggravated Assault 237.5 460.2 313.5

  21. bb in GA Says:

    Oh, and while murders are often committed against people who know one another, we had zero in 2009 while ATL was double the state average/100K.

    And to Mr. Boortz' point about car jacking…that's robbery right? While in my home county you are 1.6 times more likely than the average to be robbed, in Fulton you are more than 25X.

    //bb

  22. Xynzee Says:

    I read somewhere once a commentator's view (about 10yrs ago) that the R's are starting to lose control of the situation due to their tolerance of hacks like Limbaugh. How because they were stirring up such a dissent against the government that it was going to come back to bite them. It one thing to rile people up to get them motivated, but this is creating an ungovernable rabble. It looks like it's time for them to pay the piper. What was the other comment an R made the other day calling the AfricanAmericans "aboriginees" WT…?! Obviously an example of the fine educational system to be found in Pigsknuckle, as that word would only apply to the First Nations in the Americas.
    Though the actions at the RNC the other day, may show that this behaviour is starting to wear thin amongst the saner parts of the GOP.

  23. RS Says:

    I live in a rural area of Michigan after a previous life providing emergency medical care in Detroit. I agree with your points about deregulation, wealth inequality, etc., and while rural America hasn't escaped the despair that afflicts much of this country, the violence does not begin to approximate that of Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, etc., and it's silly to pretend it does.
    If we could get enough volunteers, we can put your false equivalence to a test. One group could spend 365 days taking random walks after dark through rural Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and New York. Another can spend 7 days walking randomly in the dark through Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and the Bronx.
    I'll volunteer for the dangerous work of walking country roads after midnite.

  24. Andy Brown Says:

    @RS

    no need to send people out into the night, here’s a justice dept comparison that makes your case.

  25. Rick Massimo Says:

    "This city harbors an urban culture of violence."

    The ingenuous, give-'em-enough-rope part of my personality wants to put on my most innocent face and ask Neal Boortz, "Well, yeah; it's a city. ANYTHING it does is going to be 'urban.' Why did you put that silly redundancy in there?" And enjoy the squirming.

  26. Neal Deesit Says:

    "And enjoy the squirming."

    Really? Boortz is fine with racist calls for death, but redundancy is going to make him squirm?

    If he thought about it, I suspect Boortz' gripe about the sentence would be that between the words "urban culture" and "violence" he had to use "of" instead of "=".

  27. Southern Beale Says:

    For some reason I thought Neal Boortz was in California. Maybe I'm confusing him with Michael Savage. Anyway, I sorta feel like the real criminals are the suits at syndicates like Dial Global, which beam his irresponsible hate speech across the nation. Once upon a time a wackadoodle like Boortz could get at the mic on a low-power station in Bumfug, Georgia and maybe 200 people heard his crackpot theories… now, these same wackadoos are radio stars whose crazed hate talk is national news.

    We've lowered the standards as to what is acceptable in this country. Once upon a time it was what the community deemed tasteful, now it's what the corporations find profitable.

  28. Major Kong Says:

    I had a terrible fright the other night.

    I was walking alone after dark and four middle-aged white guys wearing suits and carrying briefcases passed me on the sidewalk.

    I was terrified they might take away my pension and medical insurance and send my job overseas.

  29. eau Says:

    Kong FTW.

  30. Xynzee Says:

    @bb: I don't think the issue discussed is if Pigsknuckle is more dangerous than ATL. Any urban centre is more dangerous, whether it's Pigsknuckle or Didjabringabeeralong. So we've gone off topic there. What is the issue is that somewhere along the line Boortz's brand of crazy has become acceptable. Oh there's a problem with urban decay and violence! Solution: shoot them! Just like Angle's "2nd Amendment solution". These are unacceptable attitudes and the GOP leadership has allowed this type of crazy to go unchallenged in their ranks as it's been politically expedient for them. The teabaggers are a signal that they're losing control of the situation. The question is if they will do or can do something about it.

  31. A Says:

    Hey my pigmentally challenged husband grew up in the south Bronx in the 70's no less & lived to tell the tale. (He even took public transportation to school!) No tales of daily violence… Conversely, I went to high school in Hickville, TX & regularly heard about "huntin' & fishin'" – but I guess WASP-y boys shootin' & killin' is ok… (Especially since many of them are now Meth-heads too – no jobs/future in Hickville.)

  32. Seth Says:

    This might be apocryphal, but the legend goes that Boortz was an attorney at the radio station that gave him his first show. He got on the air when a host didn't show up and they needed an Instant Sub, and that day he generated so many angry phone calls that he got an idea. He asked for a regular show, and had it written into the contract that he got a bonus per x number of angry responses. This must have been in the late-70s because I remember listening to him in the car with my dad, who I lost touch with in 1981, 82.

    Anyway, the point is that his whole radio persona has been built around that kind of provocation for more than 30 years. That's not an excuse for being a racist promoting violence to an audience that all too often seems willing to listen, but it's not new either.

    The more interesting question to me is why anybody listens.

  33. bb in GA Says:

    @A

    Unless you are card carryin' PETA member super vegan, what the hell are you talking about us White boys "shootin' and killin'" ANIMALS? Are you making an equivalence between criminals hurting/killing people and citizens legally hunting or fishing?

    //bb

  34. Major Kong Says:

    I have no problem with shooting animals.

    Except that I have the attention span of a fruit fly and the idea of sitting in a deer stand all morning waiting for something to walk in front of me just doesn't do much for me.

    Plus it's early and it's cold.

  35. Arslan Says:

    I can see Boortz's response: "But I DIDN'T ACTUALLY SAY BLACK PEOPLE, SO IT CAN'T BE RACIST!!!" Anyhoo, I like his assumption that graffiti = crime and violence(and black people). He should go to Prague some day. More graffiti than I've ever seen in any US city, and virtually no crime. On second though, he shouldn't go to Prague. He should go to the bottom of the sea in an old refrigerator.

    Check out this article which contains a sidenote about a recent twitter post by this jackass.

    http://theredphoenixapl.org/2011/06/20/neal-boortz-calls-for-mass-murder-of-blacks/

  36. A Says:

    Nope, not a VEGAN, just scared of those stupid jerks carrying weapons. The only equivalence implied is that the "criminals" & the "White boys" are both carrying weapons & are both dangerous.

    (I seem to recall Dick Cheney's hunting experience…)

  37. tybee Says:

    "…I live in one of the most rural of E GA's counties…."

    macintosh?

  38. Brandon Says:

    "The only equivalence implied is that the "criminals" & the "White boys" are both carrying weapons & are both dangerous."

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was the equivalence bb was alluding to, and it's a really stupid one.

  39. eau Says:

    @Arslan – "He should go to Prague some day. More graffiti than I've ever seen in any US city, and virtually no crime."

    Ditto Montreal, Valparaiso.

    And ditto 'fridge, bottom of sea.

  40. A Says:

    Stupid or not, I know a guy who shot his own damn toe off – still sounds fairly dangerous to me…

    Not to mention "plucking off some crows." If you going to kill it you should eat it, killing should not just be "fun."

  41. bb in GA Says:

    @A

    You should read Ted Nugent's book "Kill It and Grill It" :-)

    //bb

  42. Alex Says:

    Sandy Springs has an art theatre, a Buddhist center, Vegan restaurants, and too many apartments (and even some black people).

    But substitute nearby John's Creek or Roswell and you're right on target.

  43. bb in GA Says:

    Let's bring this back to Mr. Boortz (an often inconsistent Libertarian):

    1.) Reversing the flow on Arslan's dig – Do any of y'all think that Boortz would NOT shoot a jacker who happened to be White?

    2.) Inside Baseball for those who have been exposed to Boortz for a long time:

    Do y'all think that the late (and prominently Black) Royal T. Marshall who was his long time engineer, friend, golfing buddy, and mentored under NB as a commercial pilot – would put up with him if he were such an obvious Racist?

    P.S. – Arslan – that link "Boortz wants to kill millions of Black people??"

    //bb