If you’re murdered in America, there’s a one-in-three chance the police won’t identify your killer.
Det. Mark Williams (center), speaks with an officer in Fairfield Court in Richmond, Va. A decade ago, amid a surge in violent crime, police were identifying relatively few murder suspects. So the police department refocused its efforts to bring up its “clearance rate.” Alex Matzke for NPR
To use the FBI’s terminology, the national “clearance rate” for homicide today is 64.1 percent. Fifty years ago, it was more than 90 percent.
And that’s worse than it sounds, because “clearance” doesn’t equal conviction: it’s just the term police use to describe cases that end with an arrest, or in which a culprit is otherwise identified without the possibility of arrest — if the suspect has died, for example.
Criminologists estimate that at least 200,000 murders have gone unsolved since the 1960s, leaving family and friends to wait and wonder.
“It’s like the bogeyman,” says Delicia Turner. Her husband Anthony Glover was found murdered — along with a friend — in Boston in 2009. Police never made an arrest. She says the open case preys on her mind. “You don’t know if you’re walking next to the person, if you’ve seen the person … if the person knows you.”
Turner watches a lot of true-crime TV, hoping to see something that could be applied to her husband’s case. She calls her ideas in to the detectives in Boston, who tell her not to be “a TV cop,” she says.
The GOP hasn’t gotten as much out of being in charge as it would have liked. But is that about to change?
Republicans retaking the congressional majority hasn’t meant smooth sailing for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
It was going to be their big chance – the opportunity to get things done, prove they could govern and tighten the reins on President Barack Obama. With historic majorities in Congress, Republicans were perfectly poised to rebrand themselves as the sober legislators ahead of the 2016 elections.
“Serious adults are in charge here, and we intend to make progress,” new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in January.
More than two months in, the GOP has been troubled by internal fissures, an emboldened president and what has been roundly decried as bad judgment, at best, in weighing in on sensitive foreign policy matters. The majority agenda has been thwarted in the Senate by Democrats who (after complaining about filibuster abuse when they had control) have largely stuck together in holding up GOP legislation. In the House, where the rules overwhelmingly favor the majority party, leaving the minority to merely make opposing speeches on the floor, the Democrats have exploited GOP divisions to exert astonishing influence.
She might be more like the Lion of the Senate than she gets credit for.
Lead image by AP Photo.
Ted Kennedy gets a grand celebration Monday. That’s when crowds of political boldfacers, including Barack and Michelle Obama, will gather in the Dorchester section of Boston for the formal dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Memories of Teddy will be many, gauzy, heartwarming and moving, but the real buzz will be all about his successor, Elizabeth Warren: hero to progressives, nemesis of Wall Street, and a source of consternation to more mainstream pols of both the left and right—not the least of which is Hillary Clinton. “Can Elizabeth Warren be the new Ted Kennedy?” wonders Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi in a recent column. One answer is that she doesn’t have to be; after all, Ted Kennedy wasn’t always Ted Kennedy either. The second answer is that she already is.
Kennedy may have ended his 47-year career billed the “Lion of the Senate” but he didn’t start that way. He was just a 28-year-old kid when his brother was elected president, thereby leaving an empty senate seat in Massachusetts. Teddy wanted it but he was too young; the US Constitution requires senators be at least 30. That problem was easily managed. The White House successfully prevailed on Massachusetts governor Foster Furcolo to appoint a seat-warmer to the position, making sure Ted had a clear run when he was of age.
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