• What "Crackhead" Really Meant in 1980s America

    by Donovan X. Ramsey

    The memories of politicians and police have been allowed to dominate our understanding of the emergence of crack cocaine in the 1980s. A new book seeks to elevate the voices of urban Black Americans and others who experienced it directly and still live with its effects.

  • Former Alabama Governors: We Regret Overseeing Executions

    As evidence mounts of the number of wrongful convictions in capital murder cases, one Democrat and one Republican former governor argue that it's time to stop capital punishment and reform the prosecutorial immunity that allows unfair prosecutions to proceed. 

  • DC Crime Bill Flap Repeats Congress's Refusal of Home Rule 55 Years Ago

    by Kyla Sommers

    In the period after the rebellions provoked by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Congress pushed "tough on crime" measures on the district even as the local government sought to reduce racial inequality in criminal justice. "Tough on Crime" won, with results that are still present today. 

  • Why are the Dems Denying DC Self-Government?

    Historian (and HNN Alum) Kyla Sommers connects the recent Senate rejection of DC's local crime legislation to the history of suspicion of Black political power in the District. 

  • Who Gets to Sing About Revenge in Pop Music?

    by Jewel Wicker

    Do the racial politics of musical genre explain why songs about revenge are celebrated in country music and turned into evidence for the prosecution against hip hop artists (even when the songs in question are fiction)?

  • Larry Krasner and the Limits of "Law and Order"

    by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    Pennsylvania Republicans have launched a futile effort to impeach the reformist Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, defying local democracy to try to score political points through a backlash exploiting white voters' fears of crime. 

  • Is Environmental Damage Really Sabotage by Capital?

    by R.H. Lossin

     The term "capitalist sabotage" describes intentional destructive activity in service of profit, and is a more accurate label than "accident" or "unintended consquence" for the environmental change that will cause a million unnecessary deaths a year over the coming decades. 

  • Immigrant Merchants and Law-and-Order Politics in Detroit

    by Kenneth Alyass

    The Chaldean community of Detroit became a significant middleman-minority through the operation of small stores in working-class and majority-Black neighborhoods. As white flight and disinvestment created increasingly dire conditions, they also became a constituency for aggressive policing. 

  • Forget Inflation: GOP Reviving Willie Horton (and It's Working)

    by Will Bunch

    "The GOP is partying like it’s 1988 — the year that scary pictures of a felon they called Willie Horton and grainy images of Black crime saved a party equally devoid of actual policies," says columnist Will Bunch. 

  • The Right Celebrated Bernhard Goetz as the Kyle Rittenhouse of the 80s

    by Pia Beumer

    In the context of economic turmoil, urban crisis, and racial division, a broad swath of the American public made Goetz a heroic symbol of restored white masculinity after he shot four Black teens who asked him for money on the New York subway.

  • "More Cops" is Not the Answer for NYC

    by Simon Balto

    The entire, terrifying episode that unfolded across 29 hours in New York was a testament to the futility of spending more money on police, and to the lie that police “keep us safe”.