Friday, September 18, 2020

Quote of the Week: Job Opportunities

In the late seventies, Miami, like other American cities, had a steady increase in the sort of murders that occur when, say, an armed man panics while he is robbing a convenience store. It also had some political bombings and some shootings between outfits that were, depending on your point of view, either running drugs to raise money for fighting Fidel or using the fight against Fidel as cover for running drugs. At the end of the decade, Dade County's murder rate took an astonishing upturn. Around that time, the Colombians who manufactured the drugs being distributed in Miami by Cubans decided to eliminate the middleman, and, given a peculiar viciousness in the way they customarily operated, that sometimes meant eliminating the middleman's wife and whoever else happened to be around. Within a couple of years after the Colombians began their campaign to reduce overhead, Miami was hit with the Mariel Boatlift refugees. In 1977, there were two hundred and eleven murders in Dade County., By 1981, the high point of Dade murder, there were six hundred and twenty-one. That meant, according to one homicide detective I spoke to, that Miami experienced the greatest increase in murders per capita that any city had ever recorded. It also meant that Miami had the highest murder rate in the country. It also meant that a police reporter could drive to work in the morning knowing that there would almost certainly be at least one murder to write about.
 - Calvin Trillin, "Covering the Cops" (Feb 1986, profile of Edna Buchanan), in Killings, pp.284-5

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