Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/383

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

homicide during the two years 1903-4 was 9.56 per 100,000 of population. In Cincinnati, the average for the six years 1898-1904 was 6.2:5. In 1890 the disparity was still greater, the ratio being 4.04 in Cincinnati and 13.01 in Cleveland." This higher rate is ascribed at length to the influx of foreigners into Cleveland, in spite of the contrary view of the chief-of-police, from whose report the figures are derived. But is it not true that in a decade this crime has increased 50 per, cent, in Cincinnati and decreased over! 25 per cent, in Cleveland, in spite of the latter's growth in 'undesirable' population? Still, the foreigners in Cincinnati are not bad enough for Mr. Shipley's purpose; he therefore records that the 18.61 per cent, of foreigners in its white population allowed by the Twelfth Census furnished 64.04 per cent, of the 7,135 whites arrested in 1904; he then enumerates the arrests for murder and attempted murder and calmly asserts that 'a large proportion of these crimes were undoubtedly committed by foreign-born whites,' although the figures at his command do not seem to even admit of the usual separation of whites and negroes. Anybody ignorant of the fact that 'arrests' are made for misdemeanors as well as felonies might infer a connection between the percentages quoted above and the tendency toward homicide, which Mr. Shipley would doubtless be the first to deny; nevertheless, such careless juxtaposition must seriously inpugn the authority of an investigator.

Murder is the most atrocious crime in our penal code; before we throw the suspicion of homicidal proclivities upon hundreds of thousands of innocent immigrants, let us weigh our evidence seriously and see whether our own statistics are truthful. Is wilful homicide reported and punished uniformly throughout the country? Do our courts deal equally with the foreigner and the native, the Caucasian and the Mongolian, the rich and the poor? Is a classification into nationalities sufficient, or must age and sex also be taken into account? Are certain occupations, leading to violent habits, chosen by the immigrant from inclination or forced upon him by our social and economic conditions? Is the Italian, the Russian or the 'Hun' less amenable to law than were the founders of the Texan Republic, the 'fortyniners,' the 'Filibusters,' the 'cowboys' and the 'rustlers'? Above all, is Mr. Shipley right in asserting, on page 168 of his article, that the second generation of foreigners is always worse than the first; if that be true, what becomes of the boasted strength of our American civilization?

Morris Loeb.