Posted Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, at 10:00 AM
Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway.
Hi, I'm Justin Peters, intrepid freelancer and general liability. Earlier this month, I wrote about my efforts to infiltrate the ranks of Manhattan hipster circles by growing a beard and shaving my pubes. Now, I'll be your guide to another seamy, amoral underworld.
Welcome to Slate's new crime blog, which we’ve imaginatively titled “Crime.” Consider it your cheerful, insatiably curious guide to everything illegal. I'll be examining the wide world of crime, punishment, and recidivism on a daily basis, writing about the most murderous gatmen and the most devious yeggs.
Why a crime blog? Mercy, everyone loves crime. More to the point, though, there's a dearth of smart, non-sensationalistic crime coverage on the Internet these days. I plan to write about horrible things in a non-horrible manner.
What are my qualifications? Well, I was burglarized last year, which was unsettling. (As it turns out, I have nothing of value to steal, which was even more unsettling.) I was a background extra in the movie Curly Sue, so I've got unparalleled insight into crimes involving homeless grifters with hearts of gold and their adorably sassy adopted daughters. I've read everything ever written by Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, and Franklin W. Dixon. And, of course, every Christmas I go down to the homeless shelter and distribute cakes laced with arsenic.
In short, I'm just the sort of preening, narcisisstic sociopath you'd want writing a blog like this. Much of the blog will be devoted to covering high-profile criminals—your Clark Rockefellers and Joran van der Sloots. I'll try to avoid parroting the TMZ/Nancy Grace line on these sorts of stories, and try to find original angles. (Forget Clark Rockefeller—who’s the best female con artist of all-time?) I'll also try to find "crime-y" angles into popular news stories. For example, there's been a lot of talk lately about the Powerball jackpot getting up to $425 million. I might cover that story by writing about the unlucky Jack Whittaker, who won a $314.9 million jackpot in 2002 only to be arrested for DUI, get repeatedly victimized by thieves, and have his granddaughter and daughter turn up dead. Take heed, lottery patrons!
The rest of the blog will be devoted to my personal obsessions. For starters, I'm interested in sentencing practices, prisons, and the realities of day-to-day police work. I also wonder how today's roughnecks and jobbers would stack up against the hoodlums of yesteryear. I like to read about times when burglars get trapped in chimneys, or jewel thieves accidentally knock over the wrong museum. And I'm also bound and determined to assist my good friend O.J. Simpson in his search for the real killers.
We'll figure out the rest as it happens. I'm going to rely on you, the reader, to send me tips, questions, and ideas. I love getting email at email@example.com, so don't be shy. I’m looking forward to this beat. See you on the crime side.