By William K. Black
July 4, 2016 Bloomington, MN
The New York Times published a book review entitled “Thin Blue Lines.” The two books reviewed were about street crimes. Based solely on reading the NYT book review, and wearing my criminology hat, neither book adds materially to the useful literature. The two books, and the book review, however, share a common characteristic that is worth analysis. All three conflate “street crime” with “crime” and “police” with “law enforcement.” The “blue lines,” of course, refer to police, rather than the FBI white-collar crime section that is supposed to investigate elite white-collar crime. If the American police represent “thin blue lines,” then in comparison the pittance of law enforcement personnel charged with investigating elite white-collar crime represent the sheerest tissue paper – so insubstantial that they must be described as diaphanous or gossamer.