i’ve had little time online or elsewhere the past few weeks, as i’ve struggled to keep pace with chair / editor / teacher / scholar / father duties. one story that caught my eye, however, came via amelia at the crawler. apparently, slaughterhouse workers on the killing floor exhibit relatively high rates of post-traumatic stress. similarly, communities with slaughterhouses exhibit relatively high rates of violent crime.

i haven’t assessed the researchers’ causal claims, but the finding fits my experience growing up around the south st. paul stockyards and nearby processing plants. i knew a few shell-shocked former cattle-killers who ran screaming to minimum-wage restaurant jobs at a fraction of their former pay. i remember one tough-guy cook whose probation officer set him up in some kind of full-time throat-slitting or bludgeoning job. it was a good job, he said, but he just couldn’t cut it.

the story is timely, since tomorrow marks south st. paul’s last cattle auction. it was evidently the world’s busiest livestock market when i was growing up, but the yards have been empty for years. i wonder whether south st. paul is becoming significantly less stressful or violent…

the los angeles times maintains a homicide report blog with the names, faces, and brief stories of each of the area’s murder victims. the daily entries quickly orient readers to the super-concentration of homicide along age, race, class, and gender lines. the grim catalog is powerfully affecting, even for those familiar with the bivariate correlates of violent victimization. we might already know that young african american and latino men from poor neighborhoods are disproportionately victimized, but we might better appreciate the force of such patterns after reading the individual stories arrayed on page after page of cases.

via nij: the national institute of Justice is hosting an online discussion forum this week on research bearing on the prison rape elimination act. even basic questions about the prevalence of prison sexual assault are fiercely contested, so i’d expect a lively discussion.

Sexual Victimization in Prisons: Moving Toward Elimination

February 7, 2008: 2pm–4pm ESTFree online event. Registration required.
One of every 22 men and women sentenced to imprisonment in the United States reported that they were assaulted sexually while incarcerated.

Sexual victimization in prisons is the issue, elimination is the goal. Join a group of experts to discuss the state of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) research—what data is available and what’s yet to come. The experts will examine ways to move from better understanding to reliable prevention and eventual elimination. View a detailed description of the event and register today.

the local press are abuzz over derek boogaard’s saskatchwan summer “fight camp.” mr. boogaard is the designated enforcer of the minnesota wild, our professional hockey team.

fighting is clearly the camp’s focus and mr. boogaard’s most marketable professional asset. as the blood-spattered t-shirts make clear, this is not your typical skills camp with a little demo discussing fighting as a necessary evil. this is a fight camp.

i’m most interested in the parents of the 12-18 year-olds in attendance. real hockey moms and dads truck their kids to rinks and camps year round, but savvy parents are probably sending their budding rocket richards and dominik haseks to stickhandling camp or goalie camp. so, who sends their kids to fight camp? a few hypotheses:

1. parents who give in to their kids might reluctantly sign off on fight camp. i can certainly envision some young lads making the camp a real priority and working and/or whining hard to attend. this seems the most likely scenario to me.

2. parents who can only afford fifty bucks might send their kids to fight camp. they get a chance to interact with a famous and/or infamous hockey player but needn’t break the bank to do so.

3. parents who think their boys should be doing a bit more masculinity might send their kids to fight camp. if the little nipper has a nice hockey skill set but shrinks from the violence, the parents might see mr. boogaard’s camp as an efficient karate-kidlike corrective.

4. parents who think their boys should discipline their violence might send their kids to fight camp. if the young palooka has shown a propensity for wanton violence, a fight camp might be seen as just the thing to discipline or attenuate it before the authorities step into the picture.

i could spin off a few hypotheses on family structure (frustrated hockey dad or single mom?) and social class (emasculated middle-class or working-class focal concern?), but i’d need to know more about hockey and fighting to do so effectively.

a few more questions: do you think attendees are likely to get into more fights next season relative to last season? would participating in a one-day $50 fight camp have any effect on behavior on or off the ice? do teammates view attendance positively or negatively? i imagine that my lad would ridicule any teammates who thought they needed summer school remediation in this area. i know that he’d ridicule any parents who thought that such a camp could toughen up their kids.