Up in Arms Over Crime

As the Goetz case showed, Americans are fearful and angry

A Saturday afternoon three days before Christmas. A dingy, noisy subway train rolls under Greenwich Village and approaches the World Trade Center. Five shots ring out in eight seconds. Four black youths lie wounded. Bernhard Goetz becomes a legend.

Amid an outpouring of praise for the man who refused to be mugged, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau takes the case to a grand jury. The panel of 23 New Yorkers indicts Goetz only for illegal possession of handguns. Much of the city applauds. So does much of the nation. A Media General-Associated Press poll discloses that 47% of Americans approve of...

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