Saturday, November 19, 2016

“If You Want to Get Away with Murder, Go To Clinton, Iowa”

Clinton Herald [Iowa]
19 November 2016

    By Matt Parbs

[Talk show host Johnny Carson supposedly joked that “if you want to get away with murder, go to Clinton, Iowa.”] [...] I know many Clintonians vividly remember watching him say that one late night. Would you believe me if I claimed he never said it about Clinton, and probably never made a joke like that at all?

First, some context. The joke is claimed to have been made between the 1980s and early 1990s. During the decade the joke was born, national homicide rates hit all-time highs. While murder rates rose for seemingly all communities, the national clearance rate for homicides dropped from 90 percent resolved in the 1960s to below 70 percent for most years since 1980. And there was a trend of backlogged cases waiting for trial.

America was facing two disturbing trends, rising homicides and fewer closed cases. In this context, at least 40 towns swear they heard either Johnny Carson or Paul Harvey say their town was the place to escape murder charges. […]