Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
They Said It:
Not only is a democratic people led by its own taste to centralize its government, but the passions of all the men by whom it is governed constantly urge it in the same direction. It may easily be foreseen that almost all the able and ambitious members of a democratic community will labor unceasingly to extend the powers of government, because they all hope at some time or other to wield those powers themselves. It would be a waste of time to attempt to prove to them that extreme centralization may be injurious to the state, since they are centralizing it for their own benefit. Among the public men of democracies, there are hardly any but men of great disinterestedness or extreme mediocrity who seek to oppose the centralization of government; the former are scarce, the latter powerless.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume II, 1840.
LABOUR’S LOSS AND ITS MESSAGE FOR HILLARY.
As a general rule, we tend to think that extrapolating election results from one country to another is among the silliest preoccupations with which political analysts and prognosticators occasionally fill their time. The far Left’s ascendance in Sweden doesn’t augur anything for the next election in Ireland. The rise of quasi-fascist nationalists in France doesn’t preclude the concomitant rise of neo-Communists in Germany. As a general rule, there is very little to be gained from trying to uncover broad trends that apply everywhere, across the globe, at one time, mostly because such trends neither exist nor account for national variations.
The one possible exception to this rule, however, can, sometimes be found in the electoral patterns in Great Britain and the United States. For example, it could be argued that the election of the staunchly conservative and exceptionally brave Margaret Thatcher as an antidote to years of squishy Keynesianism did, indeed, portend the election of the equally conservative, brave, and anti-Keynesian Ronald Reagan. Likewise, the election of the self-absorbed, media-savvy “centrist” purveyor of “third way” nonsense like Bill Clinton could have foreshadowed the election of the erstwhile likeminded Tony Blair. (We say “erstwhile” here, since Blair evolved into a rather bold “statesman,” while Bill remained ever Bill-ish.) In short, while there is no guarantee that British and American election trends will always march in lockstep, there is enough evidence of some symbiosis to justify significant unease among American Democrats about the prospects of their presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
After all, the wipeout of the Labour party across the pond last week was not only surprising, but massive and perhaps irredeemable as well. And while the Tories re-elected a “conservative” who would likely be considered unworthy of the title in this country, his victory may well herald conservative gains in the United States 18 months from now.
Of course, this is not a novel thought on our part. Indeed, our interest was inspired by an article in Spiked by the magazine’s editor and a former hard-Leftist-turned-libertarian, Brendan O’Neill, in which he described Labour’s loss – as opposed to the Tories’ victory – as follows:
Labour has transformed from a party of the trade unions into a party of the metropolitan, largely London-based opinion-shaping set and new clerisy. A party that was born to represent working people’s interests is now little more than a kind of political safe haven for a new elite that feels cut off both from traditional politics and the masses. This is the real story of the 2015 General Election: the reduction of Labour to a middle-class machine, which speaks to a bigger and profound hollowing out, even death, of social democracy as we knew it . . . .
This collapse of Labour in Scotland and growth of Labour in London is about so much more than last year’s independence referendum (some are blaming Labour’s decision to align with the Tories in that referendum for its poor showing now) or the fall of the Lib Dems everywhere (which created the space for Labour gains in London). It tells a bigger, longer, more historic story about what is becoming of Labour: it is shifting from being an outlet for the expression of trade unionist and working people’s interests to being a kind of encampment for the chattering classes, a safe space, if you like, for a secular, pseudo-liberal clerisy. . . .
What the election has fundamentally exposed is the existence of Two Britains. No, not a Labour Britain vs a Tory Britain — that old divide has been flagging for years. Not poshos vs workers, as Labourite commentators like to fantasise. And it’s not even England vs Scotland. Yes, that divide will undoubtedly be the source of instability in the coming months, but even it is merely a strange expression, an accidental byproduct, of the real Two Britains. Which is, on one side, the Britain of the moral clerisy, which is pro-EU, multicultural, anti-tabloid, politically correct and devoted to welfarism and paternalism as the main means through which to govern the masses, and, on the other side, the Britain of the rest of the us, of the masses, of those people increasingly viewed by the cultural elite as inscrutable, incomprehensible, and in need of nudging, social re-engineering and behaviour modification.
Longtime readers may recognize that the conditions outlined by O’Neill’s in his postmortem for the British Labour Party are very similar to those that we have been citing for almost 20 years now as plaguing the Democratic Party here in the good old US of A. We began writing about this transmogrification under the title the “New Political Paradigm” in September 1997. We put it this way:
The old labor vs. capital paradigm, which was a principal feature in American politics for almost exactly a century, is no longer of much importance. This once all-important tension, which actually defined the Republican and Democratic parties for decades, took root during the Marxist and utopian socialist movements that followed the Civil War, bloomed in 1886 when Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor, began to wilt in the early 1970’s with the advent of Richard Nixon’s appeal to the “new Republican majority” of blue collar workers, and became an endangered species in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, and a new era of global competition emerged from the rubble.
Throughout most of the 20th century, the Democratic Party was the preferred political home for blue-collar workers. Today, Republicans get a majority of their votes from these so-called “Joe Sixpacks” and their wives. Conversely, the Republican Party was, from the time of the so-called “Robber Barons” in the late 19th century until very recently, the home of big business.
Today, while the GOP still has a huge following in the small business community, the board rooms of most of America’s corporate giants are filled with Democrats, who aggressively support the Washington colossus in exchange for huge amounts of business, for important tax breaks and direct subsidies, and most importantly, for a steady stream of regulatory initiatives and trade rulings that serve to cripple their smaller competitors both at home and abroad.
Government today also has the kind of power to kill, maim, malign, and confiscate the property of individual citizens that the nation’s founding fathers would have found astonishing, as was discovered, for example, by such a diverse lot as the Branch Davidians in Texas, a falsely accused “terrorist” in Atlanta, and dozens of ordinary farmers, who have been pilloried for filling in low spots in their own fields, which the EPA bureaucrats now call “wet lands.” The scope and raw power of the tens of thousands of nameless, faceless bureaucrats in this nation is almost beyond comprehension. Somewhere, someplace taxpayers are paying people to write hundreds of pages of complicated regulations specifying exactly which public housing residents can own a pet (old people who need companionship), how many black men and how many woman of any color should be fire fighters in Podunk, Iowa, and (how’s this for hubris?), how many doctors is “too many.”
Helping with this task, are millions of big-company, private sector bureaucrats, whose bosses have learned that fortunes can be made if government bureaucrats can be “helped” to make and enforce decisions that favor them over their competitors; who are blind to the lesson learned by so many Frenchman during “the terror,” that those who help place the heads of others on the block soon find their own there. Operating between these private and public sector bureaucrats and their bosses are tens of thousands of lawyers, who live on the system like blood sucking leaches in a swamp full of sows, operating in a special environment, designed by them, of “legal bribery” and “honest graft.”
Being a bureaucrat in America today is never having to say you’re sorry, for mandating air bags that kill children, for destroying families with pernicious welfare programs, for wrecking the educational and legal systems with crackpot experiments and the imposition of politically correct nonsense, and for thousands upon thousands of other asinine rules that are based on bad science, bad sociology, and bad economics, all hiding behind the hubristic mask of “we’re here to help you.”
(As a side note, you ever wonder why we got fired?)
In the intervening 17 years since that article was published, the Democrats, like Labour, have travelled even further from their working-class roots, today seeming to abhor both the working class and its notions about public policy. These “progressives” know what is best for the country, what is best for the people, and they’re goldarned tired of the people screwing things up.
These Democrats, like Labour, seem to have taken too seriously the question posed by Bertolt Brecht in his 1953 poem “Die Lösung,” i.e. “would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people And elect another?” In an October, 2014 piece, called “The Iron Law of Oligarchic Oikophobia,” (http://thepoliticalforum.com/articles-landing-page/october-14-2014-the-iron-law-of-oligarchic-oikophobia/) penned just before the midterm wipeout of the Dems, we put it this way:
Over the years, you may recall, we have come back to several themes time and again. One of these is the resource war between the ruling class and the country class, and another is the evolving new “feudalism” of the post-Cold War American economy. Each of these explains in part the massive shift of resources in this country away from private markets and entrepreneurial capitalism and the concomitant entrenchment of the bureaucratic oligarchy and its allies. They also explain in large part the perception rising among the country class that the institutions of government cannot be trusted, either because of their dishonesty or because of their ineptitude.
In brief, the old Marxian distinctions between capital and labor have largely disappeared in the post-Cold War era, as the New Economy powerhouses of Wall Street and Silicon Valley have combined forces with the bureaucratic apparatus, the mainstream media, and the governing elites to consolidate power and create an insuperable oligarchic structure with greater and greater claims on the nation’s economic resources. The empowered and remorselessly expanding bureaucracy – which the author and political scientist Joel Kotkin has called “the new clerisy” – draws greater and greater shares of the nation’s resources out of the private economy, while simultaneously guaranteeing that the massive government regulatory infrastructure enriches those select few in the private sector who both prosper beyond the dreams of avarice and then return a large share of their earnings to the government apparatus, to start the process all over again. And thus does the new economic oligarchy continue to build upon itself, to build its massive fortune at the expense of the ever-shrinking private-sector middle class, and to ensure its near-term fortunes. . . .
This new oligarchy composed of the bureaucracy and its corporatist coconspirators has its own worldview and its own conception of morality. We’re not sure that it has a fully developed ideology, but it certainly has a Weltanschauung, which is to say its own beliefs about how the world should work. As we have noted before, this Weltanschauung is rather simplistic, if incredibly powerful. It values non-judgmentalism and “tolerance” over all else, though not complete non-judmentalism nor complete tolerance, only that which fits into the constructed moral code. Cultural relativism dominates the Weltanschauung, which is to say that all cultures are considered equal in theory, although some are LESS equal in practice. The “oppressor” cultures of the imperialistic West – those which are perceived as “normal” or traditionally Western – are less equal, and significantly so.
An outgrowth/natural consequence of this worldview is the belief that the people of the country, which is to say the “country class” are incapable of enlightened thought, unable to manage their affairs rationally or “properly,” and are thus in need of direction, guidance and even coercion from the moral betters, the oligarchy. . . .
Another way to think of this worldview is that it is distinctively self-loathing. Last week, National Review’s Kevin Williamson called it “anti-American-exceptionalism,” which he described as “the common belief among progressives that the United States is uniquely backward and knuckle-dragging in various critical ways.” This sounds about right to us, with the addendum that this unique backwardness applies only to “those people,” the great unwashed masses who are not as enlightened as the clerisy/oligarchy. “Those people” are nasty, loathsome, backward, “intolerant” rednecks. Lucky for them they have us to watch over them and to make sure that they aren’t allowed to screw the world up too badly.
All of this, we think, is worth keeping in mind as Hillary Clinton veers wildly to the Left and embraces her “progressive” self. Bill was the centrist in that relationship, and Hillary was always the lefty. Now, apparently sensing the tack of her party, Hillary is moving back in the direction of her true feelings and away from her husband’s effective and politically successful centrist governing philosophy. And it may well end up costing her what little support she and her party have left outside of the new Clerisy.
Consider, for example, Hillary’s newly stated position on immigration, which she proclaims is the critical issue of our time and which she also clearly believes has the political salience to bring her an electoral victory. The insipidly leftist webzine Vox.com recently described Hillary’s conversion on immigration as follows:
Hillary Clinton’s first campaign speech on immigration told activists exactly what they hoped they’d hear — and much better than they expected to hear — from the likely Democratic presidential nominee.
Clinton promised Tuesday that she would not only support President Obama’s executive actions to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, but would expand them to allow more immigrants to apply for protection and work permits.
Clinton said she wanted Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a “full and equal” path to citizenship, but also stressed that she’ll take further executive action if Congress doesn’t pass a bill.
The left-leaning blogger and author Mickey Kaus calls this “the Caudillo Test,” which he describes as positing that: “It’s no longer enough for a Democratic presidential candidate to pledge to reform immigration laws. You have to pledge to end-run the nation’s elected legislature if it doesn’t go along.” This is the perfect embodiment the attitude embraced by the new clerisy in our new political paradigm.
It is also, we’d say, the American version of a proclamation made a few weeks by the now-former Labour Leader Ed Miliband. Miliband demonstrated his approval of the oligarchy’s moral code, its selective “non-judgmentalism,” its cultural relativism, and its dismissal of the mechanisms of the law by declaring that the thought-crime of “Islamophobia” would, under a Labour government, become a real crime. “We are going to make it an aggravated crime,” Miliband declared last month. “We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime.”
This was an achingly stupid thing to say, both practically and politically. And it certainly contributed the sense among the non-clerisy that Miliband and his fellow Laborites both despised them and intended to punish them for being so “common.”
It strikes us that Hillary Clinton just made a similarly achingly stupid mistake with respect to immigration. Like Miliband, she is pandering to a powerful constituency. Like Miliband, in so doing, she is demonstrating her contempt for the law and the people it was designed to protect. And like Miliband, she doesn’t appear to care whether anyone thinks she’s a wannabe totalitarian or not.
Will this damage her chances? Heaven only knows. Certainly it won’t hurt her among her fellow Democrats, many of whom share her feelings about the people and the law. But it could, in theory at least, damage her chances in the general election. Or at least, it could be part of a broader pattern of statements that hurt her in the general.
Or it’s possible, we suppose, that the United States already had its equivalent political moment last November, and the differences between the British and American systems quarantined the Democratic defeat to the Congress. Which is to say that Hillary may never suffer the consequences of her irrefutable oikophobia.
Time will tell, of course. But if she asked us, we’d tell her to watch what she says, for fear that history might repeat itself one more time, relegating her to hall of certain-winners-turned-embarrassing-losers, where she can and Ed Miliband can pass the time chatting about the mutual dislike for the common folk.
SUPERPREDATORS: WE WERE WRONG . . . SO FAR.
As you may have noticed, we tend to take more than a little bit of pleasure in reminding you, gentle reader, about the accurate predictions that we have made over the years. As professional “contrarians” – which is to say analysts who look for the stories and the angles that are unreported or underreported – we get a real kick out of it when we are right and the big shots who influence both policy and public opinion are wrong.
Needless to say, we tend not mention those occasions when we have been wrong. But, once in a while, one of our goose eggs will come back to haunt us. A case in point was a piece we ran in 1998 in which we said that the drop in violent crime that had occurred in early 1990s was a fluke; that crime — and violent crime in particular – was poised to make a comeback, a severe and nation-altering comeback.
The demographic data supporting this opinion was conclusive. The “millennial generation” – then also called the “Baby Boom Echo” – was the largest in American history. And as any schoolboy knows, the more young men there are roaming the streets, the more crimes will be committed. It was as simple as that. Our seminal piece on the subject was entitled “Coming Soon To Your Neighborhood . . . The Superpredators.” We put it this way:
In the words of noted sociologist and professor of Political Science and Public Policy at UCLA, James Q. Wilson, “This [decreasing crime rate] was as it was supposed to be. Starting around 1980 . . . the postwar baby boomers entered harmless middle age. By 1990, there were 1.5 million fewer boys between the ages of 15 and 19 than there had been in 1980. These are the ages at which criminality peaks” . . . .
According to James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, these numbers indicate that we are today enjoying a “calm before the crime storm . . . So long as we fool ourselves in thinking that we’re winning the war against crime, we may be blindsided by this bloodbath . . . .that is lurking in the future.” Fox points out that, “There are 39 million kids under 10 right now. They will be teenagers before you can say ‘juvenile crime wave.’”
John Dilulio, a professor at Princeton and the director of the Brookings Institute’s Center for Public Management, is one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject of juvenile crime. He says the following in an extensive article in the November 27 issue of The Weekly Standard. . . . .
[T]he most famous finding of the study was that 6 percent of the boys committed five or more crimes by the time they were 18, accounting for more than half of all the serious crimes, and about two-thirds of all violent crimes committed by the entire cohort.” . . . . What these studies indicate is that . . . .an additional 600,000 boys in their crime-prone years means that there will be an additional36,000 “murderers, rapists and muggers on the streets [by July 1, 2000] than we have today.” That also means that we will have an additional 180,000 crimes, committed by this 6 percent alone. If Census Department data are correct, then this number will jump by an additional 36,000 violent criminals committing 180,000 additional crimes by the year 2005. . . .
According to Dilulio, the most disheartening finding of the well-known cohort-crime studies is that “since the studies began, each generation of crime-prone boys (the ‘6 percent’) has been about three times as dangerous as the one before it. . . . “
Dilulio recounts that, “On a recent visit to a New Jersey maximum security prison, I spoke to a group of life-term inmates . . . In a typical remark, one prisoner fretted ‘I was a . . . . street gladiator, but these kids are stone-cold predators.” Likewise, in his just published book, Mansfield B. Frazier, a five-time convicted felon, writes of what he calls “The Coming Menace”: “As bad as conditions are in many of our nation’s ravaged inner-city neighborhoods, in approximately five years they are going to get worse, a lot worse.” Having done time side-by-side with today’s young criminals in prisons and jails, he warns of a “sharp, cataclysmic” increase in youth crime and violence.
Dilulio then adds the following chilling personal observation. Since 1980, he says, “I have studied prisons and jails all across the country – San Quentin, Leavenworth, Rikers Island. I’ve been on the scene at prison murders and riots (and once was almost killed inside a prison). Moreover, I grew up in a pretty tough neighborhood and am built like an aging linebacker. I will still waltz backwards, notebook in hand and alone, into any adult maximum-security cellblock full of killers, rapists and muggers.”
“But a few years ago, I forswore research inside juvenile lock-ups. The buzz of impulse violence, the vacant stares and smiles and the remorseless eyes were at once too frightening and too depressing (my God, these are children!) for me to pretend to ‘study’ them.”
The difference between the violent offenders of today and those of the past is the severity and randomness of the violence associated with the crimes committed. James Q. Wilson writes, “Youngsters are more likely than adults to kill with guns [which can be done from great distances, without ever seeing the face of the victim] . . . they are more likely to kill strangers, and they often kill for reasons that adults regard as trivial or bizarre.” Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, supports Wilson’s contentions about these “superpredators.” He says, “They kill for trivial reasons and have less understanding of what death means. They also kill for power, thrills or revenge.”
In a recent interview with Dilulio, Lynne Abraham, the district attorney of Philadelphia, concurred wholeheartedly with this sentiment. According to Dilulio: “Abraham used such phrases as ‘totally out of control’ and ‘never seen anything like it’ to describe the rash of youth crime and violence that has begun to sweep over the City of Brotherly Love and other big cities. ‘We’re talking about kids who have absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future. . . .’”
Things are, unfortunately, far more likely to get worse than they are to get better. Dilulio contends that the violent offenders of tomorrow will make the Bloods and Crips of today look like the Sharks and Jets of West Side Story. The crime-bomb is ticking, he says, and we have very little to which to look forward.
Now, the interesting thing here is not that the projected “crime-bomb” never exploded, but the reason why it never did. As it turned out, the guys like James Q. Wilson –perhaps the most important public intellectual of his generation – were not only warning about the coming crime wave, but were actively seeking ways to prevent it. Wilson, as you may know, was also the co-author of the “broken-windows” theory of crime and, by extension, crime prevention. In their world-famous 1982 article for The Atlantic Monthly, George Kelling and James Q. Wilson noted the following:
We suggest that “untended” behavior also leads to the breakdown of community controls. A stable neighborhood of families who care for their homes, mind each other’s children, and confidently frown on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable and frightening jungle. A piece of property is abandoned, weeds grow up, a window is smashed. Adults stop scolding rowdy children; the children, emboldened, become more rowdy. Families move out, unattached adults move in. Teenagers gather in front of the corner store. The merchant asks them to move; they refuse. Fights occur. Litter accumulates. People start drinking in front of the grocery; in time, an inebriate slumps to the sidewalk and is allowed to sleep it off. Pedestrians are approached by panhandlers.
At this point it is not inevitable that serious crime will flourish or violent attacks on strangers will occur. But many residents will think that crime, especially violent crime, is on the rise, and they will modify their behavior accordingly. They will use the streets less often, and when on the streets will stay apart from their fellows, moving with averted eyes, silent lips, and hurried steps. “Don’t get involved.” For some residents, this growing atomization will matter little, because the neighborhood is not their “home” but “the place where they live.” Their interests are elsewhere; they are cosmopolitans. But it will matter greatly to other people, whose lives derive meaning and satisfaction from local attachments rather than worldly involvement; for them, the neighborhood will cease to exist except for a few reliable friends whom they arrange to meet.
Such an area is vulnerable to criminal invasion. Though it is not inevitable, it is more likely that here, rather than in places where people are confident they can regulate public behavior by informal controls, drugs will change hands, prostitutes will solicit, and cars will be stripped. That the drunks will be robbed by boys who do it as a lark, and the prostitutes’ customers will be robbed by men who do it purposefully and perhaps violently. That muggings will occur.
In response, Kelling and Wilson argued, police should concern themselves with the initial crimes that lead to community breakdown. Rather than wait for crime to grow violent and thus “serious,” police should deal with issues when they start, before they have the opportunity to fester, promote decay, destroy neighborhoods, and advance violence. The key, they argued, was stopping crime early by stopping the attacks on the communities. Or, as they put it in their conclusion:
Above all, we must return to our long-abandoned view that the police ought to protect communities as well as individuals. Our crime statistics and victimization surveys measure individual losses, but they do not measure communal losses. Just as physicians now recognize the importance of fostering health rather than simply treating illness, so the police — and the rest of us — ought to recognize the importance of maintaining, intact, communities without broken windows.
Aggressive policing, “broken-windows” strategies, community-based law-enforcement – all contributed to the fall in urban crime during the 1990s, and all served, unexpectedly, as the antidote to the “crime bomb” that so many of us thought was going to explode almost two decades ago.
All of this is worth keeping in mind, we think, during the current battle over police shootings, police practices, and the resulting effect on communities. We have, as we’ve mentioned before in these pages, very little sympathy for cops who engage use excessive force against presumed offenders. Many of the deaths that have spawned protests, marches, and riots were ridiculously and abhorrently caused by law enforcement officers enforcing stupid and invasive laws and doing so with utter disregard for the lives, rights, and dignity of those whom they perceived as enemies of the state.
At the same time, however, we recognize that aggressive policing is, in large part, the reason why this “crime bomb” was defused. As you listen to the debates and shouting matches, you’ll likely hear those opposed to the police throw out various incarceration statistics. “The United States has the highest number of incarcerated men in the world,” for example. Many of these numbers are tragic, to say the very least. Nevertheless, they are also a big part of the reason that violent crime in America dropped and stayed low, in contravention of longstanding, and repeatedly established historical trends. Violent crime stayed low because police were aggressive and, more to the point, the “superpredators” were incarcerated long before they became violent.
Now, obviously something must be done with respect to urban law enforcement in this country. In addition to the superpredators a vast number of otherwise productive citizen have been locked up and had their lives ruined because they committed “non-violent” crimes that would, in previous eras, have been overlooked. Additionally, the “community policing” tactics that saved New York, among other cities, cannot function without the participation of the “community.” And if the communities in question – that is to say highly urban and densely populated – see the police as the enemy, then the whole thing will fall apart.
Nevertheless, those who insist that the solution is an easy one, that police should simply stop “killing” black men or that they should be “disarmed” are either woefully naïve or are lying. There is no easy solution to this problem. Central Park, you may note, has been relatively safe for 20 years now. The city gets a new mayor, however, one who makes himself an open enemy of the police and who thus suggests to the city’s residents that crime will not be as large a priority as reigning in the police, and in time, the Park becomes lawless again. As CBS New York reported just yesterday:
Visitors to Central Park remain on edge following three violent muggings over the weekend…. One of the muggers threatened the couple with a knife and possibly a Taser, and a female victim was punched in the face. The victims were robbed of their cell phones…. “It’s surprising to think that,” one park visitor told CBS2’s Matt Kozar. “It does seem like a safe place.”
The second mugging took place along the 81st Street transverse near Belvedere Castle Sunday morning. In that incident, a 45-year-old man was choked and robbed of his wallet and backpack by a gun-wielding suspect. In the third mugging, a woman had her purse taken near East Drive around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m totally shocked,” Upper West Side resident Gun Bauchmer told CBS2. “I mean, any place, but especially here.” “Central Park . . . a place like this? You don’t think it can happen, you know?” said Riverdale resident Rachel Mitskaris. “It’s scary.”
The reason people are “shocked” and “surprised” by this is that they’ve grown accustomed to the peace and quiet provided by aggressive policing. They’re not used to this, which means that they don’t remember New York before Giuliani.
We’re not saying that the “superpredators” are coming soon to a neighborhood near you. We are foolish enough to make that same mistake twice. But we do think that this is an issue that is not getting the attention it deserves – that it NEEDS – in the current “conversation” about policing and police violence against minorities.
Violent crime trends in this country have defied all logic and all historical precedent because the police adopted a “broken windows” policy. And it is one thing to discuss abandoning this policy, as the mayor of New York has done. But it is something else altogether to discuss said abandonment without acknowledging the possible ramifications.