Another World

The editors of the Wall Street Journal remark on what transpired here in Chicago over the weekend:

The shootings occurred even as the mayor visited neighborhoods with a plea to keep the city safe. He favors what he calls a “holistic” approach to fighting crime, which means funding community groups. “Poverty didn’t go away over the weekend,” Mr. Johnson said. “Communities have been disinvested in and traumatized” and “you are seeing the manifestation of that trauma.”

Yes, he actually said that, which goes a long way to explaining why gunmen patrol the streets with impunity. Does the mayor have a date when he thinks poverty will vanish, the “trauma” will ease, and the shootings stop? Is the July 4 weekend too soon, or will it be Labor Day?

His comments reflect the other-worldly nature of Chicago progressives, for whom Mr. Johnson is now the chief spokesman. He campaigned on hiring 200 new police detectives, but in the city’s current state he’ll need 2,000 and a revival of tough anti-crime policies to stop the carnage in the streets. Morale at the Chicago Police Department is flagging and there’s no permanent superintendent.

Then again, Chicagoans elected Mr. Johnson in April knowing all this. Crime was the biggest issue, and voters apparently opted for “holistic” crime fighting as opposed to actually fighting crime. How do you like it?

A couple of observations. First, “disinvestment” is a consequence of crime as well as, per the mayor, a cause of it. Contrary to the mayor, I happen to think it is mostly a consequence. I would add that small businesses have been driven from Chicago, presumably with the best of intentions, as Chicago tried to attract major retailers. Every Walmart store displaces scores of small, individually owned and operated stores. Then when Walmart leaves because “shrinkage” (as it’s called in the trade) is eating up any prospective profits, that leaves a desert. Another factor is that by simply crossing the street you can pay less. That’s what happens when you have the highest sales tax in the state. I suspect that the mayor will find attracting new small businesses with ties to the community a greater challenge than dealing with the forces that are pushing them out.

Second, I think he’s trying to shoehorn the emiseration thesis out of the situation on the South and West Sides. Lots of luck with that. The empirical evidence is in the opposite direction.

Third, he might want to consider the possibility that young people on the South and West Sides are killing each other a) because they can and b) because they don’t believe there will be consequences for whatever they do.

Finally, 18% of Chicago’s registered voters voted for Mr. Johnson. Don’t blame the rest of us.

1 comment… add one
  • TastyBits Link

    I know this will infuriate certain people, but preventing crime means putting the victim’s rights above the criminal’s rights. The police can prevent crime, or they can take reports.

    Since criminal’s rights have been elevated, it makes no sense for the police to stop crime. They will violate someone’s rights, and there is a good chance they will be the one arrested. It is better to just take the report.

    New Orleans is having similar problems. It is mostly retaliatory, but there are more initial gunfights. It seems that fatal hit-and-run accidents are increasing. Additionally, many of the victims are innocent bystanders.

    Of course, these Black Lives Do Not Matter. People will protest the killing of a black scumbag, but since it was a black person firing, the ten year old BLACK girl shot in her bed by a stray bullet is just another day in the neighborhood.

    Perhaps, a backwoods West Virginia ER Doctor could do a statistical regression of the number of white BLM protesters who live in neighborhoods where the police put a black criminal’s rights above a ten year old white girl’s right to have a good night sleep.

    Actually, don’t bother. It’s zero.

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