Tom Cotton on the wave of violent crime and what to do about it

Last month, our friend Sen. Tom Cotton delivered an important address on policing and criminal justice in the U.S. The speech, delivered at the Manhattan Institute, was called “Breaking the Crime Wave.” You can read it here.

That the U.S. is experiencing a wave of violent crime is beyond dispute. Even the mainstream media is reporting on that crime wave (see below, for example). Some Democrats are even acknowledging its existence.

Sen. Cotton discusses the causes of the crime wave. These include (1) the unwillingness of big city prosecutors (some elected thanks to cash from George Soros) to prosecute entire categories of misdemeanors, (2) the creation by some governors and mayors of “sanctuary jurisdictions” that shield criminal aliens from prosecution, (3) the undermining in many states and localities of the cash-bail system, (4) the federal jailbreak legislation that Donald Trump backed, (5) the release of prisoners in many jurisdictions on the theory that this was the humane thing to do during the pandemic, (6) the “BLM effect” which massively curtailed policing in neighborhoods most in need of vigilant law enforcement, and (7) mass resignations by police officers in response to the demonization by BLM and Democratic politicians of those charged with enforcing the law.

The remainder of Cotton’s speech is a harrowing description of violent crime in various American jurisdictions, all of which are controlled by liberal Democrats, plus his common sense answers to the question of how to break this crime wave.

Speaking of harrowing, check out this article from today’s Washington Post. The title is “Thousands of bullets have been fired in this D.C. neighborhood. Fear is part of everyday life.”

The Post isn’t kidding about either proposition in its title. It reports that in a little more than the past three years, crime scene technicians found 2,759 bullet casings — byproducts of shootings involving rifles, pistols and shotguns — in about a one-square-mile area of Southeast Washington D.C. (I spent the first seven years of my life in Southeast D.C., but in the area where we lived, the crime scene techs found “only” about half that number of casings.)

According to the Post, bullets from these casings “have struck people, pockmarked parked cars, embedded in walls of homes and shattered windows of businesses filled with patrons.” The situation has reached the point that “patrol officers carry ‘quick clot gauze’ used by troops in war” to stop people from bleeding.

One can imagine the effect of this environment on law-abiding residents. If one can’t, the Post lays it out pretty well.

The Post’s article brings to mind the absurdity of one of the left’s talking points (or former talking points, I hope) about policing. At one point in the demonization of the police that followed the death of Freddy Gray in Baltimore, it became fashionable to complain that Black areas of the city were over-policed. This “over-policing” skewed the arrest statistics such that large numbers of Blacks were being arrested while Whites were getting away with similar crimes.

It’s true that, in D.C., for example, if the police pulled manpower from that small area in Southeast where all those bullet casings were found and it redeployed officers to the posh sections of Northwest, fewer Blacks would be arrested and a small number of additional Whites might be busted on drug charges.
But such a move would make no sense. The police force is needed in large numbers where violent crime is prevalent.

I don’t think many on the left are publicly advocating such a redeployment of the police any longer. But the left is producing a de facto “un-deployment” of police from high crime areas by driving officers out of the force and deterring those who remain from actively policing high-crime areas.

So Southeast D.C. will continue to experience thousands of bullets flying around, and fear will continue to be a big part of everyday life. The same will be true in cities all over America where Democrats are in charge.

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