Blood is flowing in the streets of American cities. Gang members and anyone in the vicinity are being shot by rivals. Random pedestrians are being shot and stabbed. Public transit customers are being stabbed on subway cars and thrown off the platform and onto the rails. Little children are being shot in their strollers, on their porches, and in their car seats.
In 2020, according to the Washington Post, murders rose 45% in New York over 2019; in Chicago murders increased 56%, while Seattle saw a murder spike of 74%. Shootings rose 97% in New York. Across 57 large jurisdictions, murder increased by nearly 37%. “In Minneapolis, homicides increased by 60% in 2020, with many of the crimes left unsolved because there are fewer police detectives and other resources to work the cases.”
As violent as 2020 was, 2021is seeing skyrocketing violence over 2020. Murders in New York in the first ten days of 2021 were double what they were in 2020. Murders in Chicago were up 46% from the previous January. Homicides in Philadelphia to date were up 55% over 2020.
The Chicago Tribune reports that, in Chicago, by June 15, 294 people were killed, more than in all of 2020. During the last week in June, 77 people were shot and killed. Here are just a very few of the names of 2021 Chicago victims: Jamari Williams, 18 years old; Jessica C. Johnson, 30; Duntae Manuel, 36; Benjamin Barber, 62; Marcus Lewis, 25; Bryone Dupart, 27; Ramiro Morales, 19; Tiara Banks, 31; Mario A. Sanders, 31; Darius Fairly, 20; Carl Taylor, 32; Jaslyn Taylor, 7; Paul Williams, 43; Martanisha Robinson, 18; Devon Jackson, 34; Verico T. Veal, 25; Vickie T. Braboy, 61. These are fellow Americans who have lost their lives to violence. Should we not know their names?
In Portland, as of the end of May, 37 people died in homicides, a 700% increase from 2020. Shooting injuries tripled compared to 2020, and quadrupled compared to 2019. As reported in the Epoch Times, on June 19, in Chicago, a couple, Gyovanny Arzuaga and Yasmin Perez, celebrating Puerto Rico Day were dragged from their car by a mob and shot execution style. On the same day, in the downtown “Loop,” Anat Kimchi, a Maryland graduate student studying criminal justice, was fatally stabbed by a homeless man. And to bring you up to date, on the first three days of the 4th of July weekend, 82 people were shot in Chicago; 14 of the shooting victims died.
Why is this happening? The answer is that there has been in 2020 and 2021 a perfect storm of reckless endangerment by public officials. The “justice reform” movement by far left politicians and race activists found rich opportunities in 2020. “Justice reform” was needed, according to these sources, because criminals were not really responsible for their acts, but were victims of social inequalities imposed by capitalism. Black prisoners were doubly victims, because they were convicted of being citizens while black, that is, by racism. The arrival of the Wuhan virus provided the excuse to de-incarcerate by releasing thousands of felons from prison, many of them violent offenders. It was the “progressive” thing to do. The governors, judges, and prison officials who conspired to release convicted felons into the public were not, of course, on hand when many reoffended. But the victims of crime are of little interest to those concerned with “justice reform.”
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer gave the Democrat Party affiliate, Black Lives Matter, a free pass to engage in months of rioting, looting, arson, assaults on police officers, and murders of citizens, always characterized by the Democrat media as “peaceful protests.” In most Democrat cities, police were told to stand back or stand down as the cities burned. Authorization for crowd control tactics was revoked, and the police were handcuffed by their political masters. The rioters remained in control, and damage to public and private property across the country was in the billions.
Race activists dismissed criticism about the burning down of both public property owned by all citizens, and private businesses, in many cases owned by minority members, as unwarranted. They said that attacks on police were justified. Activists claimed that looting was unimportant; it was only “things.” Furthermore, they claimed, looting was justified as “reparations” for slavery.
BLM, “justice reform” advocates, and the left wing of the Democrat Party, including the current vice president, contributed funds to bail rioters, and Democrat district attorneys refused to charge rioters for the felonies they had committed. But the activists, rioters, and Democrat Party knew who the villains were: the police! Thus began the Democrat demands that police departments be defunded and disbanded, so that public safety could be “reimagined.”
Democrat mayors and city councils did not just talk the defund talk; they walked the defund and disband walk. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, painted the anti-police slogan “Black Lives Matter” on a New York street. Then, along with the city council, he defunded the New York police by one billion dollars. Not satisfied with that insult and injury, he disbanded the anti-crime undercover unit that specialized in getting illegal guns off of the street.
This brilliant, anti-police strategy was adopted in Democrat cities across the country. In Portland, the city council wanted to disband the police entirely, but the mayor only wanted to defund the police. They compromised by disbanding the gun violence reduction team. “Police say the unit put officers on the street to talk with youth at risk to head off violence, and that the response to gun violence has been further weakened by an increase in officers leaving the force, budget cuts and the demands of responding to protests.”
According to Forbes, Austin cut 150 million dollars, about a third of its police budget. Seattle “reinvested” 20.5 million elsewhere, and the black and female police chief resigned in protest. Los Angeles reduced its police budget by 150 million dollars. San Francisco cut 120 million, and Oakland reduced its police budget by 14.6 million. Washington reduced by 15 million. “Baltimore eliminated roughly $22 million from its police budget; Portland, Oregon, cut nearly $16 million; Philadelphia reduced police funding by $33 million; Hartford, Conn. cut $1 million from its $40 million budget; Norman, Oklahoma slashed $865,000; and Salt Lake City reduced its police budget by $5.3 [million] from that previously proposed by the mayor.”
“Justice reform” advocates did not limit themselves to cutting police budgets, disbanding effective police units, reducing the number of police, and handcuffing those who remained, they also changed rules to allow for violent criminals to stay out of jail and return to the public and reoffend. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed a bill to cancel cash bail, on the grounds that the universal fact of economic inequality made it unjust to detain those charged with violent offenses. As a consequence, individuals arrested were freed immediately after arrest to return to the public and reoffend. In short, in aid of alleged economic justice, public safety was entirely disregarded.
Releasing accused felons was deemed such a good idea that Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois signed a bill to abolish cash bail. After all, nothing is happening in Chicago that might lead one to want to confine accused violent offenders. “History will judge how we responded in this moment, which called for big, bold, transformative changes,” said Democratic state Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr., who sponsored the bill. “This is not a moment for incrementalism, but one which calls for us to reimagine what public safety looks like in this great state.”
History will judge. It will judge the 205% increase in shootings after the New York anti-crime unit was disbanded. It will judge the fact that the hundreds of additional victims of violence in each of many Democrat cities, and the thousands of victims across the country, did not have to be abandoned to the violent offenders who victimized them. None of the state and municipal officials, or the media, are saying so, but most of the victims are African Americans and Hispanics.
It is true that in 2019 and previously, African Americans were highly overrepresented in the category of victims of crime–for example, almost half of all murder victims, while making up only 13% of the general population. But they were not slain by police; 90% were murdered by African American criminals. Black Lives Matter does not care about black on black crime, because they cannot blame someone else for community crime pathology.
Just as previously, the 2020 and 2021 spikes in crime disproportionately affected the African American community. But unlike black race activists and their demands, African American community leaders and members understand the problems in their community. That is why it took little time after the disbanding of the New York anti-crime squad for black community leaders to demand that it be reinstated. In a Gallup poll, black community members were asked their preference for police presence in their community. Fully 81% said the same amount of time (61%) or more (20%).
The very people that BLM advocates claimed to be rioting for were exactly the people suffering from the consequences of the central policy of BLM and its Democrat supporters: defunding and disbanding the police. It almost makes you think that BLM activists and Democrat politicians were acting in their own particular interests, rather than in the interest of the black community.
Who then is responsible for the additional thousands of victims of crime? In addition to the rioters, looters, arsonists, assaulters, murderers, shooters, stabbers, assaulters, rapists, carjackers, and other criminals who are the immediate victimizers, there are the enablers: The mayors and city councillors of New York, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, Austin, Hartford, Baltimore, Norman, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Oakland, and many other cities who defunded the police are accessories before the fact of the upsurge of crime. Those who disbanded effective crime-prevention units are doubly culpable.
Officials responsible for the release of thousands of violent prisoners are accessories before the fact of the additional crimes. State legislatures and governors who have canceled cash bail and released those accused of violent crimes into the public are accessories before the fact of the crimes that those released commit. The many Soros-funded radical district attorneys who refuse to charge violent offenders are accessories after the fact, and accessories before the fact of the crimes that those released go on to commit.
All of these officials are guilty of reckless endangerment in the undermining of public safety. Most of these officials have immunity to protect them from being punished for their criminality, but, as far as I am concerned, they should all be in jail. These Democrat officials are the “domestic terrorists” that the Biden administration is so keen to find.