In the aftermath of the Ferguson riots in Missouri and the Freddie Gray fiasco in Baltimore, the decriminalization of crime in the name of “social justice” — long a goal of the cultural-Marxist Left — got fully underway. The result was exactly what anyone not fully invested in Critical Theory would have expected:
Calling violence in Baltimore “out of control,” Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered 30 agency heads to meet every morning at police headquarters, and to make crime reduction the top mission not only of police, but also of health workers, housing officials and public works crews.
The mayor ordered the directors of more than half of the city’s 55 departments to report to meetings daily at 8 a.m., when they will plan with Police Commissioner Kevin Davis where weeds should be cut, lead paint covered and drug houses boarded up and job applications can be handed out, among other tasks.
Pugh appeared at City Hall Thursday flanked by agency heads. “Violence in the city is out of control,” she said. “I want every neighborhood to know I am extremely concerned and focused on reducing violence.” Killings in the city have surged past 300 this year for a third year in a row. Violent crime is up 13 percent over last year, and reports of groups of youths attacking people apparently at random have dominated recent local news cycles.
Baltimore, a city whose best years ended more than a century ago, is a prime example of what happens when citizens are categorized by skin color or cultural background, and then have differing standards of behavior applied to them by what should be an impartial justice system. Instead of “social justice,” the outcome is social disruption, mistrust, resentment, lawlessness and, if left unchecked, anarchy and civil war. The Marxists not only know this, they desire it, which is why they press so hard for it.
Pugh said she was calling on businesses and philanthropies to help fund a $10 million expansion of the anti-violence Safe Streets program. And she extended night and weekend hours at six recreation centers to try to keep young people out of harm’s way. “We must do everything we can,” Pugh said. “We’ve already hit 303 murders, which is totally unacceptable. … We know we can do better.”
City Councilman Brandon Scott, the chairman of the council’s public safety committee and a frequent critic of Pugh, said he was pleased with the mayor’s approach. He said addressing broken street lights, vacant buildings and other problems can help cut down on crime.
Maybe. The “broken windows” theory of policing worked in New York City during the early years of the first Giuliani administration, but not because the windows got fixed; it worked because they stopped getting broken in the first place. In other words, the cosmetic details like street lights and abandoned houses are only symptoms of the disease, not the cause, and fixing them only to see them broken again does little good if the culture itself is both destructive and self-destructive.
At least the mayor and the city’s police chief seem to have the right idea:
Davis said he asks himself every day what else police can do — and believes others in the community must do the same. He said police officers are making arrests and taking violent offenders off the streets, only to see them released with little or no repercussions. “Poverty, unemployment, family dysfunctions, drug addictions — all those things are very, very real in our city,” Davis said. “But they do not excuse violent behavior by anyone, particularly juveniles.
“We need to all look ourselves in the mirror as a community of parents, grandparents, guardians in particular, and get ahold of these violent kids who are wreaking havoc in our city right now.” Davis cited the violent carjacking of a 35-year-old man by a group of juveniles near a synagogue in Northwest Baltimore on Thursday morning, and a series of recent attacks downtown and on Halloween night in the city.
He said police see the same youths committing crimes time and time again. He said he knows of one 16-year-old boy who has been arrested ten times since 2014 — for larceny, attempted robbery, burglary, carjacking, assault, two theft charges and three car theft charges — but keeps being released. He said many juveniles have similar records.
“We know who they are,” Davis said. “And if we know who they are — and the reason why we know who they are is because we lock them up again and again and again — then I’m pretty damned certain that their parents and guardians and grandparents and neighbors know who the hell they are as well.”
Of course they do. But the “social justice” and “political correctness” mentality gripping so many elected or appointed officials– not to mention the entire American media — prevents them from taking the kind of direct action that’s needed to solve the problem. Until Real Americans cast off the foreign-import dictates of the cultural Marxist Left, cities like Baltimore will continue to suffer. And so will we all.