Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for Congress looking to defeat incumbent Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) has some unusual ideas on how to make his New York district safer.
It’s time to disarm the police… #AtatianaJefferson
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) October 14, 2019
Yes, he said that.
It’s not really a novel idea, although just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean it isn’t bat guano crazy. But Bowman, who doesn’t have a prayer against Engel (first elected in 1988), is only one of three candidates challenging the incumbent.
And one of them agrees with him.
A fellow progressive Democrat looking to unseat Engel from the left, educator Andom Ghebreghiorgis, echoed Bowman’s call to disarm police.
“As someone who envisions a society free of guns, I support disarming police,” said Ghebreghiorgis, adding that arming police “needlessly escalates what should be non-confrontational interactions between community stakeholders.”
But a third challenger with 25 years of police experience, Sammy Ravelo, disagreed, calling Bowman’s support for disarmament “outrageous and irresponsible.”
Can you imagine a New York cop wading into the middle of a face off between gangs without a gun trying to be “non-confrontational”? And that’s the big problem. Mentioning the London police not being armed is ludicrous. Only 4 out of a hundred British citizens own a firearm. The cops aren’t armed because no one else is, either.
Bowman is also likely underestimating the contrast between the United States and the United Kingdom in terms of crime rates. According to data from the Metropolitan Police Service, there were roughly 131 homicides in London in 2018, a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 residents. That figure was actually the highest in a decade, thanks to a spate of stabbings that made international news.
At the same time, London’s 2018 homicide rate was less than half New York City’s for that year. According to the NYPD, the city experienced 295 homicides, for a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 population. The Bronx, which lies in the 16th district, had it even worse, with a homicide rate of 6.4 per 100,000 population.
London does not even come close to the homicide rate of comparable major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, or Boston, despite a decades-long trend of declining crime in the United States. Even at the lowest rates in 30 years, the United States is simply more violent than other nations.
Mr. Ghebreghiorgis, who wants us all to live in peace and harmony and sing Kumbaya around the campfire, is delusional. Maybe he could try subduing a violent felon hopped up on meth in a “non-confrontational” way. People might pay to see that.
The police take the responsibility of being armed because it is they who must place themselves in harms way when violent sociopaths threaten the innocent. Not all of them measure up to that responsibility. Some officers who are armed have no business carrying a weapon and should find some other way to serve the people.
But the vast majority of police are cautious and responsible in the use of their firearm. That’s all we can ask for.