Does Raising a Family in a Large American City Make Any Possible Sense?

About 33 years ago I moved out of New York City.  Now I was born and bred there.  My family had lived there for four generations.  I liked the amenities that the City possessed.  I could take the kids to Central Park and to the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We could go to a Yankee or Met game, go to the beach, go fishing out of Sheepshead Bay.  It was my home.  I liked my neighbors.  But this was in the mid-eighties and things had gotten steadily more dangerous even in a relatively “safe” neighborhood like the one I lived in.  Muggers had taken to getting off the expressways in “safe” neighborhoods early in the morning and mugging old ladies as they walked to Early Mass at church.  And they didn’t just get robbed they were often brutalized pretty badly.  Apparently, a baseball bat to the shoulder from behind is an excellent way to make an old lady drop her pocketbook.  And thinking about what it would cost to put my young children in good schools in New York just wasn’t in the cards for me at that time.  So, we moved out into the “country.”  Or so we called it.  Really it was outer suburbia in New England but there were farms and cows and so we told our kids they lived in the country.  Fast forward twenty-five years and we moved again out of the “country” because it became too crowded.

And that’s just what growth looks like.  Instead of 275 million people now there are 330 million people.  But moving from outer suburbia to a more rural area is a matter of choice and temperament, not a life or death decision.  I like more trees and fewer stop lights.  I want a quiet environment rather than a busy commercial strip.  But the next guy might like to live in a small town so he can walk to get his cup of coffee and doughnut.  He likes to have a French restaurant and a yoga studio a few blocks away.  Vive la différence.

But instead, let’s say you live in Minneapolis or Philadelphia or Baltimore or even my old home town of New York City.  For the sake of argument let’s say you live right outside of New York City in a very expensive suburb.  You pay an enormous amount of money to buy a house there and you pay taxes that are almost obscene.  Let’s say the schools are good and the amenities in your town are excellent.  Great restaurants and stores.  Good health clubs and a very nice golf course that you enjoy.  And crime is reasonable.  Sure, there are property crimes that happen, burglaries and car theft but violent crime while not unknown is infrequent because you have a good police force that prevents that sort of thing.  Your very nice gated community is a haven from the urban existence that you can see on the horizon.

But then something happens.  A cop in a city with a Democratic mayor kills a black man during an arrest.  And he does it in front of a video camera and it looks terrible.  People in this liberal city in this liberal state feel outraged.  The very liberal mayor fires the cops involved and says an investigation will judge whether the law was broken.  Nothing unusual there.  This has happened before.  But this mayor is extremely weak.  When the protests begin, he warns the police to back off.  They do.  And the protestors are heavily infiltrated by Antifa and anarchists and probably BLM.  They don’t just protest.  They riot, loot and burn down a sizable area of the downtown.  Does the mayor decide to put a stop to the violence after that?  Far from it.  He orders the police to abandon their precinct to the mob.  Now the devastation becomes extensive and drunk with the victory of the city’s capitulation they decide to extend their reign of terror and head out into the suburbs of the next city over.  And when the Democratic governor realizes that the Mayor is useless, he proves that he is equally useless and only sends a few hundred National Guardsmen in and mostly just to guard the electric power station and Federal Reserve Bank building.  So now the rioters are free to continue their arson and looting.

After this has gone on for a day or two the inner-city denizens and the local Antifa cohorts in every major city decide it’s time to set up a local chapter of burn everything down and steal whatever comes to hand.  So now it gets real for you.  You’re watching on tv as the metropolis that’s fifteen minutes away begins to go up in flames and the cops stand down at the behest of Bill de Blasio in order not to annoy his constituency while they enjoy their first amendment right to loot and burn other people’s life’s savings.  And in a video on social media you hear the rioters tell you, seemingly you in particular, that they’re headed out to your suburb to bring the same treatment to you and yours.

Well, that’s got to be an eye opener.  And the more you think about it the more you realize that there’s not a damn thing anyone is going to do to end this cycle.  This happens periodically.  First it happened in 1965, then in 1977.  In the late seventies through the early nineties it never really stopped.  The violence and crime were continuous.  Giuliani was a change in New York.  He was the last gasp of a majority that would allow the police to keep the criminal elements under strict control.  The nineties were peaceful and prosperous for New York.  But Giuliani was term limited out in 2001.  Bloomberg left the police in place but constantly railed against them in the press.  By the time Obama and de Blasio were in the White House and Gracie Mansion respectively, it was open season on the police and law and order too.  Eric Holder demonized the police and spawned Black Lives Matter.  Now you could say that President Trump is a reaction to Obama and the Ferguson scam that keeps being perpetrated on the people.  And he can do a lot to prevent this stuff spreading to red states.  But if you live in a blue state and especially if you live close to one of the big cities in them you are at ground zero for every wave of the roller coaster.

And that brings me to my point.

Move.

There’s no good reason to live there.  The bad reasons are that it’s your home.  And it’s where your family lives.  I don’t live near one of the big cities but I wish I were a thousand miles away in a red state.  But I have kids and grandkids that have roots here.  And every day I try to figure out how to get us all out.  But if you’re starting out now or are going to start a family, get out now.  Head south and west and look for a state that is run by normal people and isn’t filled with people who don’t have any stuff but want your stuff instead.  I assure you from sad experience, it’s no way to live.

When the Narrative Starts to Break Down

New York City is an enormous place.  Something like eight million people live within the confines of the five boroughs and twelve million more live in the adjacent areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and even Pennsylvania that act as bedroom communities for the people who make a living off of that gigantic place.

And along with that enormity is an enormously difficult and dangerous job of keeping such a place safe.  Along with the NYPD there are the police departments of all the adjacent communities and the state troopers of New York and the adjacent states.  All told, there are tens of thousands of police officers in the New York City area but compare that to twenty million people and you realize the necessity for maintaining the respect and legitimacy of police officers in the New York City area.

Back when I was a young man living in New York in the nineteen seventies and eighties, crime was a frightening fact of life.  Even the “safe” neighborhoods had been invaded by violent criminals who “mugged” the unsuspecting and often weaker members of the community wherever the opportunity offered.  The democrat mayors of the city payed lip service to policing the problems but because of their dependence on votes from the African American and Latino communities they were careful never to embrace too openly the law and order aspect of the city’s responsibilities.  But when David Dinkins became the first African American mayor in 1990 his first responsibility was to his ethnic constituency and that ensured the effective handcuffing of the NYPD and gave a carte blanche to criminals.

But back then even New York liberals knew that unfettered criminality would destroy their home.  So, they did the unthinkable, they elected Rudy Giuliani mayor.  Giuliani was a republican and a former US Attorney who had prosecuted mafia bosses and high-profile criminals.  He put in place a highly effective neighborhood policing strategy that targeted both low level crime (broken windows offenses) and serious crime (robbery and violent crime) and in the space of a few years made New York City one of the safest big cities in the United States.  But being a republican, albeit a relatively liberal one, and having made his reputation by embracing law enforcement, the democratic City Council enacted term limits for the first time in city history to prevent him from governing for more than eight years.

His successor Michael Bloomberg ran as a republican (in name only) and saw the mayoral term limit law removed so that he could serve for twelve years.  Being a creature of the liberal establishment Bloomberg would often excoriate any police incident that showed up in the bleeding-heart liberal New York media.  But he was at least smart enough to mostly leave in place the police practices that Giuliani had pioneered.

But then two things happened.  Barack Obama became President of the Unites States and Bill de Blasio became Mayor of New York.  Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder used the Justice Department to criminalize and prosecute police officers whenever an opportunity arose in the media that could be construed as police brutality against African American criminals.  It spawned the Black Lives Matters organization which was responsible for the deaths of police officers in several American cities.  But de Blasio embraced it and has effectively handcuffed police effectiveness in New York City.  As part of his police policy, “stop and frisk” and broken windows policing have been eliminated.  Due to this, quality of life crimes have started to proliferate again.  And more recently, violent crime, which until recently had been close to non-existent is becoming a day to day reality for the first time since the early nineteen nineties.

And that’s where we are today.  The progressives have a firm hold on New York City politics but the demographics of left-wing politics have changed.  New York is a minority majority city and the old left-wing ethnicities are no longer in control.  It may no longer be possible for a Rudy Giuliani type reformer to be brought in to clean up de Blasio’s crime problem.

When anti-Semitism against the easily recognizable Orthodox Jewish community is being perpetrated by African Americans, both on a day to day low level harassment basis and in deadly attacks as have recently occurred, it becomes difficult for de Blasio and the other New York progressives to get people to believe that white supremacists are responsible for the problem.  I mean he’ll still try, but as seen in that link, it’s getting a little thick.

So, where does this leave the New York Jewish community?  Their voting record, with exceptions, puts them squarely in line with progressive candidates on the local, state and national level.  So, essentially, they have themselves helped to create this monster by electing Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio to the positions that allowed them to hamstring the only entity that could have protected them, the New York Police Department.  And once the police saw that their bosses no longer had their backs, they stopped doing their jobs.  Why risk being sent to prison for trying to prevent crime?  Now they just clean up the pieces after the damage is done.

Some in the Jewish community are advocating for a return to sane police policy but the more pragmatic voices, knowing the reality of where they are, are calling for their communities to hire private armed security forces for their houses of worship.  And that is indeed highly ironic.  After eliminating the public security force that made it possible for all of New York City to thrive they now are forced to provide for themselves a private police force to protect them from the criminals they have empowered.

Those in the more upscale New York City communities were in the vanguard of movements such as Black Lives Matter and other initiatives begun during the Obama and de Blasio administrations.  Now they are living with the results of those movements.  Currently it is still at the periphery of their community, with the non-progressive elements such as the Orthodox community bearing the brunt of the problem.  But just as back in the 1980s these problems eventually find their way back to the “safe” neighborhoods.  The question for them will be what happens when the Narrative breaks down on their own doorstep?