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.
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.