As I was reading one of the endless posts decrying the crime wave that has a ignited across America I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend about this. I was saying that the cities that still had enough sane people would have to reauthorize the police to restore order and then restore the police tactics and policies that were shown to work back two decades ago in places like New York, things like broken windows enforcement.
This friend is a rabid opponent of the police. He is a libertarian that would like to see open carry as the solution to violence. When asked whether he would be glad to see a policeman instead of a gangbanger if he found himself at night in a really bad neighborhood he replied he’d much prefer that his gun was there to protect him.
Putting aside the small proportion of the population that would prefer to shoot it out with the bad guys personally, I thought about where all this anarchy is leading. And what I concluded was that we’re all going to have to choose sides. For a large but not majority section of the population the police are a gang that harasses their people. The largest part of this section are urban blacks. They have been the recipients of stop and frisk and other urban anti-crime tactics. So logically they are the most opposed to the activities of this “gang.” Other components of the Left are the other opponents of the police. Some of these components like the whites and the Asians do not themselves suffer from these policies and tactics. In all honesty they are the beneficiaries of these programs. But in solidarity with their fellow partisans and in the spirit of doing what they believe is “the right thing” they take the side of the urban blacks and decry the “injustice” of these police intrusions on the activities of young black men.
But now things are changing. The activities of the other gangs, the ones that up until now have mostly only impacted the residents of the destitute black neighborhoods, are being felt everywhere. Smash and grab theft is happening exclusively in affluent white areas of the cities and carjackings and drive by shootings and just plain assaults and murders are spreading to every neighborhood of these unpoliced cities. Now that makes the calculus of these leftists more complicated. How much pain, fear and uncertainty must be accepted in order to show support for their black brothers? And even for black residents of the inner city, which gang do they fear more? Sure, the cops are white outsider oppressors of the neighborhood ecosystem but what about the local gangs that now shoot up the neighborhood more or less with impunity. Is it worse if your eighteen-year-old brother gets frisked by the cops on Friday night but then goes on his way or that he gets gunned down by some neighborhood kid who is auditioning for the local amateur version of the Bloods and Crips? And forget about adults what about your three-year-old daughter who is sleeping in her crib and suddenly is struck by a stray bullet when rival gangs fill the air with lead on your street?
Back in the 1990’s New York City chose the police as the gang to back in the war that was playing out on the streets of New York. But that was a very different New York City. I think it will take a long time for the minority majority population of New York City to figure all this out. But that is what has to happen to set things right. In this “democracy” we supposedly inhabit the people have to wake up from their social justice daydream and realize that the police are the least dangerous gang that is needed to keep all the other gangs from running amok. Sure there will always be rogue cops and sure the police will always to a certain extent use their privileged position to tilt the scales when one of their own is at fault. But that is just human nature and it is seen everywhere people interact. It’s no different than what politicians do every day. It’s what we all do when we’re in charge of anything from a little league team to a corporate behemoth like Google.
So my prediction is when the pain and fear reaches 51 % of the city population, they’ll bring back the cops and put down the gangs. That is of course if the gangs haven’t gotten too strong in the meantime to outshoot the cops. At that point we’ll need the Marines to restore order. Sort of like Mogadishu.