"Crime has been holding steady in Chicago in recent years. Through July, there have been 1,089 shootings in the city, a 2.4 percent decrease over last year."
According to the newspaper, it's a "typical" July. Yet there is nothing typical about it when you look beyond the numbers. The first problem is that the numbers are flat-out unacceptable in any year in any city in the U.S. It is inexplicable that citizens of Chicago have tolerated this situation in poorer neighborhoods for decades. The second problem is a new problem. Years of complacency by Chicago's middle and upper classes have brought the crisis to their doorstep.
Yeah, but the complacency is coming from the wrong direction.
Thugs, gangs and renegade groups run the streets and neighborhoods, intimidating and victimizing the decent citizens of this city. They go mostly unchallenged and unchecked by a totally demoralized police force that is dangerously understaffed and still out-gunned on the
Uh, we're forgetting what police officers are once again, and trying to ascribe to them some sort of "Superman" complex, perhaps to cover up our own inadequacies?
Let's look at what Janet believes:
The police force desperately needs manpower and both physical and leadership back-up. Officers confident that their authority is respected, their judgment is trusted, and their tools are equal to a dangerous and difficult job will produce better results than people who have been left hanging out to dry, while their colleagues are massacred.
I hate to disabuse Janet of her belief systems, but I am compelled to do so.
Let's start with reality: There is no duty for the police to protect you. So says a long line of court cases, including those that have gone to the US Supreme Court, such as DeShaney .v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (109 S.Ct. 998, 1989). This is true even if the police have specific and articulable knowledge that you are at some sort of special risk, as was the case in the DeShaney circumstance!
Many people do not understand this: The police department's primary job is to investigate crime. That is, once the crime happens the police department shows up, takes a report, and then attempts to identify the guilty party(s) and presents the evidence to the prosecutor, along with presenting the alleged bad guy(s) to the court system.
That's their job. That's why you hire them. That's what they do.
But in performing this job they have to contend with two things: The small percentage of the citizens who are thugs and will do evil things, and the citizens who the police department needs as allies and advocates in their investigatory activities.
How do you get the second to happen?
I'll tell you how you don't get it to happen.
You write a hundred thousand parking tickets for $50 each, and start booting people's cars, after you remove all the parking meters or turn them over to a private company, and fail to reasonably maintain them, thereby making it impossible for someone to run into the post office for 2 minutes without risking a $50 ticket.
You write lots of tickets for questionable traffic violations and falsely claim that they're about "safety", when in fact they're a raw revenue grab, and many of the offenses are, in fact "driving while black." While upper-middle class and above people are inconvenienced by a bogus $100 ticket, a poor person who is barely getting by ends up shorting his kid's diapers as a consequence. He is going to be permanently*****ed at every cop from that day forward, instead of being mildly inconvenienced. When the police want that man's help in the future finding some thug they're going to get the middle finger in response, and that response is entirely and richly deserved.
You bust Joe's brother - or best friend - for smoking a doobie. Joe's brother was helping Joe pay the rent, because both Joe and his brother don't have much money. Joe winds up eating cardboard for two weeks as a consequence, or even gets evicted - because his brother was arrested for a victimless crime. Oh yeah, and in order to catch Joe's brother you had to snoop around and stick GPS devices on his car (recently ruled legal without a warrant!) to follow him around furtively much like a snake in the grass - or the Gestapo.
Then we add a dollop of corruption. Various sorts of scams all fall into this category, from politically-incented promotions to outright bribes up and down city government. Chicago has this sort of thing down to a science. Trust me on this one - for 13 years I lived and worked in and around that city, and there were jobs I refused to bid (both in the city and in some of the suburbs) because I knew the contracting process was as crooked as the Mayor's weenie.
And finally, you demand that the citizens of the city walk around every day without any right to defend themselves - something that's particularly important when you're a 100lb woman and the thugs have a habit of being men who outweigh said woman by 75lbs and are more than a foot taller besides. In a hand-to-hand confrontation, she of course has no chance, and what's worse the crook doesn't care about the fact that legally he's not supposed to be armed - after all, by definition a criminal doesn't care about gun laws! (Bessie Jones anyone - who incidentally was threatened with arrest and prosecution right up until the citizens rose up in protest and said like hell you will!)
All of these things are, of course, according to the law, something the police have every right to enforce, and enforce they do.
But all of these things are corrosive to public trust, and yet that's exactly what's necessary if the hooligans are to be kept from taking over in times of stress. The police will never be able to suppress the criminal element with "mere force" - we have a near-police-state now in our major cities when it comes to these matters, and yet the environment deteriorates instead of improving.
This corrosion is insidious and pervasive in our major cities. It doesn't happen immediately; it takes decades. But we've spent 20, 30, or even 40 years intentionally destroying the public trust, and it shows. The police do not have the respect of the citizenry at large - they've forfeited it with their own acts.
You need only see what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, where not only did the cops abandon the city some of them are alleged to have stolen automobiles on the way out of town!
No, what's necessary is a different view. A view that both admits the lawful and proper role of the police and accepts that without cooperation of the citizens at large, which is not owed to the police department but instead must be earned, the police have no chance - and neither do the citizens.
The underlying economic and social situation is not going to get better on its own. It's going to get worse. A lot worse. Attempting to "appeal to authority" is not going to work, and "staffing up" and acting like a military junta instead of a police department is only going to turn the local citizens into people who hate the cops - and that hatred, when unemployment turns to homelessness and hopelessness, is going to boil over with disastrous results.
To fix this you need to do a number of things - specifically:
We have options folks. But we have to get out of our liberal utopian mindset, which includes (but is not limited to) believing that the people will not respond to what they are taught, and will not react according to their experiences. We also have to stop believing that everyone is an animal and has no right to self-defense, while at the same time we are both physically unable and legally not required to provide safety generally to each member of society.
The solutions are not complicated and they will work.
We must throw the infantile model of "the people are under the cops as a baby is under his or her parents" in the dustbin and instead transition to a model of "you're adults, you're free to act as adults, and we both trust you to be adults and assist us in our job of identifying crooks when necessary. We also both believe in and support your right to stop the thugs on your own in lawful self-defense should it become necessary, God forbid, and we will not only cease and desist from interfering with that right we will start encouraging you to exercise it."
While there are few if any places in the United States where the victimless crime view has been adopted, there are plenty where law enforcement both respects the right of the people to self-defense and recognizes that they need the common citizens more than the citizens need them, especially if and when the government teat of "everyone can suckle all they want" disappears.
Where I live is one such area in this country - if things get "really bad" around here I'm quite certain the common man will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local law enforcement agencies toward the same aligned goal - stopping the Zombies from eating the citizens.
For Chicago to achieve that it's law enforcement community is going to have to quit treating the citizens like infants whom it can rob candy from any time it feels like it.
You've got work to do Janet, as Zombieland day is far closer there than it is here.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.
NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.
The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.
Looking for "The Best of Market Ticker"? Check out Ticker Classics.
Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.
The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.
Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.