In his latest essay on substack, once-conservative-blogger-turned-progressive-shill (because he cared about gay marriage more than anything else)-turned-independent-gadfly Andrew Sullivan demonstrates in detail that what Ethics Alarms (and everyone else paying attention) knew would happen has, in fact, happened. If we ruin every police officer who shoots a black citizen in the line of duty, and allow Black Lives Matter to demonize such officers regardless of the circumstances, we get dangerously hesitant law enforcement, passive policing, more crimes by blacks and and police actively avoiding confrontations with black suspects.
Well, of course. This isn’t hard. But Andrew, a moderate at heart, is a kind-of progressive and always hated Donal Trump, so at least he won’t be accused of “mouthing Fox News talking points” when he states the obvious. Sullivan is also smart, a fine writer, and knows how to make a case, but during the Great Stupid in the course of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, Facts Don’t Matter. But at least he tries. His case, however, is a bit like arguing that the night follows day.
His careful if annoying article deserves a full read, but here are some excerpts and some comments.
Let’s begin with data quoted by the Times,and in turn by Sullivan:
“Homicide rates in large cities were up more than 30 percent on average last year, and up another 24 percent for the beginning of this year, according to criminologists … Homicides in Portland, Ore., rose to 53 from 29, up more than 82 percent; in Minneapolis, they grew to 79 from 46, up almost 72 percent; and in Los Angeles the number increased to 351 from 258, a 36 percent climb … Homicides in Philadelphia are up almost 28 percent, with 170 through May 9, compared with 133 in the same period last year; in Tucson, Ariz., the number jumped to 30 from 17 through May 13, an increase of 76 percent.”
After considering and rejecting other explanations (In a typical Times bit of misdirection, a headline today reads “As Virus Recedes, Mayors Confront An Old Adversary: Rising Crime.” It’s the pandemic’s fault, and if it isn’t, this is nothing new!), Sullivan (correctly) fingers the George Floyd incident:
“Before Floyd, no big increase in homicides, aggravated assaults, and shootings. After, a huge spike.Of course, that is not causation. But it’s one hell of a correlation — and no other event seems relevant. It’s as if the Floyd murder, and the subsequent urban chaos, sent a signal: the cops are on the defensive. Which means murderers can go on the offensive. And once lawlessness establishes itself, it tends to compound. A few gang murders can soon morph into tit-for-tat urban warfare.”
Gee, ya think?
“In Minneapolis, for example…murder jumped after Floyd’s murder, but shootings and aggravated assaults also went through the roof. In Chicago, the murder rate was the same on 5/28/2020 as on 5/28/2019: 191 homicides compared with 192. Then the murder rate and shootings took a sharp leap upward, and stayed there. You see nearly the same pattern in Philadelphia. New York City is a less clear-cut case, with surges in murder before and after the Floyd killing, but with shootings increasing 177 percent after the protests and riots. Shootings may be a better indicator of the scale of violence, because not all attempted homicides succeed.“
The graph above shows the shootings in Minneapolis last year, BF and AF (before and after Floyd). And, I am constrained to say yet again, all of this death and destruction happened because one political party and a Marxist, racist organization deemed it in their interests to call Floyd’s death an example of systemic racism, when no evidence of racism had been found and has ever been found. And the news media let them establish the false narrative, indeed they pushed it.
“Across America, many marchers and protestors yelled abuse at any cop they saw, and in some cities, they were given free rein, even to the extent of a no-go police zone. “ACAB” — “All Cops Are Bastards” — was routinely spray-painted. Mayors let the chaos go on — and elite institutions, like the New York Times, fired their own opinion editor for running a piece urging a federal intervention if the violence got even more out of hand. Non-white cops (a significant and rising number in many cities) were put in an incredibly tough spot. After this relentless assault, regular police officers noticed. Many quit…”
This was completely predictable, and many predicted it, as well as predicting that the exodus would lead to increased crime.
“[P]olice pulled back from the kind of aggressive, pro-active policing that has been shown to be most helpful in reducing fatal civilian shootings — but also most likely to lead to fatal encounters with the police. In Minneapolis, for example, “police stops and officer-initiated calls dropped more than half, use-of-force incidents fell by two-thirds while traffic-related incidents and patrols became far less common.” Residents complained that the cops were slow to come, or were in the neighborhoods with their windows up…It wasn’t a policy of pull-back. But it was the reality among cops increasingly skittish toward risking their lives — because they feared getting vilified if something went wrong.
Apparently the Left thought police were stupid as well as racist. Who wouldn’t behave this way? Sullivan then writes, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, at least I hope so:
“Cops can and perhaps should be blamed for this kind of reticence. They should do their job regardless of the pressures.”
Seriously, Andrew? Would you do a dangerous and soul-crushing, low-paying job if the very people you were doing it for would demand that you be fired, prosecuted, tried and locked up because one group of suspects automatically resisted arrest and created dangerous and uncertain situations that required instant decision-making that sometimes led to tragedy? I wouldn’t! I’d say, “You know what? If the perp is black, I’m looking the other way. NFL players are kneeling to demand that I be presumed guilty if things go south. Businesses are using “Black Lives Matter” as a virtue-signaling stunt, and it translates into: “if a black criminal or suspect gets hurt or killed while committing a crime or resisting arrest, the police officer is a homicidal brute who must be sacrificed to the God of Systemic Racism.” To hell with that!”
Andrew can be a bit of weenie, and that statement about cops doing their duty anyway is a classic. He’s hedging his bets in case the Woke mob comes for him (and it might). So as quickly as he sticks it in, Sullivan goes back to reality:
“The homicide wave began with the Floyd murder and has been sustained by the decision of many cops to refrain from the kind of pro-active policing that can lead to exactly the kind of incidents that can become viral — aggressive intervention against armed criminals before they kill. That helps explain why the crime wave is restricted to shootings and homicides — because other more mundane police activities do not carry the same kind of risk to the officer or perpetrator involved.This is precisely what occurred in what’s called “The Ferguson Effect” — but this time, it may be happening on a national scale, as protests have covered the entire country, amid unprecedented pressure on the cops to avoid dangerous interactions.”
Ah, yes, “The Ferguson Effect,” after another blameless cop threatened while trying to control and arrest a massive perp had his life destroyed because of a lie (“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”) that was reported as fact by the news media and used by Black Lives Matter to raise funds and support. (The lie is not on the BLM website any more, but Mike Brown is still accorded martyr status.) What was the response by the rioters and communities attacked after the lesson of that debacle seemed clear? Why more riots and more capitulation by city governments, of course, along with the suspension of a Derek Chavin’s right to a fair trial in order to ensure his conviction.
“What if we can indeed lower police shootings — but only if police stay out of exactly the proactive policing that makes them more likely? And what if the price of ending proactive policing is, logically, a huge increase in civilian homicides? A look at the comparative numbers of black deaths at the hands of cops (in 2019, for example, 250), and black deaths at the hand of civilians (in 2019, 7,484) is a sobering reality check. Black Lives Matter could be devastating news for actual black lives.”
Not to be excessively arch, but “What was your first clue, Sherlock?”
“This is not an argument against police reform or even against shifting some core responsibilities — mental health incidents, for example — to other kinds of professionals. It is an argument that pro-active policing has been more important in restraining crime than many have acknowledged; that removing it, before reforming the entire system, is extremely dangerous; and that elite complacency in the face of lawlessness and destruction in the summer of 2020 helped ignite a cycle of murder that is very hard to unwind. When crimes are committed with impunity, more crimes will be committed. And the victims will not be at Yale. So this scenario prompts a question of supreme irony: what if the final legacy of Black Lives Matter is that it actually succeeds in its core goal, and that in the future, far fewer African-Americans are shot by the cops. And what if the price of this symbolic victory is, in fact, a huge increase in the numbers of innocent black lives lost to civilian murder?“
Yeah…”What if?” Sullivan also punts by resorting to one of those empty “ramalamadingdong” bits of progressive chanting when the Left has no practical solutions, just complaints: “police reform.” (Examples in the handbook “sensible gun control,” “immigration reform,” “safe spaces” and “inclusiveness,” among others. Yes, “systemic racism” too.) Still, facts are facts.
It’s a shame they Don’t Matter.