It’s come to this.
San Francisco is one of many irrationally woke cities falling apart in chunks because of “social justice” policies that encourage crime, make responsible citizenship difficult, and devastate local businesses. “The City by the Bay” is a particularly depressing case study in the nationwide phenomenon, with the city’s most storied locations marred by human feces, discarded drug paraphernalia, and obstreperously entitled homeless. Meanwhile, businesses are fleeing because shoplifting has become epidemic.
When Bob Lee, the former chief technology officer of Square and one of the founders of Cash App, was stabbed to death ten days ago, his high-profile murder was pointed to by social media critics and conservative pundits as more evidence of San Francisco’s decline as its culture embraces progressive cant over the lessons of civilization. Ah, but this week a rival tech entrepreneur was arrested for the murder, prompting the city’s defenders–and the defenders of its bonkers policies— to launch into one of the most bizarre victory laps ever conceived.
CNN, naturally, led the way with an”It’s not the worst thing” rationalization-fest that began, “The stabbing death of CashApp founder Bob Lee has prompted comments perpetuating the notion that San Francisco is dangerous and crime-riddled, but data shows violent crime – especially homicides – are well below that of many other cities of a similar size.” That was metaphorical peanuts, however, compared to this San Francisco Chronicle story headlined “Arrest in Bob Lee killing silences critics who blasted San Francisco conditions.”
“Based on the arrest, police do not believe the attack was a random killing, as alleged by influential detractors who joined a chorus of critics who suggested Lee was killed by someone on the streets, someone who they said should have been locked up but was left to run amok in a city that coddles criminals,” the “news report” states. (This is not news but partisan advocacy, though it is what is called journalism today.) “Statistics, however, show the city’s homicide rate is among the lowest of major cities in the U.S.,” the spin continues.
Then we get this jaw dropping passage:
And yet a city poll released Thursday also showed residents feel more unsafe today than they have in two decades, feeling reflected in surveys that show people feel crime is getting worse not better. The viral social media posts following the fatal stabbing described a city spiraling in unimpeded violence, a message that appeared to resonate with many given San Francisco’s high property crime rates, open air drug markets, homeless population and streets littered with glass from rental car break-ins, conditions that can make people feel like they could easily become victims of violence.
Gee, imagine that! Those silly conservatives feel unsafe in a city with high property crime rates, open air drug markets, a burgeoning homeless population and “streets littered with glass from rental car break-ins”!
The fact that Bob Lee was killed by a tech entrepreneur rather than a street thug proves nothing, just as it would have proved nothing if his murderer had been a fentanyl addict. Either way it is moral luck, and either way the crime feeds confirmation bias. Local media (and incorrigible progressive enablers like CNN) citing the likely cause of a single murder to argue that San Francisco is safer than critics claim is so desperate, intellectually dishonest and absurd that it boggles my mind, which is not easily boggled.
The Chronicle et al. have given us a reverse Marion Barry. The infamous former mayor of Washington D.C. argued, to rebut his critics during a crime wave, that crime in his city wasn’t bad at all, if you didn’t count the murders. The San Francisco spin now is that a relative lack of murders makes it irrational for residents of a city with soaring robberies and property damage, public drug-dealing and use, and rampant homelessness and panhandling to feel unsafe.
They feel unsafe because signs that civilization is breaking down, that violations of the social contract are being tolerated and that societal ethics are collapsing should make people feel unsafe, always do.
In fact, the San Francisco spin—“Yeah, but you’re probably not going to be murdered!”—should also make them feel unsafe.
And now, a song:
11 thoughts on “San Francisco Spin, Brought To You By The Great Stupid: “Since Bob Lee Wasn’t Murdered By A Drug Addict, Homeless Person Or Coddled Criminal, The City Is Safe After All, So There!””
Of course murder rates are low in San Francisco. No sane person would kill anyone in San Francisco…why lower the pool of people from whom you can steal with almost no fear of repercussions?
A forty-five-second google search revealed – in addition to the percentage of money that NPR receives from the government – that San Francisco’s population has dropped from 870,000 in 2020 to 715,000 in 2023. Did I read that right?!?
It appears that nearly 20% of the city’s population has decided to get out.
The line graph on that page is stark.
So it’s a self-correcting problem? In five or ten years the only people who will be left in the city will be the criminals and homeless folks.
Hmmm, if everyone in town is homeless, who do you panhandle from?
Go to Johannesburg, South Africa to see what happens to a sophisticated downtown when it’s abandoned. Nature abhors a void.
You don’t need to go that far. Check out Camden, NJ. The place has been falling apart for decades, although the first domino was higher taxes on businesses. Two big ones, Campbell’s Soup and RCA, finally pulled up stakes and left, throwing a chunk of people out of work, that in turn impacted the other businesses and the supporting businesses, residents moved out before property values tanked, and you know the rest. Now-deceased former congressman and governor Jim Florio’s attempt to pay his supporters back by putting a big fish tank and a refurbished ship from a war people are now being encouraged to forget in town did nothing. Now there’s nothing but crumbling bricks, pitted asphalt, the poor, and the marginal. They specifically disbanded the Camden Police and handed off to Camden County because they just couldn’t afford policing any more (it was also an attempt to destroy an overly generous union contract). Crime is down now, finally (it was at the point where people didn’t dare sit on their front steps), but the businesses and people aren’t returning. Of course it doesn’t help that across the river Philly is also tanking.
I live in one of the many NYC suburbs in northern NJ, and frankly, it’s the way to go, especially after the last three years. Every evening I drive 11 miles to a neighborhood that’s safe, quiet, and understated, where everyone is polite and minds his/her own business. If I feel like going to where the big buildings and the lights are, I can do that without too much trouble, and when I’m done with whatever, I can go back to my quiet, nondescript neighborhood. I can sit on my porch on a warm evening if I so choose without worrying about a drive-by shooting, I can take a walk across town to take pictures of blossoming trees without worrying that I’ll be beaten up and/or robbed, and if I had children I wouldn’t be lying them down to sleep on the floor at night to avoid stray bullets or worrying every day they went to school that some classmate of theirs was going to give them a jailhouse-style beatdown over something stupid that someone said to someone else. I have a mayor and a municipal council who are actually interested in keeping the town safe and clean. They aren’t interested in paying reparations in a state where slavery ended in 1804, or tearing public art apart to make room for a statue of George Floyd, or inviting more black and brown people in to make the place a mini-Newark, or passing crazy restrictive gun laws that make instant felons out of the guy who owns one rifle for hunting or the widow who just never got around to getting rid of her late husband’s pistol which she doesn’t know how to use, or passing ordinances that any former presidents from a party whose name begins with R who pass through town will be arrested and thrown in jail.
New York definitely has a level of excitement you find nowhere else, and a level of access to things you can’t get anywhere else. However, it loses part of that edge when you are concerned that you will have to pass through Beirut on your way from your Soho meal to your Midtown show. It loses that edge when you are concerned you’ll get caught up in a demonstration and beaten up. You know the rest.
Picture NYC high rises with no water, sewer, power or elevators inhabited by squatters cooking meals in their “units” thirty stories up over open fires. That would be downtown Joburg, Steve. Total dystopia.
We saw some of that (there late last yr), and the tar paper an tin shantytown slums surrounding the city, although some parts of downtown are still relatively safe to walk a few blocks, with just panhandlers. Pretoria is even worse…every other walled and razor-wired mansion up for sale or lease. How about 15 rooms, 15 baths, asking for just over a mil$, US$?: https://www.jamesedition.com/real_estate/muckleneuk-pretoria-south-africa/seven-ducks-an-enchanting-colonial-lifestyle-11313386 Maybe those who have been complaining about RE prices in SFO will eventually get some relief.
I’m not sure I’d call it “self-correcting”. Maybe “mobile” is the term I’d use. I fear that lots of these people leave the cesspool of SF behind, but take the disease of their highly-progressive ideology with them. Then they potentially can infect a different city.
It’s a real problem, Joel. These people flee Dem created urban decay and then vote in Dems when they get to their new city. Morons. They get to their new town, enjoy things like safety and cheap housing, and then they say, “Hey, why aren’t the local governments providing more cool stuff, more arts, more housing for street people, more drag shows for elementary school students, 24-hour crashing privileges at Starbucks? All the cool stuff we had in [fill in the dismal blank]? They should be taxing the rich and corporations to give me that kind of free stuff. And why are there Republicans on the City and County councils? And what’s up with this Republican governor, anyway? These people are rednecks.”
I too was struck by the incredible smugness of the mayor’s saying “You’re going to be surprised when you find out who killed this guy!” What public official would do that? About a pending investigation?
I still find this story amusing. I had assumed it would be a gay murder, and having two gay guys involved in a murderous affair would not have been good for business. Gay guys are always admirable. But praise Allah, it was a straight guy having an affair with a married heterosexual woman that caused the woman’s brother to murder the straight, white guy because he was believed to be giving the murderer’s sister drugs. But let’s not look too closely at the cast of characters. Let’s keep focused on the fact there were no street people involved and it wasn’t random. Whew! Close one. Let’s not focus too hard on the fact the murderer was an Iranian guy protecting the honor of his sister. Good thing we can gloss over that! I find the way the left and their water carriers in the media twist themselves into pretzels while circling the wagons (and mixing metaphors) endlessly entertaining. A really solid case of “Nothing to see here, move along.” Moveon.org will be circulating a petition saying we should all ignore this.
If the murder rate is skyrocketing across all major cities, saying you have the lowest rate among major cities is not a ringing endorsement.
Indeed, the party of science is really the party of misleading statistics. They swap absolute versus relative values within the same sentence as it becomes politically convenient. The sad part is I can’t tell if it’s out of ignorance, malice, or both.
Some organizations are actually some good against gun-grabber dosomethingism. Outfits like FPC (Firearms Policy Coalition) and GOA (Gun Owners of America) include gun-advocate lawyers among their officers, and actively file lawsuits against mew anti-2A laws and regulations. Yearly dues aren’t much; more people should help them out.