Wow! Extreme Ideology And Resistance To Stubborn Reality Leads To Astoundingly Unethical And Irresponsible Policies…

I don’t understand this at all. I don’t understand how intelligent officials—and by “intelligent” here I only mean “smart enough to put their socks on before their shoes”—-can possibly convince themselves that ignoring common sense and the collected wisdom of centuries as well as the acquired knowledge of recent decades will have anything but disastrous results. But here we stand:

  • In June, the California Highway Patrol arrested two men after a search of their vehicle revealed a stash of cocaine and 150,000 fentanyl pills. Based on the amount of drugs involved, they were booked into jail with an initial bail amount of $1 million each. (Fentanyl kills people.) But a pre-trial risk assessment of the suspects resulted in the men being classified  “low risk,” so they were released on their own recognizance without either the local D.A. or law enforcement officials being consulted. The two men, 25-year-old Jose Zendejas and 19-year-old Benito Madrigal, faced up to 14 years in state prison. They were expected to show up back in court on July 21. Shockingly, they did not. Nobody knows where they are.Their release is part of the social justice movement to eliminate bail because it discriminates against poor people. It also helps with the over-incarceration problem, because it allows criminals to get away with their crimes and harm society again, while broadcasting the message to other would be criminals that they are in a low-risk, high rewards profession as long as they stay where fantasy-blinded progressives run things….like California.

Continue reading

Policing Ethics, Part Two: When Those Expected To Stand Up For The Law Can’t Stand Up For Themselves

Cellphone videos of New York City police officers being doused with water while trying to do their jobs became an internet sensation this week, and an unsettling (but inevitable) controversy for New York City.  The officers were trying to disperse rowdy groups at fire hydrants during a three-day heat wave, and allowed themselves to be assaulted and humiliated while  crowds cheered the attackers on.

The police arrested three men who were caught on video hurling water at police in two incidents. This also caused controversy. “Why is a man facing more severe punishment for dousing a police officer than Officer Daniel Pantaleo is for choking Eric Garner?” asked a Times article. That shouldn’t be a difficult question, but you know—the Times. Eric Garner was a petty criminal resisting arrest. The officers were doing their jobs, and Garner died as the result of an accident, in great part because of his own actions in defying the police. The police were also trying to do their jobs when they were doused with water, in an act that threatens the peace and order of the community.

The Police Department’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, Terence Monahan, the police chief, lit the fuse on a larger controversy, saying,

“Any cop who thinks that’s all right, that they can walk away from something like that, maybe should reconsider whether or not this is the profession for them.We don’t take that.”

But they did take that, and the Mayor of New York wants them to take that, because the whole idea of law enforcement is now, and has often been, anathema to progressive ideology. Continue reading

New York City And The Mayor: Case Study In The Simpson Principle

simpson

The Simpson Principle does not refer to Homer but Alan, the now-retired Republican Wyoming Senator who once sat next to me at a press conference announcing the Reagan administration amnesty for illegal immigrants. Conservatives hated amnesty back then, too, and Simpson was regarded as a conservative. When I found myself seated next to him at lunch (my Foundation for the Chamber had done a study on immigration reform), I took the opportunity to quiz him on why he took the lead in this issue. (Those Chamber events were fun: another time, I ended up alone at a table with Gene McCarthy.)

Simpson said, as I remember it, “Well, ideology is great, but eventually you have to use real measures to solve real problems. If you keep flogging ideology when you know it won’t work, you’re a fool. It’s dumb, it’s irresponsible, and it’s wrong.”

You will note that 1) Simpson’s plan didn’t work either, though it wasn’t the plan’s fault, 2) Conservatives still oppose what they call amnesty, and yet haven’t a single rational, practical recommendation for how to handle the 13 million illegal immigrants who have slipped into the country since that Eighties luncheon chat, and 3) both liberals and conservatives have been meeting Simpson’s definition of fool lately.

[Aside: I ran into Simpson at LaGuardia last year, introduced myself and thanked him for that wisdom. He remembered me, amazingly, but didn’t remember that comment. “I said that?” he said. “Wow. I was smart that day. Thanks for reminding me of it. I wish I had run into you a few years ago.”]

One of the primary fools who is running amuck these days is Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is determined to again try the lassez faire, look the other way, “compassionate,” kinder, gentler law enforcement policies of his former boss, the infamous Mayor David Dinkins. In the 1980ss, Dinkins continued the transformation of  New York City into a declining, filthy, crime-riddled hell, and only the long, painful, much-criticized introduction of the so-called “broken window” theory into the city’s management by Rudy Giuliani turned the crisis and the city’s fate around.

As chronicled by Myron Magnet on one of my favorite blogs, City Journal, de Blasio is determined to relive the Dinkins experiment, because it would be nice if that way of running a big city works. Already, the completely predictable results are in evidence.

He writes: Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week: New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

shattered-window

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is pushing a plan to decriminalize public urination, turnstile-jumping and public drinking. This is a superb example of ideology trumping the lessons of history, anthropology, law, psychology and common sense.  Liberals have never forgiven Rudy Giuliani for adopting the lessons of the “broken windows” theory to clean up Times Square, thus showing why it is important, effective and responsible for government to insist on ethical conduct and have its laws reflect those values.

Using the tragic death of Eric Garner in an arrest for a petty crime as her justification, Mark-Viverito appears to believe that criminalizing minor crimes like public urination leads to  pretext  police stops, arrests and searches. What she stubbornly refuses to understand is that the government declaring that certain conduct is unacceptable is essential to ensuring that such conduct, and eventually, worse conduct, isn’t accepted, and that enforcement of laws with meaningful penalties is crucial to limiting the spread of unhealthy, ugly, harmful or uncivilized behavior. If the City Council wants human excrement and waste to be a regular component of the New York experience, this is one way to guarantee it—by sending the message that “It’s rude, but it’s not that wrong and we’re not going to make a big deal out of it.”  The message of allowing turnstile cheats to get away with a citation—which they will never pay, of course—is that small thefts don’t matter either.  Cheats and crooks can reliably  be expected to see how much they can get away with stealing without real punishment, and the Mark-Viveritos in our various governments can be counted on to keep letting the standards slide.

Oh yes, she is not the only one. They are legion.

The amazing thing is that we all saw where her approach led in the Seventies. New York City became filthy and dangerous, tourists and business started to stay away, crime exploded and people died. It will lead there again, too. This is the inevitable result when elected officials regard their primary duty as serving the interests of law-breakers and the habitually unethical rather than honest, fair, responsible citizens.

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Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Facts: New York Post

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts, and seek written permission when appropriate. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work or property was used in any way without proper attribution, credit or permission, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at jamproethics@verizon.net.

 

My Street Just Went Stupid: Now What?

The Stupiding is coming...

The Stupiding is coming…

For the last 34 years I have lived on Westminster Place in Alexandria, Virginia. The address, a cul de sac, was a happy accident, as a wonderful, affordable house just happened to be there and for sale the day after I asked my wife-to-be to marry me, but it has always given me pleasure. Westminster Abbey is third among my five favorite and most cherished places on earth, the others being Fenway Park, The Alamo, Disneyland, and the Gettysburg battlefield.

Protecting my address’s integrity isn’t easy. Everyone, from clerks to salespersons to the people who address our junk mail try to change the name to Westminister Place, only to be corrected by me, or when it happens to her,  my anglophile wife. “It is Westminster Place, no “i”—you know, like the Abbey,” we say politely. The number of times the response is, “Huh? What abbey?” is a fact too depressing to relate.

Nevertheless, we refuse to let this constant attempted error pass. We have seen what can happen when illiteracy and ignorance are permitted to prevail and fester.

Just a few blocks away from us is the intersection known locally as Stupid Corner, where for decades the Waffle House there has sported a sign reading “WAFLE HOUSE.” The sign immediately lowers the IQ of anyone nearby: there mothers push their baby carriages into traffic, and pedestrians mysteriously forget where they were headed. (I just made four typos even writing about it.) When they repainted the traffic lanes—I’m not making this up—there was an arrow turning LEFT painted in the far right lane, an arrow point RIGHT in the middle lane, and an arrow pointing STRAIGHT ahead in the far left lane, when in fact no lane could go straight, since the road ends there. It was like a Stephen King story. “The Stupiding.” Continue reading