Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Decriminalizing Crime

Crime statistics are an embarrassment. Minority groups commit more crimes per capita than others. Members of these groups are rightly embarrassed by the statistics, but their solution seems most often to be to blame someone else, like white police officers.

Even the ascendancy of Barack Obama did not seem to make a dent in the crime statistics. Obama’s home town, run by a mayor who had been Obama’s chief of staff, kept racking up unacceptably large murder rates. Again, it was an embarrassment. The nation has been told to look away and to blame white people, especially white racists and white supremacists.

By what is acceptable reason, we are not permitted to suggest that the people who commit the crimes ought not to be committing the crimes and that their communities ought not to be defending them or exonerating them… because the fault lies with white police officers.

One alternative might be to decriminalize crime. By the logic of the radical left crime must be a social construction. If we decriminalize certain criminal behaviors there will be less crime. Problem solved, sort of.

Victor Davis Hanson explained how it’s working in California:

Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such “misdemeanors” do not warrant police attention. California’s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.

Mission accomplished.

If that does not suit your intellectual predilections, the Washington Post has just run a series of articles about how bad prison is. The ostensible purpose of these articles, written by people who have suffered incarceration, is to empty the prisons. The reasoning behind them: people who are in prison have mental health issues. And that prison is not very good therapy. If not, prisoner are the victims of capitalist patriarchy and are simply revolting against their oppressors.

Notable scofflaw Piper Kerman, the mind behind the television show, Orange is the New Black, explains it all in her lead article. Paul Mirengoff reports on it for Powerline blog (via Maggie’s Farm):

Kerman complains that “the American criminal justice system does not solve the problems — violence, mental illness, addiction — that it claims to address.”

And also:

Kerman’s article is a smorgasbord of leftist cliches. She claims, for example, that “mass incarceration is a result of policies that have grown out of a history of slavery, colonialism, and punishment of the poor.”

To which Mirengoff responds:

If slavery, colonialism, and punishment of the poor were to blame for incarceration, we should see less, not more, incarceration as time takes us further and further away from this history. But that’s not what we see.

Thus is blame shifted from the criminals to the society at large. The fault, by leftist ideology, lies with a criminal Western culture that has exploited and oppressed peoples for ages now. Those who hold these views are saying that criminal behavior is the natural and normal response of oppressed peoples toward their oppressors. If not, it is a function of mental health problems that the nation is refusing to treat.

Meringoff remarks that Kerman and the Washington Post have misunderstood the purpose of prison:

The primary purposes of the system are to punish criminals and prevent them from committing crimes. It achieves these objectives, at least while the criminal is incarcerated. Longer sentences would prevent criminals from committing crimes for longer periods. But this, of course, is not what Kerman has in mind.

By incapacitating criminals, the justice system reduces violence. Violent crime plummeted following the harsher federal sentencing regime adopted towards the end of the last century. This isn’t the same thing as “solving” violence, but that’s not a realistic goal of a criminal justice system.

In effect, the solution offered by Kerman and the Post is the problem. When communities do not hold criminals accountable, when they do not shun those who cause the communities to fall into disrepute, you get more crime. Effectively, the article decriminalizes crime. It will naturally produce more crime. We should shut up and suffer it because we all deserve it.

Meringoff explains:

If anything here is being “normalized” here it’s crime, not incarceration. Advocates like Kerman (and those like the Washington Post who give them a platform) treat criminal behavior as a normal and natural response to slavery, colonialism, imbalances in power, etc.

Accepting this notion will lead to rampant crime in excess even of the crime wave of the 1970s that led to the stiff sentencing regime in place until recently. It will eat away at the fabric of our society — a fate that radicals like Kerman may consider the just dessert of a “racist” and “colonialist” nation like America.


trigger warning said...

"the American criminal justice system does not solve the problems — violence, mental illness, addiction — that it claims to address.”

True. But the problem is the false claim, not the failure to "solve the problem". The 1930s notion that prisons can "rehabilitate" or "correct" felons is utterly false. In my state, the prison bureaucracy is risibly called a Department of Corrections, which, as is usual with government departments, "corrects" nothing.

As it happens, I've worked in prisons, state and federal, as a volunteer mentor and GED Math teacher. Prisons are the modern version of exile. There are no more Botany Bays or other transportation destinations. Short of summary executions, felons must be housed in cages to protect law-abiding, innocent citizens. Overall, the ratio of victims to felons is far greater than 1:1. Considering a recent case, we will never know how many were victimized by Jeffrey Epstein.

The insanity is having "a conversation" about mass incarceration instead of mass victimization.

Sam L. said...

This is one example for why I call the WaPoo the WaPoo.

370H55V said...

Let us also remember that the decriminalization of theft of less than $950 value in California was not made by the legislature, but in a public referendum. We have a radical left-wing majority in this country, which intends to stamp out its opposition by any means necessary. Time for resistance by all means necessary.

UbuMaccabee said...

Krav Maga, tactical weapons training, and barbells are the noble pursuits of the modern Viking. Sell your golf clubs, your mountain bike, and turn off the television. Bring your friends and family to the range, the gym, and the ring. Get stronger, faster, and more lethal together, as a family and as a tribe. You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. Tick-tock, pasty, white weaklings, tick-tock.


Dan Patterson said...

Well THAT brought some light to the subject dinnit?
The facts do not care about feelings, but the asswipes who use feelings to mold public policy - and I'm looking at the females in power and the men who fear them - care not one shit about facts.
Will a rebound to logical and reasonable civic governance occur by calm discussions among all participants? Well hell no it won't. All participants are either organically uninterested in calm discussion or are far beyond their patience limit with it. UbuMaccabee and others made a good point about tribal survival in the comments and it is wise council.
Other wisdom is to stay out of crowds, and avoid mingling with even small groups that include populations proven to be hostile.
Some comments on this subject have included the belief that we are in untested waters. Bullshit. This is very familiar territory and the results of the coming conflict have been written by history.
Ignore the truth all you want and your corpse will fertilize the collective potato farm that was once your pleasant neighborhood.