Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Notes on the Passing Scene

For your edification I have collected some notes on the passing scene. And especially about the ongoing insurrection taking place in America’s most liberal cities. 

Among the salient details is one that I and many others have often mentioned. In Americas great cities, the middle class has been hollowed out, leaving the rich and the rest. Surely, this is combustible, even though it tends to ignore the fact that these cities have long been leftist bastions. This means that the leftists governing the places ought to be held accountable for the damage their policies have inflicted on their cities.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal this morning, William Galston provides an overview of inequality in Minneapolis:

In some ways, Minneapolis was ripe for this incident. The city’s income gap between white and African-American households is among the widest in the country. Minorities are significantly underrepresented in its police force. Only 8% of its officers live in the city—almost none in minority communities—compared with a nationwide average of 40%.

Of course, Minneapolis has a weak-kneed mayor who let rioters run wild in his city. Then again, liberal politicians surely had a hand in producing a city where the income gap was so wide.

Emily Badger explains in the New York Times that this year’s rioters have often directed their rage against luxury shops and boutiques. The poor seem to be rebelling against the ostentatious show of wealth, wealth that they cannot imagine ever having:

Downtowns became a destination again for white diners and even residents. “Tech hubs” arrived. Stadiums and condos were built. Restaurants proliferated. Rents rose. Decent manufacturing and clerical jobs all but disappeared, replaced by a vast low-wage service sector. And the gaps between the most prosperous neighborhoods and those still trapped in poverty grew wider and more visible.

This expanding urban inequality is now implicated in new waves of unrest, another source of rage, inseparable from race, bound up with all the older ones. If protesters in the 1960s cried out from black neighborhoods that had seen severe disinvestment, now they are calling attention to cities that have experienced enormous investment — investment that excludes them.

If complaining about the problem could solve the problem, we would long since have solved the problem. If liberal white guilt could solve the problem, there would be no problem. But, consider this. Children from the inner cities receive substandard educations. They are consigned to lifelong poverty because the school system does not allow them to work at their best. When reformers like Eva Moskowitz established Success Academies where inner city children excel academically, local politicians, goaded by the teachers’ unions and New York City’s idiot School Chancellor, want to shut them down. 

The Wall Street Journal editorializes this morning that the cities where riotous insurrection has taken root are true blue, true liberal, truly progressive. Apparently, the leaders of these cities believe that the rich should be punished-- by having their fancy boutiques taken away from them. The Journal also points out the level of violence directed against the police:

In downtown St. Louis, four police officers were shot after midnight. “I believe some coward randomly shot at the police line,” said police chief John Hayden. A 7-Eleven was looted and set afire, but firefighters were deliberately slowed by protesters in responding. “We had people lying down in the street” and trash cans were placed as obstacles to block fire trucks, said fire chief Dennis Jenkerson.

The NYPD has some 36,000 officers. How could they not be deployed in enough numbers to contain this rampage? And how can these public officials not deploy the National Guard to assist the police in restoring public order and protecting the innocent? This wasn’t the first night of mayhem. It was the fourth in a row, and the police clearly knew what could happen. The only explanation is that Messrs. Cuomo and de Blasio lack the political will to stop it.

And also:

What all these cities have in common is that they are led by Democrats who seem to have bought into the belief that the police are a bigger problem than rampant disorder. They are either cowed by their party’s left, or they agree that America is systemically racist and rioting is a justified expression of anger against it. They offer pro forma disapproval of law breakers but refuse to act to stop them.

As for the urban legend that the police are the problem, Heather Mac Donald provides some statistics to debunk the notion that the police are intrinsically racist. One suspects, as noted yesterday, that blaming the police is simply a way to exculpate the rioters:

However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

What do the statistics tell us?

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

On Memorial Day weekend in Chicago alone, 10 African-Americans were killed in drive-by shootings. Such routine violence has continued—a 72-year-old Chicago man shot in the face on May 29 by a gunman who fired about a dozen shots into a residence; two 19-year-old women on the South Side shot to death as they sat in a parked car a few hours earlier; a 16-year-old boy fatally stabbed with his own knife that same day. This past weekend, 80 Chicagoans were shot in drive-by shootings, 21 fatally, the victims overwhelmingly black. Police shootings are not the reason that blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined; criminal violence is.

She reports the results from the National Academy of Sciences study about police bias:

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was published in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

The Obama Justice Department reached the same conclusion:

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

Blaming the police does not just exculpate local politicians and leftist intellectuals. It treats minority group members as a hopeless and incapable of doing anything on their own. This tells them that they can only succeed in America by electing leftist politicians who will take care of them in a great big Nanny state. If you don't think that the left's politicians are playing the current riots as they played the pandemic, as a way to boost minority voter turnout, you have missed the story.


David Foster said...

"this year’s rioters have often directed their rage against luxury shops and boutiques. The poor seem to be rebelling against the ostentatious show of wealth, wealth that they cannot imagine ever having"

Probably some of them are "directing their rage", I expect others are just taking the opportunity to steal stuff.

trigger warning said...

Just say OK.

Communities exist that despise the police. I get that. On-duty police are not your friends. They can't be, if they are to do the job they are paid to do.

So, if a geographically-definable community doesn't want police coverage, why should "society" force it on them? Make that community a "no-go zone" for the police. Respect the residents enough to let them manage whatever crime problems they may have for themselves. Truth is, South Chicago, perhaps after an initial bloodletting, could well be a generally safer community if run by, say, the Bloods and the Crips, successful organizations that already have the respect of residents and the means and will to keep the peace as they define it. Other than an opportunity for some self-righteous tut-tutting, who really cares whether they burn cars in the street and terrorize women in the Parisian no-go zones? The French obviously don't.

Of course, an essential part of the deal would be an overwhelming response to any destructive leakage outside the defined community. Build a wall, if necessary, as the Israelis have wisely done, and let the go to it.

Think of the taxpayer dollars that would not be squandered on hamstrung police officers.

Just say OK.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

This all comes at the perfect time for blacks to be wooed back to the Democrat plantation. Trump was making real inroads with blacks — particularly black males. Many different pollsters noted this trend. It could not be allowed. Time to choreograph the rage. “Please stage sticks of bricks here, here and here at dusk...” Then roll film.

By the way, what’s with the uproar about Trump going to the charred remains St. John’s Church? Was it pandering? To whom? Then what is Joe Biden’s kneeling photo in a black Church all about? Was that pandering? To whom?

The lockdowns produced all this, and true blue Dems have no one to blame but themselves.

By day we get 20-somethings out and about protesting, doing what 20-somethings do — go out and about. This is their need for emotional connection. The protesters are a mixed group of black and white. They’ve been cooped up for 10 weeks. No surprise there.

And nighttime is when the wild things come out. Highly-organized swarms by Soros-funded Leftist groups. Young black males showing their rage about George Floyd by...... looting. What are we to expect after 10 weeks inside, with no ways to earn money or seek work? The lockdowns made the poverty, despair and hopelessness worse in black communities. And the sophisticated Antifa recent college grads are filled with rage, taking their white guilt to the streets for George Floyd by....... wrecking black neighborhoods.

As long as things are happening in the Democrat-controlled, concrete human zoos called urban America, the bands will play the same tunes as always. The chattering classes will do their play-by-play of the spectacle. The intelligentsia will use this as their latest thing to complain about, and how awful AmeriKKKa is. Liberals will shake their heads and talk to their friends about how much badder the OrangManBad is. But if mayhem and violence starts to creep into the suburban communities at nighttime, we are going to have some serious trouble, and the entire civil context will shift — quickly and viciously. There will be blood that will take decades and generations to clean up. Because the shit will become real. The suburban police forces fo not have the scale and resources that big city police departments have. If this crosses the border into suburbia, and the violence and looting starts, then Trump is right... the shooting starts. Suburban neighborhoods will become the playing field of a hot war — between citizen watchmen versus citizen thugs. You do the math and tell me who wins that battle. The ugliness will be epic. But in the end, we will all lose.

That’s why someone is going to have to take the lead and crack down on this. I believe the urban mayhem is too geographically distributed at this point for a meaningful U.S. military response. The standing military is better to keep them staged outside D.C. to protect the national government. The National Guard is not a large force, and the distribution of violence within a given State may overwhelm their effectiveness. The bottom line is that if Trump intervenes militarily in an American city, he will end up owning the problems these true blue Dems have unleashed. But if he doesn’t, America could completely unravel. And there won’t be clear geographic lines like there were in 1860-1865. Again, the ugliness will be epic. And in the end, we all lose.

If only de Blasio could imagine the looters as people wanting to go to the beach, this would all be over...

UbuMaccabee said...

I support Trigger's cordon sanitaire. Let them have their own "security" and then wall them in. They'll turn it into hell on earth, and we can turn it into a reality show. The problem is leakage. They enjoy the joy of the knife; it's fun to terrorize over-refined white people.

Here is the other issue: lumpenblacks cannot run a gas station, let alone a part of a city. We all know that. It's like a letting a 6-year-old drive a dumptruck. It's going to end in catastrophe. They will starve and run out of freshwater in a month. And no one has anything they want to purchase except drugs. They don't even have jazz clubs anymore.

UbuMaccabee said...

The boogaloo is on, IAC. This train will continue until the next switching station, then change direction. Either things get better, or a lot worse. After that, the train will ride to the next switching station and go in another direction. And there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

Nine hundred thousand tons of steel
Made to roll
Her brakes don't work and this grade's so steep
Her engine's sure to blow
Nine hundred thousand tons of steel
Out of control
She's more a roller-coaster than the train I used to know

UbuMaccabee said...

Heather MacDonald has been golden for years in providing clarifying hard data that police discrimination does not exist at any measurable level. It’s a myth. Blacks are not being targeted in any disproportionate way. I have never heard or read anyone overthrow her case. Case closed. Saw her last night on Tucker and she has been red pilled; she said civilization is at stake here. She is correct.

So why does her diligence and truth have zero effect on the national scene? She has zero influence. None. And 95% of black America is intellectually incapable, yes, incapable of understanding her arguments. And after you try for the third time to dumb it down so they can get it, that’s when they punch you in the face. BTW, she had better have armed protection. No joke. The Bolsheviks understand her work, and she is still a threat while alive.

This is not about facts, it’s about feelings and the pleasure of irrational emotions and always has been. It’s about imaginary black grievance because they are too poorly equipped to be anything except a crew member at McDonalds. Their failure stings. And white pussies indulge this grievance and take sick pleasure in kneeling before lumpenblacks. Black racist defectives and white pussy defectives have formed a marriage from hell. They will produce the offspring called the four horsemen.

The kneeling before the lumpenblacks and hipster nihilists is the most degrading thing I have ever seen in my life. It’s lower than being a junkie and begging to suck cock for drugs. It’s lower than beastiality. If you kneel before that, you are subhuman. One group knows how degrading it is, and they understand the significance: black men. They are pulling out their dicks and laughing their asses off. Can’t say I blame them, I’d do the same, except I would urinate on them. Utter depravity courtesy of university instruction.