APPEL: Crime, Poverty, And Reality In Our Cities

I am intrigued when, in the context of the epidemic of mostly urban crime, I hear Democratic leaders regurgitate, “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem.”

To me this unrealistic talking point, though appealing to the best in human nature, demonstrates clearly that they have no grasp of the big picture. Case in point: Democrat leaders are never pushed to elaborate on the fundamentals of the explosion of crime and how they would address its causes. The answers are all more talking points about fairness, injustice, and equity. Talk, talk talk, as citizens cower in their homes.

In its simplicity, solutions to crime problems fall into two distinct time frames. There is a short-term aspect and a long-term aspect.

The long-term aspect deals with the underpinning roots of crime, roots that to me are generally derived from one source, poverty. But unlike the blame game embraced by modern Democrats, I speak not of poverty in the financial sense. In 21st century America we do not really have the overwhelming poverty that once ripped the fabric of earlier times in America, for now those days are in our history.

Sure, in comparison to others there are many poor people, but starvation poverty, poverty that would see criminal behavior as a survival mechanism, is long gone. Being less well off than someone else in a well-off society is an outcome of failure to take advantage of the opportunities of that society, it is not a cause to rebel against the law of that society.

What we do have is poverty of the mind, poverty of the spirit, and poverty of principles. These forms of poverty eat at self-reliance and self-worth and prevent an inflicted individual from gaining the benefits of our society. It is these forms of poverty that, unlike Democratic leaders of the past, modern Democratic leaders refuse to address. It is these forms of poverty that so many citizens refuse to acknowledge. And it is these forms of poverty that justify in the mind of criminals their own free decision to break the laws that bind our society together.

Many Democratic leaders have simply abandoned efforts to change our long-term trajectory by defining a new philosophy that is unheard of in American culture. This is a philosophy that effectively relieves the criminal from his obligations as a citizen. The new attitude is that instead of blaming criminals for deviant behavior it has become de rigueur to blame society or a subset of society because some people choose to commit crime. And their answer is for policing to be “reimagined” and for prosecutors to enforce their own standards in contradiction to the laws created by legislative bodies.

As violent crime especially in liberal cities has exploded, the disastrous outcomes of this new Democratic philosophy have manifested themselves faster than anyone could have imagined.

Do we need to correct all aspects of poverty of our people? Of course we do, but such societal evolution is a long-term process that requires that we abandon modern liberalism in favor of the return to traditions that over the generations have held our society together. And that requires a commitment from Democratic leaders to return do what is best for their base by abandoning their political creed of blaming everything on everyone else. As of now there is no effort to address the long-term issues of multi-dimensional poverty.

Because of all types of poverty, especially in urban areas, we face an immediate breakdown of the peace that has been bestowed upon us by our standards of law. And it is this collapse that leads us to the short-term solutions to the problems.

In the short-term we face two choices. First, we can continue on the path that modern Democratic leaders have adopted. That path will inevitably lead to evermore crime and a general decline in the quality of life and economic opportunities of our cities. In the alternative can we “arrest our way out of our problems?” If what is fair and desperately required by honest citizens is the goal, we can and we must take aggressive steps to end criminal behavior.

If a person chooses to commit a crime, they should be given a fair trial and if convicted, the nature of their crime and their propensity to reoffend must be considered by judges in assessing their penalty. That is fair, but in no circumstances should District Attorneys be allowed to “rethink” law or prosecution in accord with their own political beliefs or comfort.

In no circumstances should judges base rulings on political or social pressures. Paramount to all is public safety, just because we have refused to address long-term poverty in all its forms leading to unlawful behavior is no excuse to abandon obligations to society as a whole.

Someday we may achieve the La La Land that Democrats promise. But that will require that we face up to and correct poverty in all its forms. In reality until crime diminishes, we can, and we must, arrest our way out of the problem. To some that may sound cruel, but what is crueler, locking up criminals thereby taking them out of society until they are no longer a threat to society, or continuing to force honest people to sacrifice their freedom and future so that criminals may be treated in accord with someone’s definition of fairness?

Sadly, but practically, the only near-term solution to devastating crime is to follow one rule; when a criminal is in jail, he cannot commit any more crime.

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