“Sudden Spike in Violent Crime Across US Raises Alarm.” So go the recent headlines.
A city-by-city look shows:
In Baltimore, shootings are up 82.5 percent, or nearly double from last year, the Baltimore Brew reported.
In Chicago, there have been over 900 shootings this year, a 40 percent increase, and a 29 percent increase in homicides in the first three months of the year, USA Today reported.
In New York City, murders have increased 20 percent and the mayor has already announced that he will put an additional 330 cops on the street by Monday in response to the spike in homicides and shootings.
In Los Angeles, violent crime rates increased by more than 25 percent and the city is also deploying more officers to areas where crime is on the rise, The Los Angeles Times reported. [Source: Newsmax.com 6/4/15]
What’s going on?
Anti-police activists say the police have become rotten. Maybe so. But police are the effect, not the cause. Why would police suddenly become so rotten? Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Anti-gun activists say the problem is guns. Get rid of guns, they say, and then you’ll get rid of crime. (Anti-gun activists also blame police, although they see the problem more as racist police, than police per se.)
Getting rid of guns is a naive idea. First of all, you can’t get rid of guns. The only way to get rid of guns would be to get rid of criminals. Because criminals — by virtue of being criminals — will seek out, possess and use guns no matter what. If you outlaw guns, law abiding people will obey those laws, but criminals will not. So outlawing guns will disarm people, thus making them even more vulnerable to criminals, as well as more vulnerable to actually or allegedly racist or otherwise corrupt police.
Getting rid of guns is not a solution; it’s a fantasy, a self-delusion, that will only make us less safe. You might as well pass a law saying, “There will be no more violent crime.”
So what’s going on?
I don’t know if there’s one answer, or one factor. There rarely is. But I do know one thing for sure. Police, in America, are being told to do more things than ever before.
The war on drugs is taking its toll. Police are responsible for chasing, tracking down and arresting people because they use or trade drugs. Granted, sometimes people who use or trade drugs are engaged in violent acts. But that’s because the drug trade is an illegal, dangerous underground economy.
When alcohol was illegal, during 1920s Prohibition, violent crime went up as well. Eventually, in a very rare move, the control freaks and politicians reversed themselves and made alcohol legal again. Alcoholism did not go away, and probably never will; but violent crime due to alcohol being illegal went way down.
The same could happen with drugs. But the control freaks and politicians will not reverse course, and nobody (even on the margins of political and social debate) is brave enough to suggest they do so.
We can’t get rid of police. Nobody favors a more limited government than I do. Anarchy is not the answer. We’re moving towards anarchy now, with the police increasingly unable or unwilling to contain violence. Anarchy would set everyone loose to physically harm (or defraud) anyone they wish any time they felt like it, since no evil or harmful person would be accountable to anyone, not even theoretically. Anarchist fantasies about privatized government would set up the governments to be at war with each other; nobody would be entitled to the final say, and it would be a continuous war of all against all.
We must have a strong and limited government. The only question is what kind of police we will have. Will we have police who are solely authorized to track down and arrest violent offenders and frauds? Or will we keep authorizing police to become way more involved in people’s lives, thanks to laws against drug use, drug trade, and all kinds of other things where government has no business being involved?
If you want better police, you first have to get better laws. To get better laws, you have to change your ideas about what government should and should not do. To restrain the police, we have to restrain the government for which the police work — and get that government out of our lives, completely out, provided we are not violent offenders or frauds.
It’s fashionable to rebel against the police right now. Rebelling against the police is like screaming at your lab technician (or your doctor) for your high sugar or high cholesterol numbers. It won’t change a thing. I’m not suggesting that guilty or bad police should not be held responsible for their actions. But people are rising up against police for the wrong reasons, and without recognizing what the real cause of these bad police are: bad and wrong laws, based on bad and wrong ideas about government.
“Do-gooders” have had their chance. For decades, from both the political “left” and “right,” government officials have waged war against inner city poverty and drug abuse. Those problems have not gone away. In fact, they only got worse, particularly in the areas they were supposed to help: the inner cities.
It’s time to end the war on drugs and end the war on poverty. We’re paying people to be poor and dependent on the government, and we wonder why so many of them get on drugs. Then we outlaw drugs, creating a dangerous black market/underground economy which makes life on the streets less safe for everyone. It’s madness on a stupendous scale, made more incredible by nobody’s willingness to name it.
Get the government out of the charity business, and out of the do-gooder meddling business. It’s literally killing people, and left uncorrected it will possibly lead to the end of civilization as we know it.
Grow up, America.
Dr Michael Hurd
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