[Rushtalk] WSJ: Gun Violence Increasing as Police Departments' Hands Tied by Rules

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Tue Jun 23 21:03:44 MDT 2015

WSJ: Gun Violence Increasing as Police Departments' Hands Tied by Rules

Saturday, 30 May 2015 01:43 PM 

By Sandy Fitzgerald 

Gun violence is climbing in the nation's cities, marking a likely end to
the 20-year national decline in the crime rates, because of changing
laws that make it more difficult for police to do their jobs, according
to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

"Crime is the worst I've ever seen it,' said St. Louis Alderman Joe
Vaccaro during a City Hall hearing earlier this month, writes Heather
Mac Donald, a Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute in her

In St. Louis alone, shootings are up by 39 percent, robberies by 43
percent,and homicides by 25 percent. 

St. Louis is not the only city seeing increases. According to Baltimore
police, gun violence in that city is up by more than 60 percent over
last year, with 32 shootings occurring over Memorial Day weekend alone,
making May the most violent month the city has experienced in the past
15 years.

Homicides were up by 180 percent in Milwaukee by May 17, over the same
period from last year. In Atlanta, murders went up by 32 percent by
mid-May, and in Chicago, homicides went up by 17 percent and shootings
by 24 percent. New York marked a murder rate rise of nearly 13 percent
and gun violence by 7 percent, and violent felonies in Los Angeles went
up by 25 percent, MacDonald writes. 

Even worse, neighborhood level crime climbed even more, with shooting
incidents going up by 500 percent in New York's East Harlem Precinct.

Just last year, though, the first six months of 2014 marked a drop in
violent crime nationally, with a 4.6 drop noted. 

Mac Donald said the rise in crime may be because of the growing unrest
over the nation's police departments in recent months, following the
deaths of unarmed black men including Ferguson's Michael Brown and Eric
Garner in Staten Island.

The deaths have brought riots, and the murders of police officers has
also gone up. Mac Donald notes that President Barack Obama and former
Attorney General Eric Holder have "embraced the conceit that law
enforcement in black communities is infected by bias," and the media is
also putting out a stream of stories about the "alleged police
mistreatment of blacks."

As a result, she said, almost any police shooting that involves a black
person "no matter how threatening the behavior that provoked the
shooting," brings angry protests, and acquittals of police officers for
using deadly force often brings violence, with the result being what St.
Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has called the "Ferguson effect."

This means police are backing away from enforcement activity while the
criminal element feels empowered, said Mac Donald, pointing out that
similar "Ferguson effects" are happening nationwide as police scale back
on proactive police actions.

"Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and
losing his job and family," a New York City police officer told Mac
Donald. "Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel
that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be non stop

New York's pedestrian "stop, question and frisk" practices have dropped
by nearly 95 percent from 2011 after litigation was filed calling the
technique racially biased, she writes, and "it is no surprise that
shootings are up in the city."

New York and other cities are also taking aim at "broken windows"
policing that allows officers to target lower-level public offenses, and
Holder's call to end "mass incarceration" on racial grounds has resulted
in more felons on the streets, she continued.

"Contrary to the claims of the 'black lives matter' movement, no
government policy in the past quarter century has done more for urban
reclamation than proactive policing," Mac Donald claimed, as such
policies have saved thousands of lives while bringing in commerce and
jobs to once drug infested neighborhoods.

"To be sure, police officers need to treat everyone they encounter with
courtesy and respect," she said. "Any fatal police shooting of an
innocent person is a horrifying tragedy that police training must work
incessantly to prevent. But unless the demonization of law enforcement
ends, the liberating gains in urban safety over the past 20 years will
be lost." 

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