When Fudging Language Won’t Work, Just Go Ahead and Lie

In my last post, I noted how anti-police arson, rock throwing and assault have become, in the magical language of criminal justice reformers and their allies in the press, “‘intensified’ peacefulness.”  There are times, though, when even a seemingly infinite willingness to mangle the meaning of language won’t get the job done.  When this happens, there’s a ready solution:  Lie.

Enter noted criminal justice reformer, Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As the New York Post reports, de Blasio

…has convinced himself he is doing a bang-up job at mayor. Maybe he thinks that if he praises himself often enough, people will believe his delusions of competence.

His most recent boast is that emptying the jails has made the city “safer,” even as the homicide rate blows up around him.

“We now have fewer people in our jails than any time since World War II, and we are safer for it,” he said. Huh? Ask the family of slain 1-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. how safe they feel.

Shootings in the city were up 130 percent last month.

Murder and mayhem in New York City are exploding, but the mayor  —  the same mayor who backed ending cash bail, massively cutting the police budget, and ending the (formerly) successful anti-crime unit (in other words, implementing some of the marquee items of criminal justice reform)  —  tells us, as such advocates do relentlessly, that their programs will make us safer.

There was a time, it’s true, when in fact New York City residents, and the rest of us, were safer.  We grew safer by an enormous measure in the period 1991 – 2014, when the crime rate fell by about half, and the murder rate fell by more than half.  This was the era of more funding for police, more pro-active policing, greater use of incarceration, and more rule-driven sentencing.  But in the last few years, as “reform” measures gained traction and those practices have been rolled back, we’ve lost a significant portion of the gains.

Criminal justice reform programs have not made us safer, not in New York City and not in the country as a whole.  The aggressive insistence that they have is a point-blank lie.