America’s Most Violent Year

With murder up nearly 37% in 57 medium to large U.S. cities in 2020, last year may go down as the most violent in U.S. history.   In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal,  Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald presents some startling numbers:  murders increased 95% in Milwaukee, 75% in Louisville, 74% in Seattle, 72% in Minneapolis, 62% in New Orleans, and 58% in Atlanta.  An estimated 2,000 more Americans was murdered last year, most of them black, including dozens of children.  Fifty-five children were murdered in Chicago.  In Los Angeles 40 children had been shot as of last September.   “Mainstream media and many politicians claim that the pandemic caused this bloodbath, but the chronology doesn’t support that assertion.”   The underlying  theme regarding crime and law enforcement over 2020 has been the “police are racist” dog-whistle blown by virtually every big city mayor and blue state governor in the country, with 24/7 reinforcement by the media.  It was the endlessly-repeated mantra by President Biden during his campaign, shared by almost all the Democrat candidates for the House and Senate.  While MacDonald presents hard data debunking the claim that police are selectively gunning down unarmed black suspects, the media has made sure that this  information is not being reported to the general public.

The months of rioting sparked by the George Floyd killing has created an environment where police are now routinely attacked and sometimes killed while responding to calls for help or even rendering first aid.  This has almost completely ended proactive policing.  A veteran police officer in Oakland, CA explained that if an officer responding to a call “has to use force on a resisting suspect, he could lose his career, his life or his liberty.  A simple cost-benefit analysis recommends simply responding to calls for service and collecting a paycheck….All cops now understand this.”   When police are afraid to take the initiative arrests go down and crime goes up.  Last year police stops “plummeted in Philadelphia, Oakland, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and elsewhere.”   As a result of police department budget cuts demanded by Black Lives Matter, specialized police units targeting high crime neighborhoods and taking guns off the streets have been disbanded.

Those under the illusion that the crime and rioting would diminish after the new President’s inauguration may have been surprised to see continued Antifa attacks in Seattle, Portland and Denver in recent weeks.  The new year is on track to be even more violent than last year as reported shootings in Los Angeles are up 742%, homicides are up a whopping 500% in Oakland and 42% in New York.  “Mr. Biden’s presidency augurs no turnaround.  During the campaign, he claimed without justification that African-Americans rightly feared that their loved ones could be killed by a cop every time they stepped outside.  His criminal-justice blueprint promises to eliminate racial disparities in law enforcement  Given vast racial disparities in the commission of crimes, that can be done only by eliminating law enforcement itself.”