Tag: Policing

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Steven Malanga and Rafael Mangual join Seth Barron to discuss concerns that lawlessness is returning to American cities, a theme that Malanga and Mangual explore in separate feature stories in the Summer 2019 Issue of City Journal. Memories of the urban chaos and disorder of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s have faded, and many local leaders today have forgotten the lessons […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Protestors Block SF Pride Parade

 

When I saw the headline I did a double-take. Who, in San Francisco of all cities, could possibly object to the annual “Pride” Parade? Had the Westboro Baptists come to town? Was some alt-right hate group trying to make a name for itself? Perhaps an offshoot of Super Happy Fun America had taken to the streets to demand a West Coast Straight Pride Parade?

But no, it was leftists. It’s always leftists.

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Steven Malanga joins Seth Barron to discuss the dismal economic and fiscal health of New Jersey, where individual and corporate taxes are among the highest in the country and business confidence ranks among the lowest of the 50 states. Jersey also has one of America’s worst-funded government-worker pension systems, which led its leaders in 2017 to divert state-lottery proceeds intended […]

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Recently I listened to the Remnant podcast hosted by Jonah Goldberg with Charles C. W. Cooke as the guest. They discussed several very interesting issues, including Brexit and the debates within the conservative community regarding support for Donald Trump. But they also discussed whether drugs should be legalized. Jonah Goldberg is very skeptical of the […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Randomness: On David French’s Quest to De-Risk Crime

 

As a fellow Iraq war vet, I deeply respect the service and perspective of National Review columnist David French. He volunteered out of a sense of obligation to serve in a war he had endorsed. The man put his rear end where his mouth had put others. That he was “inside the wire” as a legal advisor should be beside the point. He risked much more than any pundit. Oh, but that he would do the same with his punditry on policing. On this Mr. French is consistently, dangerously wrong.

I have spent much of three decades observing, reporting on, and training in police work. That study is further informed by my tours as an infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the lessons I’ve learned are clear: Mr. French’s ideas will get good people killed by shifting the risk of criminality off of the lawless. Sadly, his effort to de-risk criminality hit a nadir with his column on the death of Stephon Clark.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Radley Balko Finds a Good Cop. And He’s A, Well…

 

The folks among Black Lives Matter, radical Libertarians and “police reform activists” would have you that they don’t really want any harm to come to police officers. They simply want to prevent harm to people the police are dealing with.

They want you to believe they reject the idea that “The only good cop is dead cop.” But, the strange thing is they never quite seem to be able to say what a “good cop” is when it comes to actually dealing with dangerous people.

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Nicole Gelinas joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss how New York City saved its subway system after decades of decay and rampant crime from the 1960s to the early-1990s. This episode originally aired on October 20, 2016. More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Four Hours,” A Sermon

 

I have a question about the story we heard from Matthew 28 this morning. Why did the Chief Priests and elders bribe the soldiers to tell a lie? I mean, this may sound like I’m stating the obvious … but lying is wrong.

It wasn’t even a very good lie. Even a casual reading of the story brings a lot of questions to mind: Like: if the soldiers were asleep, how did they know that it was the disciples who had stolen the body? How could the disciples, or anyone else, roll a heavy stone away from the opening to the tomb without waking everyone up? And why would they do this, given that stealing a body was considered a downright sacrilegious offense and punishable by death in those days? Not to mention the punishment that awaited soldiers who conked out while on duty?

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I want to give a shout-out to Fred Cole and Jon Gabriel for including the death of Philando Castile in the Daily Shot. While the Facebook video begins after the shooting, and the public has no evidence right now of exactly what transpired in the seconds leading up to the shots being fired, the alleged […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Good News: Cops Are Winning The War on Cops

 

shutterstock_134091965Heuristics are convenient mental rules-of-thumb we all use, often unconsciously, to evaluate information about the world around us. While incredibly useful in many circumstances, they can often lead us astray, especially in dealing with big numbers or concepts outside of our daily lives. One of the most prevalent is the Availability Heuristic, essentially defined as assuming that something that is easily remembered is important. The reason it often fails is that it gets the causality backward: it assumes that something is important because we can remember it, rather than vice versa.

It appears the Availability Heuristic is force when it comes to the War on Cops narrative that’s emerged in the last few months, as every officer tragically gunned down is thought to demonstrate an increasingly dangerous trend. But as Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post, 2015 appears to be on-target to be one of the safest years ever for American police officers. More specifically, only 35 officers are expected to be murdered this year, just slightly up from 2013’s record low of 31. For comparison’s sake, roughly twice as many officers a year were gunned down as recently as 2000, about 100 a year were murdered during the late 1960s, and as many as 200 a were killed year during prohibition. Every one of their deaths deserves nothing but the roundest condemnation but this is, truly, wonderful news.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Ted Rall Affair, Revisited

 

In an idle moment on Tuesday, I was perusing various Twitter feeds when I came across Ted Rall’s. Recall that I had discussed Rall and his squabble with the Los Angeles Times in a previous post here on Ricochet, and in a longer one at PJ Media, which has led to Rall being stricken from the paper’s roster of freelancers. Since being shown the exit, Rall has undertaken a spirited defense, accusing the LAPD of lying, fabricating evidence, and all manner of underhanded behavior in the effort to besmirch his character and deny him his livelihood. Moreover, he;s accuses the L.A. Times of unethical behavior in acquiescing to what he perceives was the LAPD’s inistence that he be sacked.

Rall’s Twitter feed is full of such talk, but my attention was drawn to this tweet, where he wrote, “Far right blog that despises me agrees @LATimes firing was wrong!” Well, that certainly piqued my interest. “Which far-right blog could that be?” I wondered. So imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link and was taken to yet another piece I wrote on the subject for PJ Media, the one where I devoted more than 1,600 words to showing that Rall had lied about the circumstances of a 2001 traffic stop, and that his defense to the charge does not hold up to scrutiny.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Happy Anachronism

 

Vintage Pocketwatch

It is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men again dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth. — Whittaker Chambers

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Prison Reform: A Non-Partisan Issue

 

mentally-ill-man-starved-to-death-in-washington-prisonI got an up close and unsettling look into the need for prison reform when a tragedy and a scandal rocked the little community in which I live. Keaton Farris, a young, mentally troubled man, died of dehydration in solitary confinement in our local county jail. His mental issues were not a surprise. When he was arrested, he clearly informed the officers he was off his medication. During the course of his incarceration, he mentioned he needed medical help.

The official investigation report reads as an increasingly tragic account wherein procedures in place for officer and inmate safety devolved into a formula for death when coupled with negligence and neglect. The peripheral officers in this tragedy seemed to have too much trust in the competence and compassion of their negligent peers.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. First Baltimore, Now Los Angeles?

 

shutterstock_140272873Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is as obtuse as ever. Addressing the sharp decline in arrest numbers from the Baltimore Police Department, Rawlings-Blake told a reporter for the Baltimore Sun she expects the officers to step it up. “We know there are some officers who we have some concerns about,” she said. “I’ve been very clear with the FOP that their officers, as long as they plan to cash their paycheck, my expectation is that they work.”

And the officers’ expectation is that if they perform their duties within the law, they won’t be arrested and charged with crimes so as to appease a riotous mob. Or at least this was their expectation. Now, since the arrest and indictment of the six officers implicated in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore cops live with fear that they could be next and are conducting themselves accordingly.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Toward a De-policed America

 

shutterstock_90734326I was asked by the folks over at National Review Online to submit my thoughts on the recent event in McKinney, Texas, in which a police officer was shown on video responding (poorly, in my opinion) to a teen pool party that had become unruly. You can read my piece over at The Corner, but I’ll summarize it here by saying it appeared to me that the officer lost his composure even as his fellow officers maintained theirs, a judgment in which the town’s police chief concurred.

The officer in question, Eric Casebolt, resigned today, and though I’m critical of his actions I’m not without sympathy for him nor do I believe he should have been hounded from his job. That a 10-year career should be lost over a momentary lapse in which no one was injured is an injustice. Casebolt is the latest victim of the mob, joining Darren Wilson, of Ferguson, Missouri, and, more recently, the Baltimore 6. Wilson was ultimately cleared by every investigative body that examined the case, but he still had to leave his job and live in hiding. The crucible only just begun by the Baltimore 6 will be even more grueling, but I’m confident that none of them will be convicted of a single charge, and that they will prevail in a civil case against State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and everyone else who lent a hand to this travesty.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Small Town SWAT

 

policetanksI was on my way to church a few weeks ago when I noticed that several roads in my town had been blocked off. Turns out there was a 5K race to raise money for something called SRT. I had no idea what that was, but the logo — a gladiator helmet in front of crossed swords — looked pretty cool. When I looked it up, I discovered it stood for the police Special Response Team.

The SRT isn’t so much a team as some officers who volunteered to take extra training, sort of like a SWAT without snipers. They do, however, have all of the helmets, body armor, and assault rifles needed to play soldier. Some of these guys were soldiers once, but they’re not now. Now they are police officers.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Where’s the GOP Law-and-Order Candidate?

 
Where's the GOP's law-and-order candidate?
Where’s the GOP law-and-order candidate?

Is there a GOP law-and-order candidate? Murders in Atlanta are up 32% since mid-May. Murders in Chicago are up 17%, and shootings 24%. In St. Louis, in the aftermath of Ferguson, shootings are up 39%, robberies 43%, and murders 25%. In Baltimore, scene of the worst urban riots in two generations, law and order is in extended meltdown, with 32 shootings over the Memorial Day weekend alone. As Heather Mac Donald’s disturbing column in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal makes clear:

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months. Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today. A handful of highly publicized deaths of unarmed black men, often following a resisted arrest—including Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., in July 2014, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and Freddie Gray in Baltimore last month—have led to riots, violent protests and attacks on the police. Murders of officers jumped 89% in 2014, to 51 from 27.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Tired Baltimore Narrative

 

BlackLivesWe know well from the media the tired Baltimore narrative: widespread prejudice and callous indifference, now and in the distant past, built the socio-economic bomb that racist police gratuitously set off, leading to regrettable — but in a sense also justifiable — “rebellions” and “uprisings” marked by cri de coeur looting and arson. “Riot” and “thug” are coded racist words, at least if not spoken by the mayor of Baltimore and the President of the United States. The narrative is usually punctuated by melodramatic warnings from elites of “more to come.” I suppose the subtext is that unless, in our era of $18 trillion in federal debt, more federal money is borrowed and redirected into Baltimore—or unless more resources are devoted to the often personal or careerist agendas of elite critics—then the violence of the underclass may well become endemic and perhaps hit the Upper West Side, Palo Alto or Chevy Chase (though perhaps not Utah, Montana or Texas).

What is startling about this now common story are its glaring self-contradictions. Most of the elite critics, from Marc Lamont Hill to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who blast American society for creating Baltimores never quite explain what it was about their own paths to their success—Intact family? Legitimacy? Mentors? Religion? No criminal record? Drug and handgun avoidance? Generous federal and state programs?—that separated them from the underclass in the street.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Back to “Normal” in Baltimore

 

MosbyBaltimoreI have a new column up today over at PJ Media in which I maintain that the “return to normal” in Baltimore is not necessarily a thing to be celebrated. As is often the case, no sooner had I sent the piece off to my editor than I thought of something I should have added. In the column, I make the prediction that when the case has run its course none of the six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray will stand convicted of even a single charge, and that they will prevail in a civil lawsuit against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Her case against the officers is feeble at best, but this does not mean the officers will have any easy time of things when they have their day in court. I have no doubt that in Baltimore there can be found any number of judges who, like Ms. Mosby, are more committed to the cause of “social justice” than to the impartial application of actual justice. Should the case come before one of these judges – and is there any doubt that Mosby will attempt to steer it that way? – the officers may find themselves in for a rough go. But, at some point along the way, the case will come before appellate judges at the state or federal level, men and women who, one must hope, will not abide Mosby’s campaign to use the courts as a vehicle for mob revenge.

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