Patterico's Pontifications


No Surprise: the Ferguson Effect Appears to be on the Rise in American Cities

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:01 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Ferguson Effect is the idea that once civic unrest and riots begin in response to alleged police wrongdoing, police everywhere react by being less willing to patrol neighborhoods in which they are clearly unpopular and become less likely to respond to lower-level crimes in fear that they could escalate to something far more drastic. It was named for Ferguson, Missouri, site of the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014. The Obama Justice Department later exonerated the officer, though it did suggest that the department was “racially biased.” In the meantime, Ferguson and its neighboring city St. Louis, along with other metropolitan areas throughout the country, reacted with large protests which oftentimes turned violent, and as a result those communities saw an increase in crime and murder over the subsequent years as police reduced their footprint in those communities. Though there are plenty of left-leaning sociologists who argue that other factors better explain the increases in mayhem, some former skeptics of the Ferguson Effect have begun to acknowledge that there is at least some merit to its thesis.

The recent riots in response to the George Floyd murder (and that of Ahmaud Arbery too) suggest that we are once again seeing the sad effects of the Ferguson Effect when urban police and their bosses in city hall no longer wish to patrol the streets. Writing in City Journal, Heather Mac Donald had begun to piece together post-riot statistics that paint a grim picture:

In Minneapolis, shootings have more than doubled this year compared to last. Nearly half of all those shootings have occurred since George Floyd’s death, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune analysis. [. . .]

In Chicago, 18 people were killed and 47 wounded in drive- and walk-by shootings last weekend. [. . .] The previous weekend in Chicago, 104 people were shot, 15 fatally.

New York City’s homicide rate is at a five-year high; the number of shooting victims was up over 42 percent through June 21 compared with the same period in 2019. The number of shootings in the first three weeks of June was over twice that of the same period in 2019, making this June the city’s bloodiest in nearly a quarter century, according to the New York Times. [. . .]

Milwaukee’s homicides have increased 132 percent. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” a Milwaukee police inspector told the Police Executive Research Forum, referring to the violence and the low officer morale. Shootings are spiking in Indianapolis. Other cities will show similar increases once their crime data are published.

[. . .]

So far this year, more people have been killed in Baltimore than at this point in 2019, which ended with the highest homicide rate on record for that city. [. . .]

To be sure, not all of these increases can be directly attributable to the George Floyd riots. Homicides were already on the rise in cities such as New York and Baltimore, both of which have suffered from mayors and other local politicians who distrust police and pander to local anti-police activists. And of course Chicago has long been a mess, beset by a violent gang culture combined with a ridiculously corrupt city hall and a clannish police culture, so shootings there tend to wax and wane (though lately they have certainly waxed) based heavily upon local factors. Yet, as Ms. Mac Donald points out, police shootings are a pretty small part of the danger that black men face in urban environments:

While 307 people have been murdered this year in Chicago, the Chicago police have killed three suspects, all armed and dangerous. In 2018, the New York Police Department recorded its lowest number of fatal civilian shootings — five — since records were first kept in 1971. (Data from 2019 have not been published.) All five victims were threatening or appeared to be threatening officers with guns or knives.

She then goes on to detail the steps that police are taking to roll-back law enforcement presence in some of our most beleaguered neighborhoods, as well as report a rise in anti-police sentiment oftentimes leading to violence against law enforcement. This will no doubt presage significant quality-of-life issues in the days, weeks, and months to come. For instance, if you think the NYPD will respond to your calls about rowdy teens setting of firecrackers in your neighborhood or that Baltimore PD will come break up that loud house party across the street at 2:00 am, you are going to be in for a rude awakening. Ms. Mac Donald reaches a grim — but arguably realistic — conclusion:

These are no longer the warning signs of a possible breakdown of civilized life. That breakdown is upon us. If local and national leaders are unable to summon the will to defend our most basic institutions from false and inflammatory charges of racism, they have forfeited their right to govern. Unless new leaders come forth who understand their duty to maintain the rule of law, the country will not pull back from disaster.

Happy Independence Day Weekend.


A Few Thoughts On The Test Of Who We Really Are

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:48 pm

[guest post by Dana]

When we are young and full of vim and vigor, and ready to take on the world, we imagine how heroic we would be if faced with life or death situations. Or we imagine how we would voluntarily come along side those in need, even risking life and limb to do so because we are simply that noble in our own eyes. We imagine that we would sacrifice everything we have, everything we are, and everything we might become to answer the call for help. Nothing could stop us. But as we age, we realize more our limitations, and we can see the bigger picture and consequences, both short term and long term. We are so much better able to weigh out the potential cost of our risk-taking. And also as we age, we understand more fully and precisely exactly what we are made of. Often such honesty reflects a less noble picture than the one we were convinced of in our youth. We can more clearly see our strengths, certainly, but we can also see more clearly our fears, our frailties, and any number of shortcomings that have made themselves known over the years. Personally, I think of this in terms of faith. When I consider the price that Christ endured so that I might know Him, and have a measure of peace and hope in this life that can be so heartbreakingly sad, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. As a young believer, I read about a missionary group that would sneak Bibles and medicine into a third-world nightmare of a country where Christians were routinely killed (both locals and missionaries), and how the missionaries that were air-dropped in with their supplies, understood and acccepted that they would never be returning home. They knew that this would be the end of the line for them. There would be no return pick-up. It was a self-sacrificing mission that they believed was their calling. I have no such illusions about myself. I am fully aware of just how far from grace I have fallen, and how easily – and readily – I take my eye off the prize and indulge my not better angels. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Because of this unadorned understanding about who I am, and my refusal to shy away from it, I have patiently explained to God that it would be in both of our best interests that He never choose me to be a martyr for His name because we both know that I would betray and deny Him in a hot second, if it meant saving my own skin. St. Peter would have a run for his money in me… We are often not who we like to think we are, or who wish we were, or even who we have presented ourselves to be, but getting older allows us, not only the honesty to see ourselves as we truly are, but the understanding that ours is ultimately a simple task – humbly do the best we can do with where we’re at and who we are, while understanding that it’s God’s job to do the fine tuning.

So with that, I found this absolutely spot-on:

I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

Of course, this is nonsense. Only the tiniest fraction of them, or of any of us, would have spoken up against slavery or lifted a finger to free the slaves. Most of them—and us—would have gone along. Many would have supported the slave system and happily benefited from it.

So I respond by saying that I will credit their claims if they can show evidence of the following: that in leading their lives today they have stood up for the rights of unpopular victims of injustice whose very humanity is denied, and where they have done so knowing:

(1) that it would make them unpopular with their peers,
(2) that they would be loathed and ridiculed by powerful, influential individuals and institutions in our society;
(3) that they would be abandoned by many of their friends,
(4) that they would be called nasty names, and
(5) that they would risk being denied valuable professional opportunities as a result of their moral witness. In short, my challenge is to show where they have at risk to themselves and their futures stood up for a cause that is unpopular in elite sectors of our culture today.

It’s easy to run to the rescue when nothing you value is at stake. It’s a whole different ballgame when everything you value is at stake.


Jeffrey Epstein’s Partner In The Sexual Abuse Of Minor Victims, Arrested And Charged

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]]

Good news:

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former confidante of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested on Thursday morning almost a year after Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell. A sealed 18-page indictment outlines six charges against Maxwell related to her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple girls by Epstein in the mid 1990s. She helped Epstein to “recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims” and participated in a “conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts,” it says. She is also charged with perjury relating to alleged lies told in her deposition.

You can read the indictment here. It makes for very grim reading. It also indicates that Maxwell not only procured and groomed underage girls for Epstein’s use, but that Maxwell herself participated in sexually abusing some of the minor victims as well.

She is as hideous and reprobate as was Epstein. The staggering level of depravity boggles the mind.



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