Question: What do you call smart Californians?
The bankrupt city of San Bernardino, CA voted last week to slash its fiscal-year budget by $26 million, to close up a $52.4 million shortfall. No, $26 million isn’t enough, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But the $26 million will have a significant impact on the operating budget for police and fire, and that’s got folks in a tizzy…
Although its crime numbers have declined overall since 2005 (leveling out in 2011 and 2012), San Bernardino remains among the most dangerous cities of its size in the country, posting about twice as many crime incidents as the national average. Violent crime in San Bernardino is especially high, twice that of California as a whole. San Bernardino’s 260 officers compare favorably to the 214 on the Gilbert, AZ police force, a city in the same size category (200,000-215,000). But Gilbert’s crime numbers are lower – much lower. Cities with crime rates similar to San Bernardino’s, like Spokane, WA, Birmingham, AL, Richmond, VA, and Rochester, NY, have much larger police forces, running to sworn-officer rosters between 700 and 800.
So the San Bernardino city attorney advised citizens at a community meeting in November to ‘Go home, lock your doors, and load your guns.”’ In response to the media furor over this suggestion, James Penman had this to say:
In an interview Thursday, Penman said that he stands behind that advice, and he’s gotten nothing but positive responses from residents since then. He said the only criticism he’s received has been from the media…
‘I can understand how people who don’t live or work in the City of San Bernardino and don’t hear the sirens every night, the gun shots, the helicopters overhead, as many San Bernardino residents do, might not understand the significance when you have people being killed in their homes,’ he said.
Penman said he is only repeating what police officers have told him: that the city can provide only basic law enforcement services due to recent cuts.
‘We need to stop giving people false hope,’ Penman said. ‘We have to start encouraging people to protect themselves. The situation is that bad in San Bernardino.
And San Bernardino, gentle readers, isn’t alone. This statement by a public official is remarkable because they are loath to admit they cannot protect the public. Such statements utterly destroy the basis for Progressive claims of a huge, all-powerful, all-caring government. But if they are well informed and honest (a rare combination among the political class), they know the government not only has no legal obligation to protect individual citizens (as I noted in the first article of my Gun Ownership: A Rationale series and my PJ Media article on the same topic), it cannot be successfully sued for failing to provide such protection.
Remember too that California has among the most draconian gun laws in the nation, making it much more than normally difficult for honest citizens to buy and keep firearms. Even so, since before Barack Obama’s first election, firearms sales have gone through the roof, with no cessation in sight, as I noted in a recent Gun Values Board article.
One might think that considering California’s desperate financial straits, Californians would actually take steps to correct their financial slide into the Pacific. As John Belushi used to say: “But Nooooooooooooo!” A toxic mix of a government completely controlled by Progressives, out of control illegal immigration, insane progressive laws, policies and regulations that control all but every breath Californians take, a complete inability to recognize and act upon reality, and the expectation that when the state finally, irredeemably, turns belly up, President Obama will bail it out, have combined to cause a mass rush to nearby states and Texas.
California may be the worst example of Progressive financial insanity, but it’s far from the only example. This descent to a state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short, coming to a state and city near you—and sooner than many imagine.