One of the progressives that has done incalculable damage to America during the Age of Obama is former Attorney General Eric “my people” Holder. Not every one of the Obamites can be directly connected to the deaths of Americans and others, though many can. Holder’s complicity in multiple murders can be traced, primarily, through Fast and Furious and his cover up–which is still ongoing–of the same.
As I’ve often written, one of the primary principles of progressivism is that it is non-falsifiable. No progressive policy and practice can ever be wrong. For most progressives, the very idea is unsettling, absurd, and provokes immediate, reflexive response, varying from superior smirking, mocking, accusations of racism or all manner of other “isms,” screaming rage, and even violent physical assault.
In a recent Hot Air article, Ed Morrissey informs us of Holder’s views on the Ferguson Effect:
Holder also discusses FBI Director James Comey’s remarks about the ‘Ferguson Effect,’ the perceived rise in crime facilitated by a retreat of law enforcement after the Michael Brown debacle in Ferguson, Missouri. ‘Jim Comey is a friend for whom I have the greatest respect,’ Holder says, calling his own role in Comey’s appointment ‘instrumental,’ but disagreed with Comey’s support for the Ferguson Effect theory. ‘He’s got it totally wrong,’ Holder said. ‘I don’t think there’s any statistical proof that shows that there is the ‘Ferguson Effect,’ that this focusing on police departments necessarily meant that police are reluctant to do their jobs.’ I’d bet a number of police officers would beg to differ.
There is one certain way to tell if Eric Holder has it “totally wrong”: his lips are moving.
Holder’s comments are nothing more than a reflexive response to what he obviously sees as an attack on his progressive ideology. Remember that Holder’s DOJ sent operatives to Ferguson to help keep the racial pot stirred. Imagine his rage when even his weaponized, progressively radicalized DOJ could not bring charges against Officer Darren Wilson. However, they made up for it by claiming the small Ferguson Police Department was, in essence, a throwback to the racist south of the 1950s. The DOJ’s efforts to utterly destroy that agency and to bankrupt Ferguson are ongoing. That will really help the poor, oppressed, black residents of Ferguson, won’t it?
People like Holder are all about statistics, because as Mark Twain said: “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Statistics can be used to prove whatever one wishes, and warping them is often unnecessary, particularly for progressive true believers. For example, if 80% of disciplinary infractions in a given high school are committed by black males, but black males make up only 27% of the student body, people like Holder actually take this as direct, unquestionable evidence of racism. “Statistical disparity,” he and others like him call it.
Of course, without understanding the truth–the facts and actions that produce the data points–this is a grotesque misuse of statistics for the purpose of supporting unwarranted and destructive progressive ideology. The most minimal research–or actual experience–demonstrates that young black males commit disciplinary infractions far out of proportion to their numbers in school populations. In fact, they commit crimes in numbers far out of proportion to their numbers in the population.
Progressive ideology holds that America’s police–all of them–are irredeemably racist and are killing young black men in huge numbers without consequences. Part of maintaining this fiction is angry denial of the Ferguson Effect. If there is a Ferguson Effect, if police officers, in response to persecution like that evident in Ferguson and Baltimore, substantially reduce their proactive policing efforts, and if crime rises–as it inevitably must–that exposes progressive ideology as the lie it is. In fact, it exposes the very poor black populations progressives claim to champion to unimaginable misery as it is black criminals who, virtually without exception, prey on them. Therefore, there can be no Ferguson Effect, and the unquestionably skyrocketing violent crime rates and dramatically fallen rates of police enforcement of all kinds cannot exist, or must be attributable to other causes, such as racism, global warming and a lack of diversity.
One of America’s national treasures is Heather Mac Donald, whose careful and valid analysis of this, and many other social issues, always sparks progressive outrage. Progressives reflexively attack her, but they cannot assail her methods. In a recent City Journal article, Mac Donald wrote:
The campaign to deny the murder and shooting spike in many American cities continues apace. The latest effort is a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, which the press has hailed ecstatically as a refutation of what I and others have dubbed the ‘Ferguson effect’—the phenomenon of officers backing off of proactive policing and thereby emboldening criminals. In fact, the report confirms the Ferguson effect, while also showing how clueless the media are about crime and policing.
The Brennan Center researchers gathered homicide data from 25 of the nation’s 30 largest cities for the period January 1, 2015, to October 1, 2015. (Not included were San Francisco, Indianapolis, Columbus, El Paso, and Nashville.) The researchers then tried to estimate what 2015’s full-year homicide numbers for those 25 cities would be, based on the extent to which homicides were up from January to October 2015, compared with the similar period in 2014.
The resulting projected increase for homicides in 2015 in those 25 cities is 11 percent. (By point of comparison, the FiveThirtyEight data blog looked at the 60 largest cities and found a 16 percent increase in homicides by September 2015. On Monday, the Brennan Center revised its own estimate of the 2015 murder increase to 14.6 percent.) An 11 percent one-year increase in any crime category is massive; an equivalent decrease in homicides would be greeted with high-fives by politicians and police chiefs. Yet the media have tried to repackage that 11 percent increase as trivial. They employ several strategies for doing so, the most important of which is simply not disclosing the actual figure. An Atlantic article titled ‘Debunking the Ferguson Effect’ reports: ‘Based on their data, the Brennan Center projects that homicides will rise slightly overall from 2014 to 2015.” A reader could be forgiven for thinking that that ‘slight’ rise in homicides is of the order of, say, 2 to 3 percent. Nothing in the Atlantic write-up disabuses the reader of that error. Vox, declaring the crime increase ‘bunk,’ is similarly discreet about the actual homicide jump, leaving it to the reader’s imagination. Crime & Justice News, published by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, coyly admits that ‘murder is up moderately in some places’ without disclosing what that ‘moderate’ increase may be.
Mac Donald is correct. Anything beyond a 3% change is considered significant, +-3% normally being considered to be within the statistical margin of error. An 11% jump in any major crime category, particularly across the nation, is dramatic and alarming, to say the least. It is no fluke or statistical aberration.
Statistics are not the only indicator. Baltimore, ground zero of the Ferguson Effect these days, is an unmistakable indicator of its validity. Ironically, to whatever degree the Ferguson Effect is moderating in Baltimore, that’s only because the BPD is bleeding police officers like an open artery. While the media are ignoring the effects, Baltimore officers are fleeing from the Baltimore PD in droves. More resign every day, and even ABC News admits the problem:
With the number of applicants down more than 90 percent in some cities, police departments may soon be posting more signs that say ‘Help Wanted’ instead of ‘Most Wanted.’
From the nation’s largest police force in New York City to tiny departments with only five officers, far fewer people are looking to join the force than in years past, and departments of all sizes are being forced to rethink how they fill their ranks.
The ABC article is careful not to mention the Ferguson Effect. These recruiting difficulties are, to them, and other progressives, mysterious. However, the article notes that of 500 eligible Baltimore PD officers, 400 took early retirement: ”far more than officials had expected.” Gee. Who coulda thunk it? The article also has this:
In Springfield, Miss., only 75 people applied for the police academy this month. But four years ago, they had 300, reports Elaine Deck, a researcher who has been studying the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Again, while that statistic is striking, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Of that 75, perhaps only 25% were even marginally qualified to be police officers. For each hiring cycle, the police compile an eligibility list, and then do their best to hire only the top few percent of that list. No rational police executive wants to hire from the marginally qualified bottom of an eligibility list.
One of the other great disasters that is progressivism is its practice of ignoring and denying human nature. Human nature must be ignored because it is not amenable to progressive ideology, which always seeks to make the new progressive man, to improve and perfect man and society despite the impossibility and futility of such tasks.
Even in cities and police agencies that are not under progressive, Black Lives Matter attack, the Ferguson Effect is operative every day. Policing is an inherently political occupation. As servants of the public, officers must always be sensitive to such things. They learn where they should and should not proactively enforce the law, and perform accordingly. Officers that are deemed too proactive–this does not mean they in any way violate the law or policy–are commonly pressured by their superiors, even their fellow officers, and moderate their behavior accordingly to avoid internal discipline and peer pressure.
Understanding this much about human nature and police psychology, realize that officers understand that not only will correct, proactive policing cause them internal disciplinary troubles, but it can get them arrested and prosecuted. It takes a genuine progressive to think those officers will blithely carry on as before, blind to losing their careers, even their lives.
What they will do, what officers across the nation are doing to varying degrees, is analyzing every action by the blowing of the prevailing local political winds. Few officers anywhere in the nation will aggressively pursue black criminals. They fear having to shoot one of them, rightly believing that if they do, it won’t matter whether they were completely right. The DOJ, the media, every BLM lunatic and race hustler in the nation will descend upon their city like a swarm of locust, and their name and face will be plastered on every paper and digital front page across the nation. Even if exonerated, they understand their police careers will be over. No one will hire them, and their continued presence among other officers, anywhere, will only endanger all of their lives.
Under the current political climate, a climate that will not be rapidly altered by putting anyone whose name is followed by an “R” in the White House, rational police officers, individually and as a whole, will tend to do only the minimum. Their job puts their lives at risk every day, but they draw the line at putting their careers and families at risk. The police are far more responsive to the desires of the public than many imagine. We tend to get precisely the policing we demand–and deserve.
Criminals, opportunists all, have already recognized this, and are taking full advantage. Even though he is no longer Attorney General, Eric Holder continues to represent his “people.” Unfortunately for America, his people are now unmistakably revealed to be young, black male predators.