As regular readers know, I’ve been following the Freddie Grey case since its inception.
Some aspects of the case, particularly the disposition of internal Baltimore PD discipline directed at the officers involved, remain unresolved. But there are other aspects of that case still affecting public policy, even outside Baltimore. Baltimore remains a laboratory of the irrational and debilitating nature of progressive thought and policy.
A short time ago, well-intentioned progressives hyped a sort of “Nobody Kill Anybody” weekend in Baltimore. As one might expect, high-minded rhetoric and good intentions are not of concern to the thuggish and murderous, so at least two people were killed during the murder free period and at least another just afterward, a handful of additional deaths in a city that has seen a stratospheric rise in the murder and general violent crime rates since Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby and the local and state political establishments decided to destroy their own law enforcement agencies.
One of the organizers claimed victory of a sort:
But a City Councilman had an entirely progressive perspective:
That [the Freddie Gray riots and aftermath] was a flashpoint,” Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott told Fox News. He said that crime rates rose in the city following the unrest.
Indeed they did. The political class of Baltimore destroyed the trust of the police, who, out of self-preservation, all but halted proactive police work and began doing only the bare minimum. This essentially removed active policing from the areas of Baltimore that most needed it, and freed the criminal class–primarily young black males–to do as they pleased. It was a major city manifestation of the Ferguson Effect, and it’s inevitable consequences were severe. But Scott knows what to do:
Recently, Scott called for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the murder surge.
He said that 80 percent of the 2017 homicides were committed with a handgun. Nearly half the victims had been arrested on a gun charge.
‘Unfortunately, these unacceptable facts are not surprising to anyone in Baltimore as the disease of gun violence has been an issue for decades,’ he said. ‘However, in Baltimore dealing with that gun violence has only been addressed through the lens of policing with a few exceptions.
Scott is obviously a one-each standard casting call leftist, and he speaks the language and intentions of the big city Democrat politician. There is no such thing as “gun violence.” Guns do not commit violence, people do. Were this not so, why does the Left not rail against “knife violence,” or “fist violence,” or a contemporary favorite “Antifa club/baseball bat violence?” Guns have no more agency than cars, and far more people die by means of motor vehicles every year than have ever died from gunshot wounds, yet we hear nothing of “motor vehicle violence.” Inanimate objects have no agency, no motivations, no intentions. They “do” nothing.
That 80% of Baltimore homicides were committed with a handgun, and about half the victims had been arrested on a gun charge is revealing, but not in the way Scott imagines, or is likely capable of understanding. Such weapons are not legally purchased, but obtained in robberies, burglaries and on the black market. Legally purchased guns are hard for the law-abiding to obtain and carry in Baltimore, but easy for criminals to acquire. They ignore concealed carry laws, thus they are sometimes arrested, but not unless the police act proactively, particularly by means of “stop and frisk,” an entirely lawful practice essentially banned in Baltimore, first by local politicians, and then by the Obama DOJ’s consent decree with the Baltimore PD’s political leaders. Thus was the “lens of policing” blinded.
In addition, prosecutions of criminals for gun violations have been lackadaisical at best. This is most likely due to the fact that virtually all such criminals are black, and that tends to derail the social justice narrative of social reasons for crime, such as white privilege, racism, and lack of state and federal money for a wide variety of progressive giveaways. Add courts reluctant to sentence the relatively few criminals prosecuted and convicted for gun offenses for the same progressive reasons, and it’s no wonder homicides and other violent crimes continue to increase in number.
Nor can “gun violence” be a disease. Disease, by denotation or connotation, is an affliction of a biological entity, man, animal or plant. Applying the term to politics dilutes it, which is purposeful. If Baltimore suffers from a disease, then 50 years of progressive corruption and abject failure–the last Republican mayor left office in 1967–cannot be the cause of its woes. A disease come from outside agency, it can even be mere chance–bad luck. It allows progressives to blame something other than themselves.
When the police were allowed to be proactive within the clearly defined law, they had substantial success in combatting crimes committed with guns. Criminals knew they were likely to be caught when carrying illegally, and they resorted to other means. But when the social justice narrative of systemic police violence against innocent, helpless black young men took hold, particularly after Freddie Gray’s self-caused accidental death, they were given free reign. Crime rates rose, particularly crimes committed with guns, and people like Scott were left with a classic Progressive problem: how to explain the failure of a half-century of progressive orthodoxy.
Rather than blaming the disease of leftist policy, Scott and the rest of Baltimore’s political class have reverted to a safe progressive narrative: gun violence, in reality, the crimes committed with guns they’ve prevented the police from combatting. They’ve made it all but impossible for the law-abiding to protect themselves with guns; more of that will help suppress crime?
Perhaps Scott and Baltimore will have better luck with whatever “lens” is next applied to the problem, but since there is no vaccination or treatment for their chosen disease, moving anywhere else would probably be the best option for remaining Baltimore citizens. The guns won’t mind. In fact, they’ll take no notice whatever, and the disease–progressivism and crimes committed with guns–will spread, unopposed.