There are two striking similarities between teaching high school English and being a police officer: many people lie to you, and you must deal with reality. I’m speaking of real reality, like the laws of physics, not jumping off tall buildings due to the recognition of gravity, there are only two genders, men and women are different, heterosexuality is normal, Islam isn’t a “religion of peace,” evil exists, not everyone wants peace, God–not man–is in charge, and if you like toilet paper and eating, you’ll hate socialism. That reality. Real reality. Really real reality.
For the English teacher, reality involves recognizing and dealing with human nature. For example, human nature dictates the classroom drift theory. If one has the kind of desks with a combined desktop/chair, those desks will inevitably and steadily move in the direction in which kids have to slide into the desks to sit down.
I arrange my desks in rows facing each other with an aisle down the middle. By the end of each day, I have to move all the desks back into place in opposite directions.
But this year I got all new desks. The problem is they are separate desk/chair combinations. I arrange them the same way. Can you guess, gentle readers, what human nature dictates? When the kids sit down, about half will pull the chair back, but before they rise from their chairs, they virtually always push the desks forward rather than sliding the chairs backward. It’s physically easier. So at the end of the day, I end up pushing all the desks and chairs backward to reestablish the center aisle between the desks.
In teaching, refusing to acknowledge human nature is generally not dangerous, but merely frustrating. In police work, it can be destructive, even deadly, as Fox News explains:
In a lighted garage on one of San Francisco’s busiest streets, a young man in baggy trousers and messy brown hair pulled down his pants. He had been hiding two pairs of stolen jeans with the tags still on them. He handed them to another man waiting nearby, took some money, pulled up his pants and headed back into another store on Market Street — home to the city’s high-end designers and big-chain retail shops.
The incident wasn’t a one-off. These brazen acts of petty theft and shoplifting are a dangerous and all-too-common consequence of Proposition 47, a referendum passed five years ago that critics say effectively gives shoplifters and addicts the green light to commit crimes as long as the merchandise they steal or the drugs they take are less than $950 in value. The decision to downgrade theft of property valued below the arbitrary figure from felony to misdemeanor, together with selective enforcement that focuses on more ‘serious’ crimes, has resulted in thieves knowing they can brazenly shoplift and merchants knowing the police will not respond to their complaints, say critics.
Golly. Who could have predicted that? Perhaps anyone that deals in reality, and particularly, police officers?
Proposition 47 is seen by critics as one of California’s biggest blunders. Supported by the state Democratic Party and championed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the referendum was passed by a wide margin in 2014. The idea behind it was to reduce certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors in order to free up resources for cops and prosecutors to focus on violent offenders.
Since Proposition 47 was passed, there has been an increase in theft across the state. Cities like San Francisco have seen organized crime rings turn shoplifting into a well-organized racket involving desperate thieves and unscrupulous black-market resellers.
Among the nation’s 20 largest cities, San Francisco now has the highest rate of property crime, which includes theft, shoplifting and vandalism.
Reality, like human nature, always asserts itself regardless of good intentions. However, in this case, and where criminals are involved in general, Democrats/Socialists/Communists virtually never have good intentions, though I’m sure many think themselves paragons of mercy and virtue. They spend a great deal of time virtue signaling about “root causes” of crime, and their theories tend to suggest that when anyone feels oppressed, or unappreciated, or is poor, or a minority, or a member of any other temporarily favored D/S/C victim group, they have no alternative but to resort to crime, this is, due to their hurt feelings, not only understandable, but excusable because racism and Trump. This being unquestionably true, society must adapt to them, in this case, by decriminalizing actual crime–this while criminalizing things like plastic grocery bags and plastic straws. They conveniently ignore the reality wherein most people having difficulties in life do not engage in crime. Were this not real reality, we would have devolved to an anarchic state of nature long ago.
The idea that decriminalizing misdemeanors so the police can concentrate only on felonies might sound noble and rational to those who create their own reality and expect others to live in it, but to people actually grounded in reality, it’s quite insane, and the California–particularly the San Francisco–experience proves it.
Criminals do not organize themselves into neat offense categories. They will tend to do whatever works, and whatever represents the least chance of being caught. During the days when I caught car burglars—people who stole things from cars—I ended up charging more misdemeanor crimes than felonies. Car burglary was a low level felony, but the burglars often caused felony levels of damage breaking in and wrenching stereos out of dashes, and felony destruction of property was a higher-level felony. They also inevitably committed many misdemeanor crimes. They would shoplift to get the tools they needed to burglarize the vehicles, trespass, break street and security lights, etc.
Crime tends not to be a neat progression, with criminals being scrupulously careful never to step over the felony line. Not all criminals that commit felonies begin with misdemeanors, but virtually all felons also commit many misdemeanors. In fact, many felons are caught in the process of committing misdemeanors. It’s not a matter of the police having a great deal more time if they can’t arrest people for misdemeanors.
Proposition 47 is virtually the definition of foreseeable unintended consequences. Throw people committing crimes to feed addictions into the mix, and there are no rules.
If anyone had bothered to ask experienced cops about the consequences of Proposition 47, they would have told them precisely what would happen—what has happened. But they’re grounded in reality, unlike California D/S/Cs and the ACLU. How bad, and predictable, is it?
Del Seymour, founder of the non-profit Code Tenderloin, told Fox News that fencers – often from Mexico and Guatemala – set up shop in the middle of the day and night around the city’s United Nations Plaza area. He said he’s also noticed that the stealers and dealers have gotten bolder by the day. The retail heists taking place, he said, aren’t some small-time operation but instead a sophisticated network of international dealers who cross the border to buy stolen goods. What’s worse is that a majority of the handoffs happen in view of San Francisco’s City Hall.
‘Of course it sends a message,’ Seymour said. ‘They’re doing it right here in the open.’
San Francisco’s homeless non-policy is also a driver of crime. Crooks routinely break into cars to steal any and everything they can. Damage to the vehicles, and rising insurance rates, far exceed the value of anything stolen. Shoplifting, however, is a state-wide problem for retailers.
In San Diego County, 7-Eleven franchise owner Jassi Dhillon told NBC 7 that he has to deal with shoplifters at all six of his store locations.
‘It’s happening every day, hour by hour,’ he said.
Dhillon said shoplifting isn’t a priority to law enforcement and said when cops do show up, the shoplifter has left the store or isn’t concerned about the citation they are issued.
‘It’s becoming a lifestyle for us now because we can’t do anything much except take the loss,’ he said.
Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, said shoplifting is not only hurting retailers but is also ‘becoming a public safety issue for consumers.’
She said black-market dealers frequently cross state lines because they know California will go easy on them if caught.
‘They know what they’re doing. They will bring in calculators and get all the way up to the $950 limit,’ Michelin told Fox News, adding that ‘one person will go into a store, fill up their backpack, come out, dump it out and go right back in and do it all over again.’
Michelin said she’s seen footage from member retailers that she described as ‘completely insane.’
‘They will go into a grocery store, steal alcohol and walk out the front door with it,’ she said. ‘They know no one is going to prosecute them. The district attorneys aren’t.’
This isn’t just a public safety issue either. Amounts like $949.99 are not inconsequential to businesses, particularly when they’re losing many times those amounts on a daily business. Small business people can’t raise prices enough to compensate for the loss rate, so they go out of business, and often, in high crime, minority areas, thus removing vital services from the very neighborhoods and peoples D/S/Cs claim to value so much. This is why shoplifting–a type of theft–has been and must be prosecuted whether the good stolen cost $w dollar or $1000 dollars. The effect is cumulative, and harms not only business people, but their employees, their customers, everyone.
A related problem is the nature of prosecutors. Unless an attorney intends to make a career of prosecution, most are newly minted lawyers right out of law school. Most tend to be politically leftist, and as such are subject to all the bizarre versions of reality that produce lunacy like Proposition 47. They know they’ll be going out into the larger population of law firms in the near future, and they need to be able to fit in. In short, they don’t want to be hard on criminals. In a place like The People’s Republic Of California, this tendency is even more pronounced, and deranged, than in most other places.
But one of the defining factors of D/S/Cs is their unshakable belief that none of their policies can possibly be wrong. What the reality community–normal Americans–sees as rampant crime and the destruction of society, they see as brilliant social justice successes. Even though this sort of thing may not be happening where we live, gentle readers, the destruction of the social fabric eventually affects us all. The “broken windows” reality is just that. When we not only allow, but encourage lower level crimes, the floodgates are inevitably opened to worse.
That’s human nature. That’s reality. Really real reality.