Oh-So-Predictable USA Today: Murder Rates Up, Poor and Minorities Hardest Hit, Guns to Blame

July 12th, 2015 11:07 PM

Aamer Madhani at USA Today took the easy way out on Friday in covering the sharp increase in murders in many U.S. cities during the first half of this year.

He quoted Milwaukee's police chief bemoaning "absurdly weak" gun laws. He noted that "the increased violence is disproportionately impacting poor and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods." He found a university prof to allege that there's a lack of resources to "fund a proactive law enforcement." What rubbish. The fact is that the "broken windows" approach to law enforcement, the "proactive law enforcement" initiative pioneered in New York City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s which made New York one of the safest cities in America, is being systematically discredited by the left and abandoned by many police departments, with all too predictable results.

I thought there might be some hope for Madhani's writeup when I came to a section entitled "Baltimore and Ferguson effect." But alas, he failed to make the obvious point that events in those cities — the months of near-chaos in Ferguson which led by largely outside agitators and the derelictions of duty by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake which allowed Baltimore's riots to occur and then worsen — have encouraged increased criminal aggression in both areas, and likely elsewhere.

Readers will also note the absurd contention, in effect, that the lower but still unacceptable levels of murder and violent crime seen during the first several years of this decade have been the best that people can reasonably hope to see, and that it's unrealistic to expect them not to increase again.

Here are key paragraphs from Madhani's writeup (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):

Several big U.S. cities see homicide rates surge

After years of declining violent crime, several major American cities experienced a dramatic surge in homicides during the first half of this year.

Milwaukee, which last year had one of its lowest annual homicide totals in city history, recorded 84 murders so far this year, more than double the 41 it tallied at the same point last year.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said the mounting homicide toll in his city of 600,000 is driven by Wisconsin's "absurdly weak" gun laws – carrying a concealed weapon without a state-issued concealed carry is a misdemeanor in the Badger State [1] – as well a subculture within the city that affirms the use of deadly violence to achieve status [2] and growing distrust of police in some parts of the city. [3]

... The number of murders in 2015 jumped by 33% or more in Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, the homicide toll climbed 19% and the number of shooting incidents increased by 21% during the first half of the year.

In all the cities, the increased violence is disproportionately impacting poor and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods. [4] In parts of Milwaukee, the sound of gunfire is so commonplace that about 80% of gunshots detected by ShotSpotter sensors aren't even called into police by residents, Flynn said.

... Criminologists note that the surge in murders in many big American cities came after years of declines in violent crime in major metros throughout the United States. Big cities saw homicides peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s as crack-cocaine wreaked havoc on many urban areas.

... other experts say the surge in killings suggests that the United States may be nearing a floor in reducing its murder rate as the federal, state and local governments increasingly grapple with tighter budgets.

... Baltimore and Ferguson effect

So far this year, Baltimore recorded 155 homicides, including three people who were killed late Tuesday evening near the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. The 2015 homicide toll is 50 people higher than it was at the same point last year.

On Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, citing the spike in murders in the city. [5]

... The increased violence this year in St. Louis follows the city recording a more than 30% increase in murders in 2014, when police in the city saw a steep rise in violence following the shooting death last August of Michael Brown, a black teenager, in nearby Ferguson by a white police officer. [6]


[1] — A legal resource site I visited indicates that "It is illegal to carry a concealed handgun in Wisconsin without a concealed carry license (unless you are in your own home, on your own property, or at your fixed place of business). Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to nine months in jail, or both." That seems like a pretty significant deterrent. I'll bet the real problem is that the law, especially the imprisonment part, isn't being enforced on first-time offenders.

[2] — Hmm. A "subculture within the city that affirms the use of deadly violence to achieve status." The chief wouldn't possibly be talking about "violent rap culture," would he? Leaders' general failure to speak out against the hatred, racism, violence and misogyny in all too much rap music has allowed its influence to spread — and here we are.

[3] — Now why would there be "growing distrust of police"? Could it possibly be that certain of our national leaders, e.g., former attorney general Eric Holder, who called America "a nation of cowards" on race, and President Barack Obama, who has instinctively taken the anti-police position in several instances during his 6-1/2 years in office, are feeding that distrust?

[4] — As usual, the very people the left claims to want to help are the ones hurt most by increases in violent crime.

[5] — Virtually singlehandedly, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake created the conditions in Baltimore which have led to that city's spike in violent crime.

In a statement on Sunday, April 26, Rawlings-Blake admitted that she consciously allowed rioting to occur the previous evening instead of clamping down when she had the chance:


... and I've made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech.

It's a very delicate balancing act, because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other, y'know, things that were going on, um, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we, uh, work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate, and that's what you saw.

Several law enforcement officials have also indicated that Rawlings-Blake, in the broadcast words of Wicomico County (Md.) Sheriff Michael Lewis, "gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out" the following Monday night.

Naturally, many criminals now believe that it's open season in the "Charm City," with predictable results. That's not the fault of the police chief Rawlings-Blake just fired. The increases in murder and violence are largely on her, and the press's insistence on covering for her doesn't change that underlying truth.

[6] — Of course, Madhani didn't identify what really happened in the Michael Brown incident. A grand jury concluded that Police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown in self-defense, and the U.S. Department of Justice, which desperately wanted to conclude otherwise, agreed. Violence has risen in Metro St. Louis because, at crunch time, police in Ferguson and other officials in Missouri up to and including the state's governor failed to maintain order and sat by as stores were burned and looted.

The rise in murder and violent crime in so many cities this year is no accident. It's the result of politicians from President Obama on down giving criminals the largely correct impression that their chances of getting away with their crimes or only suffering light punishments if they are caught have both increased. It wouldn't have been that tough for USA Today's Madhani to find someone to make those points. But he didn't. One must conclude that it's because such statements would disrupt his preferred narrative.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.