Imprimis Critique: The Other Ferguson Effect

Heather MacDonald has written a decent if partisan piece for this month’s Imprimis, with 3.4 million recipients of the monthly essay. Her thesis is a defense of the police and the FBI against the Obama administration and the Attorney General, as well as a criticism of the limitations of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. She identified an increase in violent crime in May of 2015, and christened this the “Ferguson Effect:” “When officers back off in high crime neighborhoods, crime shoots through the roof.” Police are afraid to use force in fighting genuine crime because they fear the lawsuits and loss of their jobs, not to mention the prosecution that might follow if their efforts are misperceived. There is indeed a new oversight and accountability of the police, soon to reach all the way up to the FBI, and it is this I will call the “Other Ferguson effect.”

Prior to Baltimore, really, when anti-police protests became violent over the apparent murder of Freddie Gray, police were simply not being held accountable for shooting people unjustly, and for many other crimes. After Baltimore, we suddenly noticed: Hey, when police shoot a guy in Canada, there is an independent prosecutor, but here, the police and the prosecutors are buddies, so that the police are simply not accountable to the rule of law. And the FBI keeps itself, by force, insulated from all questions and criticism. I have spoke in a previous blog of how the “Bill of Rights Matters,” and attribute these unjust police killings to a breakdown of the principles of liberty. If you want to see police shoot a white guy, just google “police shootings.” Four times, I watched them murder a homeless white guy from a distance for being too mad to understand or just too slow to respond to an order drop a knife. One, of a vet whittling in a wheelchair, looked like a hit, the guy being shot less than a second after the cop said “Drop the knife, pop pop.” The police are a nervous wreck in part because Americans are promiscuously armed and now carrying concealed weapons. In Eaton County, right here in our 7th House district in Michigan, I watched in horror as a cop entrapped and then shot to death a basically innocent if impolite 17 year old boy who went to pick his brother up from a church basketball game. Until Baltimore, and really until the Black Lives Matter movement, nothing was done, and no charges were brought in the Eaton County case or any of the shootings of homeless men from a distance. The various mobs could simply use corrupted police to shoot just about anyone, and the police could claim they thought the guy was armed. The crime spike that is the result of the oxy-heroin scam was free to enlist the officers of the law, such as those seen near Jackson, Michigan, obviously robbing a petty but legal pot dealer. The police could simply carry out surveillance and a contract if the guy mouthed off too much about their strange judicial decisions and property seizures, which they were beginning to conduct from a state provided list of medicinal growers. The oxy-heroin scam folks could use the corrupted cops to shut people up if they noticed, too, how the judges were being paid to send people to rehab farms, while rehabilitation centers are so mobbed up that are sure to be too expensive and just not quite work, while generating tremendous revenue for the same mobs, who have figured out how to work both, or all three, ends of a scam. And Congress cannot seem to enact any measures that do not immediately result in legitimate pain sufferers screaming in the press for their oxy. The retaliation for the drug kingpin property seizures law seems to have been a scam that pays the police and municipalities for petty property seizures against the lawyerless poor, and takes a cut, so that the police, the cities and the mob split up the car of some poor guy at a legal chop shop. Until Baltimore, there was no hope of any oversight or accountability at all. The Ferguson effect is because the Blacks are the only ones protesting the immediate effect of the suspension of the Bill of Rights in popular opinion. The failure of oversight, in the spirit of Federalist 51, has left America reeling headlong toward tyranny.

Mac Donald there is right about the excess of the movement, but of course must state this in partisan universalizations. For example, it is simply not true that the BLM movement “holds that racist police are the greatest threat facing young black men today.” I seriously doubt anyone ever said that, but if they did, it might justify her partisan approach. Nor are the criticisms of police by President Obama properly characterized as “race based calumnies,” as though there were no problem at all in America regarding the police. But that is how partisan, animus-influenced arguments proceed. They make the opponent say something they did not quite say, but if they did say it might justify an emotion-laden and partial position and argument. Her best point may be this:

On March 11, 2015, as protesters were once again converging on the Ferguson police headquarters demanding the resignation of the entire department, a six year old boy named Marcus Johnson was killed a few miles away in a St. Louis park, the victim of a drive by shooting. No one protested his killing. Al Sharpton did not demand a federal investigation. Few people outside his immediate community know his name.

In argument, we state things in universalizations or categories that do not quite fit, and then try to get the listener to reason from the overstatements as though these were logical principles for deduction. So Freddie Gray is a “drug dealer,” (yeah, probably like the guy whose dead for selling single cigarettes) instead of a citizen with rights, including the right not to have his neck broken by cops who have no constitutional power to punish nor to carelessly imprison anyone, even an assaulter or murderer, or even a murdering cop.

We are very uncomfortable as a nation publicly addressing the huge disparity between black criminality and that of other races in America, in part because it is not politically correct and in part because we do not wish to inflame white racism. But we all know that young black men are the greatest threat facing young black men today, and that black neighborhoods are more subject to crime, and therefore more subject to policing. But this is not the sort of thing that can be addressed by public protests, at least in the same way. It is not a flaw of government to be corrected by the petitioning of a free people for oversight, accountability and meaningful recourse when the powers of government are abused. We have to deal with these things ourselves somehow, and in private, or in each family. Publicly, by peaceable assembly, we might do better to go back in time and protest the enslavement of this race for generations, the breaking up of slave families and traditions, the forbidding of the teaching of slaves to read, the cruelty of the whites in both the South and North, the depositing of the blacks, because they are poor and because of segregation in housing, with the immigrants into the rotting core of each American inner city. While we are there, back in time, we might also protest the numerically fewer but gravely more significant effect of organized crime, allowed to run rampant for example in New York, while cops and judges roughed up petty criminals, like the fellow killed by police because he was selling cigarettes on the street, and just had to be taken down. The petty crimes are statistically more significant, unless one holds the idea criminals, the scam originators, accountable for things such as the crack epidemic in the last crime spike or the heroin epidemic that, aside from any “Ferguson effect,” is the cause of the present crime spike. These scams would not be possible without corruption at very high levels within the executive agencies, while essays like Mac Donald’s deflect criticism with patriotic flag waving for a readership of 3.4 million, and blacklisting or the failure of internet integrity stifle any opinion not sanctioned by the FBI, WordPress and the Koch brothers.

P.S.: A suggestion for Mr. Jeffries, editor: If you hit “justify,” an option along with align right, left or center, the Imprimis will be printed squarely, saving space, and I like the appearance, as it makes stuff look published. Just a hint, from a fellow student from a long time ago, who cannot spell!

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