Douglas Andrews / Jan. 26, 2021

The Most Violent Year Ever

The carnage was sadly predictable in a year marked by nonstop demonization of law enforcement.

From the Left’s perspective, the most useful feature of the January 6 Capitol riot is the pretense it provided for cracking down on the Right. Cheered on by Democrats and their mainstream media wingmen, the Big Tech speech suppressors could do so under the guise of fighting “domestic terrorism.” And for oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, what better excuse for silencing those with whom they disagree politically?

A less consequential but no less convenient byproduct of the riot, though, is the distraction it’s provided from any discussion about the appalling violence of the year just past and the Left’s undeniable role in it.

Just how bad was it? “The year 2020 likely saw the largest percentage increase in homicides in American history,” writes Heather Mac Donald in The Wall Street Journal. “Murder was up nearly 37% in a sample of 57 large and medium-size cities. Based on preliminary estimates, at least 2,000 more Americans, most of them black, were killed in 2020 than in 2019. Mainstream media and many politicians claim the pandemic caused this bloodbath, but the chronology doesn’t support that assertion. And now the criminal-justice policies supported by President [Joe] Biden promise to exacerbate the current crime wave, while ignoring its actual causes.”

The theory put forth by leftists — that the pandemic made ‘em do it — is as rooted in outright idiocy as it is in denial of the data. They point to the social and economic stresses brought about by lockdowns and mask mandates and shuttered businesses and social distancing. But this doesn’t account for the specific spike in violence that began in the last days of May and carried on into early June in big cities across the country. It’s a spike that provides a perfect overlay to the death while in police custody of a career criminal named George Floyd, followed by a nationwide orgy of burning, looting, and unchecked mayhem.

As we noted back in early July, the cops were immediately demonized as systemically racist. To a (white) man, they were guilty of having put their collective knee on George Floyd’s neck. As Mac Donald put it at the time, “Today’s violent-crime increase — call it Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect — has come on with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned — but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history.”

So the Left smears law enforcement as systemically racist, and the cops naturally stand down, and the violent thugs naturally step up. And the people disproportionately victimized by all this violence? Poor urban blacks.

As Mac Donald now writes, “The calculus for engagement has changed. An Oakland, Calif., officer who has arrested dozens of known murderers and gang members over his career tells me he is scared for the first time, 'not because the criminals are necessarily more violent, even though they are.’ But if he has to use force on a resisting suspect, he could lose his career, his life, or his liberty, he says. A ‘simple cost-benefit analysis’ recommends simply responding to calls for service and collecting a paycheck. ‘All cops now understand this.’”

There’s no hope on the horizon, either — at least not for inner-city blacks. The violence of 2020 has rolled seamlessly into 2021 and, as Mac Donald notes, “The Biden Justice Department will treat disparate stop or arrest rates as evidence of police bias and seek to put as many police departments as possible under costly consent decrees [i.e., court-ordered reform plans].”

If black lives really mattered to the Black Lives Matter movement, its leaders and adherents would dispense with the lies about racist cops, acknowledge the awful toll of black-on-black crime, and work to help improve policing in minority communities rather than eliminating it.

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