Why Crime Is Scarier Now

A bad man met a bad end at Boris Johnson. He was superficial, frivolous, dishonest even for a politician, almost purely cynical, believing only in himself. This gave the things he did right a shadow of the merely performative. He led a Tory party that no longer seemed to believe in anything, that didn’t know what was at stake. It is not certain that he was defeated by better men and women. I don’t see anything sad about his departure, other than that he was highly entertaining and had one of the best political performances in modern British history – chaotic upper-class boyo totally lost in his personal sphere, just like you and no better than you.

But he wasn’t serious. To put on a really great performance, you have to be a serious man. Oddly enough, that’s not something you can fake. people can see.

Party members may or may not stick with a serious man, but they will not stand up for a dishonest man. So his support melted away.

It’s disturbing that the causes of his downfall were basically so trivial – office parties, a minister’s sexual missteps. But the trivial only strikes fatally when it appears to be an expression of something larger, in this case carelessness and insincerity.

His speech of resignation was good, and one line — “When the herd moves, they move” — will live on because it bluntly expresses a truth of life and, as an added benefit, those who left him as brutal and ignorant field animals represents startled by a noise.

But that’s not our issue, it has to do with crime in America.

In New York and across the country, the scary thing isn’t that crime is high, although it is, albeit not as high as in previous crime waves. What is scary is that people believe that the personal protection measures they used in the past no longer apply. Previous crime waves were a matter for street thugs and professional criminals, and you could take steps to anticipate their actions. Don’t go to the park at night – criminals like the dark. Take the subway at rush hour – criminals don’t like witnesses. Don’t be on Main Street at 1am, but go for the afternoon parade.

You could calculate and thereby increase your safety margin.

Now such measures are less relevant because what you see on the streets and in the news tells you that we are more at the mercy of the severely mentally ill than in the past. They cannot calculate their actions because they are unpredictable, because they are crazy.

That’s the fear monger. And it’s not just the evidence of your eyes. Stephen Eide of the Manhattan Institute recently published an article. New York rarely bothers to arrest anyone anymore, but as Mr. Eide noted, “Inmates with any mental disorder who have been charged with a violent crime make up a growing proportion of the city’s prison population.” People feel uniquely vulnerable.

There is one thing that needs to be said about Highland Park that has not been sufficiently emphasized: America is confused about the rights of individuals and our obligations to society. We believe in beautiful things and embrace them in our lives: you are free to be your own weird self; everyone has a right to privacy; we do not judge and do not interfere. But of course we are all part of something bigger called society, and we have responsibilities there too.

We lose our sense of protectiveness towards the society around us.

You know what was evident about the shooters at Uvalde and Highland Park? They were crazy and dangerous. Anyone who bothered to look could see it, certainly family members or close friends. The killers presented themselves physically to the world as demons that would be encountered in Hell. They posted sick and violent videos and pictures on social media. They made threats. The Highland Park gunman had threatened to kill his family; The police had been inside and removed his guns. The Uvalde assassin has been threatening on the internet, posting pictures of dead cats. They were loners, in their heads and obsessed with social media.

They were the roadkill of our culture. And they had long since made it clear that they wanted to take others with them on the road.

And nobody said anything. This is not respect for privacy and not open-mindedness –I never judge a book by its cover—it’s laziness, fear of involvement, and a sloppy disinterest in the safety of others.

Families and friends are loyal by nature, but why wasn’t there a strong sense of responsibility to society for their concerned young men? As in: Officer (or Judge), he’s my son and I love him, but he’s showing signs of being a danger to himself and others and I need your help to deal with that. If we don’t, I’m afraid someone will get hurt.

Instead, the father of the alleged Highland Park killer supported his application for a gun license.

This country and its culture produces not less unstable young men, but more. Perhaps we need a conversation about the issues they raise and the loyalties we owe them.

One last point. We respect the blue here, but I’m increasingly concerned about what I’m seeing of policing in America. Since the recent mass shootings, I’ve been thinking about how much that has changed my life.

Cops used to be guys in blue cotton uniforms with holsters and pistols. Now they’re like hulking cartoon superheroes from the 1990s – militarized, mechanized, armoured, heavy helmets and vests, all the gear and gear, the long guns and trucks like tanks. They rush in like an army – so many of them! – and there’s something muscular about it, heavy on form and rules and by the book. But who wrote this book?

The cops of the 70’s – they shot the bad guy. Police officers are now barking into communications systems, coordinating and urging civilians to leave the area.

And none of it seems more effective than in the past, but less so. A Texas State University report on the missed opportunities at Uvalde notes that a police officer spotted the shooter early and from a distance, asked his supervisor for permission to fire, and received no response. And so the killer came into the classroom with the children. The report also said the cops should have gone in through the windows.

You read and think: folks, this doesn’t work. You need to rethink the way you work.

Police officers used to be pretty good at their job, but not at all good at communicating with the press and the public. Now all of them do is to communicate, with slick, ready-made, legal statements that are sometimes quite misleading.

You sure are good at saving words. They are immediately with their eloquence—Our hearts are broken; these were our mothers and daughters– but their excellence and effectiveness are less obvious.

I don’t think people trust them as much as they used to, and this differs from the damaging racial allegations of recent years.

Things look too bureaucratic, too defensive and protective of the organization itself.

It is not good. And when I see it, it’s others.

Wonderland: Joe Biden prefers to talk about racism and guns than to face the real problem. Images: AFP/Getty Images/Reuters/Shutterstock Composite: Mark Kelly

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-crime-scarier-policing-uvalde-elementary-highland-park-shootings-killed-11657228617 Why Crime Is Scarier Now

Alley Einstein

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