EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE public policy meets an absolute, that is, where no compromise is possible between two conflicting options. Such is the case now with law enforcement in Indiana’s metropolitan cities. City councils in the next few years will have to make a hard choice. Yes, politicians hate that but it cannot be avoided in this case.
One choice is being made in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Police and fire fighters are offered the local versions of “critical race theory.” That can mean individual officers not only must sit still for sessions of extreme philosophical propaganda but be asked to acknowledge and apologize for their supposed thoughts of white supremacy.
It is not difficult to imagine that their responses, or even an absence of enthusiastic agreement, will be noted in the next round of promotions.
The basis for this is the decades-old theory that crime is caused by poverty and general social disadvantage, conditions that must be corrected before laws can be effectively enforced. It is quite popular. The sociologists describe it as ADI (Avoidance of Disparate Impact), meaning that crime is defined on the streets by skin pigment rather than law.
And there is the rub. If laws cannot be enforced, then those who do not subscribe to the root-causes theory of crime must pay the wages of lawlessness until problematic, complex social strategies have had time to be formulated and to take effect — many years, in the most optimistic scenarios, and more probably many generations.
Indeed, the result after at least three generations has been anything but civic peace. We have created a new and separate urban culture that is in civil war with the more general one.
Again, proponents of this idea brook no dissent, demeaning opponents as racists. And the police are told they must generally and specifically back off, that they cannot pursue their most basic mission, i.e., to go where crime is being committed. And again, despite more than five decades of social engineering and experimentation, there is no evidence that such a perverse strategy works.
Indeed, the evidence, although routinely dismissed as the apologetics of white supremacy, is to the contrary.
Last year in New York City, the laboratory for this sort of thing, there was the highest percentage one-year increase in homicides in U.S. history. A crime expert there, Heather Mac Donald, explains the situation:
“In order to protect law-abiding minority residents, officers have to operate more intensively in minority areas. There is no middle ground. In New York City, blacks made up over 74 percent of all known shooting suspects in 2019, though they are only about 23 percent of the city’s population. Non-Hispanic whites were a little over 2 percent of all known shooting suspects, though they are about 34 percent of the city’s population. Those suspect identifications come from the victims of, and witnesses to, shootings — overwhelmingly minority themselves. Shooting victims were over 71 percent black in 2019 and 2.5 percent white.”
The police do not wish these facts into existence, Mac Donald continues, they are the reality of urban crime. “A good economy is not the precondition for lowered crime,” she concludes, “lowered crime is the precondition for economic vitality.”
All of this played out in the downtown Indianapolis BLM riots last spring. Rick Snyder of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police says officers were ordered to stand down as more than 8,000 emergency 911 calls went unanswered during the first 48 hours of the riots. Almost a year later, the mayor’s office still is withholding the tapes of those calls.
“It wasn’t the police that failed our city; it was our politicians,” Snyder told the Hammer and Nigel Show radio show this week. “It’s the political leadership that abdicated their responsibilities, they required our officers to take a compromised posture, and that resulted in the destruction of over 100 businesses and four people getting shot, two of whom lost their lives as a result.”
Oh, that’s another thing that Indiana mayors and councilmen should consider if they choose the ADI option: They will have to be prepared to cover up or lie about the facts, a daunting task even considering today’s purblind media. — tcl