The Outstater

September 4, 2023

A Campaign to Nowhere

IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING the mayoral campaigns in Indianapolis these past few weeks you know how grim is the future of our capital city. As has been written before here, both the Democrat and Republican are speaking out for gun control, the code words for “I’m going to focus on inanimate objects and ignore crime if it has a racial component.” Their incessant and pandering television ads are an embarrassment to a once proud city.

These two pasty, privileged white guys insult our intelligence by dragging in front of the cameras hapless relatives of intra-racial murders. This is a grindingly unsubtle message to black voters that the candidates care about them — at least to the degree that they will give them a television spot after their son or brother is murdered.

And there is material for a lot of television spots. Indianapolis is on track to record 192 homicides for the year, 96 murders so far and 284 shootings. Neither candidate wants to say this out loud but the great number of those murders and shootings are black-on-black crimes. Indeed, the slight drop in the numbers this year can be explained by the sad thought that perhaps the city is running out of young blacks to shoot at each other.

It is cynical to assume that the candidates are focused on what their consultants tell them will get them elected, not on saving lives. But depending on the year, blacks are 30 to 40 times more likely to be murdered than their white peers. Nationally, blacks are 12.5 percent of the population but 53 percent of the murder victims.

If you were running for mayor of Indianapolis wouldn’t you make those percentages known instead of broadcasting the maudlin and obvious point that mothers and sisters bereave their loved ones? Moreover, wouldn’t you be curious about proven ways to lower violent crime now instead of chasing hypothetical “root” causes later? William Otis of Georgetown University Law Center has the right take on this:

“So if we thought — to pick a phrase out of the air — that black lives matter, what would we do? We wouldn’t knock down statues or re-name streets or hold long-faced academic symposia about 1619. We would reduce the murder rate. We would do what we know works to accomplish this: 1) hire more police (not administrators) rather than defund them; 2) do more aggressive policing rather than less; 3) focus on the specific neighborhoods where crime is concentrated; and 4) lengthen prison sentences for those convicted of violent crime before rather than after it escalates into murder.”

It may be that the leaders of the crime-burdened communities want to avoid the appearance that they have been unable to manage such a critical issue. But to borrow another point from Otis, the Ku Klux Klan was never as effective at putting black lives at risk as the Democrat (and perhaps Republican) mayors of our cities.

In any case, considering the life-and-death nature of the problem, there has been little meaningful cooperation with the police. All we get is a rehashing of the decades-old racial narrative of victimhood and power denied — a corrosive attitude that eventually will affect public safety in the city at large.

It’s going to take some courageous leadership to overcome all that. It doesn’t appear that Indianapolis has it. — tcl


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