American Elephants


A Complete Denial of Reality by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, in a new article at City Journal explains how “the New York city council would require the New York Police Department to reveal the details of every surveillance technology the department uses to detect terrorism and crime. Ninety days before the NYPD intends to implement a new surveillance technology, it would have to post on the Internet a technical description of how the new tool works, and how the department plans to use it. The public would have 45 days to comment on the proposed technology; the police commissioner would then have 45 days to respond to the public comments before he could actually start using the new capacity. Existing technologies would also have to be retroactively submitted to public review.”

What is wrong with this simple idea? Is this a public demonstration of the decline of the New York public schools? Have the folks in this very Democratic City lost the ability to think? Very possibly. Heather MacDonald adds that “perhaps aware that this moment many not be ideal for promoting what would be, in effect, a terrorists’ manual on how to evade discovery in New York City.”

“The bill’s supporters have,” Mac Donald writes, “hilariously taken to casting it as a pro-illegal alien, anti-Trump gesture. New York is a ‘sanctuary city, now in open resistance to the Trump administration.’ two members of the Brennan Center for Justice wrote in an op-ed advocating for the so-called Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act. The Brennan Center wrote the POST Act for council members; the center has pushed similar bills across the country, including in Seattle and Oakland, two cities that have been particularly vulnerable to ‘anti-fascist’ violence.) The city council press release claims that the bill ‘strengthens New York City’s commitment as a sanctuary city…as the Trump administration seeks to increase surveillance across America.”

One would think that the memory of 9/11 would still be on citizens’ minds, that they would realize that a huge and prominent American city like New York is a highly desirable target for terrorists.  Instead it is an outgrowth of some confused anti-Trump fervor. Trump is a fascist, so we must do away with any government surveillance,  policing, oppose all government secrecy, end any broken-windows policing because under Trump we might have a national surveillance state. What? Another attack in London, in France and Belgium. Sexual assaults by Muslim migrants are up by 1000% in Sweden, and they try to hide it. I’m not quite clear on just where the idea of Trump as the dictator of a national surveillance state comes from, but no anti-Trump idea goes too far. You’ve probably noticed that they are somewhat unhinged.

The NYPD does not need special permission to watch suspects on the street, nor to install cameras to observe the public. The Fourth Amendment does not apply to things in the open. Police need legal permission to tap phone lines, but not anything in the open or on the streets.

At Commentary Magazine, Jonathan Foreman writes of the British problem: Jurists who came of age in the 1960s have been inclined since 2001 “to see terrorism as an ordinary criminal problem being exploited by malign officials and politicians to make assaults on individual rights and to take part in “illegal” foreign wars.” He says it has been almost impossible to extradite ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked Islamists from the UK. English judges believe that few if any foreign countries—apart from perhaps Sweden or Norway—are likely to give terrorist suspects a fair trial, or able to guarantee that such suspects will be spared torture and abuse.”

The UK’s progressive media elite’s primary, reflexive response to a terrorist attack is to express worry about an imminent, violent anti-Muslim “backlash” on the part of a bigoted and ignorant indigenous working class. Is that what we have going on here?  What part of the dead children in Manchester can they simply not get through their heads? Or London Bridge, or hundreds of other attacks across the UK and Europe?

The European Union announced this week that it would begin proceedings to punish Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for their refusal to accept refugees and migrants under a 2015 scheme the EU commission created. The mission’s aim was to relieve Greece and Italy of the burden from migrant waves arriving from the Middle East and Africa, largely facilitated by European rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean. The EU was arrogating quite a bit of authority to themselves. The people have different ideas. The truth is that the majority in nearly every European country says that migration from Muslim countries into Europe should be slowed down or stopped entirely. In Poland, over 90 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “all immigration from majority Muslim nations should be stopped.”

You  have a situation where public sentiment runs strongly one way and that of the political class is something completely different. The waves of Muslim migration in Europe are a serious problem, and the public is fed up. Politicians here remain oblivious. We need to be fully aware of Europe’s problems, because we will undoubtedly face some of the same problems here. We have had terrorist attacks, and we will have more. Facebook would seem to be a channel for Islamic radicalization materials. We need to do some serious rethinking about some of our assumptions.  It’s hard to know when we are being really stupid, if we are not paying attention. We can’t deal with problems that we refuse to admit exist.



This Is A Map of Murders in the United States Of America by The Elephant's Child

I ran across a shocking map yesterday, a map of murders in the United States in 2014. Fifty-four percent of U.S. counties had no murders in 2014—none, zero. Two percent of counties have fifty-one percent of the murders.

The map comes to us from the Crime Prevention Research Center. 2014 is the most recent year where county-level breakdown is available. The United States can be divided up, they say. into three types of places: places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders and places where there are a lot of murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders.

Murders used to be even more concentrated. From 1977 to 2000, on average 73% of counties had zero murders. They suggest that possibly this is related to the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas. You can reach your own conclusions about the areas where murders are concentrated.

Other headlines: from CBS News“Chicago saw more 2016 murders than New York City and Los Angeles combined.” It was one of the most violent years in Chicago history with 762 homicides, and 1,100 more shooting incidents in 2016 than in 2015. New York had 334 homicides in 2016 and Los Angeles 294. Chicago has not only seen a spike in violence, but a spike in attacks on police as well. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said that anger at police has left criminals “emboldened” to commit violent crimes. It’s clearer to criminals that they have little to fear from the criminal justice system.

From The Daily Caller: “Baltimore is Begging Feds to Step In To Restore Law and Order.” Baltimore’s mayor asked the FBI to send in reinforcements to help the city to get it’s murders under control. “The city already has 101 murders for the year, a number not seen for almost 20 years” the mayor said.

On top of an over 30 percent increase in murders, the city is also experiencing a shortage in police officers. The city is operating with the lowest number of officers in about a decade — 2,500 police officers. Usually, the department has 2,900 officers.

From National Review: Heather MacDonald in an article at City Journal dismantles Hillary Clinton’s debate claims that the criminal justice system is infected with racism and that stop-and-frisk (which Trump has called for reviving) is unconstitutional and ineffective.” Andy McCarthy goes on to explain that the statistical overrepresentation of blacks in the prison population…is caused by patterns of offending. “Federal sentences (and sentences in most states) are computed under race-neutral guidelines that factor in both offense conduct and criminal history. The more crimes one commits, the heavier the sentence for any one crime. This is a recidivism thing, not a race thing.”

Across the pond, “knife crime has soared since Theresa May kerbed police use of stop and search, a tactic that activists condemn as “racist” but which senior officers insist saves black lives.

The year ending December 2016 saw 32,448 criminal offences involving a blade or other sharp weapon take place in Britain, a rise of 14 per cent from the previous year and the biggest knife crime total since 2011.

With five young men having been stabbed to death in London already this year, police warn that these are the first signs of a knife crime epidemic in major UK cities.

Lots to ponder in these articles. Which cities are being run by Democrats? Is the race situation better or worse as a result of former president Barack Obama’s policies? What about the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Heather MacDonald suggests that what has been called “the Ferguson Effect” is real and has caused police officers across the country to pull back a little, which has resulted in a rise in crime.  She reminds us that most police officers went into policing to protect the people from crime and violence, and care about  the people they serve. Her newest book The War on Cops is one of the most important books of the last year.

She was the target of silencing tactics two days in a row last week. The more serious incident took place at Claremont McKenna College at Claremont, California. A Facebook post from the “students of color at the Claremont Colleges

announced grandiosely that “as a community, we CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform. We stand against all forms of oppression and we refuse to have Mac Donald speak.” A Facebook event titled “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascists” encouraged students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’”

Poor dumb kids. As Heather said “My supposed fascism consists in trying to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law-enforcement protection.”  See Baltimore above. When the county statistics for 2016 become available, looks like the murder rate will climb once again. Spare a moment to honor the Policemen who have lost their lives this year trying to protect the American people. It should not be a thankless job.

 



What if the Claims Of The Black Lives Matter Movement are Plain Fiction? by The Elephant's Child

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Five American police officers have been killed in just the last four days. All were killed in the line of duty. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said that at least three other U.S. law enforcement officers died from gunfire in the line of duty just this year, and we’re not even halfway through February. Abingdon, Maryland; Fargo, North Dakota; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Riverdale, Georgia.

One hundred and twenty four officers died in the line of duty last year —more than two each week.

A television ad for Hillary Clinton’s campaign that is now airing in South Carolina shows Hillary declaring that “too many encounters with law enforcement end tragically.” She adds later “We have to face up to the hard truth of injustice and systemic racism.”

Bernie Sanders tweeted dramatically about “fighting hard to end racism and reform our broken criminal justice system.” Then he went on ‘the View’ and said “It is not acceptable to see unarmed people being shot by police officers.” Apparently candidates believe that building on the propaganda of the Black Lives Matter movement is the appropriate way to court minority voters.

Heather MacDonald is a recognized expert in matters dealing with policing, with crime, and with the criminal justice system in general and distinguishing fact from fiction. She says:

But what if the Black Lives Matter movement is based on fiction? Not just the fictional account of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., but the utter misrepresentation of police shootings generally.

To judge from Black Lives Matter protesters and their media and political allies, you would think that killer cops pose the biggest threat to young black men today. But this perception, like almost everything else that many people think they know about fatal police shootings, is wrong.

The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year to try to correct acknowledged deficiencies in the federal counts.

Fatal police shootings make up a much bigger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black deaths. In 2015, officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. The majority of the victims of police shootings were attacking the officer often with a gun. It is also a myth that white officers are particularly prone to shoot innocent blacks.

A March 2015 report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed. A study of crime scenes where gunfire is involved in 2015, found that black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014, compared with 5,397 homicide deaths of whites and Hispanics combined.

Blacks make up roughly 15 percent of the population, but are 26 percent of police-shooting victims. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. The Black Lives Matter movement has been effective in encouraging attacks on the police, which in turn makes policemen reluctant to police black neighborhoods. And a notable consequence is that fewer young men are ready to sign up for the police academy and police work.

Of course there are some bad cops, there are some bad teachers, there  are poor performers in every profession. But police officers sign on to protect the citizens, knowing that they may face danger or death every day, and they just want to be able to go home at night. And the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not quite what you think it is, and not quite what they pretend to be.

 



We Need More Communication About Militarization. by The Elephant's Child

Police militarization has worried a lot of people. Some of the vehicles that police departments have acquired are distinctly scary. Most of us whose encounters with the police are limited to exceeding the speed limit can’t imagine being confronted with an officer in full military gear, helmet and assault weapon.

Policing is intended to protect civilians and communities, it is defensive in nature. But there are exceptions, and there are crazy people, and there are riots and armed standoffs. Apparently one of the worst situations is a confrontation with meth-cookers who can be heavily armed and high on drugs.

We want our police to be safe. They apply to do dangerous work, and train in how to deal with bad situations. Domestic disputes can elevate into something truly dangerous to everybody nearby.

The solution, as in most things, is communication. Show the vehicles and the equipment to the public. Kids would love to see an ex-military MRAP (Mine-resistant ambush-protected) vehicle. A community that understands why their department acquired such a vehicle, why the department thinks it necessary, and something about their training and goals.

Panic comes when police show up with unexpected and unnecessary force. Understanding defuses scary situations.

On the other hand, I don’t understand why the Agriculture Department needs a swat team armed with machine guns.




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