Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Let's Get Tough on Crime: It Always Works

I don't know who your favorite police chief is, but mine is Joe Arpaio, the toughest sheriff in America, by his own description.  

Well, actually, my favorite police is Howard Colvin, the Baltimore police captain who established a zone in Baltimore where drugs could be freely bought and sold, but, as I have to keep reminding myself, Colvin is not a real police, just a character on the Wire. He should be a real police, but that's another story.

So, by default, among actual, real police, Sheriff Arpaio has to take the prize. He is so tough he has a tank of his own, which he uses, I'm sure, effectively, to crack down on the drug trade, prostitution, burglary, muggings and murders.  

He doesn't just jail miscreants, he humiliates them. Those arrested, awaiting trial, are apt to find themselves marching down Arizona streets wearing nothing more than pink underwear. If, at trial, they are acquitted, presumably, they can keep the underwear, which is said to be of high quality.

This is not, for reasons known only to Sheriff Arpaio and the Supreme Court, not cruel and unusual punishment, prior to conviction. It's better than strip searching, but actually, it is used after the strip search.

I recently spoke with the mayor of a Southern city about the reasons for declines in the murder rate in his and other cities. This mayor was a former defense attorney, and he believes the "broken windows" tact of policing accounts for some of the decline.  This doctrine is a variation of the "take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."  If you arrest people for looking funny at the police, or for walking while Black, then you will decrease major crime acts. 

My own father always insisted the reason for falling crime was the aging population. Most violent crime is committed by stupid (i.e. young) people.  The authors of Freakonomics had a version of this: They claimed the fall in crime could be traced to the legalization of abortion, which meant a lot of kids who were never wanted were never born and were not roaming the streets killing people.  Either way, it had to do with simply making the population which tends to be violent shrink in size. 

Of course, we all know the real reason for the falling violent crime rate: Tanks and Humvees. Give the police the means to do shock and awe in our towns and cities and those violent criminals take to their heels and get out of Dodge. Where they go, we can only imagine, but it must be very violent there.

President Obama, of course, as usual is clueless about all this, which is why he is denying local police departments the tanks and aircraft carriers they so urgently need. 

If there is a spike in violent crime, we'll know who to blame and he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his name rhymes, significantly, with "Osama."

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