I saw on-line that Chicago rang in the start of the summer murder season with their 60th homicide of the year. In the ghetto, Memorial Day is the traditional start of crime season. The weather is nice so everyone is outside, making them easier to shoot. Chicago gets a lot of attention because it is a big city so the crime numbers are gaudy. That and the mayor is a former Obama and Clinton rumpswab. Here is a handy website that logs all the crime in the Windy City if you have an interest in the details.
The thing is, Chicago is a city of 2.7 million people. For a city that size, 60 murders is a great start to the season. Last year they finished with 507 murders. Doing a little math, they are on pace for an all-time low, if current trends hold, which is unlikely. Even so, Chicago is not in the top-10 list of most violent cities. The last look had them in the 30’s and that was after their record setting 2015. The apparent drop in homicide so far will drop them way down the per capital homicide rankings.
 I misread the Chicago murder stats. That’s 60 for the month of may, not year to date. I will not have the editor killed for this horrible error.
That’s what makes Baltimore an interesting place. The city is not very big. The census puts the population at 600,000, but the flight from the city has surely lowered that number. Even so, they managed 344 murders last year. That is a homicide rate three times that of Chicago. This year the body count is at 108 so they are a little off the 2015 pace, but not by much. The late spring in the Mid-Atlantic has probably tamped down the numbers a bit. Gunning down Trayvon over his sneakers is not so much fun in the wind and rain.
When you look at the details, the pattern is obvious. Murder in towns like Baltimore is nothing like you see on television and it sure as hell ain’t like the libertarian scolds imagine. It’s not well-organized street gangs in territorial wars over the drug trade. Instead, it’s low-IQ knuckleheads shooting each other over petty slights. The drug trade is real, but it’s ad hoc and disorganized at the streets level. The beefs that lead to murder are just as likely to be over sneakers as drug deals.
It is what drug legalizers never understand. The drug game in America’s urban reservations is not what drives crime and social dysfunction. Libertarians imagine that legalizing drugs will lead to young black males throwing down their guns and heading off to community college. Legalize drugs and they will find something else to fill the void in their lives. Murder and mayhem in the ghetto is about the most basic of human attributes – status.
Talk to a cop that works the ghetto and he’ll be the most cynical guy you will meet. The reason is he spends his days working cases that have no rational explanation. Ray-Ray pops Darius one night not because of a business beef. No, Ray-Ray did not like the way Darius looked at him at a cookout so he walked up on him and started blasting. Sometimes, there’s simply no reason at all. Ray-Ray just decided to kill Darius “cause he got to go.”
Of course, no one in the neighborhood talks to the cops. Again, the white romantics get it all wrong. The “community” is not hostile to the cops because of race. They are hostile because they are hostile to everyone. The ghetto is not a community. It’s just a bunch of people who live in close quarters. One neighbor will steal from another and then shamelessly be seen on the street with the neighbor’s property. It’s the one place where Hobbes was right.
All of the sentimental explanations for the ghetto are to avoid the reality of the situation. More important, they allow good whites to avoid facing up to doing what has proven to work. You did not see this level of dysfunction and violence in the black neighborhoods in the 50’s and 60’s. Every metric for blacks has gone the wrong way since desegregation. Literacy, crime, drugs, illegitimacy, etc. are all worse for blacks today than they were in the bad old days of segregation.
That’s not to say integration magically turned some blacks into savages. It’s that intolerance of bad behavior was an essential element of segregation. Whites had a “zero tolerance policy” for certain types of behavior from blacks. Black leaders, not wanting trouble, would police their ranks more ruthlessly than those imaginary bad whites the good whites are endlessly telling us are the cause of all bad things. Segregation made black leaders responsible for their people and therefore intolerant of misbehavior.
Over the last forty years, every black person with a clue has got as far away from the black neighborhoods as possible. The result is the ghetto is now a concentrated population of the worst black America has to offer. There’s no one inside to police the ranks, so we end up with a blue wall around the reservation that maintains the border. When a body turns up, there’s some effort to find the killer, but most times the crime goes unsolved.
There’s no going back to segregation even if there was will to do so, but there are lessons to be learned. The one lesson from the bad old days is that intolerance is under appreciated. Celebrating the dysfunction and general lunacy of the underclass not only encourages it, it gives people, who should know better, a reason to ignore it. The music company executives, for example, who promoted hip-hop in the 80’s, should have been keelhauled. Instead they were made very rich from the promotion of murder and mayhem.
Intolerance is why stop and frisk worked so well in New York. It took the status out of thug life. If you went out with your pants around your ankles and your hat on side ways, the cops would humiliate you on the street. No one looks hard when they have their hands against the wall and a cop has pulled their pants down, looking for weapons and drugs. Remove the status from thug life and you get less of it. Ban the public display of “black culture” in West Baltimore and crime drops quickly.