Those who seek a safer and more peaceful country have a huge amount to be thankful for this year. Indeed, it's hard to recall a year where we have done better across the board.
The good news is wherever you look: Capital punishment, criminal justice reform, and respect for the police.
It's not that there's no bad news; there's plenty of that too, as the disastrous, pro-criminal policies and rhetoric of the Obama years come home to roost. It's that the good news predominates by so much.
1. Death penalty
. Largely because of Kent's and CJLF's efforts in California with Props. 62 and 66, it has become impossible for even the most dishonest of death penalty opponents to deny that their campaign has gone off the cliff.
The numbers are staggering. In the Presidential contest in California, Hillary Clinton currently has 7,528,360 votes. Trump has 3,985,318. In other words, Clinton, whose so-called "support" for the death penalty was tepid at best, beat law-and-order Trump by more than three and a-half million votes.
That same day and in the same polling booths, the measure to retain capital punishment in California whacked the measure to abolish it by more than 800,000 votes. The results are here
When a massively financed abolition campaign gets snowed under by an electorate that simultaneously endorses the liberal candidate by 62% to 33%, there's not just not much left for abolitionists to say. They lost in the Supreme Court last year in Glossip v. Gross. This year, they lost with the people of their chosen state. (Ironically, they lost in both venues by about the same margin, 55% or so to 45% or so).
This was also the year that saw Gallup register nationwide support for the death penalty at 60% or more for the 42nd consecutive time.
Because the false narratives peddled by the mainstream press (we're executing the innocent, etc.) have been a drumbeat at least since the turn of the century; because a raft of manufactured procedural delays and obstructionist judges have gummed up the works; and mostly just because the murder rate has fallen so sharply starting 25 years ago, there have been fewer and fewer executions in recent years. All that is true. But when public support for the death penalty is what the election results show it to be, and when the Supreme Court is about to add a Trump-appointed Justice, capital punishment is here to stay for the indefinite future.
2. Criminal justice reform. The high water mark for criminal justice "reform" -- which ought more aptly to be known by its actual and intended outcome, mass sentencing reduction for drug traffickers -- came 13 months ago when the SRCA made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a lopsided vote of 15-5. But, as I have explained in prior posts, it never had anything close to a majority of the majority in its favor. Accordingly, it never got to the Senate floor. No comprehensive mass reductions bill made it to the House floor, either.
It doesn't take an especially florid imagination to understand that, with both the House and Senate Republicans having retained their majorities with only minimal reductions; and with the installation of hard-liner President-elect Donald Trump; and with Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions waiting in the wings, sentencing "reform's" failures in the last Congress will repeat themselves in the incoming Congress (if the "reform" side bothers to introduce a bill at all, a question that remains to be answered).
Indeed, the more realistic question is whether Attorney General Sessions will craft, and forward to Congress, additional and sterner mandatory minimum statutes to deal with the startling rise in violent crime and the crisis-level heroin trafficking we have seen for about the last 24 months.
I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that Sen. Sessions has the central insight about crime: That criminals are not victims but victimizers, and that what has been shown to work in dealing with them is the no-nonsense approach of Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.
3. Respect for the police. In some ways, the most heartening story of the year has been the massive upsurge in respect for the police. Two years ago, according to Gallup, it was at 56% -- OK, and about at historical averages, but not something to be enthusiastic about. This year, it was at 76%, just one point shy of its all-time high nearly fifty years ago.
Especially encouraging was this part of Gallup's report, showing that respect for the police has surged by 14% among non-whites:
Respect for Police Up Sharply Among Both Whites and Nonwhites
The increase in shootings of police coincided with high-profile incidents of law enforcement officials shooting and killing unarmed black men. Despite the flaring of racial tensions after these incidents, respect for local police has increased among both whites and nonwhites.
Four in five whites (80%) say they have a great deal of respect for police in their area, up 11 points from last year. Meanwhile, two in three nonwhites (67%) report having the same level of respect, an increase of 14 points from last year.
The graph is here:
Having said all that, there is the worrisome fact that shootings of police officers this year are up by more than 50%; just this last weekend brought yet more bad news of (the falsely denied by liberals) the war on the police and the toll it is taking.
Still, with the news about solid public support for capital punishment; the demise for any practical purpose of the move in Congress for mass sentencing reduction; the markedly increased and historically large confidence in police; and the imminent taking of power by an Attorney General with clear vision, the country has a great deal for which to give thanks.