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Racial Preference Explicitly Enters Criminal Law

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It's bad enough that racial preference has entered numerous areas of civil law, including employment quotas and college admissions.  But once the premise of racial preference took hold in those areas, it was likely  --  some might say inevitable  -- that it would seep into criminal law.  Indeed, some might say it was intended all along.

In Massachusetts, it has.  The Supreme Judicial Court in that state has held that circumstances that would warrant a Terry stop of a white person do not necessarily warrant the same outcome for a black defendant.  The latter, so says the Court, would have reason to run from the cops that a white defendant lacks.  Therefore, what would count as a valid component of reasonable suspicion (see Illinois v. Wardlow) to detain a white man would fall short in the case of the black one, even if all the non-race based circumstances are identical.

The story is here on CNN.

I could write a long entry about how poisonous this decision is, and I may yet.  For now, I will only say that I see no principled reason black defendants in prosecutions for crack distribution or violent crime should not argue  --  and, in Massachusetts, should not win  -- shorter sentences than similarly situated white defendants solely because drug and mugging laws are "disproportionately" enforced against blacks.

Affirmative action for college applicants has turned into affirmative action for muggers. And race mongering has taken a giant leap forward. This is where we are.  
In comments to Bill's post on incarceration rates there is discussion of the issue of whether the higher (although shrinking) incarceration rate for African Americans is due to higher offending rates or discriminatory enforcement.  I did a quick search for research on this subject.

NeverJohnson

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Some libertarian-leaning and independent voters have been taking a look at Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, as an alternative to the vulgar, reckless Trump and the mendacious, hard-Left Clinton.  I understand their angst, but Johnson disqualified himself in my view by recently embracing Black Lives Matter.

The conservative journal RedState understands what's wrong with BLM, but, oddly, says it's "not worried" about Johnson's warmth toward it.  The magazine correctly describes BLM thusly:

Black Lives Matter is more concerned with retaliation for any wrongdoing, than it is solving the problem. It continuously uses intimidation, lawlessness, violence, and story fabrication to push its brand of racism as the result of being a victim. Like any other social justice group, the solution to the problem isn't as important as maintaining that victimhood. Any elements that are seeking peaceful solutions, or even achieve them, are soon disavowed by BLM.

Why then is RedState unconcerned with Johnson's alliance with BLM?
The Black Lives Matter message is all about "building trust with the police"  --  at least with such of the police as are left after getting shot at by the people inspired by Black Lives Matter.


Mother of Police Shooting Suspect Blames Black Lives Matter

The mother of one of two central Pennsylvania teenagers charged with shooting at police officers last week contends the Black Lives Matter movement is to blame for his actions.

"They are in jail for doing what Black Lives Matter wanted them to do: shoot at cops," Luz Rentas wrote in a statement given to a number of news organizations over the weekend. "The truth is that these are two punk kids following the orders of an irresponsible organization and now they're gonna pay for it."

The co-organizer of a Black Lives Matter chapter in Lancaster said the group rejects using violence to solve societal problems.

Well, yes, BLM rejects using violence after the attempted murders fail and the would-be killers are caught.



How BLM-style Hate Killed Korryn Gaines

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I blogged yesterday about the police shooting of Korryn Gaines, a black woman and mother of two small children. Gaines' killing is already being touted by the anti-American academic Left as the new Ferguson (see this story)  --  which I suppose is appropriate, giving the rampant deceit and ginned-up outrage from which the Ferguson fable was woven.

The point I'll make now is that, in all likelihood, Ms.Gaines would be alive today but for the kind of whipped-up hatred the Black Lives Matter movement, with its abettors, is spewing across this country. 

The backstory of Korryn Gaines is fascinating, tragic, and most of all, revealing.  It's provided by the Washington Post's excellent crime reporter, Tom Jackman.

Black Lives Matter Comes Clean

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Black Lives Matter got traction from a concocted account of the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri  --  that a white policeman, Darren Wilson, shot a black teenager, Michael Brown, even though Brown had his hands up in surrender.

This was shown to be false.  Wilson's hands weren't up, and he was not trying to surrender.  Instead, the credible evidence showed that, shortly after he robbed a convenience store of practically worthless items, Brown, 6'4" and 292 pounds, had scuffled with Wilson, had tried to wrestle away Wilson's service revolver, and was coming back for more.  Wilson fired in self defense.

As one might expect of a movement whose signature grievance is fabricated, Black Lives Matter has had more than its share of toxicity, particularly as respects its view of law enforcement.

Now, however, BLM has made clear its true political roots:  It's a Communist front with a racial makeover.

Yes, I know that sounds so Fifties.  But the list of demands BLM just released leaves no doubt.  Paul Mirengoff has the story.  The first name that came to my mind was Herbert Aptheker.


Culture, Cops, and President Obama

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Myron Magnet has this article at City Journal.  The title is "The Anti-Cop President," but I think the points he makes about culture are even more important than the points about the police.

Any hopes that the nation's first black president could uplift the nation's black underclass went up in smoke Sunday when Barack Obama doubled down on his blaming of America's police for the recent cop massacres that amount, as Heather Mac Donald rightly says, to a war on cops.
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The same spirit of elite racial contrition made generous welfare payments, with virtually no questions asked, seem like appropriate reparations for the long mistreatment of African Americans. In this way, government ended up enabling the spread of out-of-wedlock childbearing, which the culture had legitimated. But those fatherless welfare families proved far from ideal for raising successful, law-abiding children. What came to be called the cycle of poverty--single parenthood, school dropout, drug use, crime, non-work, welfare dependency--went into overdrive.

Violence and Human Nature

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From the "interesting things stumbled upon while looking for something else" file is this article by Melvin Konner in the June 30 WSJ.

One of the most persistent and foolish myths is that people are naturally wonderful, and it is only society that screws them up.  A lot of wrongheaded notions on a variety of topics from parenting to crime control stem from this fallacious but widespread belief. 

The notion goes back at least as far as French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his rhapsodizing about noble savages.  An earlier English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, got it right when he said that life before civilization was "nasty, brutish, and short."  One common reason for it being short was other humans.  Konner's article describes the archaeological evidence.

People have to be taught and conditioned to respect the rights of others.  It doesn't come naturally.  Failure to properly civilize the young is the true primary "root cause" of crime, and the varying degrees of that failure in different subcultures is the primary reason for "disparities" in offending rates and incarceration rates.
Richard Berman has this op-ed in the Washington Times.  He begins with the proposition that an inflated minimum wage will cause some businesses to cut back on employees and cause others to move out of the District.

The associated reduced job opportunities will only exacerbate Washington's 45 percent unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds without a high school diploma. (In some neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, the most recently available data shows overall unemployment for 16- to 24-year-olds approaching 60 percent.)

The societal implications of so many young men out of work are broader than those associated with just losing out on a paycheck. As Voltaire explained, "Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need." And vice is a pressing concern at the moment for policymakers and residents contending with a dramatic spike in violent crime.
elephant-living-roomc.jpg
Time to bring out the elephant in the living room again.  As described by Wikipedia:

"'Elephant in the room' or 'Elephant in the living room' is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

"It is based on the idea/thought that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook."


Lisa Marie Pane and Don Babwin have this story for Associated Press.

CHICAGO -- Violent crimes - from homicides and rapes to robberies - have been on the rise in many major U.S. cities, yet experts can't point to a single reason why and the jump isn't enough to suggest there's a trend.

Still, it is stumping law enforcement officials, who are seeking a way to combat the problem.

"It's being reported on at local levels, but in my view, it's not getting the attention at the national level it deserves," FBI Director James Comey said recently. "I don't know what the answer is, but holy cow, do we have a problem."

You have to get down to the 15th paragraph before the Ferguson Effect is even mentioned, and it is immediately followed by a dismissive comment by the lacking-a-better-explanation expert.  The ongoing efforts to dismantle the highly successful tough-on-crime movement of the past several decades -- ignoring history in order to repeat it -- is not mentioned at all.

The anti-punishment and anti-police crowds (overlapping but not equal sets) have been on a roll for several years now.  When the results that persons of sense warned would follow do follow, the likely causal connection must be ignored or dismissed.

I'm offended that you're offended

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White teenagers singing along to A$AP Ferg's rap song whose lyrics include the n-word is offensive to Barry Bonds?  A pregnant white actress who captions her Instagram post with a lyric from Sir-Mix-Alot's "Baby's Got Back" is offensive to the black community?  I don't get it.  Yes, I agree that A$AP Ferb's "Dump Dump" song is totally and completely offensive in and of itself.  However, a black artist (who most likely profited from these white people) can write and record a song with these offensive lyrics, but a white person can not sing along to it or refer to it? Sure, there are plenty of things going on in the world today to get offended about.  But, white people directly repeating a black artist's song lyrics is not one of them.  
Black lives did not matter when Wendell Callahan, a violent man and a drug dealer, was released early from federal prison and slit the throats of three African Americans, two little girls and their mother.  But the slogan "Black Lives Matter" dominates much criminal law news.  Whether they actually matter, except when useful to the Left, is a different question.

Still, some people are paying attention. This story tells us how:

A former Marine became the target of an alleged assault in a McDonald's Friday night, as a crowd of youths cornered him and demanded he answer the question, "do you believe black lives matter?" Before knocking him unconscious and robbing him.

Christopher Marquez, a veteran of Iraq and recipient of the Bronze Star for valor, said he was dining at a McDonald's in northwest D.C. when a group of black teenagers came up to him and allegedly began harassing him about the black lives matter movement. Marquez ignored them which prompted calls and shouts that he was a racist.

Marquez left the establishment after eating, but allegedly sustained a sudden blow to the back of his head outside the McDonald's, which knocked him unconscious. When he woke up, his pants were ripped and wallet gone, which contained $400 in cash, three credit cards, his VA medical card, school identification, metro card and driver's license

This is where we are headed.  It is also, if truth be told, where the ideology behind BLM intends for us to be headed.

 
BuzzFeed tells us that Pres. Obama will have, among his guests at the State of the Union address, a convicted securities swindler and former international fugitive, Ms. Sue Ellen Allen.  Ms. Allen will not be introduced as a person wrongly convicted.  Instead, she will be introduced, it appears, to illustrate the "compassionate side" of the President's criminal justice reform package.  It seems that, after her release from seven years of incarceration, Ms. Allen frequently returns to prison to help less fortunate inmates get an education and prepare to re-integrate after release.

Efforts like this are all to the good  --  but not if the real purpose of showcasing Ms. Allen is to divert attention from less heralded heroes of our criminal justice system. Those would include, for example, crime victims who have overcome the injury and loss inflicted on them by dishonest or violent people; thousands of police whose proactive work has helped so dramatically drive down national crime victimization (now about half what it was 25 years ago); and prosecutors who bring justice to the wrongdoer and, in so doing, the beginnings of an understanding that makes rehabilitation for him possible.

The Republican response to Obama's address will be delivered by Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina.  After the break, I suggest some guests Gov. Haley might have with her to illustrate these central themes in criminal justice  --  themes Mr. Obama seems prepared to walk past.
To start the new year, here are a few notesAffluenza.png on affluenza, parenting, and root causes of crime.

The cartoon on the left is by Benjamin Schwartz of the New Yorker.  Click on it for a larger view.

Debra Saunders has this column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

While the defense attempted in this case is widely regarded as ludicrous, with its emphasis on affluence as a mitigating circumstance in a criminal case, the underlying problem of indulgent, permissive parenting is a much more serious and pervasive one.  It is not limited to the wealthy. 

Two weeks ago, Leonard Sax, a practicing physician, had this op-ed in the WSJ on the pandemic disrespectfulness of children today and the role of parents and popular culture in causing that problem.  His article is titled "Parenting in the Age of Awfulness."
Here's a follow-up on my Boxing Day post.  That big city murder increase dismissed as a mere 11% in a single year in the Brennan Center's preliminary figures turns out to be 14.6% in the final figures, according to this press release.  That is nearly one in seven.  And what could cause this?

The preliminary report examined five cities with particularly high murder rates -- Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and St. Louis -- and found these cities also had significantly lower incomes, higher poverty rates, higher unemployment, and falling populations than the national average.
"There are none so blind as those who will not see."  These are also cities where the police are under severe attack.

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