It’s gotten very little publicity, but mass shoplifting continued in the San Francisco area for a third day in a row. The latest incidents involve a jewelry store and a Lululemon, but other establishments hit by flash mobs include Nordstrom’s, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry. If you think this is normal, you’re out of your mind. Don’t make the mistake of normalizing criminality.
Waukesha attacker Darrell Brooks was released on absurdly low bail despite having a lengthy criminal record. Milwaukee County prosecutors admit their bail recommendation was “inappropriately low”. There’s only one problem: Now five people are dead. Soft-on-crime prosecutors who won’t prosecute is part of the reason crime, especially murder in Portland and elsewhere, is spinning out of control in various parts of the country. The Milwaukee County DA is part of the new insanity that has gripped the criminal justice system, now refusing to prosecute six out of every ten felony charges requested by police. These social justice prosecutors want you to think it’s normal to get rid of cash bail and abolish prisons entirely.
They’re not the only ones inviting you to think all this is normal. The San Francisco Chronicle is asking residents if it’s time to “tolerate burglaries” instead of defending their homes against invasion. Maybe the answer is ‘yes’ if you want to live in a city that’s becoming a drug store desert. Walgreens closed five more stores there last month because crime is so out of control.
All of this reminds me of Rudy Giuliani who, when he was mayor of New York City, reduced crime there by getting rid of the squeegee boys and no longer tolerating graffiti. He knew low-level crime like this created a permissive atmosphere that invited more serious crime. Fast forward to today, when prosecutors in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and elsewhere can no longer be bothered with prosecuting low-level infractions because, the argument goes, it results in mass incarceration of black people.
You can call it mass incarceration. I call it justice. I was a criminal defense attorney for seven years. Every one of my clients who was in jail was there for a reason. And yes, most of them were black, which is what you would expect where I was, in D.C., which is mostly black, but most of the judges were black, too. I had clients in jail for assault, drug distribution, and other serious charges. Low-level crime was handled by probation and drug treatment or other social service. I’m sorry, but if people of any stripe can’t conform their behavior to a set of minimum standards necessary for decent living conditions for all, they deserve to suffer some consequence until they straighten out. Most do, eventually. There aren’t a lot of old men in jail; crime is mostly committed by younger people under 30.
But the social justice crowd would have you believe the criminal class has been oppressed and it’s time to even the score by cutting them all kinds of breaks like low or no bail, no prosecution, and abolishing prisons altogether. If that’s the way you think, I’ll just tell you straight up you’re crazy. Think like that and you will get the chaos you deserve. Voters in Austin just rejected a ballot measure to re-fund the police, even though Oakland, Minneapolis, and other cities have already discovered they needed to do so. The result of defunding the police in Austin is record homicides and a wave of voluntary departures from the police force. Good luck Austin, you’re going to need it.
Thankfully, not everyone has lost their mind. Social justice prosecutors are facing recalls in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in Fairfax and Loudon counties in Virginia. Not everyone thinks destroying the criminal justice system or tolerating the chaos that follows like night follows day are good ideas, nor should they. The social justice experiment in criminal law is a complete failure.