Paying the Price for Recklessness in Baltimore

By Thomas Sowell

Baltimore Riots 2015
Baltimore Riots 2015

Thomas Sowell

California -( Baltimore is now paying the price for irresponsible words and actions, not only by young thugs in the streets, but also by its mayor and the state prosecutor, both of whom threw the police to the wolves, in order to curry favor with local voters.

Now murders in Baltimore in May have been more than double what they were in May last year, and higher than in any May in the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, the number of arrests is down by more than 50 percent.

Various other communities across the country are experiencing very similar explosions of crime and reductions of arrests, in the wake of anti-police mob rampages from coast to coast that the media sanitize as “protests.”

None of this should be surprising. In her carefully researched 2010 book, “Are Cops Racist?” Heather Mac Donald pointed out that, after anti-police campaigns, cops tended to do less policing and criminals tended to commit more crimes.

If all this has been known for years, why do the same mistakes keep getting made?

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chats it up with comrade & race baiter Rev. Al Sharpton
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chats it up with comrade & race baiter Rev. Al Sharpton

Mainly because it is not a mistake for those people who are looking out for their own political careers. Critics who accuse the mayor of Baltimore and the Maryland prosecutor of incompetence, for their irresponsible words and actions, are ignoring the possibility that these two elected officials are protecting and promoting their own chances of remaining in office or of moving on up to higher offices.

Racial demagoguery gains votes for politicians, money for race hustling lawyers and a combination of money, power and notoriety for armies of professional activists, ideologues and shakedown artists.

So let's not be so quick to say that people are incompetent when they say things that make no sense to us. Attacking the police makes sense in terms of politicians' personal interests, and often in terms of the media's personal interests or ideological leanings, even if what they say bears little or no resemblance to the facts.

Of course, all these benefits have costs. There is no free lunch. But the costs are paid by others, including men, women and children who are paying with their lives in ghettos around the country, as politicians think of ever more ways they can restrict or scapegoat the police.

The Obama administration's Department of Justice has been leading the charge, when it comes to presuming the police to be guilty — not only until proven innocent, but even after grand juries have gone over all the facts and acquitted the police.

Not only Attorney General Holder, but President Obama himself, has repeatedly come out with public statements against the police in racial cases, long before the full facts were known.

Nor have they confined their intervention to inflammatory words.

The Department of Justice has threatened various local police departments with lawsuits unless they adopt the federal government's ideas about how police work should be done.

The high cost of lawsuits virtually guarantees that the local police department is going to have to settle the case by bowing to the Justice Department's demands — not on the merits, but because the federal government has a lot more money than a local police department, and can litigate the case until the local police department runs out of the money needed to do their work.

By and large, what the federal government imposes on local police departments may be summarized as kinder, gentler policing. This is not a new idea, nor an idea that has not been tested in practice.

It was tested in New York under Mayor David Dinkins more than 20 years ago. The opposite approach was also tested when Dinkins was succeeded as mayor by Rudolph Giuliani, who imposed tough policing policies — which brought the murder rate down to a fraction of what it had been under Dinkins.

Unfortunately, when some people experience years of safety, they assume that means that there are no dangers. That is why New York's current mayor is moving back in the direction of Mayor Dinkins. It is also the politically expedient thing to do.

And innocent men, women and children — most of them black — will pay with their lives in New York, as they have in Baltimore and elsewhere.

About Thomas Sowell:

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, as well as a prolific author including Black Rednecks And White Liberals. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read his articles visit his website above.

  • 12 thoughts on “Paying the Price for Recklessness in Baltimore

    1. As the 70’s emerged, we allowed to develop a society wherein parents accepted from “experts” this pile of refuse about never spanking their children. Schools followed this “tolerance” concept, and society adopted this idea that it was incorrect to say that anything was wrong. Here is a news alert… There ARE actions that ARE wrong and should be quickly punished or it emboldens others to act the same way. However, when a high profile person steps up to a news conference and says, “I accept full responsibility for my actions.” what they are really saying is, “I have admitted I did it and I see no reason why we all can’t just forget this happened,”. In other words, the judicial system only applies to other people not me. But it doesn’t stop there. A man gets stopped for speeding. He either says to the officer or to his wife when he gets home, “All the real criminals around and you waste your time stopping me?” Again, go apply the laws to someone else, not to me. Our system is broken because no one wants to say anything is wrong or really accept responsibility for their actions.

    2. Mr. Sowell has a way of seeing the truth behind the screaming and hollering or in these cases the rioting and murders.
      When will (if ever) minorities see through the liberal politicans that they elect continue to use them to advance their personal financial and or political gain/s?
      The country is in the worst shape that I have seen in 70 plus years. Wake up people!

    3. I know conspiracy theories abound, but some of them probably contain elements of the truth. Why is the Federal government trying to take over? There are sure to be some reasons, and most I can think of are bad! I imagine the Homeland Security taking-over all of the police forces and perhaps the National Guards.
      I believe we might be on the verge of martial law, then what will the President and his crew do?

    4. The people of Baltimore are getting exactly what they deserve. You elected ignorant incompetent racists as mayor and prosecutor who choose to appease thugs rather than protect the populace. I hope the thugs destroy your entire damned city.

    5. I was horrified when the President gave up the police to the public. Sure, there are some bad apples out there, but 99.9% of them are out there defending us from the criminals that we repeatedly let go. So thank you to all the honest cops out there risking their lives for me! I do not know you, but I respect you, and REALLY appreciate you.
      Boston should be the example to all of us for what ensues when anarchy rules. Let the citizens arm themselves so that they can protect themselves in public, else they are just game waiting to be harvested by the criminals.

      1. Well said George! It is good to read a post where the writer is using facts and telling the truth.

      2. Thanks George, and you’re right. Regardless of what the media pounds out, the vast majority of cops are doing the right thing.

    6. Always interesting to me how the media works. As one of many recent examples a white cop defends self against a 19 year old attacker who happens to be black and the news goes black “unarmed child or teenager killed by white cop.” Mention ALWAYS made of the attackers race and the race of the cop(s). Yet…

      Two cops assassinated by black guy or a white family is murdered by a black guy and the story says “Cops or family murdered.” No mention of the killer’s race or that of the victims.–always interesting to me…

    7. This just goes to show that the present policing model doesn’t work. Let’s call it security socialism & we all know that socialism doesn’t work. We need to move away from the idea that the govt should provide security to one of private security, militias, & community groups doing so.

    8. Better not be any Federal money going to Baltimore to rebuild after the riots . That mayor told the cops to pull back and let them , so she should bare the cost of rebuilding not the rest of America. She should be named in all lawsuits as she allowed the riots to happen.

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