America’s crime pandemic saw a 30% homicide surge in 2020, the biggest in history. Almost 10,000 homicide victims were black — 53% of all victims despite constituting only 13% of the U.S. population. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) Marxists’ program of defunding, demonizing and dismantling the police has emboldened criminals and caused police to pull back.
Joe Biden’s gun violence prevention plan received attention for targeting “rogue” gun dealers instead of the thugs who actually do the shooting. This is nonsense. Of course, anyone engaging in illegal gun sales must be held accountable, but our real problem isn’t guns — it is crime and criminals.
Criminals will always find ways to get their hands on guns — through theft or the black market. The question is how to deter them from using guns to commit crime. Lacking internalized moral values and self-control, criminals are only deterred by knowing that if arrested, consequences will be certain, swift and appropriately severe. Biden’s plan denies this reality.
Less noticed was Biden’s proclamation that “gun violence is a public health crisis,” including his proposal for millions in funding for so-called Community Violence Intervention (CVI). The public health crisis theme was echoed by the Centers for Disease Control. And while the BLM-inspired ballot initiative to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and “reimagine” policing gets headlines; Democrats are using the “public health crisis” ploy to undermine policing across the country. Fifteen major cities are targeted to lay the groundwork.
The “public health” response to violence dismisses the central role of the police, substituting cops with social workers. Enforcement of laws is deemphasized or eliminated. Keeping criminals out of jail is the new priority — working with “at-risk” individuals (drug dealers, gang members, and ex-convicts) seeking “conflict resolution.” Violence is “reimagined” as a disease an individual cannot be held personally responsible for. Instead of telling these men that they are expected to conform to rules of civilized society, obey the law or be held accountable, the message is “it’s not your fault.”
A taxpayer-subsidized social work response to crime is costly, labor intensive and provides an array of therapeutic programs. “Violence interrupters” respond to shootings to “de-escalate conflict” and attempt to broker peace deals between gang members. Many of these “neighborhood change agents” are ex-convicts and former gang members. New York City and San Francisco already hand out cash, attempting to bribe thugs to refrain from shooting people (or at least not get caught).
Cities where CVIs are currently being implemented have experienced staggering increases in violent crime. The chief of police in Oakland, California, declared “crime is out of control” after a 90% increase in homicides. A New Orleans poll revealed 65% of city residents believe their city is unsafe after shootings increased 51%. In Chicago, where $50 million is being budgeted for community violence programs, there have already been 616 homicides and 3,419 people shot this year.
Brandon Scott, Baltimore’s Democrat Mayor, recently announced his Comprehensive Violence Reduction Plan, the first implementation of a total “violence is a public health crisis” crime reduction strategy since Biden’s announcement. This is Baltimore’s third attempt at community violence intervention. Two violence interrupters were murdered during previous failed efforts.
It is important to read the Baltimore plan. The ideology and jargon of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Black Lives Matter themes run throughout and it is hostile to the police. This plan provides an insight to how leftist elites will “reimagine” law enforcement wherever they have the power.
The most diabolical and effective leftist scheme undermining our law and civil order has been the organized takeover of states attorneys offices by radical prosecutors. Funded by leftist billionaire George Soros, these rogue prosecutors subvert the system from within — dismissing thousands of felony cases, failing to charge violent criminals, and arbitrarily refusing to prosecute quality-of-life crime. Their objective to avoid putting offenders in jail makes them perfect partners in Community Violence Intervention programs.
Marilyn Mosby is the Soros-sponsored Baltimore City prosecutor. Since her election in 2015, she has dismissed thousands of felony cases and warrants against violent criminals, drug dealers and gang members. Murder and other violent crime are off the charts. Victims are almost exclusively black.
Mosby refuses to prosecute crimes such as: Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS), attempted distribution of CDS, drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offenses, open alcohol container, urinating and defecating in public and breaking into and theft from vehicles. Baltimore’s Mayor enthusiastically supports the pro-criminal policy and disturbingly, the Police Commissioner is also on board.
The Comprehensive Violence Reduction Plan marginalizes the importance of building the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) and delegitimizes the police, describing BPD as a systemically racist institution. Mimicking South African courts after the overthrow of apartheid, Baltimore incredibly mandates convening a “Truth and Reconciliation Process.” The show trial requires that “…BPD leadership will publicly acknowledge the harm their department has historically inflicted on marginalized communities of color. (And) … acknowledge their historic role in perpetuating structural and institutional racism.”
Baltimore is America’s “heroin capital” with one of the highest opioid overdose death rates. Their plan’s response to the opioid epidemic centers around hoping to open “Safe Injection Sites” for intravenous drug addicts — the government sanctioning of heroin use. Other socialistic aspects of the plan include seeking permanent welfare for residents through a “Guaranteed Income” program.
The Baltimore plan attributes the city’s failings to “systemic and institutional racism.” Mayor Scott has mandated a hunt to identify “policies and practices within the city…that contribute to structural racism.”
A quick glance at Baltimore reveals that the mayor is black, the state’s attorney is black, the police commissioner is black, the fire chief is black, the public schools CEO is black, the president of the city council is black, nine of 13 city council members are black, four of five state senators are black, 10 of 16 state delegates are black and the United States congressman is black. Given the makeup of Baltimore City’s government, most normal people would find it absurd to believe that racist policies and practices run rampant.
But while a hunt to discover systemic racism in a big-city government with these demographics may appear crazy, there is no doubt that they will find racism. The dogma of critical race theory insists that racism is present in every interaction in American society — even in an almost all-black city government.
The root cause of dysfunction in Baltimore and many other Democrat-run cities is not racism, but systemic political corruption, patronage and incompetence. Baltimore has been governed by Democratic mayors for the past 54 years, instituting a culture of corruption. This has resulted in high crime, poverty, welfare dependency, drug addiction and schools offering a Third World-quality education. Despite being among the highest funded per-student, Baltimore City Public Schools are practically the worst performing schools in America. Forty-one percent of high school students are below a 1.0 grade point average.
The “Gun Violence Is a Public Health Crisis” myth is constructed from elements of racist critical race theory and synchronizes with the BLM and leftist elite vision of abolishing the police. If allowed to spread, it will guarantee perpetual crime and violence resulting primarily in more deaths of our black citizens — the lives Democrats sanctimoniously claim to care about.
Maurice Richards is the former Chief of the Martinsburg Police Department in West Virginia. He served as Chief from 2015 to 2020 after a 24-year career in the Chicago Police Department. Richards holds a doctorate in Adult Education from Northern Illinois University. His writing has been featured in The Federalist, The Daily Caller, Human Events, The Hill, and American Greatness.