California politicians and district attorneys have finally taken notice of the rampant petty crime, violence and vagrancy that — while plaguing cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles for years — has intensified in the wake of a pandemic and liberal governance willing to entertain ideas like defunding police and prosecution reform.
In the absence of leadership from elected officials, the people of these cities have had to deal with lawlessness basically on their own, and they’ve largely accepted it as a part of daily life in one of the richest states in the country.
Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed and city council members have vowed to increase police presence in crime-ridden neighborhoods and increase funding for police departments — after ruthlessly defunding the city’s law enforcement by $120 million in the midst of the George Floyd riots last year. California Attorney General Rob Bonta as well as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom have promised to take steps to combat out-of-control shoplifting — despite doing nothing to overturn California’s no bail law or reverse the reclassification of many petty crimes to misdemeanors.
While politicians blame everyone but themselves for the problem they created, groups of hoodlums have targeted high-end department stores for smash and grab operations. Homeless people live in makeshift cities of refuse and excrement, reviving diseases that we thought were wiped out on this continent decades ago. Thugs follow people home or smash their car windows in the middle of traffic to rob them. People just walk into stores and casually yank items off the shelves and saunter back out again, usually filmed by employees probably too afraid of the perpetrators or their corporate overlords to intervene.
And how have the law-abiding in California reacted to this crime wave? Some have left the state entirely, but many more have simply kept their heads down and trudged on as their home continues to transform into a failed state.
They’ve certainly not demanded a return of the Second Amendment rights so they can protect themselves and their property from criminals.
Some people in the Bay Area have resorted to drastic measures to reduce the damage done by petty crime. They’re leaving the trunks of their SUVs open or their car doors unlocked so that criminals looking to steal from the vehicles don’t smash the windows.
Despite Democrat politicians’ heel-turn on crime in the last few days, the people of California have seemingly given up on justice or law and order — it’s more convenient to let the thieves take what they want rather than do the work and make the sacrifices to uphold some kind of societal standard.
That kind of malaise about basic civilization is troubling if not downright frightening.
We’ve come to expect this way of thinking from the elites of society, who have been steeped in woke ideology for years now at top-tier universities and other major institutions. They’re largely indifferent to the people hurt by inner city crime — that’s why no activist or celebrity ever makes a fuss about the dozens of people shot in Chicago on any given weekend. Why should they care about what happens among the peasants in the undercity?
They are protected by gated communities and private security and have been trained practically since birth to view petty crime as an act of retribution by an oppressed class.
But it’s an important paradigm shift when the people who are most affected by these disastrous policies are seemingly just as blasé about it as their overlords are.
When normal people don’t care about property, laws or even the concept of a civil society where you should be able to enter a store with the reasonable expectation that they won’t be robbed or assaulted, the ties that create a functioning society start to break down. You can’t have a local community that operates that way, let alone a city, state or country.
Many inner city neighborhoods fell prey to this mindset a long time ago. The residents don’t care if there’s trash on the streets, bums in the gutters or petty criminals running wild. It’s somebody else’s problem (more often than not the government’s) or it’s too inconvenient to make the changes to turn things around.
The same sickness that has torn Western Europe apart in recent decades now threatens the deep blue states on the coasts, and, much like everything that starts in the cultural hubs of California and New York, it will most likely spread to the rest of the country in due time.
It’s a sense that Western civilization, and its attendant laws and traditions, is not worth fighting for and that it’s all doomed anyway, so why bother standing up for it?
You can’t have a society if you don’t have law and order as well as an expectation that it will be enforced. Otherwise, it will devolve into a war of all against all — anarchy. But that seems to be where we’re headed in states like California, and the people who will suffer the most, the regular Americans, only seem to be able to shrug their shoulders.
Hayden Daniel is the opinion editor at the Daily Caller.