Trying to get policy right is a humbling experience. Sometimes you get it right, are way off base, or some parts right and trip on others. My Predicting a decline in public safety, especially in some significant cities after the Ferguson riots, is sadly proving true every day. On the other hand, while I am generally right about the lockdown disasters, I was off-base on the vaccines.
Politicians’ failure to stand firmly behind Ferguson, Mo. officer Darren Wilson when he had to shoot the attacking Michael Brown set off a chain of events diminishing public safety. At the time, I predicted dire consequences. Unfortunately, they came to pass.
No matter how justified the shooting, the message is a white officer who shot a black is in a world of hurt. Darren Wilson left the police force and hasn’t been heard from since. Much of Ferguson was destroyed and has never recovered. Michael Brown’s parents pocketed a $1.5 million settlement, even though a grand jury and the Justice Department never found fault with Wilson’s actions.
Demanding police reform, meaning the police should look like the communities policed. This policy meant hiring and promoting more minorities. Increased oversight and clamoring for the removal of qualified immunity protecting officers from being sued personally swept across the nation.
As I forecasted, people on the force or contemplating joining had second thoughts. Why risk your life or pension on a split-second decision? Even if your actions are correct, you could still lose big time.
The result is that experienced officers are retiring at record rates. Highly qualified recruits have better options and go elsewhere. Others with solid records are hired away from crime-ridden cities by safer, supportive towns and cities.
Now the cities that desperately need good policing are understaffed and less proficient. This situation forced many cities to lower their standards. It was only a matter of time before disaster struck.
In Memphis, a young man’s beating death resulted in charging five police officers of the same race as the victim with murder. By all reports, poor quality and supervision led to this consequence.
Every profession has bad apples, and we should aggressively eliminate them. However, forgetting to value the mass of good ones destroys many of our cities. Once you demonize those you need, how do you get them or others like them back? You can’t say I didn’t warn you. Memphis was so predictable.
In my next post, I’ll tackle the Covid Vaccines.