Heather Mac Donald on post-Ferguson policing:
This incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.” Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr Dotson reported. Arrests in St Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.
And Theodore Dalrymple on social work and deservedness:
I called a social worker and made a disastrous mistake in my first sentence. “I have a particularly deserving case,” I said, thinking to arouse her interest and forgetting for a moment that desert in any traditional sense was a concept that had long been banned from the lexicon of social work. Far from arousing her interest, let alone compassion, it aroused her hostility. If I thought a case was particularly deserving, it followed that I must have thought that some cases were relatively or even absolutely undeserving. In short, I was judgmental, that is to say censorious, cruel and Victorian.
The abandonment of distinctions between the unfortunate and the merely verminous is a phenomenon we’ve seen before. As when the Guardian’s Zoe Williams wanted us to believe that the problem with ‘problem families’ is simply that they’re poor, and nothing whatsoever to do with how they choose to abuse their equally poor neighbours. And so attempts to deal with people who repeatedly play loud music at 3am or throw pets from top floor windows are framed as a “demonization of the poor” and “trying to shunt people out of society for not being rich enough.” According to Zoe, we should be “unstigmatising,” which is to say, non-judgmental. A result of which is that empathy, or feigned empathy, is shifted from the working class victim of crime and antisocial behaviour to the working class perpetrator of crime and antisocial behaviour, on grounds that the thug or criminal is in some way being oppressed and, unlike their neighbours, being made to misbehave.
Presumably Ms Williams’ own neighbours have little in common with, say, the delightful Stuart Murgatroyd, a father of twelve who has never worked and boasts an extensive criminal record, not least for robbing the elderly in graveyards, and whose attempt to challenge an antisocial behaviour order was cut short at the very last minute due to him being arrested for assaulting the mother of his children, herself a convicted getaway driver, on the steps of the courthouse. And I suspect our infinitely compassionate Guardianista has yet to experience an all-night eleven-hour rave being hosted next door, which would doubtless give her an opportunity to practise that non-judgmental piety.
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