Saturday, July 21, 2007

Acting Chief Pledges to Fight Violent Crime

That is an actual headline in a Baltimore newspaper. Now I’ll grant you as we work to pass Detroit as the highest murder rate per capita, violent crime is a major topic in Baltimore City. So fighting violent crime is important. But pledging to fight it? I mean come on, was the last Chief not trying to fight it, has everyone else said “Oh violent crime – crap that’s ok I’m worrying about illegal parking and stamping that out.”

If I was being appointed even “acting” chief, I’m going to say that we are going to work on ensuring that we step up the visibility of police in higher crime rate areas to try and prevent crime in the future. But pledging to do your job just seems disingenuous from the jump.

Baltimore City has so many problems and like all major population centers of this type they tend to ignore the bad and focus on what they say the good is in the city. The population of the actual city limits continues to decline, law enforcement has lost the respect of the population and with only one major newspaper that is in cahoots with the leadership of the city; real issues are ignored. Plus the administration of the city has become so corrupt that if we jailed all of the criminals no one would be left to run the city.

As for disrespect of the police department, I believe this problem has become epidemic and spreads across all portions of the population. When I was younger and I got pulled over for having a beer in my car, an officer told me to get rid of it or took it and put it in his car and told me to stop it and go home. Today that would be a cause of action for me against the police officer for stealing, a cause of action for my parents for dereliction of duty against the officer and a lawsuit by MADD against the entire police department. So instead of allowing someone to make a mistake, now an arrest is made and that person is put through the mill and learns about the American legal system. The net result of this is that as all the little offenses are prosecuted by the state, the overall populace begins to have less regard for the system itself. As that distrust permeates people begin to doubt the system as more and more “crimes” are adjudicated against people. The Duke rape case and its egregious actions, make one question any case that comes up before the headlines. Is Michael Vick guilty of anything? Scooter Libby gets a pardon?

Slowly but surely we begin to wonder what value is our system. If illegal immigrant is allowed, then why is that okay, but having marijuana is illegal? What is the greater harm against society – having 15 illegal immigrants work for a pauper’s wage to increase your bottom line and they become a drag on the social welfare system that we all pay for with our taxes; or the guy who gets stoned at his house?

As my thought process tends to do I have left the main point somewhat behind, but still do you feel the same way about the police and have the same respect for them you did when you were younger?

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