“When people ask me, ‘What does a world where we defund the police … look like?’ I tell them it looks like a suburb.”
That was New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking at a virtual town hall on Thursday. The city she represents — one in which police are actively in the process of being defunded to the tune of $1 billion, and with an already overstretched police force — hasn’t quite looked suburban in the interim.
On Monday, Davell Gardner Jr., a 1-year-old shot in the abdomen at a barbecue in a Brooklyn park the night before, died at Maimonides Medical Center, ABC News reported. He was in his stroller when the fatal bullet struck him, according to The New York Times.
“The baby, in addition to three men, was shot around 11:35 p.m. Sunday in front of Raymond Bush Playground at Madison Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, police sources said,” the New York Post reported Monday.
“As many as three suspects drove up in a dark SUV and parked in front of the victims. They hopped out of the vehicle and opened fire, sources said.”
What was Ocasio-Cortez’s reason for this? Well, obviously, people need to eat, so they’re shooting other people.
“So why is this uptick in crime happening?” Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday.
“Well, let’s think about it. Do we think this has to do with the fact there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession?
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent, and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money, so you maybe have to, they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night.”
AOC on increased NYC crime: “Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don’t have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.” pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
The problem with her very Jean Valjean reading of our current criminal ills is that the data doesn’t bear that out.
Property crime is down in most major cities, according to The Times. What’s up in many of those cities is murder.
New York City in particular has seen a spike in the sort of gun violence that led to Gardner’s tragic death.
The same day Gardner died, six people were shot in one hour in the same NYC borough.
“We had one female, 23 years old, that was shot four times in the chest. … Ten minutes later at 6:31, 2105 Rockaway Parkway, we had three males shot,” New York City Police Department Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said, according to WCBS-TV.
“Two minutes later right behind me at 6:33 p.m., we had one male being accompanied by female that was on scooter that was shot one time in his back.”
At the risk of sounding glib, these aren’t the actions of men who, upon stealing a loaf of bread and then violating their parole, are pursued by Javert across the five boroughs.
This was, according to The Wall Street Journal, the second straight weekend the city had seen a rise in gun violence. The New York Daily News reported Sunday the city had 43 shootings in the last week, up 300 percent from the same period last year.
In June, The Times reported this: “It has been nearly a quarter century since New York City experienced as much gun violence in the month of June as it has seen this year.
“The city logged 125 shootings in the first three weeks of the month, more than double the number recorded over the same period last year, police data show. Gunmen opened fire during house parties, barbecues and dice games, and carried out coldly calculated street executions.”
Rep. AOC: “When people ask me ‘What does a world where we defund the police look like?’, I tell them it looks like a suburb.” pic.twitter.com/yibEt18S38
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
So do cities with defunded police really look like suburbs?
While her answers on these issues were more of a scattershot melange of bullet points in no particular order, there was a moment of frightening tin-earedness that emphasized the difference between the prolier-than-thou AOC and those she serves.
“I don’t have a police detail because I don’t want that outside of my apartment door every day. That doesn’t make me feel safe. That doesn’t make me feel secure,” she said. “I don’t want to live my life that way. And so I don’t.”
That may be true, but Davell Gardner Jr. might have been a bit safer with the NYPD around.
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