As a conservative in a sociopolitical moment like this, you either have to have a gallows sense of humor or a controlled ability to channel righteous indignation. If you don’t, you’ll either end up being one of those people who yells at the television while having a hypertensive episode or becoming a right-wing snowflake, curled up in the fetal position on the couch with three bags full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I tend toward gallows humor. Giuliani-era New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is the controlled burn type.
Both of us have had to use these coping skills in order to get through Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction to a spike violent crime in New York City — and the actions of the mayor who got the city there in the first place.
As you’ve probably heard, murders and shootings are up in Gotham of late. We’re not just talking 10 to 15 percent. Last week, shootings in New York City were up 300 percent over the same week in 2019, according to the New York Daily News. In June, The New York Times reported that the first three weeks of the month saw the most shootings in that period since 1996, back in the benighted days when the city was still recovering from crack and David Dinkins, and Times Square resembled nothing so much as an adult website so sleazy you’d ground your kid until he was 35 if you ever caught him browsing it.
AOC’s explanation for this was that people needed to steal bread, which apparently now involves shooting people.
“So why is this uptick in crime happening?” Ocasio-Cortez said during a virtual town hall last week.
“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
Again, being the gallows humor type, I began reflexively belting out “Valjean’s Soliloquy,” “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Master of the House.”
Kerik, however, was a bit less inclined toward the “Les Misérables” bread-stealing jokes and more toward contempt for the Democratic congresswoman.
That’s just as well, because he made better points than I during his appearance Wednesday on Fox Business, where he lambasted Ocasio-Cortez for having “no conception” about how bad the bad old days really were in New York City.
“She’s an immature child,” Kerik said. “You know what? It’s stupid. It’s ignorant. She has no conception what she is talking about.”
“She has no conception of what the crime rates truly are or what they were in the past or where they came from, from 1994 to 2002,” he added, referencing former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s term in office.
During that time, Kerik said, the city “dropped crime by 65 percent and homicide by 70 [percent].”
Giuliani’s administration, for those of you who weren’t around for it (after all, Ocasio-Cortez has to get her votes from somewhere, and presumably they come from people who either don’t remember the turnaround Rudy engineered or merely hold a torch for the “romanticism” of the crime-ridden 1970s Lower East Side), didn’t accomplish this turnaround via defunding the police.
They did it by aggressively policing problem neighborhoods and focusing on quality-of-life crimes — so-called broken windows policing.
Were there problems with this? Of course, and reforms needed to be made.
But what Ocasio-Cortez and her confederates are advocating isn’t so much throwing out the baby with the bathwater; they’re throwing out the baby and telling you the bathwater is Evian. Maybe you just don’t think it’s Evian because of your positionality. When you’re accustomed to the privilege of Evian, the same H20 everyone drinks feels like the oppression of bathwater.
Kerik also blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio, a man who for whom gallows humor is sadly insufficient, given that he has taken a prurient sort of pleasure in cracking down on any sort of religious gathering but throws up his hands whenever he’s tasked with controlling Black Lives Matter protests. Oh, and he wants to defund and degrade the New York Police Department at the same time that he’s trying to stretch them like a man desperate to get a twin fitted sheet on a king-sized bed.
Kerik’s appearance came on the same day that de Blasio signed the NYPD Accountability Package — a suite of reforms that, according to New York City’s official website, will “protect the right of citizens to record police activity, require NYPD transparency on the use of surveillance technologies, establish an online NYPD disciplinary matrix, and ensure all NYPD officers have their shield number and rank designations visible at all times while on the job.”
Forget what’s in the package, though, although it ranges from good ideas to half-baked half-measures designed to appease the mob. This was all about messaging — particularly because it was signed as de Blasio was helping paint a Black Lives Matter mural. All we needed was Taylor Swift covering Rage Against the Machine’s anti-cop screed “Killing in the Name Of” and this would have been peak 2020. I’m guessing this was kind of small stakes for TayTay, however.
“I blame the mayor for emboldening the criminals,” Kerik said. “I honestly believe at this point, especially today in the aftermath of Mayor de Blasio signing this law enforcement accountability package, this guy is a Marxist Trojan horse that has come into New York City in his last year in office and he is going to completely annihilate the city.”
He added that the mayor “handcuffed the cops … from doing the job they have to do. As a result, we’re seeing systemic slaughter of black men and women in the communities of color. And he is not doing a damn thing about it.”
“Marxist Trojan horse” is strong language — or it used to be, considering that “trained Marxist” is actually a thing one of the Black Lives Matter co-founders brags about. (How does that work, anyhow? Do you get a certificate? Or is that just what a degree in the humanities counts as these days?)
And, of course, AOC isn’t even a Marxist Trojan horse. She’s riding atop it, proudly singing “The Internationale.”
De Blasio, meanwhile, is either the Trojan horse type or the kind of individual whose horse has always been empty, doors open, ready for whatever formless movement that’s au courant at NYU or the Village Voice to amble on in.
Then they wonder what New York City will look like. You would think this would be a preview. But no, they say — it’s going to look so much different!
“When people ask me, ‘What does a world where we defund the police look like?’ I tell them it looks like a suburb,” Ocasio-Cortez said during her virtual town hall.
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
Of course it will. AOC is thoroughly ensconced inside the Beltway now, so she can afford to live in the sort of gated community where these problems aren’t just kept at arm’s length, the arm holding is kept at arm’s length, too.
As for you? Um, you who?
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