Argh! Occasionally an article comes a long that is dumb enough that it must be addressed immediately and at length. “How Chicago’s Streets Became the Wild West” published today on the WSJ’s opinion page is one such example. It’s another entry in the Wall Street Journal’s crusade to blame homicide in the US on the Black Lives Matter movement (A crusade they share with the FBI, and the New York Times, who are also trying to push the idea of the “Ferguson Effect”). There are a couple massive problems with this article that would keep it from being published in a real newspaper.
A: There is real suffering in Chicago, and there were more murders in 2015 (488) than there were in 2014 (432). But there were less than there were in 2012 (513) and the numbers are consistently around half of what they were in the 1990s. There are real problems that must be addressed in Chicago, but this idea that the city is going to hell in a bucket is media-driven hogwash. The propaganda value of the article would be de-fanged by any honest look at the figures though, so they are not included.
B: On the topic of those real problems: Mostly because she can’t avoid it, the author of this article mentions the fact that a police superintendent had to resign in 2015 over a video tape of the racist murder of an unarmed black man in 2014. (This isn’t one of the ambiguous ones, an officer is on trial for murder). The author concedes the awfulness of this event, but then goes on to assert that it has nothing to do with the broader culture of the Chicago police department. She then spends the rest of the article whining about the Mayor’s attempts to improve the police department’s culture. The Superintendent’s resignation is a one-off, nothing to see here, the Chicago PD is just being victimized by BLM and those nasty ACLU Social Justice Warriors…
There’s a simple data point here, that kind of destroys her entire argument. In 2007, another Chicago Police Superintendent, Philip J. Cline, had to resign over video-taped police brutality. So two of the last three Chicago police superintendents had to resign over police misconduct. Gawrsh. Maybe the culture of the Chicago police is something that we actually should be looking at. Maybe the Black Lives Matter movement should be praised for raising these issues rather than condemned. Maybe if the Wall Street Journal had any interest in adding to the conversation on urban crime they’d have tried to paint a vaguely accurate picture of Chicago.
Sadly, this isn’t the first WSJ article on this topic and it’s certain that it won’t be the last. The powers that be really want to make the “Ferguson Effect” a thing. If you’re interested I’ve put together a couple videos to combat that effort. The author of this article, Heather MacDonald is the “Ferguson Effect’s” head propagandist. I made a video on her deeply warped view of the world and statistics a couple weeks back. Even if this effect exists, which is nowhere near proven, blaming protesters for this is abjectly amoral, as I pointed out in another video I made last year. I’ve also got a whole playlist on the problem of racial justice in the US, that lays out the problems we should actually be addressing if we’re serious about keeping people safe.