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Burglary is Not a Non-Violent Crime: In Oakland, It Isn’t Even a Crime

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Well, OK, that’s not exactly true. But in July, Oakland police announced that, due to budget problems, police will no longer respond to a long list of crimes, including residential burglary where the home invaders are unknown.

I’m sure it didn’t help that the city had to spend so much money responding to the recent liberation of sports shoes and consumer electronics in the name of Oscar Grant.

Shoe Locker Looter Wearing an Oscar Grant Mask

That’s a lot of money that could be spent on doing things like protecting people’s property, going instead to prevent protesters from destroying even more Mom and Pop franchises and delis and phone kiosks and other symbols of oppression.

Maybe there should be an enhanced penalty for premeditated rioting.

Meanwhile, want to train to become a burglar?  Move to Oakland.  Though I don’t recommend living there, because home insurance rates are about to shoot up.  For everyone, of course, not just burglars and looters.  Funny how that works.

I spent way too much time yesterday fruitlessly searching for a comment I’d seen on a police blog, one that perfectly sums up the dangers of lowering the bar on criminal behavior this way.  The commenter, a cop himself, was writing about the war on cops.  He pointed out that virtually every cop killer has repeatedly cycled through the court system, learning along the way that he could get away with practically anything.

Even more troubling, the widespread belief that so-called non-violent crimes like drug trafficking and residential burglary don’t merit prison terms is creating a generation of criminals who not only have no fear of consequences but actually feel entitled to commit crimes.  Whenever they find naive people to support them in their belief in these “rights,” they also feel more entitled to direct their resentment and rage at symbols of law enforcement, namely cops.

We should not underestimate the perniciousness of reinforcing the notion that it is “unjust” to punish people for things like breaking into other people’s houses.

Oakland has actually codified that mindset.

These trends are especially dangerous for women. Back when Georgia was implementing its DNA database by collecting DNA from all felons, not just sex offenders, something really shocking showed up in the first few hundred “hits” (where a felon’s sample matched previously unsolved crimes).  Many men who only had prior records for burglary or drugs or aggravated assault were identified as rapists in stranger rapes that had gone unsolved.

That begs a few questions, questions which, sadly, law professors and criminologists are utterly disinterested in asking.  Too bad, because they’re extremely relevant in the ongoing debate about prosecuting or not prosecuting certain crimes and how we choose to spend our shrinking justice budgets.

For example, how many of these men were previously caught committing rapes but were granted non-sex offense pleas by money-conscious prosecutors who didn’t think they could get rape charges to stick?  In one of his several trips to prison, my own rapist got more time for resisting arrest and B&E than for sexually assaulting another victim — more time for breaking into a window than a woman’s body — thanks to one such money-saving plea.  I’ve got a file cabinet stuffed with other examples of serial rapists — and serial killers — given multiple chances to rape and kill, thanks to routine, money-saving courtroom shortcuts.

They don’t call them “bargains” for nothing.  These types of offenders also now have enhanced abilities to do pre-assault dry runs in Oakland and other places that are ratcheting back law enforcement.

Now, with less enforcement of these lesser crimes, more serious offenders stand to get away with even higher quantities of violent crime.  A sex offender operating in Oakland can rest confident knowing that the police won’t be showing up to investigate his fishing expeditions.  Does anybody believe the that the tiny fraction of burglars who end up in a courtroom in Oakland won’t benefit from the downgrading of this crime?

And what is happening in Oakland is the future for everyone, the logical consequence of decades of pricing justice out of reach — for us non-offenders, that is.  We spend so much on largely useless “rehabilitation” and frivolous appeals that there is no money left to actually enforce the law.  This is how violent recidivists are made, and how cops get killed, and why the rest of us are forced to spend more and more of our money insuring our lives and looking over our shoulders.

In the 1990′s, elected officials were able to turn New York City around by doing precisely the opposite of what Oakland is doing today.  Expect opposite results, as well.

Québécois Anarcho-Buffoons and the Tediousness of G-8 Rioting

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Remember when sticking daisies in riot policemen’s guns used to at least be, you know, original?

Vietnam War Protesters, 1967 (Bernie Boston)

Could all that “postmodern irony” actually just be “laziness”?

Toronto G8 Protests, 2010

And am I the only one who thinks this guy should be waving a rolled-up copy of Captain Marvel, instead?

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Of course, there isn’t anything particularly funny about forcing Canadian taxpayers to pony up 1.2 billion dollars so that super-hip anarchists in trendy riot-wear can make social statements like this one:

Anarchist Liberates Name-Brand Consumer Electronics

Or this:

Anarchist Teaches Chicken Fascists Who’s Boss

Just in case you’ve forgotten the unique funk of filthy hippies, here’s a picture that will bring it all back:

Dried Sweat, Old Patchouli, Dirty Toes, Clove Ciggies?

At least his mother doesn’t have to worry about him ending up in the hospital wearing dirty underwear.

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Of course, the police in Toronto are taking heat from the Left for being, you know, fascist defenders of Starbucks, family-owned chicken places, phone sales kiosks, and the multinational leadership of the G8 (though I imagine not one in ten protesters could explain precisely why they pitch these G-8 tantrums).

And the cops are also taking heat from the Right for failing to prevent the torching of police cars and looting.

But what the heck are they supposed to do?  Nobody should be criticizing the police.  All responsibility lies with the Québécois anarcho-buffoons who planned and incited the violence, risking police lives — while the police struggled to protect the protesters’ safety.  Talk about insult to injury.  We’ve tied police hands with citizen’s reviews, and threats of lawsuits, and irresponsible media accusations, and this is the consequence: Mom and pop fried chicken, you’re out of luck.

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I don’t know why they bother to hold G-8 events in cities with lots of vulnerable storefronts and lots of local anarcho-political types whose personal life choices demand hip shopping districts and vegan restaurants for chilling out in after a long day of showing up The Man.

Why encourage the protesters by making it easy to take to the streets and be home in time for lattes and clubbing?  Most “anarchists” who show up at these things don’t have the attention span to travel long distances, especially when the destination is extremely un-hip.

Remember when they held the G-8 on Sea Island, off the Georgia coast, near St. Simons Island and the sleepy shore town of Brunswick, GA?

Remember how 200,000 protesters were expected, and some 300 perplexed and sweaty anarchos actually woke up early enough to get there, only to be greeted by disinterested locals and crabby reporters who’d had to start the day without their Starbucks, because there are no Starbucks to loot in Brunswick?

Remember how the handful of protesters resorted to beating up a cameramen because there was literally nobody else around?

Brunswick, Georgia, 2004.  Behind This Tiny Meleé: Nothing.

I lived in St. Simons Island for a little more than a year.  So I can say with some authority that the protesters were absolutely correct when they whined that the G-8 organizers had outwitted them by holding the conference on an inaccessible island near a humongous federal law enforcement training center, surrounded by unbearably humid, mosquito-and-alligator infested marshes.

Yes, they did.  Outwit them.

So, for the sake of municipal budgeting and police sanity, why not pick similar places for future G-8s?  How about Crawford, Texas, where President Bush has his ranch and town-people are experienced in hosting the media while ignoring screeching loonies?

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Meanwhile, nobody ought to waste a single breath critiquing police response at the G-8 riots in Toronto or the Lakers riots in Los Angeles last week.  Hands tied firmly behind their backs, the police did what they could do to minimize and contain hordes of violent thugs acting out with premeditated violence — while the protesters and the media shoot pictures of each other and point fingers at the police the moment anyone gets hurt.

G-8 Protests, 2009:  A Hundred Pictures Worth a Single Word