Michael Goodwin: Crime is now America's public enemy No. 1


On the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder this week, it is beyond dispute that the case sparked new appraisals of race relations and policing. It is also beyond dispute that the protests and unchecked riots that followed Floyd’s death sparked an epidemic of crime that continues to engulf American cities. 

The statistics are familiar, yet still shocking. The nearly 20,000 gun-related homicides last year were the most in decades, and one researcher found that 51 of the 57 largest cities saw increases. New York’s body count was up by nearly 40 percent. 

Violent crime soared by a reported 74 percent in Seattle, 55 percent in Chicago and 54 percent in Boston. This year is on pace to be far worse, signaling that 2020 wasn’t an outlier so much as the start of a deadly new trend. 

From sea to shining sea, America is witnessing the breakdown of public order and safety. Unfortunately, recent days brought a new dimension to that breakdown — the incidents of anti-Semitism roiling New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. 

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It is not a coincidence that the same places where violence and murder are soaring are the same places where it is not safe for Jews to display their religion in public. The ancient hatred has come out of hiding and piggy-backed on the collapse of public order to bare its fangs. 

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying that a bullet has no friend when it leaves the gun. The same can be said about hate and wrongdoing, which respect no borders once they are unleashed. 

So while President Biden, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio rightly condemn the vicious attacks against Jews, they also share blame for the general lawlessness that is inseparable from the explosion of hate crimes. 

They knew what had to be done a year ago, and refused to do it. They made excuses for the random violence and looting, refused even to call it what it was and now are shocked, shocked to discover that absolutely everything is spinning out of control. 

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The left’s attacks on law enforcement after the Floyd murder and the decision by most of the political class to run for cover spawned an era of anything goes. 

Big Tech, which rushes to block conservative speech, moves slowly if at all to block anti-Semitism, allowing both Louis Farrakhan and Ayatollah Khamenei to spew their bile unmolested. 

The hatefest cycle started with unprovoked attacks on Asian-Americans following the China origin of the coronavirus, often by the mentally ill. Now, following the Gaza-Israeli war, Jews are being targeted for the offense of wearing a yarmulke or waving an Israeli flag. 

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Democrats always want to make America more like Europe and we are getting close in the worst way. Eight decades after the Holocaust, the overt anti-Semitism in France has driven many Jews to Israel or the U.S. 

And now the disease has followed them here, given license by the Jew-hating rhetoric of congressional Dems, especially Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. They hold the distinction of having silenced Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has lost his voice just when it is needed most. 

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A charitable way of looking at these developments is to say America has conducted an unplanned experiment on human nature in the last year. First we demonized the cops, talked about defunding them and even the cities that didn’t do that handcuffed them. 

Another part of the experiment has prosecutors, politicians and judges, their hearts bleeding with social justice demands, setting the accused free and emptying prisons. 

The results are in, and they are grim. It turns out that human nature, when it fears no consequences, is emboldened in savage ways. 

As for the cops, they are retiring in record numbers. Given how even the best of them are being sacrificed on the altar of social justice and political expediency, it is remarkable that so many ordinary men and women continue to do such heroic and extraordinary work. 

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For New Yorkers, the mushrooming crisis of crime and disorder pushes the stakes even higher in next month’s Democratic mayoral primary. The winner will almost certainly prevail in the general election, and inherit the whirlwind next Jan. 1. 

Eric Adams, a leading candidate, is an ex-cop who has talked most clearly about the need to restore law and order while also promising equal-handed enforcement. For that reason, I intend to vote for him, yet there is so much time between now and the inaugural that, at this rate, the city will have fallen deeper into the dystopian abyss. 

Certainly there is no reason to believe de Blasio has any interest in beginning the turn-around during his remaining months. His search for his next job will consist only of progressive prattle and, like his entire tenure, actual governing will be an afterthought. 

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Similarly, Biden takes his orders from the far left and Cuomo and the Legislature have turned their backs on the mayhem they helped produce. 

The upshot is that, despite its bloody and predictable failure, the city’s experiment in human nature will continue into the new year. The results are already spoken for: there will be many more victims of crime and hate.

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