The Economist Writes on Horrific Crime and Living Conditions
That Americans take pride in their nation is a good thing, mostly. But sometimes that pride makes Americans disregard the problems. And in
Baltimore those problems, as described in a detailed
analysis by The Economist belie the argument that America is the greatest.
Crime and murder in
America is in a steep decline. But not everywhere. Chicago’s
problems are well known. No so Baltimore’s.
A 50-minute drive from Washington, DC, black men aged 15 to 29 are as likely to die violently as American soldiers were in Iraq at the height of its Baathist insurgency. Yet there is no sign of
or the federal
government taking the sort of emergency action such a disaster would seem to
justify. Instead of bolstering law enforcement in Maryland Baltimore
and a few other violent cities, including chiefly Chicago,
but also St Louis and , Jeff Sessions, the attorney-general,
has tried unsuccessfully to row back a modest federal-government intervention
devised by his Democratic predecessor. Meanwhile he has used the violence in
those places to misrepresent the much more pacific state of Milwaukee at
Ugly white racism allows neglect, the problem gets little attention because, you know, it’s ‘those people’.
Criminologists have for decades argued about what makes young black men so much likelier to commit murder than young men of other ethnicities. The answer lies in some combination of poverty, family instability, epidemics of drug use in the wretched inner-city districts into which many blacks were corralled by racist housing policies, and bad, or non-existent, policing. The last of these, which may be the most important, extends far beyond occasional instances of police brutality. In
overtly racist past, the killers of black Americans were less likely to be
caught than the killers of whites because black lives were valued less. These
days, inadequate resources, recruitment and training of inner-city police
officers are bigger problems. Yet the outcome is the same. In the 1930s, America Mississippi solved 30% of black murders; in the early
1990s, Los Angeles County, then in the grip of a violent crack-cocaine
epidemic, solved 36%; in 2015 the police in solved 30.5% of murders, most of
which involved blacks. Baltimore
This can be fixed. But it will take government willing to spend money and make an effort. But don’t expect that soon, if at all. It would be nice just to blame Trump, but current government, both federal, state and local is not up to the task, nor even willing to acknowledge and tackle the problem. A sad picture of a part of
America that is
a killing field in the middle of peace, progress and prosperity.