Tuesday, July 4, 2017

While Celebrating the Greatness of America, Its Freedom and Its Prosperity Take a Look at the Hellhole of Low Income Sections of Baltimore

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 Maryland or the federal government taking the sort of emergency action such a disaster would seem to justify. Instead of bolstering law enforcement in Baltimore and a few other violent cities, including chiefly Chicago, but also St Louis and Milwaukee, 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 America at large.

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 America’s 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, 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 Baltimore solved 30.5% of murders, most of which involved blacks.

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.

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