The waving of a white flag to convey your surrender dates back to the first century AD. Two thousand years later, those in charge of our cities don't wave white flags. However, the messages politicians in some cities are sending out clearly convey defeat.
Some cities in the United States are relatively safe and peaceful. In others, you have just as much chance of being shot as someone living in Afghanistan would.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the disturbingly high number of cities that reported record-breaking numbers of homicides this year. But, of course, many factors go into a city's crime rate. And there are many different strategies leaders and police can deploy to counter crime.
Let's look at a couple of locations experiencing higher crime levels than usual. What strategies are leaders and police using, and why do I say these actions acknowledge defeat.
Los Angeles, California —
The Los Angeles Police Department acknowledges the high level of crime in the city.
Due to an increase in violent street robberies, Robbery-Homicide Division has become aware of an ongoing crime trend of follow-home robberies. Suspects have been locating victims in Los Angeles, following them, and then committing the robberies as the victim arrives home or at their business. … These crimes have occurred throughout the City of Los Angles as well as neighboring cities. Different suspects have been identified and arrested for these types of crimes.
The police department released this bulletin with strategies intended to help those they serve. I've included the entire bulletin; however, I want to highlight one of the strategies mentioned.
If you are being robbed, do not resist the robbery suspects; cooperate and comply with their demands. Be a good witness.
It's one thing for a police department to remind people that vigilanteism is not something they condone. After all, it's unsafe, and the police get to perform that duty. But this isn't what the LAPD is addressing in this post.
The LAPD recommends that always cooperating with the attacker is a strategy for survival. It simply is not valid. Of course, there are situations where compliance is necessary or the wise tactical thing to do.
Do you think any LAPD officers would practice this strategy if they were off duty? I suppose most carry guns off duty and know that they are the first responder in their own or family's defense.
Do you think the Police Chief would advise his daughter to give in and succumb to the attacker's desires if attacked walking home at night?
But is it good advice –
Not a chance. But why would that message be sent out to the public when clearly, officers would not advise their loved ones to do it or even do it themselves? Because it's a defeated mindset.
A blanket statement like that is demoralizing to the citizenry. It tells them they are incapable of self-defense and, therefore, at the will of an increasingly violent city. On a side note, California legislators have pacified and convinced their citizenry to believe that the individual doesn't need nor do they have the right to use a firearm to defend themselves against attackers. So naturally, these types of recommendations are the result.
Additionally, statements like that from the police empower the criminal. Criminals are not always bright, but they know when the police are overwhelmed or do not have the desire to police the city. So if I'm a criminal in Los Angeles, I take that as further proof that the police are incapable of policing, and I'm likely able to rob and assault people without fear of resistance.
Below is the actual Twitter post from LAPD HQ.
We are sharing this community alert in an effort to increase awareness of a series of robberies occurring in the City of Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/mE5vVfCZZo
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 8, 2021
Lincoln Park, Chicago —
To address a surge in violent crimes in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Ward 43 Alderman Michele Smith came up with a strategy. Unfortunately, Smith's plan leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.
Here it is:
If you find yourself in a suspicious situation or witness a crime, blow your whistle. If you hear a whistle, call the police, then move toward the source while blowing your own whistle.
I know. It's too absurd to believe. Like you, I thought, no one could be this out of touch with reality. Thankfully, we have this memorialized in video. So, without further ado, here it is.
Okay, first, we can agree that there are real stories of search parties locating people because of their use of a whistle. As great as that is, I'm not sure it works the same way to deter crime.
The Alderman mentioned that in the 1970s, police implemented a similar program in that same neighborhood. She said it was successful. However, I've done some research. I could not find any documentation stating the program was successful or had any noticeable effect on the crime whatsoever.
Furthermore, except for some college police departments handing them out on campuses, I could find no other police department with active programs such as the one proposed by Smith.
And I think it's important to note that again, these whistle programs are implemented explicitly in locations where the right to defend oneself with a firearm, pepper spray, or other device is against the law.
If we look at it through the lens of reality, imagine what would happen in a busy city neighborhood if someone heard a whistle blown. Some might look and walk away, and some wouldn't pay attention. Some would likely be annoyed with the noise. Some may show up with their cell phone, someone may call the police, and maybe someone would intervene.
But does any of this deter the criminal? Probably not. People are getting shot, stabbed, and raped in broad daylight in front of onlookers. Some called the police, some recorded video, and some walked away.
Police responses are longer due to reduced staff and a change from proactive policing to pure reactionary policing. This is a direct result of the demonization of police and the defunding of departments for social welfare workers.
With more violence, the average citizen, too, is unwilling to get involved. They, too, have been stripped from possessing tools that they could use to defend themself or another. Can you blame them?
My critique isn't to disparage Smith, I don't know her. I'll assume she has a sincere, though deeply flawed, belief that her advice is somehow helpful.
However, a point in the video disturbed me more than anything else. This moment is at 1:27 in the video when Smith addresses whether people should blow their whistle if they are the victim.
She repeats the same mantra about compliance and then says:
Certainly don't blow your whistle at somebody who has a gun pointed at your head.
While making the above statement, she is laughing. Maybe she's laughing because she knows that the entire whistle premise is a joke. On the other hand, perhaps she is just so out of touch with the effects of violence that she doesn't understand what it's like to have a loved one murdered.
I see it as a manifestation of how she really looks at the crime problem and the level of actual importance she places on this issue. People are being murdered in Chicago in obscene numbers. So go out and make some statements and give some free whistles. Tell the people you care, and you're serving them—all along, it's a joke.
I don't really care who you voted for or which political party you are a member of. However, resist any leader or proposed law that tells you that you must ask for permission to defend yourself. These people are demagogues who do not have your best interest in mind.
If you're down to give up your freedoms for some perceived safety, I know where you can get a free whistle.