While President Biden and local officials keep talking about causes for the rise in crime in our major cities, proposing “solutions” that have failed in the past, like former President Bill Clinton’s Midnight Basketball idea, the real reason for its escalation is deeper than what we see on the surface.
The president’s proposals delivered in New York City last week are more window dressing. As with similar ideas in the past, Biden’s will do little to reduce crime. He talked about “gun violence” and hiring people to conduct “violence intervention” and predictably, more spending. His purpose seems aimed at duping the public into believing he’s serious about reducing violent crime, which has risen substantially on his watch.
It is not all, or even mainly, the president’s fault, though he contributes to the problem by his indifference to the massive lawbreaking at our southern border. Since the tumultuous ’60s, we have been reaping a moral whirlwind.
Elections are not the only things that have consequences. So does a failure to teach right from wrong and excusing or rationalizing misbehavior, instead of holding lawbreakers accountable and imposing penalties. Studies have shown that absent fathers contribute to undisciplined youth.
The notion of wrongdoers getting their “just deserts” has also faded from our culture. Criminals are now regarded by too many progressives as victims of racism and social inequalities. This doesn’t explain why an overwhelming majority of those who live in poverty or are the product of diverse communities are law abiding.
Failure to teach right from wrong and discipline children contributes to violations of moral and secular law. Schools that focus on buzzwords like “equity, equality and diversity” while ignoring the imposition of a shared moral code (is there such a thing today?) have contributed to the chaos that has made many streets unsafe. Police officers who are tasked with enforcing the law are now the targets of lawbreakers. Their morale has declined. They make arrests only to find that the criminals are put back on the streets to re-offend, thanks in part to lax laws, and progressive judges and district attorneys.
People don’t automatically learn manners, they don’t acquire respect for the law, or value the lives and property of others. They must be taught and punished when they disobey, or some can be counted on to think there are no restraints for bad choices. Life is cheap, as more than 60 million legal abortions performed in the U.S. since 1973 testifies. Some who feel cheated in life apparently believe the property of others rightly belongs to them.
All decisions about behavior begin in the heart. If we don’t train people to abide by standards that are best for themselves and the country, many will choose another path that leads them to gangs, drug dealers and a life of crime.
Few wish to stand for what is right in contemporary society because they fear condemnation from people and “groups” that will tag them with negative labels. If we don’t like the direction in which we are headed, it is time to yell “stop,” then turn around and take a different road. The one we are now on will lead to our destruction.
The late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen correctly forecast in the mid-20th century what was to come when he said: “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
Crime is first a moral issue. Failure to address it on that level ensures it will only get worse.