Houston politician & salesman illustrate why crime cannot be problem locally or nationally.
State Senator John Whitmire, Furniture salesman Jim McIngvale, & Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious show an unexplained ignorance or disingenuousness about crime.
Back in July, three prominent Houstonians wrote an opinion piece in which they blamed the Harris County Commissioners Court for not doing enough to solve the crime problem in Houston. To be clear, crime increased all over the country during the pandemic. There are likely various reasons, including people being locked in, pandemic fatigue, frustration, depression, and poverty, among many others.
State Senator John Whitmire, Furniture salesman Jim McIngvale, & Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious showed an unexplained ignorance or disingenuousness about crime in their opinion piece. One could easily conclude that these people were writing an orchestrated hit piece against Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo for attempting to solve the crime issue, not in the manner it was always done but at the source of the problem.
The hyperbolic first paragraph of the op-ed defies reality.
At the first ever “State of Public Safety” event in Houston last month, a bipartisan group of our region’s top law enforcement leaders joined with Crime Stoppers of Houston, other nonprofit groups and, most importantly, the families of crime victims, to “enhance” efforts to address the crime epidemic that is devastating businesses and families and destroying too many lives in southeast Texas.
Even the mere act of our standing together, people from different backgrounds and of diverse political persuasions, showed that it is possible to find common ground and unity of purpose when it comes to the most fundamental issue in any community: public safety.
It is true that crime in the entire country has been up since 2019, but it is on the decline, if slowly now. To state that it is at an “epidemic” level that is “devastating business” is simply a lie. Crime is epidemic and devastating for anyone that is a victim of crime. That is understandable. But the absolute vast majority of Houstonians, Texans, and Americans will never be touched by crime. So why the fear tactics? Why is the media suddenly highlighting crime in a disingenuous manner that, in the aggregate, does not affect substantially more people? You guessed it, profits for the few.
We can always find a way to make a profit from the bodies of the working class. The article points out the following.
First, we must come together in acknowledging that crime grew dramatically between 2020 and 2021, with only some small decreases in the past year. We cannot solve a problem if we are unwilling to accept that a problem exists. Put simply, crime is too high. Using data from the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Crime Stoppers compared January to May of 2022 with the same months in 2020 and 2021 for a mid-year crime report. We found the following changes:
· 36 percent increase in firearm-related offenses
· 24 percent increase in homicides
· 11 percent increase in aggravated assaults
Notice that these purported leaders refuse to identify the most obvious solution to the problem. Our Republican state legislature unloaded guns onto the streets of Texas. Virtually everyone has access to guns now. So if one gets temporarily uncontrollably angry, the availability of that profit-driven-politically-incentivized-gun easily adds a few points to our gun violence and murder rates. But they did not address that reality.
A few days ago. a Florida man got upset with his neighbor in the condo’s laundry room. He argued, got mad, then shot his neighbor dead. As the wife came running to console her dying husband, the neighbor shot her dead too. He then walked to his unit and told his wife, “Call the police; I just shot Henry and Ginger." This is another increase in gun violence and homicide directly attributed to gun policies. Another jail cell, trial, and mouth for the state to feed for decades. There are stories behind the crime increase, and unless one chooses to do the intelligent thing and understand causality, brute-force trogloditic solutions are not the answer.
The willfully naive op-ed writers wrote the following.
Before any criminal commits a crime, they weigh the risks. Our law enforcement leaders told us that criminals in our area today are emboldened because they know our justice system is broken. They know our law enforcement agencies are stretched thin. They know cases are backed up, and if they have four, or five, or six charges pending against them they can plead down to one. They know current punishments are lenient.
Have these guys ever had a heart-to-heart with a perpetrator of these crimes? Most of these crimes are opportunistic. To believe that they sit down and calculate anything about getting caught is a joke. For many, jail represents a warm meal and a fairly comfortable place to sleep. Most importantly, they are not betting on getting caught.
The solution is not at all complex. The problem is that it makes little money for the privateers. You see, locking criminals up is not the complete answer. After all, they are not in jail forever. It costs a lot to house them. And they leave better criminals since, as a society, we invest little in real rehabilitation.
Putting more boots on the ground is not the answer, as it just creates better criminals as they figure out better ways to evade. Worse, when taxpayers decide they want reductions, the enhanced criminals are ready to pounce.
One must solve these problems at the core. We must lift people out of poverty. We must have support for reliable, safe childcare for working parents. We must ensure family incomes are sufficient to allow a family unit to thrive.
We can choose to invest our monies in jails, police, lawyers, and prosecutors. Or we can believe in real family values and provide help to families that will ultimately allow them to thrive. A thriving family reduces crimes. The policy advocated that those who purport to believe in law and order will continue to fail. Doing the same thing the same way over and over again is insanity. Unfortunately, for too many politicians and business leaders, that is a choice they are willing to make as they pad their pockets with blood money.
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"So why the fear tactics?"
It is the only issue they can manufacture and it is supported by the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of local news.