This is the top story from our daily newsletter published on September 18, 2020. To have this and more delivered directly to your inbox scroll down and enter your email or click here to sign up.
The Rise of Three Word Slogans: Grace Hauck of USA Today reports from Chicago that, “The nation’s second-largest county has recorded more homicides this year than in all of 2019, the majority of which – 95% – were people of color.” This is according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office which announced the shocking statistic this week. Hauck notes that “The Windy City – like others across the country – has seen an uptick in violent crimes this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, mass layoffs and nationwide unrest. Murders and shootings are up 52% from the same time last year, according to police data, and dozens of children under 10 years old have been shot, some fatally.” Nationwide, this year is on track to be the deadliest year for gun-related homicides since at least 1999. Here’s what outlets on both sides of the political spectrum think about the horrific increase in homicides:
On the Right: In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Paul Cassell says the “Homicide Stats Show a ‘Minneapolis Effect’“. Pointing to Chicago’s shooting spike above and violence in other cities, Cassell says, “Researchers have identified a ‘structural break’ in homicide numbers, beginning in the last week of May. Trends for most other major crime categories have remained generally stable or moved slightly downward [so] what changed in late May?” Cassell notes that “The antipolice protests that began across the country around May 27 appear to have resulted in a decline in policing directed at gun violence, producing—perhaps unsurprisingly—an increase in shootings.” In Cassell’s opinion, “The sequence of events is straightforward.” He says, “George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis produced demonstrations against the police in major cities from coast to coast. As a result, officers in most cities had to be redeployed from their normal duties to help manage the protests, some of which turned violent. Even as the demonstrations abated, what is commonly called ‘proactive’ policing declined.” In turn, “reports suggest a general reluctance by officers to engage in hot-spot and other enforcement efforts that are most effective in deterring gun violence.” Cassell says a similar phenomenon played out in May 2015 and became known as the “Ferguson Effect” which explained homicide increases in the aftermath of antipolice protests following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., the previous year. Cassell says we are now dealing with a new and deadly “Minneapolis Effect.” In conclusion, Cassell says that his “recent research quantifies the size of this summer’s Minneapolis Effect, estimating that reduced proactive policing resulted in about 710 more homicides and 2,800 more shootings in June and July alone. The victims of these crimes are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic, often living in disadvantaged and low-income neighborhoods.”
On the Left: Josh Campbell of CNN writes that, “both academic researchers and policing experts say identifying a specific reason for the sudden spike in violent crime remains elusive. It could be the result of multiple factors converging as the nation simultaneously grapples with several public safety crises.” With that said, however, Campbell notes that confidence in police could be one piece of the puzzle. According to “Gallup, which released new public opinion polling data, confidence in law enforcement has fallen to the lowest level in 27 years, with just 48% of respondents indicating a positive view of those who wear the badge.” Campbell says, “This year, confidence in police declined among both Black and White participants, but the dip among Black participants was more marked: 19% of Black participants said they had a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in police while 56% of White participants said the same. It’s the largest gap between Black and White respondents Gallup has recorded in the current poll, which questions respondents on 16 institutions.” German Lopez of Vox agrees with both Campbell and Cassell above saying “Lack of trust in police led to more violence” citing the aforementioned “Ferguson effect” in 2015. Lopez also believes, however, that “More guns led to more gun violence,” saying “there’s been a massive surge in gun buying this year, seemingly in response to concerns about personal safety during a pandemic. And as the research has shown time and time again, more guns mean more gun violence.” Additionally, Lopez says that “a bad economy led to more violence. With the economy tanking this year, some people may have been pushed to desperate acts to make ends meet. The bad economy also left local and state governments with less funding for social supports that can keep people out of trouble. All of that, and more, could have contributed to more crime and violence, but this, too, is still very speculative.”
Flag This: The main takeaway both sides seem to agree with is that the spike in homicides is not driven by a single issue. Instead, it’s a blend of many underlying factors that are all related to one-another. One thing that doesn’t seem to be helping is the rise of three word slogans. Both Republicans and Democrats have just started screaming their solutions at the American public via social media. On the right, outlets, commentators and politicians yell: LAW AND ORDER. Meanwhile, certain members of the left demand that we DEFUND THE POLICE. Then we have BLACK LIVES MATTER members butting heads with THIN BLUE LINE supporters. Half the time, three word slogans just lead to the exchange of four letter words and when this type of language starts flying we take five steps backward as a country. That may be one of the many reasons we’re seeing the numbers of homicides increase.