William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






THE FRAUDS – AT 8:40 A.M. ET:  The nation has mourned for three days now, following the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut.  I hate to sound cynical, but I'm sure there are many politicians looking at their watches, wondering when we can get back to the really important issues like pork for their congressional districts or a hurricane-relief slush fund to be used badly in their cities.

It angers me that after each one of these tragedies we have a brief period of "soul-searching," which then ends on a quick schedule.  It angers me that, during this supposedly philosophical time, not a single good proposal for reducing the violence is made, or at least heard. 

Oh yes, there has been one.  A few brave souls have meekly suggested that, as we search for more permanent answers, it might not be a bad idea to find the funds for trained, armed guards at schools.  You know, those people we see at banks?  And, oh yes, those people on some airliners called sky marshals?

But for the fashionable leftists who dominate these debates, even tentative steps like that don't fit political needs.  Remember, many of the people coming forward with their brilliant replies to Newtown are the very same people who, for half a century in our country, proposed not a single practical answer to the epidemic of violent crime that cursed, and in some cases continues to curse, our large cities.

We in our region recall how, in the late eighties, more than 2,000 people a year were murdered in New York City.  Then Rudy Giuliani became mayor and instituted a modern crime-control program that revolutionized the field; and he was succeeded by Mike Bloomberg, who, despite other eccentricities, continued Rudy's anti-crime policies.  The annual number of murders in New York during the Giuliani/Bloomberg period has been reduced about 75% to 80%.  It is a spectacular record.

Notice how few people even refer to New York's success when gun violence erupts. 

One would think the first question we would ask would be, "What works?"  But we usually ask, "What works that's politically correct?"  That is one of the reasons we have such trouble solving these painful problems.  The American tradition of practicality is held hostage to party lines and ideological agendas...on all sides, but mostly on the militant left.

What works will probably be a patchwork of different policies and practical steps.  We put concrete barriers around federal courthouses not because they end the problem of terror, but because they're a practical step toward minimizing possible damage.  One step.

We will, as part of our national discussion, have to take on entrenched interests.  Oh yes, there's the so-called gun lobby.  But there is also another lobby – the lobby of the "credentialed society," the people with letters after their names, who claim professional expertise, especially in mental health, and have done much damage with their "enlightened" policies.  Try taking on that lobby.

December 17,  2012