By John Ruberry
“Just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints,” Mick Jagger first sang in 1968. The late 1960s were a period when many people believed that society, not individuals, was responsbible for crimes. There was a predictable backlash which led to the “Get Tough on Crime” movement that benefitted the political careers of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and countless other politicians. In 2016, Donald Trump once referred to himself as “the law and order candidate.” He should have stayed with that meme, in my opinion.
Clearly, at least in America’s big cities, the law enforcement philosophic pendulum is swinging back to the liberals. A big part of the reason is the left-wing political monoculture in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco. The Democrats are the only effective political force in these places, and the two-party structure, such as it is, consists of the left and the far-left. It was the far-left, aided by the uninformed who only vote for candidates with “D” next to their names, who elected Kim Foxx the state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, where I live, as well as Larry Krasner as district attorney of Philadelphia, Rachael Rollins as district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, which is dominated by Boston, and earlier this month, Chesa Boudin as San Francisco’s district attorney.
Boudin takes us back to the 1960s. You probably haven’t heard of his parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin. Both were members of the terrorist group the Weather Underground, which was founded in 1969. Dad is serving what is effectively a life sentence for murder for his role in a deadly 1981 suburban New York Brinks truck robbery, done in conjunction with the Black Liberation Army, one that saw a security guard and two Nyack police officers shot to death. One of those slain cops was the only African-American on the Nyack force. Mom was released from prison in 2003, she is now an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Getaway cars for the heist were rented using personal information taken from customers who shopped at a New York boutique, Broadway Baby. The manager of that store, using a phony name, was Bernardine Dorhn. She was also a member of the Weather Underground but was never charged in Brinks case.
Since Gilbert and Kathy Boudin were unable to raise Chesa, who was a toddler at the time of the heist, they chose their radical pals, Dohrn and her partner, Bill Ayers, who of course was another Weather Underground member, as his guardians. Dohrn and Ayers’ home in Chicago is where Barack Obama began his political career in 1995. Ayers and Dorhn, now retired professors, are rarely mentioned in the generally sympathetic mainstream media reports about Chesa. As for that younger Boudin, he did well by attending an elite private school, then Yale, then Oxford. Prior to becoming a public defender in San Francisco, Boudin worked as a translator for the Venezuelan government at the time Hugo Chavez was running that once-prosperous nation into the ground.
Next year voters in California will vote on an initiative to eliminate cash bail there. Boudin doesn’t want to wait that long. The district attorney-elect told NPR last week that his first act in office will be to tell his prosecutors never to ask for cash bail, “Because we shouldn’t be putting a price tag on freedom, because we shouldn’t be determining incarceration based on wealth, and it’s what I intend to implement as policy on day one.” In place of prison time, Boudin, with victims’ consent, supports something called “restorative justice,” even in cases involving murder, kidnapping, and rape.
Not surprisingly, the local police union opposed Boudin in the election, spending $700,000 and calling him “the No. 1 choice of criminals and gang members.” Boudin has called for the prosecution of cops and ICE officials for, wait for it, doing their jobs.
Bernie Sanders endorsed Boudin in the DA race.
We are immensely proud to receive the endorsement of Senator @BernieSanders.— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) October 28, 2019
Bernie has devoted his life to standing up for overlooked & underserved ppl in America, & understands the dysfunction of our current criminal justice system.
Thank you for your support Bernie! ✊ pic.twitter.com/URVyCXnA3s
Back in Cook County, Illinois, where Boudin was raised, Kim Foxx is the top law enforcement official. She endorsed Chesa, as did those leftist district attorneys in Philadelphia and Boston. Nationally Foxx is best known for her bizarre–unless you are a leftist–decision to drop all of Jussie Smollett’s charges involving staging the phony “racist” attack on him in Chicago earlier this year. But there is more to dislike. The Illinois threshold for charging shoplifters with a felony is stealing items worth $300. Foxx, with the snap of her fingers, raised it to $1,000. Not surprisingly, retail theft is on the rise in Chicago. Who pays? The store owners? Not exactly. To recoup their losses, prices for their unstolen merchandise goes up. So honest people suffer. Now there are reports of roving bands of shoplifters in Chicago. Retail theft can be a career choice, it seems. Presumably the swiped goods are resold by these bandits on the black market, at a cheap price, undercutting the sales of legitimate merchants. And Chicago doesn’t collect its whopping 10 percent sales tax on these transactions. Crime is indeed expensive. Yet for some people it pays.
When Foxx took office three years ago, shoplifting was the second-most prosecuted crime in Cook County. Now it’s the eighth-most prosecuted one. The long term implications for society are dire as shoplifting is viewed by some as a gateway crime to more serious offenses.
In her video regarding announcing her run for reelection in 2020, Foxx admitted she botched the Smollett case, but she also attacked Chicago’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, which in a spring protest outside of her office called on her to resign. In a July letter to Foxx, the FOP cited that a “deep mistrust now exists between your office and ours. We no longer believe that your office will treat our members fairly either in the arrests they make or when they are victims of crimes.”
It appears that the Age of Criminals, at least in some big cities and their inner suburbs, is upon us. Supporting law abiding folks are the cops. Leftist prosecutors are on the other side.
The crime gateway is open.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.