Bill Clinton made a terrible mistake last week.
He told the truth.
As you know, the former president was challenged by some Black Lives Matter protesters, who believe Clinton’s 1994 crime bill led to ‘mass incarceration.’ Mr. Clinton fought back, accusing the BLM agitators of protecting violent criminals.
For the record, that legislation was supported by leading lights of both parties and people of all races, and it was extremely effective.
Tougher sentencing saved thousands of lives over the past two decades, most of them in minority precincts.
So, do those black lives matter? Or do they not?
Criminal justice professor Barry Latzer, an expert on this subject if there is one, has laid out the facts, just the facts. Between 1960 and 1990 the USA endured a frightening wave of savagery, with violent crimes spiking 350%! Murderers released from jail in 1970 had served a median sentence of just over four years. Four years. After being convicted of violently removing another person from this earth.
Fed-up Americans finally demanded that elected officials get tough. The 1994 crime bill had bipartisan support, but it was predominantly a Democratic bill signed into law by a Democratic president.
‘Gangs and drugs have taken over our streets,’ President Clinton lamented as he signed the bill.
And his wife, First Lady Hillary Clinton, warned of a generation of ‘super-predators.’ She has since disavowed that description, and her husband says he ‘almost’ wants to apologize for telling the truth to Black Lives Matter.
The effects of the tough-on-crime initiative were immediate. As more very bad guys were sent to prison and kept there for longer periods of time, crime of course went down.
That should have surprised absolutely no one, although the New York Times was constantly flummoxed by the correlation.
This entire issue of crime and punishment is clouded by race. If Social Security is the ‘third rail’ of American politics, straight talk about race is the electric chair, especially for a liberal Democrat.
But facts can be stubborn, and sometimes inconvenient.
Black Americans, 13% of the population, commit about half the homicides in America. True, the vast majority of their victims are black, but those lives matter just as much as white lives. And on a per-capita basis, blacks are murdered eight times more frequently than their fellow citizens who are white.
Given those gruesome numbers, one would expect that black men, who commit a disproportionate share of violent crime, would also be disproportionately represented in U.S. prisons.
And they are. Very few Swedes or Japanese or Hasidim are locked up for violent crimes.
The causes of black criminality include family disintegration, slavery’s enduring legacy, undeniable discrimination, and a host of other problems. Two major causes are the lack of education and a pervasive gangsta’ culture that glorifies bad behavior. These are things many ‘progressives’ simply refuse to even consider.
When Hillary Clinton visited Harlem this week to kiss Al Sharpton’s ring and pander to black voters, she implied that every problem in the black community is caused by racism and ‘white privilege.’
Not a word about family breakup, corrosive culture, a lack of emphasis on education. Not a single word.
She also failed to deplore the fact that 857 Chicagoans were shot in the first 100 days of this year. One shooting every three hours! Maybe that paragraph was mistakenly omitted by the teleprompter operator.
To fix something, the first step is to acknowledge the problem. But when many Democrats are confronted with the above statistics, they tend to ignore, obfuscate, or lie. Some of them rely on the tired canard that thousands of minority Americans are in prison for smoking a joint. It’s simply not the truth, but the truth doesn’t seem to matter. There are far too many sickening charlatans who will not deal with the real issues, and that’s the real racism in America.
Confronted by Black Lives Matter protesters a few months ago, Bernie Sanders simply allowed them to take over his microphone as he slinked off to the side. It was not exactly a profile in courage, but that kind of display has become par for the course in progressive circles.
There is a deep and pervasive fear of offending race hustlers, who are always so eager to denounce those who disagree with them as ‘racists’ and ‘bigots.’ Bill Clinton was an exception and it’s unfortunate that he felt compelled to issue that semi-apology.
The 1994 crime bill benefitted Americans. White Americans, black Americans, and everyone else. The only losers were thugs and predators. But President Clinton’s successors in the Democratic Party, which has veered far to the left over the past two decades, are running away from the bill with the speed of Usain Bolt.
We have reached a very troubling point in America where politicians actually feel the need to apologize for speaking the truth, especially when it comes to matters of race.
It is instructive. It is sad. And it is downright deadly.