Dear Editor – Comments on the August 20, 2020, Meeting of the Police Advisory Committee

Dear Editor, 

There may be ways to streamline the work of the police in our city. But never forget, in pursuit of that goal, the proper function and the primary mission of any police agency: To help maintain order in the civil society by enforcing the law, to help make all residents feel safe in their daily lives, and to defend all residents against those who would harm them or their property.

Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez (UCLA) presented the Police Advisory Committee with an analysis from her ‘Million Dollar Hoods’ project:
The organization’s “two clear goals: to document and map how much mass incarceration has extracted from largely Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and working-class communities since the 1970s, and to help local advocates and activists secure new public investments in the people, families, and communities most impacted by local police and incarceration practices.”
“Impacted by police practices”? Wouldn’t we all be better served by an analysis of how all people, but especially people of color, are impacted by crime and why? And perhaps an analysis of the reduction in major or violent crimes as a result of intervention in minor crimes?

Dr. Lytle Hernandez has, for over 25 years, been ensconced in the thought-world of racial oppression, division, bigotry and white privilege. And like any who are so dedicated to any set of ideas, they can fall prey to confirmation bias and mistaking the trees for the forest. They can easily overlook the obvious.
The Professor contended that people of color are over-incarcerated; that black and Latinx and indigenous people, especially young men aged 18-25, are overrepresented in an array of police interactions including citation and arrests for seemingly minor infractions, and that they are incurring inordinate consequences for those interactions, including deportation, jail time and punitive court fees and fines.

What she did not mention is that black people are overrepresented in the commission of crimes of all sorts, especially violent crime. 50% (7,407) of all the murder victims in America, in 2018, were black, though black people represent only 13% of the total population. And well over 90% of them were killed by other black people, mostly young black men. (Acc. to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI and Justice Dept., under the Obama and current Administrations)
But why? Because of police practices?
The out of wedlock birthrate among Blacks is above 70%; Hispanics 50%; Whites 35%.
Barack Obama warned us years ago.
“… children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools… 20 times more likely to end up in prison… are more likely to have behavioral problems… run away from home…become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it…
…We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. Senator Barack Obama’s Father’s Day Address 2008 at the Apostolic Church of God In Chicago, Il.
We need fathers to teach young men how to act in a civil society. But, for 50 years, under the banner of “good intentions”, the Federal Government, through requirements of the welfare state, has driven fathers out of the home and facilitated the destruction of the black family; something that slavery, Jim Crow and the harshest forms of bigotry could not and had not done. (See Dr. Walter Williams)
When fathers can’t or won’t do their job, who is called on to protect the whole society, including young men, from the disorderly and sometimes brutal conduct of some of those same young men?
The police.
Is it possible to reduce crime without waiting a generation for major cultural changes to take hold. It has already been done; and, unfortunately, undone. See “How New York Became Safe: The Full Story : A citywide effort, involving many agencies and institutions, helped restore order” By George Kelling in the “City Journal” 2009. The gains won through the 1990’s and early 2000’s have been largely sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, as seen most starkly in the last few months.

Dr. Lytle Hernandez made a number of referrals for reading re. her theories and data. To those concerned about racial inequality, discrimination, and disparities, including the Professor and her staff, it is important to read the data-driven works of Dr. Thomas Sowell, formerly of UCLA, Amherst, Brandeis and Cornell, now at the Hoover Institute at Stanford Univ. His books can be found in any library, bookstore and online, including YouTube. They include:
The Vision of the Anointed, Intellectuals and Race, A Conflict of Visions, Discrimination and Disparities, Wealth, Poverty and Politics.
Dr. Lytle Hernandez would have us do away with incarceration and would, of course, defund the police. If you want to see what defunding the police looks like, take a look at Seattle and Portland and Chicago and New York, where they have de facto defunding, when police have been told to stand down in the face of petit and violent crime. And then ask yourself if you feel safer knowing that California has opened its jails and prisons, and that recent malefactors pay no bail and suffer little or no consequences for the diversity of their wanton destruction of public and private property, of lives and livelihoods.


Tom O’Neill 

The Actors' Gang

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