Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Ferguson Effect

Due to the proliferation of red light cameras, innocent motorists are slowing down precipitously at intersections, leading to greatly increased instances of rear end collisions.  There is absolutely no evidence to support this conjecture, but it sounds right, so it must be true.

According to FBI Director James Comey and acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, crime is on the increase because police, unhappily confronted with citizen cell phone cameras, are hesitant to get out of their cars for fear of being recorded in the performance of their duties.  Although there is absolutely no evidence to support this idea, it sounds right, so it must be true.

"Well, you know," one hypothetical police officer possibly might say, "it could look bad if a film of me pushing some old black woman's face down on the sidewalk gets on the internet — but if she stops her walker in a no stopping zone, what am I supposed to do?"

Indeed, what is he supposed to do?  Better to stay in his car and lay low, rather than risk embarrassment.  Better yet, he should resign from the police force and stop collecting a salary for not doing his job.

Crime rates, just like death rates for middle aged white Americans, are up — and both probably are up for the same reason: more and more people are leading lives of desperation.  Crime is up, along with suicide, drug abuse, family violence, and a general loss of hope.

Cameras help to slow the rate at which drivers run red lights, and the rate of deaths arising from such behavior.  Cameras help to reduce the rate of police abuse of ordinary people, and the erosion of all our civil liberties.  Let's keep the cameras rolling.

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