Murder, but also reckless driving, drug overdoses, drinking, unruly passengers, and everything else
I feel like people are acting like they do on the internet. But in person.
Can Matty write an article about the optimal estate tax rate?
Also RIP one our commenters, Bob Saget.
I wonder how much of this is based on how COVID has completely exposed all levels of government of lacking any sort of enforcement capacity on basically anything.
We put mask mandates in place and didn't enforce them.
We have laws in place against the transparent corruption of the Trump administration and didn't enforce them.
Want to do a violent racist rally in Charlottesville or gang looting of stores? No one will stop you., and a sizeable minority of the population will not only defend you but actively cheer you.
I think American society has just realized that there are very few downsides to doing whatever they want, with consequences being sporadic and weak across the board, which has driven the sort of sociopathic, Randian behavior we see everywhere. Whether its construction companies ripping off governments on infrastructure projects at 3x the cost of the rest of the developed world, or doing drive bys into crowded block parties, the relevant authorities just throw up their hands and say "we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"
I think this is way less mystical than most commenters seem to believe. I work in public criminal defense, so much of this is anecdotal. Since March 2020, it has been much, much easier to get people charged with crimes released rather than detained pre trial. During that same period, it was impossible to get people into in-patient drug/alcohol treatment. Slots have only started opening up in the last two to three months. Probation officers had to do their jobs remotely: supervising people over the phone, not requiring drug tests, etc. On top of that, a lot of people at the margins lost their jobs. Put another way, all of the programs and people (govt., for-profit, and non-profit) society relies on to mitigate our collective antisociality were shut or slowed down for about a year, and have only been working through the backlog for six months or so. I think that's a likelier explanation than handwaving at some general "malaise."
Yes, it is bad.
But I have tried to talk to my fellow liberals that it is time to wrap this up.
Many react in horror. Some agree but they coddle and encourage the Covid addiction that others have.
There are costs to indulging these people.
Is this a global phenomenon?
Have any other countries experienced any similar trends?
This echoes what a lot of commenters have already said, but increasingly in the United States, more and more people are perceiving that LAWS WILL NOT BE ENFORCED. The question of funding the police, or red versus blue states has little to do with this. On the one side, a population of potential crime-doers are becoming increasingly aware that they are unlikely to face any consequences for their illegal actions. So this means tit-for-tat gang shootings in the inner cities, but also a huge increase in cars with illegally tinted windows zooming in an out of traffic in the suburbs. Also an increase in the number of teens (who are also potential crime doers) who are more inclined to bring weapons to school to (a) get justice or (b) protect themselves from the other kids with weapons. Let's remember that when the cops don't arrest a murderer, now you have an angry family or gang looking for revenge.
The reason we have come to this state is DEPOLICING. If I'm a cop, red state or blue, why on earth would I want to engage with someone who might be committing a crime? The prevalence of out-of-context videos and the cravenness of DAs and elected officials (even in Republican states) would make anyone think twice about forcefully handcuffing another person. And this goes double if the cop is white and the guy being handcuffed is black. Just look at the shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant--a girl who was shot while she was literally stabbing another person. Even there, the cop was condemned by electeds, and even now if you go the the Wikipedia page, you can sense the sympathy that at least some of the editors have towards Bryant.
The fact that this increase in public disorder has come more or less exclusively in the United States, and then only after the Summer of Floyd would seem to indicate the following: while some cops are bad and some laws are unjust, in a world where all cops and laws are conceived as bad we will have a general rise in crime and disorder.
I'm honestly not sure how this problem can ever be solved. Nothing can make a brutal video of a (deserved) arrest look good, and more and more people are inclined to film everything they see. But certainly moves by "progressive" prosecutors to decriminalize everything will impose disorder on all who live within their bailiwicks, and murder on the most vulnerably members of these communities.
The restrictions put on the population are - literally - anti-social. They are meant to discourage or eliminate normal social interactions between people. Add those restrictionist policies to a population with newfound time on their hands, sprinkle in some social media algorithms, and voilà: anti-social behavior across multiple dimensions.
If people get the leaders they deserve, that suggests this started before the pandemic. For for years, until a year ago, we had a President of low moral character, who delighted in obnoxious, self-indulgent attacks on other people, and viewed prosocial behavior, like not cheating on your taxes, as what suckers and fools do.
I’ve always thought on the plane issue in particular that mask wearing introduces dehumanization in our interactions.
So much of human communication is non-verbal and facial expressions are particularly important.
My policy prescription is that the COVID stuff needs to be rolled back or Republicans will be rolling it back in 2024.
I wonder how much of this is tied to widespread delegitimization of our government, institutions and processes.
I don't think many liberals, and media members, really appreciate how much the full-court press against Trump after his election led many conservatives and rural Americans to believe these institutions see them as the enemy that needs to be stopped to save America. The Woman's March, an effort to force an elected President to step down at the beginning of his term because the right people didn't vote for him, was widely celebrated in the press with no concerns about trying to overturn a legitimate election or suppressing the votes of Trump voters. The idea that because Trump only won the Electoral College, and not the popular vote, his election was illegitimate was taken as fact by both mainstream and liberal institutions. Republican politicians and conservative media have weaponized this otherization and now tell these same voters that the 2020 election was stolen.
At the same time, blue state, and especially city, politicians have done so much to delegitimize their own governance. Blue city politicians regularly tell their constituents that the police departments they control want to murder them. They tell them that America was built on slavery and racism and that successful Americans can primarily thank white supremacism for their success. They proudly declare that their governments rule land stolen from it's rightful owners, questioning whether the vast majority of their residents even belong in this country. "Peaceful protests" are celebrated by politicians and media alike while minority-owned businesses burn. Progressive politicians call for more and more control over daily life, while suggesting that any actual enforcement of these new laws in racist. Murals celebrate criminals while people try to criminalize actually calling the police. A new slur is even created and celebrated to attack women audacious enough to be concerned about the enforcement of small laws and regulations while progressive prosecutors boast about the criminals they don't prosecute.
Why should anyone listen to our own government when we almost all question it's legitimacy? Why be respectful to our neighbors when they want to steal our elections? Why not rob your neighbor when they have what they have because they stole it from you?
My rate of internet trolling has gone up exponentially since the pandemic.
Matt, as usual, I liked and agree with your article, but I think you somewhat missed the point about violent crime. It’s not whether there was a defunding of the police departments, or reigning in out-of-control DAs.
It is all about perception.
Violent criminals don’t read city budgets or arrest-to-conviction ratios by race. They saw what was happening in the summer of 2020 and it embolden them.
I loved this post. Even in Georgia, the pandemic has subjected me to greater social control than I have ever experienced, and compulsory risk aversion triggers me. I have responsed to my mothers covid caution by taking more risks myself and modeling risk taking behavior for my eight year old. I don’t want to raise a soy boy, I want him to get laid and stuff. Much better to rip off the masks and return to normal, we were never going to crush the curve, sheltering the most vulnerable until they were vaccinated should have been the height of our ambition.