City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Clark Whelton
Stand Your Ground, New York « Back to Story

View Comments (15)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 15 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
Extortion. The poverty professionals are as corrupt as the criminals who are their bargaining chips.
All would be solved by a mere referrendum by the citizens as to whether stop-and-frisk should be allowed. There can be little doubt about the outcome, and great interest about those who would agitate against it...
Wat Tyler writes: "2.25 million out of 2.3 million who were searched for firearms did not have them."

That means .05 million, i.e. 50,000 firearms were in fact discovered, and one really wonders whether Mr. Tyler thinks that this is insignificant, given the certainty that the vast proportion of these weapons must have been unregistered.
It has been said that there is nothing more elucidating and cleansing than the light of the sun. Mr. Whelton's piece is that and more. He is to be congratulated for casting light upon law, logic, past NYC history and today's absurd and degenerative reality. As for the negative comments here, I know not where and by whom the naysayers were educated. Their education is in need of tutoring in American history,Constitutional Law, and our Federal, State and local legislative history. The banality and vacuousness of their off-world thought processes lead me to conclude they are of the 1960s, and later, generations which have been subjected to the thin veneer of leftist, radical academics and leftist media ideoligies. Having practiced law for over 50 years in both Washington, D. C. and NYC, and served both as a prosecutor and Judge (I am now retired),I am relieved to know I will no longer need to digest the drivel espoused by the Tylers and Taimis of this day. Thank you David, and others for your clear and knowledgeable comments. You've said it far better than me.
i lived through it all. bless giuliani. he saved the day. the only thing that lindsay accomplished is the button everybody displayed. "john lindsay for mayor [of hanoi]. dinkins was a complete disaster. he was thought of being a good suit of clothes or a washroom attendant. 42nd street before giuliani was a cesspool. it's resurgance is based on "stande yourground".
Thank you David for pointing out the obvious. I am glad you beat me to the punch as my response would not have been as polite or eloquent. Ignorance is bliss, as the voting populace of this country prove...
Pristine! Bravo to Clark Welton for this brilliant summary of American folly.
@ Wat Tyler: ". . . you cannot detain or search someone without a search warrant or an arrest". Mr. Tyler, before you begin spouting your notions of 4th Amendment jurisprudence, it would behoove you to read the case law as handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeals. Your statement is just plain wrong as a matter of law. Please refrain from commenting on the law (especially as it pertains to the Constitution and criminal procedure) until such time as you educate yourself as to these issues. It's bad enough that we are subjected to Lake Worth's ramblings. We shouldn't also have to read, as gospel, pronouncements made by those who only believe they know what they're talking about.
@Jessica Raimi:

"In the future, can we look forward to even more interdiction of “profiling,” a race-baiting word for “drawing conclusions from statistics”?"

You can certainly draw conclusions from statistics and use that as a basis for policing strategies. But what you cannot do is use statistics as a basis of a detention and search. That is the problem that a lot of stop-and-frisk supporters have. Stop-and-frisk supporters do not see the activity as a detention and search by law enforcement when it is precisely both. Because of the 4th amendment, statistical probability cannot be used as a basis for detaining and searching a member of a group. Instead, you have to have a valid legal reason for viewing an individual to be a criminal suspect. And you cannot detain or search someone without a search warrant or an arrest.

Race and crime statistics are one thing. 4th amendment protections are another. Law enforcement has to come up with ways to effectively enforce the law based on conclusions drawn from statistics without violating the 4th amendment.

And going back to the race angle, since you are conservative, I repeat what I wrote below: make racial profiling illegal and say goodbye to any shot of ever getting rid of racial preferences, quotas and set asides because allowing profiling of blacks and Hispanics under the 14th amendment would make discrimination against whites despite the 14th amendment legal also.
Stop-and-frisk is plainly unconstitutional, a violation of the 4th amendment. New York City can appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court and get no better than a 6-3 ruling (with Roberts and Kennedy at most joining the liberal judges and only Scalia, Alito and Thomas supporting it). Stop-and-frisk constitutes searches and seizures, and a search/seizure can't be considered "reasonable" merely because a person lives in a high crime area, is a member of a high crime demographic and is "acting suspiciously."

Folks really ought to read the judges' ruling. Of the 4.4 million people stopped and frisked, 3.87 million were never arrested. Of the 2.3 million who were patted down searching for weapons, 2.25 million did not have any.

And considering the percentage of crimes committed by blacks and Hispanics is the wrong way to look at this when you are doing a 4th amendment test. Instead, you have to look at the percentage of the population that commits crimes. Again, the test of whether using someone's race/location as a factor of whether to perform a search and seizure is the percentage of people of that race or location who commit crimes. Not the percentage of crimes they commit. Put it this way: 100% of the people who committed recent serious intelligence breaches are white, Eric Snowden and Bradley Manning. But you can't use that as a basis for randomly inspecting all white people's laptops, or even the laptops of all white people who work in technology. So even though most of the serious street crime in New York is committed by blacks and Hispanics, the percentage of the black and Hispanic population who commits those crimes is small. And the best evidence of this is the extremely tiny yield ratio of actual criminals detained by stop-and-frisk: 3.87 million out of 4.4 million never arrested (and even fewer of those were actually convicted of a crime as most of the arrests were spurious, and many were bogus "resisting arrest/obstruction of justice" on the part of people who objected to being detained and searched) 2.25 million out of 2.3 million who were searched for firearms did not have them.

The media is focusing on the racial profiling angle, true, but racial profiling is against the law. A lot of folks feel that it shouldn't be, but if you support racial profiling then go ahead and try to get that changed. But if you do that, then you will remove the ability to successfully legally challenge color-conscious policies in other areas. In other words, legalize racial profiling and say goodbye to any chance of ever getting rid of racial quotas forever. Even the racial quotas that have already been struck down would be re-instituted. But you don't even need racial profiling to rule stop-and-frisk illegal. You can do so entirely on 4th amendment grounds. Even if you view the 4th amendment as a collective right and not an individual right, the very low arrest/conviction rate would forbid stop and frisk. But if you view it as an individual right, it has no chance. A conservative jurist would have no choice but to hold his nose and vote to invalidate the policy because upholding this policy would allow encroachments on the 4th amendment in other areas.
FearingforNYC'sfuture August 13, 2013 at 3:26 AM
I was relieved, after poring over Mr. Whelton's buck-passing drivel, to see peter1589 address the real issues plauging the city. Republicans cower from the facts while the Abortocrats use them in their never ending demagagic crusade. Peter1589 for Mayor!
Gee. How novel. Previously we have been assured by criminologists and sociologists that the crime wave that developed in the 1950s through 1980s resulted from expansion of drug use, first speed and heroin and then crack cocaine. We also had 4,500 Mafia soldiers working NY/NJ/CT full time. Then here at CJ we get this no-data, no-facts assertion that it the poor civilians losing their nerve and was not having enough guns.

-- "It wasn’t until New Yorkers withdrew from directly confronting crime that lawlessness and violence overwhelmed black neighborhoods and the rest of the city."

The most popular t.v. program for this lot ??? How's about "Paranoids On Parade !!"

This Stand Your Ground crew get to replicate New York's Easter parade but carrying their guns, trying to talk like the "Sopranos" cast, and wearing George Zimmerman masks. Sure thing. That'll cut the crime rate in half.
Self defense is a concept under assault itself from a host of the usual suspects, in Europe and the Anglosphere. England, Canada, and Australia all had nasty mass shootings, mostly of children, in the '90s. The resulting paroxysms of hysteria about guns, as opposed to the shabby mental health scene in all 3, led to unilateral disarmament by the law abiding population. Now crimes against the elderly are up in all 3.

Almost by collusion, the media refuse to publish stories about ordinary citizens saved by themselves or armed citizens, while tearful 911 calls of victims assaulted if not killed waiting for the distant police to show up. When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.

If a citizen dares to defend himself, and that defense results in injury or death of the attacker, chances are very good he or she will be charged by the police and sued by the attacker or his relatives in civil court.

Something is seriously wrong with the thought processes of late 20th century-21st century Western humans when people are not allowed to resort to the most basic human right of all, to defend oneself, and punishment is either tardy or non-existent or insultingly paltry because governments refuse as a matter of conscience to execute for murder and their too impoverished by decades of frivolous social spending to pay the cost of reasonable incarceration. The latest trend in Europe is life in prison is deemed "cruel and unusual." Makes one wonder what happened to the moral and legal certitude that used to be the pride of our legal systems.
One small thing Mr. Whelton misses was that Uncle Miltie on Tuesday nights was outrated by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. The unnamed retired police captain's view that the TV was part of the root cause, also failed to note the Skinner Box conditioning the TV causes, and the fact that Catholic churches are for all purposes vacant, Jesus being left to His own devices in the Blessed Sacraments, and the vocation crisis shows no signs of abating, save for the predatory homosexuals who may still find a sympathetic bishop for entry into the ranks. The Blessed Mother told Fr. Gobbi back in the 1980's that Seattle was toying with becoming toast in the form of a Sodom and Gomorrah annihilation due to Archbishop Hunthausen's sympathy for the homosexuals. I'm certain that fate is now coming due very soon.

Mr. Belafonte's threat of social chaos is quite late, as can be easily documented by visiting and viewing the massive amount of video evidence of the wholesale chaos visiting American cities by blacks with no skills, no industry, no products to sell (other than drugs or stolen property) or create due to the indefatigable and chronic lack of education found in public schools, one of the more infamous is the recent handing out of condoms in Philadelphia schools where the fornicating black kids are discovering the life threatening effects of STD's which are skyrocketing out of control.

Thank you liberals, everywhere, for your quite obvious contributions to social chaos. We hope it visits your homes sooner than later so you can feel the full thrust of its consequences here and now, rather than later and eternally in Hell. God bless you all.
I moved to Manhattan in 1969 and during the 1970s and 1980s I was the victim of a great many crimes -- stolen bicycles, apartment break-ins, a purse-snatching in a restaurant, an ATM scam, and muggings in Central and Morningside parks. When as a juror I once recited this list to a judge during a voir dire, he said, “You’ve had more than your share.” “I thought so,” I said.

I know from our local newspaper that my quite wealthy neighborhood is still subject to muggings, but fortunately I’ve been spared in recent years. Nonetheless, I rarely display my iPhone in the subway.

I don’t believe the police are solely responsible for the welcome drop in crime, but whatever they’re doing, it’s obviously working. It will be tragic if our relatively safe city is sacrificed to a notion of political correctness.

But this seems to be a trend. City Journal recently reported on an epidemic of tech-snatching in California spurred by newly lenient treatment of property crimes. Other publications have done stories on the Florida school district that redefined student crimes as behavior problems, which allowed Trayvon Martin to merely be suspended from school instead of prosecuted for suspected vandalism and burglary.

In the future, can we look forward to even more interdiction of “profiling,” a race-baiting word for “drawing conclusions from statistics”? In New York City, there’s always talk of how unfair it is for the government to watch Islamic organizations with special attention, despite the scant evidence that Presbyterians, Taoists or Zoroastrians are plotting terrorist acts.

I’m scared the crime rate pendulum may be swinging the other way, and I don’t like it.