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327 who are above the law
The New York Times story did not say what its editors and their flying monkeys thought it said.
The headline said, “A Tiny Number of Shoplifters Commit Thousands of New York City Thefts.”
OK, you don’t need a J-school degree to figure out the message sent. Not everyone in NYC is boosting $4,500 Louis Vuitton purses. It is just a few people. Whew. What a relief to know this.
The subheadline said, “Nearly a third of all shoplifting arrests in the city last year involved just 327 people, the police said. Businesses say they have little defense.”
You see? The looting is by just a few people.
The story said, “Collectively, they were arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. Some engage in shoplifting as a trade, while others are driven by addiction or mental illness; the police did not identify the 327 people in the analysis.”
You see? They are just crazy or on drugs.
That was the message NYT meant to send.
The story, however, is you can rob stores dozens of times and get away with it. My question is why don’t more people in NYC just rob stores blind every day? I mean, come on people. If 327 people can get caught 6,000 times and get away with it, what is stopping 8 million people from looting Tiffany’s every morning and Macy’s every afternoon.
Maybe they are. Who knows how many New Yorkers steal and how many times they get away with it because the 327 people were just the ones the police caught. And the 6,000 arrests are just the times the 327 got caught.
Once again, NYT staffers throw a bunch of numbers around at random. You really cannot say, “A Tiny Number of Shoplifters Commit Thousands of New York City Thefts,” because the numbers reflect arrests, not crimes. And of course, there is the whole innocent-until-proven guilty thing that NYT conveniently forgets from time to time. So you cannot say commit.
NYT argued that stealing $4,500 Louis Vuitton purses is a crime of necessity. Its report said, “Criminal justice reform advocates have said that petty thefts are a crime of necessity, and that many down-on-their-luck New Yorkers are stealing what they need to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities.”
And NYT also argued, “Retailers have pointed to shoplifting as a drag on profits for decades.”
Once again, the criminal is the victim. How dare the stores make profits!
That 327 people apparently are permitted by New York police and prosecutors to rob at will is the real story.
In response to the story, Byron York tweeted, “Hey — this is something the Manhattan district attorney could look into! He's dedicating to showing that no man is above the law, and here are 327 people who appear to be above the law.”
For reasons undisclosed — but well known — groups of people are above the law.
The Christian Science Monitor reported, “Flash mob attacks: Rising concern over black teen involvement.
“From Milwaukee to Philadelphia to Chicago, officials are enforcing curfews and requiring chaperones for teens, after several flash mob attacks allegedly involving black youths.”
But that was 12 years ago. The story quoted J. Whyatt Mondesire, head of the NAACP in Philadelphia. He said, “These are majority African-American youths and they need to be called on it.”
That was then. Liberals now call enforcing the law racist.
On June 18, 2020, NYT ran a column by Robin D. G. Kelley, a black man with a PhD in history, “What Kind of Society Values Property Over Black Lives?
“The hackneyed emphasis on ‘Why loot?’ obscures the question, which black people have asked for centuries.”
He argued that looting and ransacking stores is a form or reparations — money for people who were never slaves from people who never owned slaves.
Kelley wrote, “Our country was built on looting — the looting of Indigenous lands and African labor. African-Americans, in fact, have much more experience being looted than looting. The long history of ‘race riots’ in America — in Cincinnati; Philadelphia; Detroit; New York; Memphis; Wilmington, N.C.; Atlanta; New Orleans; Springfield, Ill.; East St. Louis; Chicago; and Tulsa, Okla. — more closely resembled anti-black pogroms than ghetto rebellions. White mobs, often backed by the police, not only looted and burned black homes and businesses but also maimed and killed black people.”
(Note to self: do a column for the Hough riot’s 67th anniversary in July.)
Kelley went on and on: “Our bodies were loot. The forced extraction of our labor was loot. A system of governance that suppressed our wages, relieved us of property and excluded black people from equal schools and public accommodations is a form of looting. We can speak of the looting of black property through redlining, slum clearance and more recently predatory lending.”
This is a man who was born 8 years after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation and who came of age in the Era of Affirmative Action. In his Wikipedia entry, Kelley noted, “At the age of 32, he was the youngest full professor at NYU.” I congratulate him for putting the opportunity to good use but if anything, his success undercuts any and all arguments by him that looting is just pay back because no one owes him, his family or his friends a dang thing.
Kelley ended his piece by dragging in Martin Luther King Jr.. Kelley said, “What to do? Dr. King was unequivocal: full employment and decent housing, paid for by defunding the war in Vietnam.”
The war in Vietnam ended half-a-century ago. We spent trillions — yes. with a T — on housing and other poverty programs. That crime continues in no small part due to the excuses offered and the demonization of police and law and order.
NYT’s 327 thieves who are above the law was a very eye-opening piece because it shows the utopia dreamed by the Family Sulzberger that runs NYT. It is John Lennon’s Imagine all over again. Imagine no possessions! Except Yoko Ono held on to those publishing rights with an iron fist — as anyone should.
Hypocrisy? NYT securely placed behind its paywall both the shoplifting story and the pro-looting column.