Gun violence is up across the country. It’s changing mayoral politics.
Kasim Reed wasn’t planning on running for another term as mayor of Atlanta. But rising crime and the problems that have come with it — like one of Atlanta’s wealthiest districts trying to secede from the city — pushed him out of mayoral retirement and into an already crowded race.
Homicides and shootings are up and the number of cops is down in cities from Atlanta to Seattle. Crime, as a result, is dominating the discourse in mayoral races — driving candidates to talk about beefing up police patrols and bolstering depleted departments’ ranks.
“When I talk to people, they’re scared,” said Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, who’s running against Reed for mayor. “We have seen and experienced on a daily basis crime that we just haven’t seen before. People know that something has to happen — and they know the first responders to a crime situation are police officers.”
It’s a far cry from the calls to “defund the police” that took center stage in these cities just last summer. But the sobering reality of rising gun violence and flagrant theft is changing the conversation, pushing candidates to get tougher on crime in Democratic-leaning cities. …
There’s been a wholesale shift on policing in Seattle, where just last summer cries to defund the police were so forceful that the majority of the City Council supported a plan to slash the police department’s budget by 50 percent. One year later, with homicides and gun violence on the rise and a “staffing crisis” spurred by a record number of officer departures, almost none of the major candidates running to replace outgoing Mayor Jenny Durkan is outright backing defunding.
In 2015, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that the attack on America’s police would have tragic consequences:
America faces a critical question right now. Many people—including some in very high office—are accusing law enforcement of racism and heavy-handedness. Police are under increasing scrutiny.
President Barack Obama has said he wants to make the issue of race and law enforcement a priority for his remaining time in office. What will be the outcome of that effort? You can know just by looking at what has come from his previous statements and actions on this matter.
It would be overstating it to say there is no racism among America’s law enforcement officers. But there are some few people who are scrutinizing and magnifying this issue for evil purposes. They are using it dishonestly to explain or excuse some terrifyingly dangerous behavior. They are stirring up emotion and anger—but none of it is truly intended to solve the problem.
The results are inciting evils that are quickly becoming far worse than those they purport to solve! The nation’s police are being undermined in ways that will prove devastating to our cities in particular.
America’s law enforcement is under attack. On one side people in communities are developing a mistrustful, hostile, antagonistic attitude, yelling at police, assaulting and even killing officers in some cases. Police are pulling back from doing their jobs for fear of attack, or losing their jobs or going to prison for doing anything that could be perceived as racist. On the other, the federal government is undermining local law enforcement and stripping it of power in an effort to centralize policing power on the federal level.
You need to recognize just how dangerous these trends really are.
“Police Under Attack,” August 2015, Philadelphia Trumpet