Once again, Congressman Smith demonstrates his mastery at deceit, this time by casting blame for a hypothetical increase in crime towards Democrats (Smith’s 11/2/22 column). Facts are that, following a long decline in crime since the 1990s, there has been a slight (very slight) uptick in crime: but what seems to be driving this is not current DC policies but rather an increase in guns throughout the country, particularly in Trump-supporting states.
An increase in crime was first noted during Donald Trump’s last year as President, and likely was a consequence of the dire economic consequences of the Covid pandemic: Trump’s bungling performance in dealing with the epidemic resulted in extremely high death rates and economic devastation. But the disruption from job layoffs and a significant increase in mortality were greatest in low-income neighborhoods. An increase in urban crime is not atypical when circumstances worsen.
But along with Covid, 2020 marked a huge spike in the sale of guns, both legal and illegal, following years of increasing deregulation of gun laws. With an increase in guns predictably came an increase in murder rates.
It is crazy neighbors shooting one another; it is domestic disputes turning violent; enraged motorists, workers, and students grabbing guns. Mr. Smith doesn’t mention the prevalence of guns as a factor in crime because he and the GOP are committed to the reckless policy of “no regulation” of either guns or gun owners. Simply put: red states are more lenient on guns which is why gun violence is more prevalent per capita there than in blue states.
Nor do southern states demonstrate any great loyalty to police officers: just look at the pay rates or examine the harm rates of police officers in the south compared to those in the north. The utter disrespect Trump and other higher-ups in the GOP have shown towards the 150 plus police officers harmed during the January 6th attack on the Capitol is despicable. And let’s not forget that Republicans voted against the American Rescue Plan which included significant funding for police—all the GOP, including Mr. Smith, thereby voted to defund the police!
Finally, Smith completely ignores the abrupt rise of crime in support of right-wing politics. The recent brutal assault on Mr. Pelosi is just one in a line of plots, threats and misdeeds committed by racists and political extremists. Yet Republicans are downplaying vigilante activity and extremism as long as it is done under the banner of Trump. Some (including the former President) have even put out utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories about the attack on Pelosi’s husband—despite the eye-witness police reports! Can there be any greater disrespect shown towards police who stopped a violent assault than to suggest the officers were at best stooges?
Crime statistics for 2022 are in, but with this nation at the highest employment in more than 40 years crime overall has likely decreased. But there is an exception: right wing threats of political violence continues to spiral upwards, as do acts of antisemitism and racism.
Like the high school kid running for class president who promises to enable smoking in the bathrooms, Smith’s campaign for re-election is running on fumes that reek. During the Trump years, Smith and his party failed to achieve anything substantial other than tax relief for the superrich and the installation of conservative judges dedicated to the notion that all women and all laborers are subservient to the whims of the upper crust. Smith’s commitment is not to America’s safety: it’s to his own prosperity.