The drawback to being the conservative Jonah in the belly of Madison's bestial Left is that the resultant indigestion produces truly odious results.
The Left does not take kindly to those who challenge its shibboleths. The Left operates on emotion, celebrates victimhood, and blames failure on the successful. The very concept of personal accountability is ascribed as the work of Opus Dei and the Club for Growth. Non-judgmentalism is its last remaining commandment. While wrapping itself in the holy man's saffron robe, the Left swings wildly for the jugular but nicks only a capillary.
So, Andy Olsen keeps swinging his blunted stick. Andy has been demanding that I apologize for, allegedly, "rushing to blame a bunch of poor and politically powerless people (whom he calls "the homeless") for murders in the absence of facts."
Andy is as excited as the discharged night watchman at a three-alarm fire. In his response to To Whom and For What?, Bad Andy proffers three quotations as court-ordered proof of my need to apologize to "the homeless."
Supposedly damning quotes:
- "Does not the possible involvement of a transient/vagrant in the murders of Joel Marino and Brittany Sue Zimmermann complicate apprehension?"
Andy is missing that part of the brain, the corpus callosum, that would allow him to understand the meaning of the qualifying adjective "possible" to modify "involvement."
Beyond that, the "quotation" is actually a question I posed to Lt. Joe Balles, who oversees policing in the State Street/Bassett neighborhood.
Here is Lt. Balles' answer:
Any possible stranger homicide is complicated, Dave. ... When that perp is a stranger... it really does complicate the police investigation... (that is) why the need for information from the community, transients included, is so important to solving the crime.
It's amazing, is it not, that Olsen finds the very question itself to be objectionable? The second bill of indictment concerns this exchange.
- "So, if you don't mind, I will re-direct those prayers to the real victims of vagrancy: ... To Joel Marino and Brittany Sue Zimmermann."
Andy's not real good on context, so let me provide some. Linda Ketcham of the Madison-area Urban Ministry, served a softball by The Capital Times' Patricia Schneider, was asked to respond to my recitation of the predations of the vagrant population. She played the martyr and offered to pray for poor Blaska's soul. I countered that Blaska isn't doing too bad these days and that the prayers were better directed elsewhere, writing:
I will re-direct those prayers to the real victims of vagrancy:
- To every citizen rethinking his route to avoid the harassing shakedown artist.
- To every child who yields the neighborhood playground to the invasive species.
- To Joel Marino and Brittany Sue Zimmermann.
- To the vagrants themselves. Yes, they are truly victims even if the victimization is self-inflicted.
- To Madison-area Urban Ministry and their fellow travelers, whose policies of entitlement without responsibility created this crisis.
Here, quite uncharacteristically, I neglected to qualify the third dot point. My bad on the construction of this list; that is not an apology. But even Marino is a victim of vagrancy in the sense that I explain in the next point. Olsen cites a final quote.
- "Perhaps it is mere happenstance that, first, Joel Marino and then Brittany Zimmerman were slaughtered in their own homes in downtown neighborhoods. Perhaps. But I don't think so. That is where Madison Police Lt. Joe Balles has identified the Creeping Charlie takeover of a "predator" class of what he calls transients, what I call vagrants."
First, I again allow that the murders may have been coincidental. But I quickly add that I don't think so. Here is why.
Stopping the slippery slide
If there is a common theme I have pounded on in these posts, it's that a policing-first policy works. That is why I supported the police "surge" of 30 new officers. (It is also why I support building a larger jail to accommodate population growth in Wisconsin's fastest-growing county -- a projected 112,000 people in the next 22 years.)
It's the broken window theory of community policing proven by Rudy Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton in New York City and endorsed by Madison Police Chief Noble Wray: today a broken window, tomorrow a crack house.
This is not about bricks and mortar -- so the CDA can calm down. It's about the human behavior that broke the window. That is why Mayor Giuliani in New York went after the squeegee men who harassed visitors, commuting workers and residents alike: $20 bucks to wipe your windshield or $200 to fix the nail scratches on your paint job. Of course, the liberals howled bloody murder.
It is all about stopping the slippery slide into chaos and anarchy. That is why it is not mere "happenstance" that the murders occur where they do any more than we recorded another murder here on the Southwest side or that there are shootings on Allied Drive.
Julia Vitullo-Martin of the Manhattan Institute, writing in the Wall Street Journal on March 14, 2008 defines the essence of the broken windows:
To restore a city and its neighborhoods, fight crime successfully and everything else will start to fall into place.
Stable neighborhood to "frightening jungle"
George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson are the academics who first postulated the broken windows theory. In their seminal Atlantic Monthly article, they wrote:
At the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that ... one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. ... "Untended" behavior also leads to the breakdown of community controls.
A stable neighborhood of families who care for their homes, mind each other's children, and confidently frown on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable and frightening jungle.
At this point it is not inevitable that serious crime will flourish or violent attacks on strangers will occur. But many residents will think that crime, especially violent crime, is on the rise, and they will modify their behavior accordingly. They will use the streets less often, and when on the streets will stay apart from their fellows, moving with averted eyes, silent lips, and hurried steps. "Don't get involved."
Does that sound like Brittingham Park, anyone? Kelling and Wilson continue:
Such an area is vulnerable to criminal invasion. Though it is not inevitable, it is more likely that here, rather than in places where people are confident they can regulate public behavior by informal controls, drugs will change hands, prostitutes will solicit, and cars will be stripped. That the drunks will be robbed by boys who do it as a lark, and the prostitutes' customers will be robbed by men who do it purposefully and perhaps violently. That muggings will occur.
The citizen who fears the ill-smelling drunk, the rowdy teenager, or the importuning beggar is not merely expressing his distaste for unseemly behavior; he is also giving voice to a bit of folk wisdom that happens to be a correct generalization -- namely, that serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked...
The unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window. Muggers and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions.
If the neighborhood cannot keep a bothersome panhandler from annoying passersby, the thief may reason, it is even less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.
Some final questions
- What political hay is Olsen and his ilk trying to make by using the catch-all term of "homeless." In the last-cited post, I write:
Correction, liberals. Not "homeless people." Not people down on their luck who are trying to get back on the straight and narrow. The term is vagrants -- a predator class that is transient and who threaten, harass, intimidate, and befoul the public spaces and, apparently, some private spaces as well.
- Has the Brittany Zimmermann case been solved? Does Andy know something I don't?
- Were the police wrong to question, detain, take DNA samples, and arrest (for a variety of crimes, including home invasions) the vagrant population?
- Are aggressive panhandling, cursing, public drunkenness, intimidation, etc. societal ills or are they not?
- Why does Olsen call my platform of calling for more police and more policing, of scrubbing the streets of anti-social behavior: "scoring cheap political points?"
- Why did Olsen not actively support Chief Wray's call for 30 more police?
- Why have you not answered any of the questions posed in To Whom and For What?
Nihilism is not a program
Let's say it again: When Madison Police Lt. Joe Balles observes that "Madison has kind of institutionalized an enabling environment downtown for this transient population to grow unchecked," he is talking about the Andy Olsens of the ruling liberal hegemony.
It's not as if conservatives have been running the city for the last 30 years.
I have been endorsed by the Dane County Sheriff each of the seven times I ran for public office -- two different gentlemen -- and the union of sheriff's deputies. I created the program audit function of the Dane County Board so that facts, not partisan potshots, could guide policymaking.
One thing I learned in my 12 years on County Board, Andy, is that denying the existence of a problem denies its solution.