Much ado has been made about the Super Bowl Clint Eastwood/Chrysler commercial, expressing the theme that Detroit, and America at large, is making a comeback. In some conservative circles, “Dirty Harry” has been criticized as shilling for President Obama.
But after reading this article by Mara Gay of The Daily, I’m convinced that the tough-guy libertarian may be the ideal spokesman for Motor City. Facing huge cutbacks in the city police force, abysmally poor response times to calls for service, and a general lack of police effectiveness, the residents of Detroit- which purportedly has the nation’s second-highest per capita murder rate- are arming themselves in record numbers- and self-defense shootings are up 79% year-over-year, and 2200% above the national average.
The article, while clearly left-biased (it describes armed citizens as “vigilantes”), illustrates a major shift in public thinking in Detroit: People are realizing they must provide for their own protection. The city police department, with its long history of mismanagement, is even more of a failure today than it ever has been. Even as the department faces multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls, the city paid over $6 million for a former casino building (VIDEO) to convert into a new police headquarters; and DPD is rolling out a “virtual precinct” program which directs calls for crimes reported after-the-fact during evening and overnight hours to an officer at headquarters to take a report. Translation: If you come home after work to find your house has been burglarized, DPD will take a report and get around to investigating it sometime. It’s no wonder foreclosed houses are selling (or not) for as little as $50 in Detroit.
Those who can afford to move out of Detroit have already done so, and those who can’t are at the end of their rope. Big-government, predominantly-Democrat Detroiters are now fully realizing that their city government can’t even provide essential services, and so they are forced to become self-sufficient.
Stated another way: Residents of one of the most liberal cities in the nation are getting the harshest “wake-up call” one can receive on the failings of big-government liberalism as a theory of governance: The promise of greater safety, which is the most-effective and most-often used means of convincing the public to give up their money and their liberties, is now a broken promise in Detroit. The usual socialist responses to such a crisis are unavailable: Raising taxes isn’t an option, because there’s nothing left to tax; begging for money from the state government isn’t an option, because the state is broke; harsher gun control laws would be opposed, because people across the political spectrum are buying and carrying guns; and more stringent enforcement isn’t a possibility, because Wayne County Jail has no room to house convicts.
As Detroiters begin to cope with the “new normal” of self-reliance, they’ll also ask questions about the condition of the city’s police force. They’ll want to know how it could get to be so bad. The answers to these questions- corrupt Democrat politicians, incompetent management, greedy and self-serving public sector unions, short-sighted liberal policies, overspending and overtaxing- can’t be concealed behind socialist rhetoric any longer. The city government has run out of excuses and other people’s money, and there’s no room in the budget to hire Robocop.
Big changes in self-defense thinking are nothing new for Detroit: The Sweet Trials of 1925-1926, which took place in Detroit, were the first occasion in our nation’s history in which an African-American successfully claimed self-defense in court.
Maybe the star of Gran Torino is a good spokesman for Detroit after all.