The Big Bagel is getting so bad that even the baddies are demanding the fuzz do something. As the body count rises, it is obvious that the victims of violence are predominantly the poor and minorities. Last week, a woman killed in a drive-by shooting had been attending a vigil for a friend who was shot dead after someone stepped on the gunman’s shoe. A man slashed on a Manhattan subway platform had recently been paroled for an attack on a Jewish woman and her mother. Brazen gunslingers are shooting the living daylights out of each other in the Bagel, and there was a shooting spree in the middle of Times Square that left three innocents, including a four-year-old girl, among the victims.
And yet, up here where I live, it could be Giuliani time, when crime disappeared and the numbers plunged as never before. One hears and reads about the daily gunplay, and compares the statistics with those of 25 years ago. Robbery in April was up close to 30 percent compared with last year, grand larceny 66 percent and shootings 166.1 percent. Murder this year is up 32 percent from 2019. One wonders when the useless mayor will declare an emergency as the place is starting to resemble a war zone.
Since the COVID crisis, more and more New Yorkers believe the city to be ungovernable and unlivable. Still, two of the numerous candidates running for mayor rant in their speeches about defunding the police. Violent criminals no longer have any fears, according to Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, and having done away with bail for many crimes, criminals get booked and walk, free to continue shooting and robbing people. Cuomo and De Blasio, architects of these new laws, shamelessly go about their business, which is appearing on television and patting themselves on the back.
It all began, methinks, with the spread of a spiritual and moral bankruptcy that frames bad as good, legal as illegal, and unfair as fair. A belief prevails among the woke that all cops are criminals.
Narcissism is now as American as apple pie, with the media and Hollywood feeding it and tolerating criminality while blaming society, and white privilege in particular, for the situation. Every message one hears, either in advertisements or from politicians, is geared to inflating people’s egos. Ads on TV show obese people announcing how happy they are in their skin as they swallow triple-deck hamburgers. And yet everything one reads or listens to is a complaint: life has become a battlefield; everything, especially work, leads to burnout; government needs to step in and stop the slaughter. Online complaints — assuming one reads or listens to them, which I don’t and wouldn’t, even if I knew how to — deal in despair, unfairness and grief.
Reading Daniel McCarthy’s review in the US edition of The Spectator of Sohrab Ahmari’s book The Unbroken Thread, I was struck by his statement that Ahmari ‘introduces a generation (and more) to the spiritual patrimony of which they have been robbed’. Yes. And then: ‘Americans…have been deprived of their moral and philosophical inheritance by a shallow educational establishment.’ Yes again.
The wokerati dominates the press, television and Hollywood, but its supreme mandate is where education is concerned. But I’m getting away from my main subject, the dystopia that the once fun Bagel has become. During the pro- and anti-Israel demos last week, BLM and the anti-cop mobs were on the side of the Palestinians, as if the latter didn’t have enough problems being blasted by Israeli jets.
On Saturday morning I went for my exercises in the park and on my way home stopped for the papers. On 68th Street between Park and Lexington, which is one-way and goes east, a young thug on a motorcycle was going west at speed, and on the sidewalk to boot. I yelled at him to get off as he missed me by a foot or two. He sort of stopped and pointed to a knife in his belt. I’m no hero but I do have a temper. So I pretended to have something of my own in my rear pocket. He then gunned his motor and left. I spotted a police car on the corner of Park and told the cops what had transpired. They almost laughed at me, then drove off.
Since the mayor and his police commissioner dismantled the city’s successful anti-gun street-crime units, the fuzz refuses to get involved with anything but the most blatant of crimes. They have given up on petty crime, the benchmark of Giuliani’s anti-crime success of 25 years ago. Bikers who race up streets the wrong way and on the sidewalks are an everyday occurrence, and the cops are totally indifferent to the public’s complaints.
I don’t blame them. The media and BLM have succeeded in turning the police into the bad guys, and those who flout the law into the good ones. Anyone who gives evidence against the cops is given the kind of trust that Princess Di gave Martin Bashir. What Bashir did to Diana, the majority of journalists are doing to the rest of us. I’m off to London soon, and won’t miss the Bagel one bit.