A recent online You Tube video shows a flash-mob sacking a 7-Eleven store in Compton just south of downtown L.A. The video was recorded on security cameras inside and outside the store. Outside, there’s a crowd of people either storming or fleeing the store, along with others just watching the spectacle. Inside, there’s chaos with the looters stripping the shelves bare and having a grand time doing it.
I remember in more peaceful times when beneficent flash-mobs would surprisingly crop up in malls or public squares starting with just a few people playing musical instruments. In short order, it would expand to full orchestras coordinated with dancers entertaining delighted passersby. That was then; this is now.
The wave of criminal flash-mobsters are alerted to these free-for-alls through social media and quickly assemble without warning, blocking traffic, creating havoc and brazenly looting retail stores from Walgreens to Yves Saint Laurent to Louis Vuitton, from San Francisco to L.A. This is reminiscent of the looting that swept the country during the Black Lives Matter summer of violence. Either police arrive too late or are told to stand down by state or local authorities. California’s Governor (and 2024 presidential hopeful) Gavin Newsome is infamous for being soft on crime, notably downgrading grand theft to a misdemeanor if the amount is less than $1,000.
Watching this video, I got a mental picture of looters using the calculators on their cell phones to keep track of the prices of what they’re stealing so they’d be sure to stop at $999.99. Some stealing a cheap hand-held calculator to do that.
Perhaps, some of the more politically motivated looters contrive a sense of social justice for slavery and racial discrimination, and regard this as reparations. For most, it’s just an opportunity to get something for nothing and do their Christmas shopping early for free. The 7-Eleven under attack in the video and others like it provide convenient shopping in communities dominated by people of color. Its franchise owners and employees include people of color, themselves, and bear no responsibility for slavery or related grievances. Whether the looters are rationalizing reparations or just flat-out thieves, this is nothing more noble than stealing someone else’s property. And when these stores close for good, as have many picked clean by looters across the country, the communities will be the worse off for it.
The Rite Aid pharmacy chain has announced that theft in their New York City stores has cost the company $5 million, just in the last quarter. They’re now considering putting literally everything behind glass showcases and are even hiring off-duty police officers for security in some of their stores. The NYPD reports that petty theft has increased 42% in the city this year while robbery is up 37% and burglary up 32%.
In other big cities governed by Democrats, crime rates are soaring thanks to progressive district attorneys, some whose election campaigns were funded by radical left-wing, America-hating billionaire George Soros. These DA’s allow criminals charged with violent crimes awaiting trial to be released without bail on their own recognizance with the effect that too many continue to commit other crimes. One such DA, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, was actually removed from office after a recall election in June. This, in one of the most liberal cities in the country. We need a lot more of that, as well as not electing such people in the first place.
A recent report from Colorado’s Common Sense Institute finds metro Denver to be among the nation’s worst venues for soaring crime rates. Colorado ranks 1st in motor vehicle theft in the country, with multiple cases of car thieves using those stolen vehicles to commit other crimes, and then stealing yet another car to commit more crimes. All this while they’re released on bail — or without!
A basic principle of economics and human nature is that what you punish you get less of, and what you reward you get more of. Yes, some first-time criminals can be rehabilitated and programs devoted to that can be useful. But the problem is with repeat offenders, amoral, sociopathic criminals. Crime is their business. It’s what they do for a living. Think of Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster. Criminal-coddling policies of unrealistic, progressive social justice warriors in government include early releases from prison, reduced sentences, decriminalizing serious offenses, downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, and eliminating bail. This has made crime pay for criminals who feed on law-abiding citizens, while progressives make the thin blue line ever thinner.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.
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