Passing Laws vs. Enforcing Laws

There has been a series of attacks on homosexuals in a downtown area of Portland. It involves primarily straight-on-gay crime. There is a gang war going on in Northeast Portland. It involves primarily black-on-black crime.

Two days after the latest assault on two gay men (one of three gay bashing incidents this summer), leaders of the local gay community organized a town meeting to deal with the situation. In attendance were Portland’s liberal Democrat mayor, Sam Adams, and Portland’s police chief. The meeting resulted in increased citizen and police patrols. Oregon’s liberal Democrat Attorney General chimed in by establishing an online bias crime reporting system. In short a physical presence was increased and a focus on detection, pursuit and prosecution was increased.

Two days after a series of seven gang-related shooting (part of the sixty-five reported gang-related violent incidents) a meeting was called under the aegis of the Gang Violence Task Force. Neither Mayor Adams nor the police chief attended. Former Portland gang prevention coordinator, John Canda, who was fired by Mayor Adams complained bitterly about a disproportional response according to a recent article in the Oregonian:

Canda countered, saying the community is concerned but that the city needs leadership to address the problem. He said he was amazed to read on the mayor’s website his lengthy plan on how to address gay-bashing downtown [three incidents] with the creation of Q patrols, new citizen foot patrols. Canda said he didn’t remember any deaths [sixty-five gang related incidents] that prompted the mayor’s quick response to the bias crimes.” [Bracketed words supplied]

So why the difference? Is it because Mayor Adams is gay but not African American? It is because Mayor Adams frequents the Q district but largely shuns Northeast Portland? Well that might be part of it but there is something even more pernicious at work in the disparate response.

Portland’s liberals hate law enforcement. They believe that law enforcement is unnecessarily violent, biased and generally insensitive to politically correct policies. More importantly law enforcement is expensive and commands resources that might be “better” spent on Portland’s social programs.

To enforce Oregon’s criminal laws in Northeast Portland, Portland’s police might be accused of (gasp) “racial profiling.” After all the police will be focusing their attention on African American youths. Arrests of these gang members will reinforce the disproportionate ratio of African Americans detained. Prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of these gang members will similarly reinforce the disproportionate ratio of African Americans incarcerated. In politically correct Portland that just cannot happen.

But something must be done. Something that appears to express concern, suggests action and accomplishes nothing.

The preferred response by liberals is to pass another law rather than fund the enforcement of existing laws. And right on cue Mayor Adams issued his response to the increased gang violence in Northeast Portland. As the Oregonian reported:

“Later Friday, Adams released a draft of proposed changes to city code to get guns out of youth’s hand. Adams was to impose a special curfew for juveniles, create city crimes for failure to control access to a firearm by a child and failing to report theft or loss of a firearm, increase penalties for possession of a loaded firearm in a public space, and create special exclusions to keep people who have violated firearm laws from certain areas of the city.”

Wow. That will fix the problem. Pass another series of laws that gang bangers will ignore just like the current crop of laws they ignore. Pass another series of laws regulating guns while the Portland’s gang bangers already ignore at least a half dozen existing state and federal gun laws. That’ll work.

Absent from Adams’ proposals were hiring more police, increasing patrols, gang sweeps, zero gang tolerance, a crackdown on drug trafficking, or closing of establishments that serve as gang hangouts.

Oh, but didn’t Adams increase a police presence in the Q District? Sure, but there the perpetrators are straight white morons and no one is going to wince about profiling or other politically correct sensitivities there.

Adams’ proposals will join a long list of liberal responses that make them feel good without ever really doing anything. But then, you get what you deserve in an election.