Heather MacDonald & Theodore Dalrymple-Two Sunday Links

Heather MacDonald: ‘The War On Cops’

Let’s not forget the victims of crime, and that in bad neighborhoods, it’s usually just a matter of time before something bad happens to you (even if you know people, I’m guessing):

‘Mac Donald gives voice to the many residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want proactive policing.’

If you’re going to focus on pain and injustice, difficult as it is, it’s probably best to keep a level head, and provide irrefutable evidence of the wrongs, nailing them to a post in public view.  Policing can be a risky business which deals with a violent subset of the population most of the time. Knowledge of facts and the law are probably your best allies.

Passionate intensity and endless protest can obviously muddy the waters, erasing the line between violent criminals and regular folks on the street.  Ultimately, this weakens whatever trust is there between the police, the neighborhood, and more importantly, all of civil society (the moral concern and inclusion into civil society [freedoms and responsibilities] that can lift people up and keep them striving for something better).

Crime is damaging, demoralizing, and dangerous.  Most criminals usually don’t care about the damage they’re doing…

C-Span interview with MacDonald on the book here.

In this blog’s view: It’s not that the social sciences don’t offer knowledge, insight and relief to people, it’s that the knowledge can be mistaken, and their use soon deployed in a system of incentives by policy advocates, politicians and people on the public take…with motivations of their own.

Proper context is key.

There aren’t many good answers to such tough problems, but tough, unsentimental thinking can often help the most; usually much more than proclamations coming from all the ‘right’ media outlets, suburbs and academia…declaring what the latest discoveries are and where people heads and hearts ought to be.

Theodore Dalrymple (pseudonym) worked in Britain as a prison doctor/psychiatrist, and explains his thinking about how to properly treat people as subjects responding to their environments and the incentives presented before them:

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