1906, 2021: Have We Progressed Or Regressed In Handling Crime?

By | November 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

Following the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, looters were seen cleaning out damaged stores. Mayor Schmitz called on Brigadier General Funston, commander of the military installation in the Presidio. Troops were deployed according to the mayor’s proclamation that looters would be shot. And between 10 and 100 were shot. Unsurprisingly, word spread and looting stopped. Troops were removed after 3 weeks.

Now California is again bedeviled by looters. But unlike 1906, there is no natural disaster to blame. We have only ourselves to blame. Upscale stores in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and surrounding areas are being attacked by organized bands of looters armed with pry bars and hammers. In most cases, police do not arrive until after the looters depart in multiple cars. In a few cases, arrests were made later.

In some cases, looters were unable to gain access to the stores because their sledge hammers cracked the bank-teller glass windows but did not shatter them. The expensive windows will be replaced, and the cost added to the prices that customers will pay. Passive defense tends to be expensive, and not very effective as well.

First we taught young people to step over horizontal human beings without stopping to see if they are sleeping, drunk, drugged, ill, injured, or dead. Now we are teaching young people that stealing is allowed, even praiseworthy. When our kids grow up, and we are no longer here, they will live in a nation where stealing is common but empathy is rare. What a marvelous inheritance to leave them!

Do you think, just possibly, that we should change course? The methods of 1906 were crude but effective. What can we say that is positive about our methods, or rather our non-methods? Nothing? You see my point.


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