Monday, November 16, 2009

Houston's Crime Wave

Fox News reports that crime is increasing downtown and many crimes are not even being investigated. (HT: blogHouston). Ray Hunt, of the Houston Police Officers' Union, told the station:
"We have beats that go unprotected, we have beats where there are no officers assigned to, we have lots of cases that go uninvestigated," Hunt says.

Hunt gave some examples: home and car burglaries, gas drive offs, class c misdemeanors under $50 - he says some of these cases may end up being ignored.

The station reports that Police Chief Harold Hurtt sent a letter to the Chronicle (which wasn't published) indicating that the city needs another 1,400 to 5,000 officers. Since protecting individual rights is government's only legitimate purpose, and the police are the primary local means for doing so, why can't the mayor and city council find the money to hire more officers?

I suspect that city officials will point to the city's budget deficit as an excuse. They must balance priorities, they would say. But actions speak louder than words, and if we look at their actions, we can clearly see where their priorities lie.

The mayor and city council are more interested in using tax money to help first-time home buyers, or busting apartment complex owners for having inadequately heated water, or ridding the city of "attention-getting devices". They are more interested in harassing private businesses (such as the Ashby High Rise and sexually-oriented businesses), reneging on their word, threatening veterinarians, and pushing the "greening" of Houston than protecting the citizens.

There is indeed a crime wave emanating from downtown, and it is coming from City Hall. City officials are intent on threatening--and using--force to accomplish their goals. Like the street thugs that they should protect us from, they believe that might makes right. They believe that if enough citizens support some measure, then they have a right to impose the will of that noisy gang upon the entire city. And they believe that the recalcitrant may properly be threatened with fines, jail, or both.

That they wear ties and dresses does not change the nature or the meaning of their actions. The street thug threatens you with injury. They threaten you with jail. The street thug demands your wallet. They demand your tax payment. The street thug will openly and brazenly threaten you with his gun. They will keep their gun hidden, telling you to obey, or else. The street thug believes that he has a right to take what he wants. They believe that they have a right dictate as "the people" want.

The initiation of force is always morally wrong. It is never moral to steal, to rape, or to murder. It is never moral to force an individual to act against his own judgment (unless he has first forced others to do so). The number of individuals supporting the initiation of force does not change its evil nature.

The greatest threat to our property, our lives, and our safety does not come from criminals. It comes from government. Government holds a legal monopoly on the use of force, and the only proper use of that monopoly is in retaliation against those who first initiate its use.

The initiation of force is a criminal act, and it is government's purpose to protect us from such actions by apprehending and punishing criminals. But when government uses its power to prohibit the actions of consenting adults, when it uses its power to compel individuals to act contrary to their own judgment, government is no longer our protector.

Yes, a crime wave has been sweeping Houston. It has worn the mask of historic preservation, light rail, and neighborhood "protection". It has promised us a better "quality of life" and the allure of becoming a "world-class" city. And it is a Trojan Horse--a shell that hides our ultimate undoing.

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