- - Thursday, August 4, 2016


“Now those are facts. That’s data,” said President Barack Obama after he made a statistically fraudulent attack on a statistically accurate statement by Donald Trump about the rise of crime in the United States.

In his final, major speech at the Republican convention in Cleveland, Mr. Trump said there had been “decades of progress” in crime reduction but that homicides rose by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities last year, the largest rise in the past quarter of a century.

Mr. Obama wasn’t having any. This oh, so dark stuff made his legacy smell. It could hurt Democrats in the coming election. At the Democratic convention, he said we should focus most on what’s right with America, and in that speech and at a podium before that, waxed condescendingly about the Trump assertion.

“Although it is true that we’ve seen an uptick in murders and violent crime in some cities this year,” he said earlier, “the fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today, is far lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president, and lower than when I took office.”

This tangle of confusion does not refute anything Mr. Trump said. The issue is not whether crime today is lower than in the Reagan era or when Mr. Obama arrived in the White House holding hands with hope and change — Mr. Trump’s words also pointed in that direction. The issue is whether homicide is emphatically on the rise again. It is.

Mr. Obama said there had been a homicide “uptick” in some cities. May the mathematicians forgive him, but you don’t get to averages as devastatingly high as a 17 percent increase in more than 50 cities with “upticks.” As is reported by Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute analyst, there were 12 cities with increases ranging from 54 to 90 percent, and that adds up to bloody, bullet-ridden bodies all over the place. It could get far worse — the murder rate is still going up.

So what’s going on?

The war on cops, says Ms. Mac Donald, who has written a book with that phrase as the title. She talks about Ferguson, Mo., where a cop defending himself was made out to have murdered a black man. Despite a Department of Justice finding that the policeman was innocent, we were off and running with claims by the president, media pundits and other politicians that police forces were systemically racist.

The message, especially hyped by outraged protesters, made law enforcement trickier in a dozen ways and, says Ms. Mac Donald, police were rendered less proactive. That made criminals more proactive and some inner cities unbelievably hellish even if it left some in calm areas nonchalant.

Take, for instance, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a one percent kind of guy who gets lush income from his column and teaching duties as well as moolah galore from his book sales and speeches. He writes cheerily about how safe everything is. Yeah, for you Paul. What about neighborhoods where small children are shot down?

When it comes to solutions for what’s going on, the mostly confused Mr. Trump talks as if he could dictate right stuff to local police forces if president. That’s bogus, but his leftist-lacerated speech wasn’t. With niggling qualifications, a New York Times check found him factually right on just about everything it looked into.

Mr. Trump does respect cops, and that’s important even as we all know there are some bad cops out there. The horror, when cops are not respected, can be such justice atrocities as a Baltimore prosecutor pursuing cops with homicide charges in the accidental death of Freddie Gray with no evidence, just prejudicial fury. An honorable black judge stood tall, the case is done and the innocent are free even if ruined. But many are dead because of a mass reaction to the incident leading to a rise in crime of a kind the Obamas of this world play down and thereby make worse.

• Jay Ambrose is a freelance writer and former director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers.

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