Rich Lowry has a column at Politico attempting to defend Ray Kelly and the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy. The arguments are so absurd that one suspects that he is still blinded by those starbursts that Sarah Palin sent flying around his living room when she winked at him in 2008.
“Stop and frisk is both racist and damaging to actual police work,” wrote Jamelle Bouie in the American Prospect.
Kelly unquestionably operates from this disadvantage: Musing from a podium is easy. Policing a city is hard. He doesn’t get to deal in airy generalities. He doesn’t get to wave off inconvenient realities. His job performance is ultimately judged not by the approval of pundits grading his remarks for their subtlety and deftness but by lives saved and lost and criminals arrested or left on the streets.
Airy generalities? You mean like the assumption that black people are inherently more dangerous than anyone else? That kind of airy generality? And where is that pesky thing called the constitution in all of this? No, Kelly is not judged solely on the number of criminals arrested or the number of lives saved (which can’t possibly be measured anyway). The mere fact that a policy might help catch criminals does not mean that policy is acceptable or legal. I have no doubt that cameras in every room or every house in New York City would result in the arrest of more criminals than can be apprehended the old-fashioned way, but no one would argue that this is a good reason to do it. Don’t conservatives claim to believe in limited government? Lowry is arguing for quite the opposite here.
I hazard to say that Ray Kelly cares as much about black lives as any of his critics, and I know he has certainly done much more to save them.
I hazard to say that Rich Lowry is a moron. You know how many people stopped and frisked by the NYPD are found to have guns? A whopping .15% of those stopped. And the mere fact that someone has a gun doesn’t mean he’s going to use it, much less hurt anyone with it. So why does Lowry think that stopping 700,000 people a year without reasonable suspicion, over 80% of them black or Latino, is saving some huge number of lives?
I suspect that Lowry’s views would change dramatically if he were stopped and frisked every day while walking down the sidewalk minding his own business. Then he’d suddenly discover the importance of the 4th Amendment. But since it mostly hassles dark-skinned people, he doesn’t care.