As if to prove my point, the Oakland police department nabbed two of the alleged culprits. And guess what? According to the police, they are career criminals.
Allow me to quote a bit from The Montclarion's article, linked above.
The two key suspects are on parole. One of them will be charged as a "third-striker." And here's what police spokesman Jeff Thomason had to say about them:
"These aren't guys who lost their jobs and got desperate.... These are people who had access to guns and get off on the thrill of robbing people."
First of all, I want to point out that the Oakland police did an admirable job tracking down these suspects. If they are convicted, we owe the cops a debt of gratitude for making the city safer for the average restaurant-goer. Provided the takeover robberies end for a month or two, I might even return to a few Oakland eateries.
This situation also bolsters the point I've made for some time now. I realize that liberals love to point out that poor economic conditions drive people to lives of crime. But just because this is likely true, that doesn't mean the solution is a bunch of welfare or social programs aimed at eradicating poverty (which is impossible anyway, since poverty is defined as below a certain percentile).
I'm not against providing reasonable public services to people of all walks of life. Inner cities need quality teachers just as much as wealthy neighborhoods.
But the reality is that social programs are in vain when crime runs rampant.
There are several reasons for this. Children look around them to see what opportunities are available in their community. When criminals seem to be living carefree lives, they are naturally drawn into that "line of work." Violence also creates chaos, which makes it impossible for non-criminals to have a quiet moment to work on getting their lives together.
Before one cent is spent on social programs, we need to round up the criminals and put them away. I commend the police for their work, but Oakland needs much, much more. The city should fully implement the broken-windows theory, punishing all sorts of criminal behavior.
And, yes, liberal activists should stop worrying about trees in Berkeley, suspend their concern about economic justice, and band together to fight crime first and foremost. Anything else is hypocrisy and doomed to fail.