WASHINGTON, D.C. — Our town’s baseball team made national news this weekend — but it wasn’t for a win. Video, aired across the country, showed players and fans running for cover and diving into dugouts with their friends and families.
Gunshots, we quickly learned, had been fired outside, wounding three, including a fan. At that moment, they had echoed throughout the stadium and seemed to some to have come from inside.
As fans streaked out, a man in a sportscar took advantage of the situation, doing donuts in the middle of the busy intersection. Police were nowhere to be seen.
We need serious help down here. As if the shooting wasn’t enough, this idiot is doing doughnuts down in @TheYardsDC , with police mere blocks away. #anc6d07 #navyyard @DCPoliceDept @charlesallen pic.twitter.com/Y41h8OlsvZ
— Edward Daniels (@EdwardDaniels) July 18, 2021
It was a national embarrassment for Mayor Muriel Bowser, the most progressive mayor in the District of Columbia’s history and, relatedly, the person who has overseen the total reversal of our hard-fought, declining crime rate.
The Nationals’ game was by far the most widely seen incident, but it was not remotely the saddest day of our city’s weekend. The night before, a shooting in a poor and largely black neighborhood just across the river, Congressional Heights, left a six-year-old girl dead. She’d been walking home with her parents and her older sister when people passing by in a car opened fire. When it was over, her mother lay wounded next to her daughter, along with three others.
Pictures posted by her family show a big, broad smile and braided hair just like her grandmother’s. It’s near impossible to hold back tears when you see her beautiful, innocent, young face.
Crime in this neighborhood has exploded as well. The overgrown and neglected park nearby was no longer a family-friendly place, and playing children had been replaced by drug users and other criminals. Pleas to the city to clean up the neighborhood had gone unheeded. The morning after the shooting, all that changed, and a local woman recorded truck after truck of city crews descending on the park to clean it up for the news cameras.
“So the city wants to act like they’re doing something when the cameras are about to come to the neighborhood?” she asked, narrating the video. “They have dump trucks, they have all the city people cleaning up the park. We’ve been asking for going to clean up this park this whole time and they want to send somebody now because the news is coming.”
I walked up to the site where the 6 year old was murdered and I saw the @USDOI @NationalMallNPS cleaning up the park ONLY because the Mayor and tv cameras are coming!!! @MayorBowser THIS IS ALL UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP!! Y’all! We need to hold them accountable!! Vote her out!!! pic.twitter.com/zzAyHxXEcu
— Dougie Fresh ⚜️ (@IrshQtip) July 17, 2021
“Let [Bowser] do her press conference in the filth we live in everyday!!!” a local member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission tweeted.
Just as in other Democratic cities across the country, violent crime in the nation’s capital is rising dramatically. The trends, worrisome to begin with, have accelerated as progressive voters and politicians have decriminalized drugs, abided public camping, done away with bail, closed public schools, and launched a concentrated attack on their own police officers.
The combination has thoroughly crushed cop morale, and today D.C. police complain of accelerated retirements and terrible recruiting leading to grueling overtime and undermanned shifts and patrols. One neighborhood police officer told us the city council had actually refused to open positions at the police academy.
And why would someone join the force right now? Why wouldn’t officers retire early? Ask nearly any cop you know from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and they’ll tell you don’t do it. “I told my son not to follow in my footsteps,” one longtime Cape Cod drug officer told me. “I couldn’t wait to retire.”
Meanwhile, the corporate media that worked to get these progressive politicians elected and then cheered their “police reforms” is completely perplexed. “Mayors,” The Washington Post claims, “see few options for regaining control.” Really?
That’s a lie, of course: It’s obvious how to regain control. There hasn’t been a spike in bad guys who own gun stores, as President Joe Biden claims, and bullets don’t fall from the sky anyway. There are causes, and one that adds to everything else going wrong is the refusal of politicians and woke U.S. attorneys to prosecute criminals.
This spring, for example, the city in its wisdom decided to empty a women’s shelter in Chinatown and replace it with a shelter for men. Obviously, crime increased dramatically while public sanitation plummeted. When the local community complained, police made arrests and order returned. But then a surprising advocate for criminals and public disorder hit the scene: U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing D. Phillips.
“At a local ANC meeting this past month, police representatives informed us that despite their success in arresting those who have been dealing hard narcotics to the homeless men at the shelter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. is refusing to prosecute the cases for lack of resources/evidence,” Father Vincent De Rosa, a local Catholic priest and advocate for the poor, wrote to parishioners.
Further, it was suggested that lack of political will among our local D.C. leaders makes it impossible for the [D.C. police] to activate necessary resources to build stronger cases against the dealers with evidence that even the federal authorities cannot ignore. I hope you will prayerfully consider writing to the US Attorney’s Office for D.C., urging them the prosecute those who would prey on the weakest and most needy among us. Our city’s Herculean efforts to improve housing and reduce homelessness should not be hampered by the presence of narcotics among the homeless.
The story checks out. While riots rocked D.C. for the entirety of Donald Trump’s presidency, starting on his first day in office, hundreds and hundreds of violent participants were let go by prosecutors unwilling to do their duty.
Instead of prosecuting, this summer the mayor dedicated the public road in front of the White House — some of the most valuable and visible commercial real estate in the world — to Black Lives Matter, the organization responsible for much of the 2020 rioting. Unsurprisingly, businesses suffered as the square became a squalid home for garbage and drugs. Completely expectedly, order suffered as the square became a launching pad for riots against the White House and its guests.
Lafayette Park is not alone. Public homeless tent encampments are everywhere in D.C., filling our parks and making a mockery of our public green spaces. Union Station is overrun with junkies and violently insane people.
In D.C. today, women passing these camps have been especially targeted with harassment. It’s common now for our college-aged interns to report screams, swears, and projectiles hurled their way just outside their dorm — on a main thoroughfare of the city, mere blocks from the Capitol.
It’s not just drug addicts and rioters who escape prosecution. Earlier this month, three teenage girls tased a man in an attempted car-jacking. One of the girls was 12, one was 14 and one was 16. The police are only pursuing charges against the 12-year-old (who used the Taser) over the violent attack and invasion. The older girls, who almost undoubtedly put the child up to it and who took part in the crime, walked away.
They almost might as well have. Even when D.C. claims to “throw the book” at violent juvenile criminals, it’s a joke. When two teenage girls brutally murdered an elderly immigrant trying to feed his family, crushing his head against a pole while stealing the car he used for his livelihood (and showing more concern for their missing phone than the murdered man), they got “the maximum sentence.”
Want to know what that was? They’ll be released when they’re 21.
“Welcome to Washington, D.C. where violent crime permeates everything.” the city’s police union tweeted Sunday morning. “It is a tragedy that elected officials won’t let us do our jobs.”
In response, the city’s chapter of Black Lives Matter called the head of the union “a raging right wing extremist leading a campaign to fight for cops to keep brutalizing and killing black people and then blaming it those black people while being unable to stop the violence they fuel.”
And on July 12 — the same day the city and its prosecutor decided not to pursue charges against those 14 and 16-year-old car-jackers — Mayor Muriel Bowser went to the White House to ask the president for his help in solving violent crime in D.C.
Really? We’re to believe “mayors see few options for regaining control” of the cities they run?
Her voters might think differently.