Out of this past week’s politically correct celebration of the sweep of all three citywide offices by African American candidates in the Democratic primary in the City of St. Louis, there is a note of concern for adherents of law and order. Kim Gardner, the state representative who won the Democratic nomination for Circuit Attorney, appears to be a protege of Marilyn Mosby, the controversial cop-hating Baltimore state’s attorney.
Retiring Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has worked closely with St. Louis police to get criminals off the streets, a chore made more challenging since the social unrest following nationally publicized incidents in Ferguson. Joyce supported Chief Sam Dotson’s program of “broken windows” law enforcement, an efficient practice that was called into question after Ferguson.
Joyce’s policies are about to change. After being declared the winner of her primary, Gardner said her election was “about building trust. This is about doing things differently.” What would she do differently? In her campaign brochure Gardner had promised “to reduce over-incarceration of low level non-violent offenders.” She blamed the city’s crime problems on “decades of public mistrust in the criminal justice system (law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges alike).” She also said one of her goals would be to increase diversity in the office, in which African Americans currently comprise a little over 10% of the lawyers.
I see a huge problem with the lead prosecutor announcing her intention “to reduce over-incarceration of low level non-violent offenders.” Most burglaries are non-violent. So are car thefts, defrauding seniors and other victims with Ponzi schemes, election fraud, identity theft and heroine sales. What about robberies where a weapon is claimed but not actually displayed, or where a gun is brandished but no shots are fired? Gardner just announced to criminals in our area that they probably won’t have to go to prison for those sorts of crimes. Sounds to me like open season on crime victims.
Gardner won her contest over the opposition of both police unions, the predominantly white St. Louis Police Officers Association and the predominantly black Ethical Society of Police. She owes her victory instead to the near unanimous backing of African American political leaders (including Congressman Lacy Clay), black newspapers, and certain prominent Black Lives Matter activists. Her campaign’s largest financial benefactor was a committee funded by left-wing billionaire activist George Soros, who has also funded militant protests by Black Lives Matter activists. Gardner piled up huge margins in predominantly black wards, topping 70% in seven of them. Her closest competitor, Joyce’s lead homicide prosecutor Mary Pat Carl, won most white wards by mere pluralities, topping 50% only in her home ward. Gardner owes her new office to the black community, and owes law enforcement nothing but payback.
How did this happen? Primarily, voters were kept in the dark about the danger of what a Gardner win would mean. I attended a neighborhood meeting where the only candidates who appeared were the two white candidates. They referred to each other as “my opponent,” in the singular, as though no other candidates had filed. They had to have seen Gardner’s campaign flyer containing the statements mentioned above. Did political correctness prevent them from criticizing, or even mentioning, these dangerous policies propounded by an African American candidate?
Gardner’s win cannot realistically be reversed in the November general election. No Republican or third party candidate filed for the office, and the deadline for filing an independent candidate has passed. Gardner will be the only candidate on the ballot. Write-in votes are still possible, but such campaigns are rarely successful.
When speaking in St. Louis after having been elected governor of California, Ronald Reagan reportedly took note Ramsey Clark, the civil libertarian who headed the Justice Department under President Lyndon Johnson. Reagan asked, “How do you win a war against crime when the attorney general is a dove?” That may turn out to be an apt description of the St. Louis crime scene with Gardner as Circuit Attorney.