Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
While New Yorkers packed movie theaters to watch Joker, a homeless immigrant stalked the streets of the city bludgeoning four homeless men to death with a three-foot long metal pipe while they slept.
Rodriguez “Randy” Santos had come to the United States from the Dominican Republic four years ago.
In those four years, he racked up 14 arrests for everything from biting a man on the chest to groping a woman. He punched his mother and broke his grandfather’s nose. In just the last year he was arrested four times. And still the authorities remained comfortable with letting Santos walk the streets.
At least, until he was caught with a metal pipe covered in the blood and matted hair of four dead men.
And some marijuana.
This should have come as no surprise because he had busted back in May attacking a man with a metal weapon in his old homeless shelter. Instead of locking him up, he was given yet another chance.
And he took it.
An 83-year-old Chinese man would not have been beaten to death on the streets of Chinatown if either federal immigration authorities or local law enforcement had been allowed to do their jobs. But New York is a sanctuary city and state where deporting foreign criminals is considered a worse crime than bashing four homeless men on the head with a metal pipe until they’re dead. And the criminal justice system has been reinvented as a revolving door for putting career psychos back on the street.
The Santos case isn’t unusual. It’s how things work now in New York City and other lefty cities.
Earlier this month, Jaquan Whittle was caught on video breaking a 71-year-old woman’s jaw in New York. Both Whittle and his victim are black. At the time of the assault, Jaquan had been out on probation for another crime. He had multiple previous arrests and had tried to rape a woman on a subway train in 2017. Like Santos, he did manage to bite her on the chest.
A few days earlier, Antonio Lavance Williams, who was out on probation, grabbed a cop’s gun and shot him three times, before being killed by other officers. Williams had his own history of arrests, had been busted for drugs last year, had a warrant in another drug case, and was facing a harassment charge.
You don’t need to go to the movies to see these guys in action. Just walk down the wrong street.
The release of Joker has been accompanied by the usual conversation about the threat posed by violent, disaffected white men. And those certainly exist. But Santos, Whittle and Williams aren’t white. Neither, for the most part, were their victims. Their horrifying crimes, taking place within a short amount of time, paint a picture of a crime wave that has nothing to do with the internet, but is wholly old-fashioned.
Joker borrows the setting of a gritty 70s New York City while misdiagnosing the causes of its ills as alienation, income inequality, and cuts to social services. That’s nonsense. The ills that led Santos, Whittle and Williams to terrorize New Yorkers, and that allowed their 70s counterparts to do even worse, were a civilizational collapse brought on by the Left’s social policies and cultural agendas.
The cultural agendas tore apart the bonds of family, religion and hard work, while the social policies flooded the streets with criminals, addicts and crazies who knew they could get away with anything.
Even after the 90s showed how effective prisons were in making streets safer, the clock is being turned back in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland with ugly consequences. The career criminals who used to be locked up, long before they could escalate their reign of terror to murder, have been allowed to roam free while politicians like Beto O’Rourke even propose paying them reparations for their suffering at the hands of an unfair and racist justice system.
Four dead homeless men lying in pools of their own blood in Chinatown are the wages of that policy.
Under the guise of euphemisms like ‘criminal justice reform’, the push is on to cut ‘incarceration rates’ which its proponents claim will only affect ‘non-violent offenders’. That’s been conclusively proven to be a lie. There are calls for ‘restorative justice’, an end to three strikes laws and ‘broken windows policing’. But when you don’t police broken windows, you’re going to end up policing broken heads.
Homeless populations have spread disease, filth and violence across major cities. These vagrant encampments have been empowered and protected by the same lefty activists who claim to care. They care so much that explosions of Hepatitis, Typhus and violent assaults have been spread by their caring.
Sanctuary cities and states protect foreign criminals from deportation leading to horrors like the one that took place near New York City’s Bowery. Immigrants, legal and illegal, from failed societies impose a heavy crime cost on the United States. But every effort to stop the flow of crime into this country has been met with hysterical comparisons to Nazi Germany, judicial activism, and claims that the United States was in desperate need of the likes of Rodriguez “Randy” Santos to fill the tech jobs of tomorrow.
We know what real-life versions of the Joker look like.
Their character arc is short and violent. They suffer from mental problems and drug and alcohol addictions. They have a history of violence going back to their teens. If not earlier. They bounce back and forth between school, prison and urban dystopias that provide them with welfare, drugs and hunting grounds. When we talk about crime, they are what we are really talking about.
Superpredators are real. There’s nothing racist about telling that truth.
Every society produces its share of predators. A working society kills them or locks them up. A failed society glamorizes them, treats them as victims, and lets them roam the streets.
Over the summer, the MTA, which controls New York’s subway system, moved to ban repeat offenders from riding its buses and trains. Examples included criminals who had repeatedly robbed or groped riders. Lefty lawyers protested that banning career criminals from riding the subway system was wrong.
Or, in social justice parlance, “problematic”.
Earlier in the summer, a serial sexual predator who had been arrested 169 times (99 of those were sealed) was caught at a homeless shelter after groping a woman working for the NYPD.
One year there were over a thousand sexual offenses in the subway system.
The MTA debate was a microcosm of the urban argument. Is society meant to protect people from predators or predators from people? The latter is the familiar social justice argument in which the predator is the victim of an uncaring society. The former is the only way civilization works.
New York City in the 70s showed us the depths to which a city can descend, in the 90s it reminded us that crime isn’t destiny, and in the new century it’s telling us the same story all over again.
Civilization is a choice.
We can choose a civilized society. Or a social justice jungle in which madmen with steel pipes covered in blood wander the streets looking for victims. The Left has made its choice. We must make ours.