Spring Break 2022 ended in Miami Beach with a bang -- or rather with a bunch of them. Multiple shootings along the beachfront Ocean Drive prompted city officials to announce a curfew for the rest of the week from midnight to 6 pm. "We can't endure this anymore. We just simply can't," pleaded Mayor Dan Gelber. "This isn't your mother and father's spring break. This is something wholly different."
It's not just spring breakers letting off steam. Violent crimes of all varieties are increasing nationwide. Five people were shot in Baltimore last weekend. In Seattle, Amazon temporarily relocated 1,800 employees due to increased shootings near its facility. Armed robberies in Los Angeles are up 44 percent over the same period last year. In Atlanta, murder has risen 43 percent and rape has risen 236 percent over the same period last year. Pick any city, and you'll likely find crime is up. These violent crimes continue to increase annually, even after the record 30 percent increase from 2019 to 2020.
What's driving the rise in lawlessness? According to former law enforcement officer Jason Johnson, now Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund President, one factor is the "demoralization and disempowerment of police in the wake of what I think most people consider unfair criticism." Police "will take their cues from the elected officials." If they aren't confident that their department will back them up, "they'll be very hesitant to put themselves in that position." Putting their safety on the line is part of the job, but when police feel they could lose their job -- or even their retirement -- for doing the right thing, that undermines their effectiveness.
While not calling to defund the police, President Biden "has embraced the idea of demoralizing and disempowering law enforcement," said Johnson. In one unprecedented example, the Biden Justice Department refused to provide legal representation for four U.S. marshals facing lawsuits. Such an anti-police attitude will "result in an actual reduction in the professional standing of law enforcement officers," said Johnson, which means "at some point these agencies will have to reduce their professional standards." Insisting all police are bad apples draws relatively more bad apples into the bunch.
A second factor Johnson identified is "the election of 'social justice'-oriented prosecutors" who "are averse to prosecuting criminals." What rational officer will risk his neck to arrest a criminal when he knows the government officials will refuse to prosecute him? Criminals understand this as well as cops. "Therefore, there's an atmosphere of permissiveness and lawlessness, that there won't be any consequences or accountability," Johnson explained.
A still more fundamental factor is a loss of national morality built upon religion, as 89 percent of "Washington Watch" listeners affirmed. America has lost its way ever since it kicked God out of the classrooms, but now even the morality built upon God's Word isn't tolerated. As President George Washington said in his farewell address, "of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
Finally, lawlessness is the fruit of bad leadership. When the people of Israel worshiped the golden calf at Mount Sinai, Moses wrote that "the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies)" (Exodus 32:25). To end the national disgrace, Moses had to restore order and carry out justice. This meant that wrongdoers had to face consequences. His actions serve as a model for any nation plagued by lawlessness. As Proverbs says, "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law" (Proverbs 29:18).