Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links! Also, make sure to check out the latest in my Gold Standards series over at Glibertarians – this one discusses the great Winchester Model 52.
City Journal’s Michael Gibson chronicles the utter disaster that is San Francisco. Excerpt:
Even before the current Covid-19 pandemic, San Francisco was a deeply troubled city. It ranks first in the nation in theft, burglary, vandalism, shoplifting, and other property crime. On average, about 60 cars get broken into each day. Diseases arising from poor sanitation—typhoid, typhus, hepatitis A—are reappearing at an alarming rate. Fentanyl goes for about $20 a pill on Market Street, and each year the city hands out 4.5 million needles, which you can find used and tossed out like cigarette butts in parks and around bus stops. The city’s department of public works deploys feces cleaners daily—a “poop patrol” to wash the filth from the sidewalks.
This is just a brief summary of the lack of hygiene and common decency. A reasonable person might declare an emergency, but in her first official act, Breed swore in Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s new district attorney, before a packed house at the Herbst Theater. “Chesa, you have undertaken a remarkable challenge today,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a congratulatory video message. “I hope you reflect as a great beacon to many.” Boudin’s résumé boasts of a stint working directly for the late dictator Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, who turned a once-rich nation back to the dark ages. “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes,” Boudin promised during his campaign. He must have witnessed the success of that policy in Caracas, which was voted the world’s most dangerous city in 2018.
Even the sights and sounds of the city suggest a certain derangement. When the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system was first built in the 1970s, its designers failed to understand the acoustics between wheel, track, and tunnel. Since the nineteenth century, competent railroad engineers have known that a tapered, flanged wheel will handle turns better and generate less noise. For some reason, BART designers ignored this design in favor of a cylindrical wheel with a straight edge. Years of wear and tear have degraded the screech into a mad howl. According to a recent count by the San Francisco Chronicle, BART has lost nearly 10 million riders on nights and weekends because of the noise, grime, and lack of safety. It doesn’t help that it has also become a de facto shelter for drug addicts and the mentally ill.
The Old Man used to tell of visiting San Francisco briefly in 1945. His one-day impression of that city was that it was a marvel, a booming metropolis, clean, shining and prosperous. My Uncle George was stationed in the area in the early Fifties and spent a fair amount of free time mooching about the waterfront and in Chinatown, and spoke enthusiastically about what a great place the Bay Area was.
Things were bad when I spent 2017 in the area, and the rot had spread as far as Silicon Valley, where bums sleep in the parks and along the trails and side streets are lined with parked RVs. On our few ventures into the downtown area, we were treated to the sights, sounds and smells of Frisco’s bum, drug and feces-coated streets. As Mr. Gibson points out, they have gone from bad to worse.
I’ve harped on this theme for some time now. But it’s hard to watch what was one of America’s great cities descend into chaos; but holy crap, a DA who worked for Hugo Chavez? That’s well past chaos and into enemy action.
It’s hard to find a good solution for San Francisco, where people keep voting in the lunatics running this asylum. As Mencken pointed out, democracy is the idea that the people know what government they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.
San Francisco in particular and, honestly, California in general, seem determined to prove Mencken right.