Shit’s flyin’ these days around the subject of crime in Burlington. In spite of the actual crime statistics, and in spite of the voters’ thorough rejection of Law ‘N Order Lite candidate Ted Kenney, the news can’t stop hyping the largely imaginary epidemic of lawlessness in the Queen City.
Yes, there’s been a substantial jump in gun incidents, and although three fatal shootings may be just another Tuesday afternoon in big cities, it’s a lot by Burlington standards. Nobody wants a hail of bullets from their Welcome Wagon. Otherwise, though, Burlington has quite a bit less crime — including violent crime — now than, say, ten years ago.
But some people, prominent white people, feel unsafe. And if prominent white people have a feeling, it must be a real problem, right?
I mean, we’ve got Moderate Nice Guy Phil Scott out here lying about defunding the police: “…with all due respect to Burlington, they defunded the police. They did that.”
Not unless you think “defunding” means “a modest temporary reduction.” Which it doesn’t. Look, if we’re going to ceaselessly demagogue every cut to the police budget, criminal justice reform is gonna be a long time coming.
Last Friday, a gaggle of conservatives under the rubric of “Keep Vermont Safe” held a Panel Of Grievance in Burlington City Hall. VTDigger, for some reason, sent a reporter and a photographer to cover the event. And cover it they did, despite a pitifully small turnout. “Roughly two dozen,” Digger reported. There were almost that many people on stage.Continue reading