Things are heating up, in both London and Nueva York, as this place should correctly be called. Two flunkeys writing in the New York Times announced that Boris is committing gaffes and could, like Trump, be a dead man walking. This is wishful thinking and the premature celebration confirms that the media can no longer be trusted, certainly not here in the land of the depraved. (The flunkeys sought quotes from obscure British left-wing academics, and loftily present them as ‘the people’. Their detachment from the workaday world is hilarious.)
In the meantime, here in the Bagel an alleged drug pusher looking at nearly 100 years behind bars is photographed walking free and saluting Governor Cuomo for his bail-reform law. ‘Cuomo for president,’ crowed José Jorge in Spanish, as he left a Manhattan court without paying a penny in bail. He is one of around 900 alleged criminals who have been set free in order to avoid a logjam when Cuomo’s bail-reform bill formally comes into force next year. (Jorge was an innovative drug dealer. He mixed fentanyl with heroin for an extra kick, as a result of which it’s said at least one of his clients died.) Never mind, the law is the law, and we all know that there are no criminals, only oppressors. According to the honchos who rule us, we need more tolerance for public disorder and for the city’s worst instincts. Ditto in London, I am told, where the present great mayor presides over a level of knife crime last seen in Carthage after the Roman arrival.
Who’s gonna fix this mess? Certainly not the fuzz. The coppers are under siege here, having water — as well as milk — poured over them, and overseeing marches every weekend where vile anti-NYPD invective is spewed. I watched a cop car full of fuzz doing absolutely nothing as bikers rode on sidewalks dispersing shoppers on Madison Avenue. And I sympathised with them. Law- abiding citizens are now in the minority, so why should a copper enforce a law that’s not so important? And guns are making a comeback (not that they ever went away). The rates of seizure of illegal guns are at their lowest in four years, and that’s because the NYPD is reluctant to confiscate guns after the mayor and the police commissioner sacked a totally innocent officer for applying a legal chokehold on a 400lb man who died. The broken window theory has flown out the window.
Yep, the city is in serious decline: public disorder is rampant and the will to combat it is nil. Of course you’ll never read this in the Times, only in the Post and the Wall Street Journal. I sometimes wonder why a newspaper such as the Times embraces insanity and presents it as fairness and compassion. The paper practically celebrates criminals, and in my book being convicted of a serious crime does not make one a hero, especially when everything else has been decriminalised. Living, as I do, in well-guarded buildings in exclusive sections of the Bagel — and as most people who work for the Times also do — helps. They read about crime first-hand in the Post.
Law and order, the symbol that Giuliani rode to victory on and then brought about the rebirth of the Bagel 30 years ago, is now perceived as fascist and as a racist plot by the minority, the law-abiding folk. At times it turns funny. For example, the present mayor is using tax money to hand out gifts to those who show up for court dates. Rob a store or mug an oldie, and get a free baseball ticket for showing up to scheduled court appearances, after you’ve been allowed to walk free without posting any bail.
Mind you, as I said I don’t see much of this mess on the Upper East Side. But when I recently crossed the bridge to Brooklyn for a party, I did witness a small march of about 500 to 1,000 bearing a large yellow banner that read: ‘Punch that Cop.’ This was on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, where my nice but totally lost cab driver had taken me. I asked him what he thought about the calls for violence against the police. His English was limited — he was from Ghana — but he did say: ‘No good, no good.’ Then again he was a hard-working cabbie with no time to protest against fascism, racism, sexism and all the rest of the isms.
The Bagel is in flux. Just over three million of its eight million plus residents are foreign-born. And of those a quarter are under 35. How many remember the halcyon days of Giuliani? The gangs are mostly Hispanics, with Dominicans being among the most violent and brutal, and there’s not a damn thing that anyone can do about them. They deal in drugs and murder, and the lousiest mayor ever, Bill de Blasio, makes sure the cops do not cross the line and step on the poor darlings’ civil rights.
Am I painting too bleak a picture? Not if one lives in Queens, the Bronx or in certain parts of Brooklyn. Here in New York the rich are protected, as they are in London, almost by osmosis. The gangs know where the weak live. Where the poor are. And when the zeitgeist says that the only thing worse than crime is locking up those who commit it, it’s party time for the bad guys. The set-’em-free mindset means bad days ahead for those who least deserve it. My problem is I can’t make up my mind whether it’s better to be knifed in London or to be shot in Nueva York.