Jeff Fortenberry

12/03/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/03/2021 16:13

Fort Report: Smash and Grab

Across the country, we are witnessing a shocking, brazen crime pattern called smash and grab. Heavily masked and hooded gangs, deploying crowbars and hammers, and armed with neutralizing chemical spray, smash through store windows and doors frantically grabbing as much high-end merchandise they can carry out. With swarming teams as large as 80, these flash mob thefts of Hermes purses, Gucci scarves, Apple iPhones and high-priced jewelry can cumulatively exceed $100,000 each. The thieves in turn fence the stolen loot through the Internet. Store security, mall cops, and frightened customers are so dumbfounded by the audacious nature of the heist, they are often paralyzed to respond. Overwhelmed by crime spikes in multiple areas, law enforcement plays whack-a-mole against the evolving threat.

It's an upside-down world in which criminals have free rein, crime-enabling political leaders look the other way, state legislatures in the most affected states minimize the organized "shoplifting" as a low-priority "misdemeanor," and law-abiding civilians are demonized if they dare to block the transparent evil. Academics shamelessly justify the onslaught as "active measures," "reparations," and "social justice." After all, they reason, "wealthy" stores for the "privileged elite" can recoup their losses through insurance. Those who disagree with this groupthink are purged from the collegiate ranks into a transfer portal to nowhere.

In our nation's long quest to protect human dignity, the right to be free of violence against one's person and property does not have to be an inexorable casualty. But this is not just about shoppers and stuff. Violent crime does not exist in a vacuum apart from larger cultural dynamics.

A society that tolerates wanton criminal activity, not to mention open borders, is one that is happy to tolerate smash-and-grab health care edicts, smash-and-grab electioneering, smash-and-grab school boards, and smash-and-grab pro athletes refusing to stand for the flag of an imperfect but self-correcting nation that made their outsized profits possible. No surprise we now have smash-and-grab budgets in which massive new spending is passed with zero compromise, with mandates for 87,000 new IRS agents, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and tax breaks for California and New York millionaires. No one in Big Tech, Big Media, or the Administrative State is going to shame, stop, or silence the quest to "fundamentally transform" America.

In our smash-and-grab economy, global corporations wantonly grab what they want, paying lip service to their rapacious smashing of social, economic, and environmental norms. In our smash-and-grab political environment, decorum and collegiality are under daily siege, as formative and governing institutions lose credibility and trust. No surprise that in our smash-and-grab media, corporate profiteering demands a verbal cage fight, as notions of goodwill and citizenship recede further into a distant past.

Irish poet William Butler Yeats foresaw this moment over 100 years ago:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while theworst

Are full of passionate intensity.

On the dais at the front of the House chamber are five words: Union. Justice. Tolerance. Liberty. Peace. We say we want Unity. We say we want Justice. We say we want Tolerance. We need Liberty. But as long as a smash-and-grab ethos holds sway in the land, we will not have Peace.