Last Dec. 2, moments after two Islamic terrorists murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., President Barack Obama said, “We don't yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer.”
Tragically, Obama refuses to take the steps proven to “make Americans safer”—enforcing existing federal laws against armed, violent criminals—and San Bernardino proves it.
Because San Bernardino now has a murder rate that exceeds even that of Chicago.
Not surprisingly, San Bernardino is also one of the only places in America that has a worse record of federal gun law enforcement than Chicago.
And now the people of San Bernardino are paying the price of that dereliction with their lives.
On Sept. 9, the Los Angeles Timesreported that San Bernardino had seen 47 murders so far this year—more than in the entire year of 2015, counting the 14 individuals murdered by terrorists. This number puts the city on track to rack up more murders this year than in any year since 1995, and gives San Bernardino the dubious distinction of having a murder rate about 72 percent higher than that of even blood-soaked Chicago.
Yet for all of Obama’s tears and tired demands for new anti-gun laws, he can’t be bothered to enforce the federal gun laws on the books in places like Chicago and San Bernardino.
Indeed, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)—an independent, non-partisan organization at Syracuse University that tracks the enforcement of federal laws—has found that the federal judicial district that contains San Bernardino (Central California) ranks dead last in federal gun prosecutions.
That’s right: Out of 90 federal jurisdictions in the United States, Central California, and San Bernardino, ranked 90th out of 90 on federal gun law prosecutions. And it’s had the worst record in the United States on enforcement of federal gun laws for three out of the last four years.
A study by a southern California law firm examined FBI data on crime, police presence and funding, as well as the levels of poverty, unemployment, education and other factors, and found that San Bernardino was even more dangerous than Oakland, Stockton, Modesto and Los Angeles.San Bernardino ranks dead last in federal gun prosecutions. Not surprisingly, as a result, San Bernardino is now ranked as the most dangerous city in California.
Indeed, NeighborhoodScout.com reports, “For San Bernardino, we found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, across communities of all sizes (both large and small)” and warns that San Bernardino is “one of the top 100 most dangerous cities in the U.S.A.”
One reason is that San Bernardino, like many American cities including Chicago, is having trouble keeping police. On one hand, with politicians from Obama to Hillary Clinton snubbing police, slurring their motives and undermining their efforts, police morale is down—and attrition is up. And on the other hand, fiscal pressures resulting from a flagging economy mean cities have less revenue to replace officers retiring or quitting.
In San Bernardino, which declared bankruptcy in 2012, that has meant a 37-percent decline in police officers on the streets since 2008. Today, the city has about 215 police officers—about 85 fewer officers than what Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told the Los Angeles Times he needs just to provide basic services.
At the same time, a growing movement to purge prisons, reduce sentences and end what Democratic presidential nominee Clinton calls “excessive incarceration” is putting more of the most dangerous criminals back on America’s streets to kill again—especially in California.
Barry Latzer, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said after California released 35 percent of its state and county prisoners, violent crime rates in 2015 rose in 13 of the state’s 15 biggest counties.
Indeed, Steve Cook, the president of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, reportedly believes that many of these factors may be combining into a “perfect storm” of rising crime in the United States. As Cook told the Washington Times:
“The Obama administration has directed federal prosecutors not to use mandatory minimums against a large class of drug traffickers. You’ve got federal prosecutions dropping nationwide by 27 percent in the last five years. You’ve got the release early of tens of thousands of drug traffickers regardless of their ties to gangs or cartels. And you have several states like California releasing their prison population. And you add to that the ‘Ferguson effect’; it’s the perfect storm.”
President Obama could take much of the steam out of that gathering storm simply by enforcing the existing federal laws that make it a federal felony for convicted felons, drug dealers and gang members to even possess firearms in places like San Bernardino.
Obama’s refusal to do so, and Clinton’s promise to stay the course—while further reducing the right of lawful citizens to bear arms in their own defense—means that the future all Americans face might someday be the bloodshed and brutality of San Bernardino.