Lowry’s Absurd Defense of Stop and Frisk

Rich Lowry has a column at Politico attempting to defend Ray Kelly and the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy. The arguments are so absurd that one suspects that he is still blinded by those starbursts that Sarah Palin sent flying around his living room when she winked at him in 2008.

“Stop and frisk is both racist and damaging to actual police work,” wrote Jamelle Bouie in the American Prospect.

Kelly unquestionably operates from this disadvantage: Musing from a podium is easy. Policing a city is hard. He doesn’t get to deal in airy generalities. He doesn’t get to wave off inconvenient realities. His job performance is ultimately judged not by the approval of pundits grading his remarks for their subtlety and deftness but by lives saved and lost and criminals arrested or left on the streets.

Airy generalities? You mean like the assumption that black people are inherently more dangerous than anyone else? That kind of airy generality? And where is that pesky thing called the constitution in all of this? No, Kelly is not judged solely on the number of criminals arrested or the number of lives saved (which can’t possibly be measured anyway). The mere fact that a policy might help catch criminals does not mean that policy is acceptable or legal. I have no doubt that cameras in every room or every house in New York City would result in the arrest of more criminals than can be apprehended the old-fashioned way, but no one would argue that this is a good reason to do it. Don’t conservatives claim to believe in limited government? Lowry is arguing for quite the opposite here.

I hazard to say that Ray Kelly cares as much about black lives as any of his critics, and I know he has certainly done much more to save them.

I hazard to say that Rich Lowry is a moron. You know how many people stopped and frisked by the NYPD are found to have guns? A whopping .15% of those stopped. And the mere fact that someone has a gun doesn’t mean he’s going to use it, much less hurt anyone with it. So why does Lowry think that stopping 700,000 people a year without reasonable suspicion, over 80% of them black or Latino, is saving some huge number of lives?

I suspect that Lowry’s views would change dramatically if he were stopped and frisked every day while walking down the sidewalk minding his own business. Then he’d suddenly discover the importance of the 4th Amendment. But since it mostly hassles dark-skinned people, he doesn’t care.

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  • colnago80

    Ah, he’s just trying to show how macho he is after Ann Coulter called him a girly boy.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Funny, too, how the NRA aren’t rushing to the defense of law-abiding citizens who are being targeted on suspicion of exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

  • http://nigelthebold.com/ nigelTheBold, also Avo

    You know how many people stopped and frisked by the NYPD are found to have guns? A whopping .15% of those stopped.

    I thought Republicans liked guns.

    I’m with Raging Bee. Where the fuck is the NRA standing up for the right of those stopped and frisked to bear arms?

  • dingojack

    Sheesh! Didn’t you guys see all the asterisks on the original Bill of Rights and read the fine print? *



    * “Some conditions and restrictions apply. See your local judicial/ law enforcement agencies for details.”

  • Don Williams
  • Don Williams
  • eric

    Maybe the program just needs to be reoriented. Stop and frisk people suspected of securities fraud and other banking crimes. NY can continue to target the areas where such crimes occur for the most frisking, without regard for whether that ends up targeting one racial or enocomic group more than others. I’m sure it’ll go over gangbusters.

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams

    How about Cornell West’s diatribe on ole Donaldo’s hero, George Zimmerman in his attached link? A global George Zimmerman?

  • sanford

    Here is an article from the New York Daily News today. Cops have ridiculous excuses.


  • gerryl

    On Tuesday or Wednesday night The Daily Show did a very funny bit on stop & frisk … on Wall Street.

  • lofgren

    You know how many people stopped and frisked by the NYPD are found to have guns? A whopping .15% of those stopped.

    Not that I support Stop and Frisk, but isn’t this kind of a useless statistic? The goal of programs like this one is to make criminals afraid that they might be frisked, so they leave their guns at home. I’m not saying that is what is actually happening, just pointing out that the fact that they find few guns is not evidence that the program isn’t working because they’re not necessarily trying to find guns. Sort of like how airport security isn’t there to find bombs, but to make a person think twice about bringing a bomb on the plane to begin with.

    In other words, if only .15% of those frisked have guns, that’s, like, 99.85% of young black men who left their gats back in their welfare subsidized drug dens for the day. I call that a victory for Jesus.

  • Don Williams

    Lofgren at 11:

    1) Unfortunately, suppression of the muggers just lets the Wall Street traders and bankers come out and resume their brazen stealing.

    Look back to the 1970s– when New York’s violence rate was much higher — you didn’t have Wall Street stealing from the rest of the country at such a high rate back then.

    2) Using your paradigm, we should be arming the New York muggers instead of trying to intimidate them. Restore Nature’s natural order and let the terriers weed out a bunch of the rats so our 401K grain supply doesn’t keep showing up depleted and soiled with rat shit.