Chris Powell

Juvenile Crime Wave Compels Gov. Lamont to Strike a Pose

Even as his party’s leaders in the state Senate kept insisting that Connecticut has no serious crime problem and that the crime clamor is a Republican contrivance, last week Governor Lamont called a press conference at the state Capitol to acknowledge the issue and pledge to act on it.

The governor, a Democrat, said he would appoint more judges to address the purported backlog in Connecticut’s secret and thus grossly unaccountable juvenile courts. If more judges don’t solve the problem, at least they will provide patronage opportunities.

The governor also described having just met privately with the mother and grandmother of the latest victim of the juvenile crime wave his party’s leaders deny, a 14-year-old boy from Hamden who was fatally shot in the head in the middle of the night somewhere near Waterbury.

The boy had been in trouble with the law, the governor related, and his mother and grandmother wished that juvenile court had been stricter with him and had monitored him more. When the court took off his ankle bracelet, he took off too.

As is usual in such cases, there apparently was no father in the home to help keep the boy out of trouble. The governor didn’t address this and indeed such circumstances cannot yet be discussed in polite company.

Even the Republicans pressing the juvenile crime issue don’t dare to approach its underlying cause. Instead of asking where all the messed-up kids are coming from and what government policies facilitate the child neglect that is fatherlessness, the Republicans join the Democrats in bleating about the need for more “wraparound social services” for chronic young offenders.

The bipartisan suggestion is that all might be well if every difficult kid had his own special-education teacher, therapist, social worker, police officer, public defender, and probation officer — all unionized government employees, of course, getting overtime if “wraparound social services” ever happen to be needed on Columbus Day — because fathers aren’t necessary. But at least fathers might be less expensive.

The Republicans can claim a political victory in the governor’s addressing their issue. But Lamont’s hand was forced mainly by the atrocities and bodies that have been piling up so high in newspapers and broadcast news. The governor surely knew that he was starting to look oblivious.

Even so, every political response to the problem so far is just posturing, and mere posturing from now until the election next November won’t stop the atrocities and the bodies from piling up higher. That will make the governor and the Democrats look feckless, and since the Democrats run the state, few will notice that the Republicans are feckless on the issue too.

* * *

IT WASN’T THE VIRUS: There was a lot more obliviousness going around last week. Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy held a discussion with various officials and “behavioral health providers” about the impact of the virus epidemic on mental health.

But the epidemic isn’t what has driven the country crazy. What has driven the country crazy is government’s response to the epidemic — lockdowns and mandates, like requiring people to submit to an experimental vaccine that has ever-increasing side-effects — a response that has disrupted all aspects of life in the name of preventing fatalities from an illness that, far from being a new plague, has a 99.8% recovery rate.

This policy evokes the oblivious observation attributed to a U.S. Army major after a battle during the Vietnam war: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.”

* * *

LIQUOR AND INTEGRATION: Prosperous Woodbridge, with a median household income of $158,000, got its first liquor store last week after town zoning regulations were relaxed. The regulations had prohibited liquor stores near residences, and they continue to prohibit other ordinary property uses near just about anything else.

This is highly exclusive zoning. It has pushed many things into other towns so Woodbridge residents can have quieter lives while other towns have had to deal with the traffic of Woodbridge residents looking for liquor and other stuff.

Exclusive zoning is partly why the population of Woodbridge is only 3% Black, far below the state average. But then maybe liquor is more important than racial integration.

—–

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.

Latest from Chris Powell