The Star Ledger’s editorial, “Brace yourself: Police layoffs could cost lives,” decries the 167 police layoffs in Newark asserting that crime will increase, thus turning the clock back on the gains made over the past decade to reduce the crime rate in the state’s largest city.
The editorial rightfully criticizes the police union for failing to make concessions that would have saved most, if not all, the police officers’ jobs that were lost. In today’s economy, if union members, especially public sector workers, refuse to lower their salaries and/or benefits, then the all the workers will have cut off their noses to spite their collective faces by refusing to make any monetary concessions.
Should not pubic sector workers be happy to keep 85% or more of their current compensation to save the jobs of their fellow workers? Apparently, that is not the spirit of shared sacrifice in the Newark police department.
The bottom line is that the laid off police officers have no one to blame for their firing but their brothers and sisters in blue. The City of Newark is a financial basket case and it is time for the public sector workers there and throughout the state to smell the coffee—the public treasury is empty.
Will the police layoffs in Newark and in other high crime areas endanger public safety? Yes, as long as city residents are unable to protect themselves because of the state’s restrictive gun laws and the drug gangs continue to exist because the feds and the states pursue the odious war on drugs.
First, the right to self-defense is a basic human right. An individual has the God-given right to defend himself, his family and his property. The Second Amendment unequivocally recognizes the right of Americans to own firearms to protect themselves. (See John Lott’s extensive essays about how gun ownership reduces crime.)
Second, drug prohibition causes street crime, fosters violent drug cartels, and tends to increase police corruption.
Without less cops patrolling the “mean” streets of Newark and other cities, it is time for peaceful residents to exercise their constitutional rights and have the right to carry a concealed firearm, if they choose to protect themselves. Moreover, if the political establishment wants to reduce urban crime quickly and save money to boot, they should repeal the counterproductive drug laws. (See Jacob Hornberger’s essay, Why Does America Have a Drug War?)
When drug prohibition is repealed, we will realize that we need fewer police officers to keep the peace.