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Clint Eastwood: Spokesman For The New Detroit

Much ado has been made about the Super Bowl Clint Eastwood/Chrysler commercial, expressing the theme that Detroit, and America at large, is making a comeback. In some conservative circles, “Dirty Harry” has been criticized as shilling for President Obama.

But after reading this article by Mara Gay of The Daily, I’m convinced that the tough-guy libertarian may be the ideal spokesman for Motor City. Facing huge cutbacks in the city police force, abysmally poor response times to calls for service, and a general lack of police effectiveness, the residents of Detroit- which purportedly has the nation’s second-highest per capita murder rate- are arming themselves in record numbers- and self-defense shootings are up 79% year-over-year, and 2200% above the national average.

The article, while clearly left-biased (it describes armed citizens as “vigilantes”), illustrates a major shift in public thinking in Detroit: People are realizing they must provide for their own protection. The city police department, with its long history of mismanagement, is even more of a failure today than it ever has been. Even as the department faces multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls, the city paid over $6 million for a former casino building (VIDEO) to convert into a new police headquarters; and DPD is rolling out a “virtual precinct” program which directs calls for crimes reported after-the-fact during evening and overnight hours to an officer at headquarters to take a report. Translation: If you come home after work to find your house has been burglarized, DPD will take a report and get around to investigating it sometime. It’s no wonder foreclosed houses are selling (or not) for as little as $50 in Detroit.

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Those who can afford to move out of Detroit have already done so, and those who can’t are at the end of their rope. Big-government, predominantly-Democrat Detroiters are now fully realizing that their city government can’t even provide essential services, and so they are forced to become self-sufficient.

Stated another way: Residents of one of the most liberal cities in the nation are getting the harshest “wake-up call” one can receive on the failings of big-government liberalism as a theory of governance: The promise of greater safety, which is the most-effective and most-often used means of convincing the public to give up their money and their liberties, is now a broken promise in Detroit. The usual socialist responses to such a crisis are unavailable: Raising taxes isn’t an option, because there’s nothing left to tax; begging for money from the state government isn’t an option, because the state is broke; harsher gun control laws would be opposed, because people across the political spectrum are buying and carrying guns; and more stringent enforcement isn’t a possibility, because Wayne County Jail has no room to house convicts.

As Detroiters begin to cope with the “new normal” of self-reliance, they’ll also ask questions about the condition of the city’s police force. They’ll want to know how it could get to be so bad. The answers to these questions- corrupt Democrat politicians, incompetent management, greedy and self-serving public sector unions, short-sighted liberal policies, overspending and overtaxing- can’t be concealed behind socialist rhetoric any longer. The city government has run out of excuses and other people’s money, and there’s no room in the budget to hire Robocop.

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Big changes in self-defense thinking are nothing new for Detroit: The Sweet Trials of 1925-1926, which took place in Detroit, were the first occasion in our nation’s history in which an African-American successfully claimed self-defense in court.

Maybe the star of Gran Torino is a good spokesman for Detroit after all.

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About Alex Kauffman