Untimely Torquemada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gotten pilloried for past statements spoken during the appropriate era. In accordance to these semantically correct times, she’s walked them back. Okay. She’s apologized for uttering them. There was absolutely zero need for her to have done so.

Dredged up from the 1990s, and haunting her in 2016, Clinton referred to a subset of criminals as “superpredators.” What was then so accurate now offends the ignorant and sensitive.

Actually by having called them “superpredators,” Clinton raised the lowest of low-slouching beasts on the evolutionary ladder.

By taking offense at what many had generally regarded a dire menace, current critics, those whose knowledge of such criminality is tangential at best, demonstrates an appalling lack of history and awareness and continuance. If that threat hadn’t bloodied American sidewalks then, the repercussions wouldn’t be endured today through heavy-handed policing in communities judged as marginal.

There is a connection. Disregard of the past allows present conditions to burden our society. And damning the past without full comprehension of its effects today neglects these times. Our times.

Unfortunately, one of the people Clinton’s Oval Office occupation would likely help damned the candidate for a term apt for its time.

Superpredators.

The brash, know-nothing Little Torquemada who curtly insisted upon verbal gentleness for a matter that once demanded the harshest of humanity professed injury. Indeed, words, not sticks nor stones, had bruised the brittle bones of her self-esteem.

Unnecessarily she claimed she wasn’t a superpredator. Which considering no one had accused her of being …

The Little Torquemada claimed the superpredators epithet had somehow tarred her and Millennial generation. That she wasn’t one of them, a superpredator. That in her own mind she resented being lumped into the same slanderous category.

Let’s go with her this far: born as late as she was, she had no involvement in the criminality to which Clinton referenced. No involvement and obviously less knowledge.

Had the critic lived through that time, I also guarantee she would’ve found “superpredators” too kind for the miscreants Clinton mentioned.

The former first lady, senator, secretary of state’s accuser appeared young enough to have missed the crack scourge. For a while it was a curse that rendered at-risk areas of some cities no-go zones for visitors and whose residents served as shooting gallery targets. Indeed, clichéd as it is, pedestrians could’ve gotten shot just walking down to a local deli to buy a quart of milk. In broad daylight.

Circumstances were that perilous and worse. Especially at night.

Unless the circumstance dire, residents felt obliged to remain behind doors until the relative safety of morning light. Because at night law-abiding citizenry vacated streets to the warring factions and their cretinous junkie consumers.

Both sides wantonly ravaged their own neighborhoods.

Crack’s volatility upon its smokers and the easy enormous profits realized by those slinging it fairly erased whatever slight rules dictated this nefarious practice. A poison which fastened upon and primarily afflicted urban America’s distressed blocks, the cocaine and gasoline mixture recalled to us old enough heroin’s earlier rampage. Except where smack turned its users into drowsy zombies, more likely to nod off after spiking up, crack further electrified the weaklings who succumbed to it.

More so than H, crack high durations faded quicker. Meaning either the treadmill sped up or subsequent trips shortened.

Either way crack’s monkey demanded feeding with greater frequency. In short order this need became ravenous. With reason, the drug’s first victim, devoured, no impediments existed. Crackheads’ urges to sate their cravings were limitless. In order to supply that fix nothing was out of bounds.

So certainly in that respect Clinton was correct. Scavengers as heroin addicts may’ve been seen, did amped-up hunters crackheads become. Nothing was sacred and everything became profaned.

Insatiable as the addicts were, those selling crack were all the more rapacious. The money to be made eliminated what scant decorum ruled the milieu.

Perceived slights, suspected territorial encroachments as well as hostile takeovers erupted. Random gunfire amplified everyday ambient noise and chipped scenery when it wasn’t smashing glass or penetrating walls. Needless to say as a consequence of such free fire innocent bystanders became like so much overgrown grass beneath mower blades.

Even during Prohibition’s utmost lawlessness, and later when heroin plagued America, the routine level of mindless violence seldom approached the crack era’s ferocity.

Long before “black lives matter” gained a hashtag, law authorities, goaded by those in the suffering communities, determined a war would need to be prosecuted against all the perpetrators. Not one of those phony crusades we popularly affix a “war” suffix, but a real-live one that slapped more flat feet on the pavement and conveniently reinterpreted – or parsed – our Fourth Amendment.

Given the urgent conditions and their exigent circumstances, we skipped any afterthought, like what happens once the danger is subdued. We just demanded solutions. Ones which would restore prior semblances of order and safety.

In the finest tradition of getting what was asked for, society got it.

Police clamped down. After hurriedly passing well-meaning, well-intended legislation, draconian sentences were imposed upon the malefactors. The nature of the drug assured there wouldn’t be hordes of long-term crack users. So between supply drying up and the buyers dying out, the pestilence retreated.

Unfortunately, once the cure had worked its remedy, the medicine remained in our system.

All that policing which had scoured the streets stayed in place. Despite the emergency having ebbed, the methods persisted. Those limned Fourth Amendment wink-winks hadn’t been rescinded. Indeed those communities which had benefited from legal heavy-handedness now bow under unnecessary measures.

These need revisiting and revising.

If Clinton’s Little Torquemada felt obliged to “read” the candidate, then she ought have focused on today. The here and now. The moment we can affect.

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