Saturday, December 05, 2015

Today's Tune: Bruce Springsteen - The River (The River Tour, Tempe 1980)

Reviews: Bruce Springsteen - The Ties That Bind: The River Collection


Every artist has outtakes, but few have the breadth of outtakes possessed by Bruce Springsteen.


Bruce Springsteen sang about growing up on his first album, when he was 23, with the glee of a lost boy amazed to find anyone was listening. As he approached 30, though, his idea of adult life was different – something you couldn't necessarily run from, no matter how many songs about escaping down the highway you had.

The River is where Springsteen grew his sound up. The music he made – 60-plus songs over 18 months – focused the operatic sweep of Born to Run and the existential struggles of Darkness on the Edge of Town in smaller narratives anchored by the concrete details of time and place. The subject matter was long-term relationships, with the hope that the songs would mark a path forward that wasn't only aesthetic.

The Ties That Bind shows how charged with desperation the work was, almost as inexhaustible as the questions it asked. It expands the 1980 double album with 22 outtakes (half never before released) and a 10-song version of The River that Springsteen turned in to his label, then took back and spent a year expanding. This music isn't transitional: It searches for answers but knows its sound, which is what makes this the most satisfying of Springsteen's archival album sets. Even throwaways like the rockabilly rumble "Chain Lightning" and the acoustic guitar sketch "Mr. Outside" crackle with urgency.
Contradiction, too. Springsteen wanted an album that captured the breadth of his live shows – that's why he withdrew a ballad-heavy single disc and blew it out with garage-band rompers that brimmed with what he's called the "never-ending now" of the three-minute pop song. He was making music to be played on the road, but he was writing it about the desire to establish a home and family. The sound of The Ties That Bind is dense, claustrophobic. The feeling is a room – a bar, an apartment, a studio – and the fight to establish meaning outside that room. The songs form boxes that the band strives to break out of, often led by the skyward soar of a Clarence Clemons solo.
A DVD of a 1980 concert in Arizona shows how that freedom – both the manic and the tragic – translated live. As with most concert films, you may not find yourself firing it up more than once. No matter. The music is full of teenage dreams crashing up against reality, dusting themselves off and trying to figure out the next move. If we're lucky, it's a story that never stops.

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'River' box set review: The maturation of Bruce Springsteen

, @ChrisFHJordan
December 2, 2015

It was a case of the wedding bell blues.
One illuminating insight into the making of Bruce Springsteen's hit 1980 double album "The River," provided by the new box set "The Ties That Bind: The River Collection," is that marriage was on the minds of E Street Band Band members at the time.
A clip of Max and Becky Weinberg's 1981 wedding is included in the new Thom Zimny film "The Ties That Bind," part of the expansive four-CD and three-DVD box set out Friday, Dec. 4, from Columbia Records.
"The band was not very grown up, people were starting to get married and have kids," Springsteen says in "The Ties That Bind." "It was still very much the Lost Boys."
And there you have the dramatic tension of "The River" -- a contemplation of how to embrace "normal' grown-up society with all of its obligations and demands and yet still keep the wild spirit of rock 'n' roll intact.. Much of "The River's"  contemplative side arises from a new influence for Springsteen at the time -- a country noir, or dark tales from the heartland.  The magnificent  poetry of the track "The River," the confessional "Independence Day" and the chance encounter with young tragedy of  "Wreck on the Highway" have an old Americana feel. It's a style that became more tightly focused on Springsteen's 1982 "Nebraska" and on subsequent works, too.
Part of Springsteen's genius is the intermingling of  tragedy and joy, and how the two never seem to be too far away from each other. "The River" had plenty of feel-good rockers, like "Sherry Darling," but those had a poignancy too, too, like the breakout hit "Hungry Heart," a tale of a home torn apart  that became an anthemic sing-along.
It's this complexity  that makes Springsteen stand out from so many others who have come before and probably, many who will follow. "The Ties That Bind: The River Collection," in sum, is a document of the years 1979 and '80 in Springsteen's career. There are 52 tracks, 11 of which are previously unreleased; the original single album version of "The River;" four hours of never-before-seen video on three DVDs that includes the famed 1980 show in Tempe, Az.; the new Zimny film which features the Boss performing recently filmed acoustic versions of  "River " tracks; and a coffee-table book of 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia with a new essay by Mikal Gilmore.
The "new" tracks are a joy to hear. "Night Fire" is an atmospheric rocker with a Yardbirds-like guitar solo; "Chain Lightning" has a Duane Eddy vibe and "Paradise By The C," released as a live track on "Live 1975-85," is a vampy instrumental that highlights the late Clarence Clemons.
The theme of a tentative adulthood is carried through on the "new" tracks. In "Party Lights," an up-tempo rave-up, the
protagonist asks a "Juliet," now a single mom, "do you miss the party lights when you're lying in bed at night?"
What is the cost of adulthood, and what is the reward?

Bruce Springsteen: The Ties That Bind — The River Collection

Every artist has outtakes, but few have the breadth of outtakes possessed by Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen
The Ties That Bind: The River Collection
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars
Every artist has outtakes, but few have the breadth of outtakes possessed by Bruce Springsteen. And fewer still can match The Boss in terms of the quality of those outtakes. All of this becomes abundantly clear once again on The Ties That Bind, Springsteen’s excavation of the period surrounding his 1980 double-albumThe River. This release presents three or four completely different paths that he could have taken at that time, any of which would have produced something worthy of the lofty standards of his catalog.
For those who don’t know the history (and an outstanding documentary included in this package will elucidate it), Springsteen submitted a single disc consisting of ten songs recorded in 1979 to his record company, only to take it back at the last minute. Seven of the ten songs eventually made it onto the double-album, some slightly altered (a few different lyrics on “The Price You Pay,” “Hungry Heart” mixed at a faster speed), some drastically different (for this reviewer’s money, the original rockabilly stomp of “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” beats the more polished version on the final album, while the longer countrified take on “Stolen Car” falls short of the slow-building brooder found on The River.) Of the trio that didn’t appear on the double-album, the only one that hasn’t been previously released is “Cindy,” an affable but minor song of romantic frustration.
The package also includes the version of The River that we’ve come to know. Springsteen was attempting to emulate the feel of his live shows and the rollercoaster of emotions they brought forth, which is why harrowing narratives like the title track, “Independence Day” and “Wreck On The Highway” coexist with loosey-goosey larks like “Sherry Darling” and “Crush On You.”
By casting aside the shackles of thematic unity, Springsteen stumbled upon a theme anyway, one about life’s contradictions, how happiness and heartbreak are often separated by nothing more than fate’s whim and a flimsy moment. The Riverembodies and embraces those vagaries, making for a crowd-pleaser with depth, one that does indeed outdo the album that Bruce pulled back. If one were to pick nits, it would be with the exclusion from the final album of the pristinely potent “Loose End,” which was originally slated to close out The River. Not only should it have made the final cut, but it would have worked better as the album’s second single than the meager love song “Fade Away,” which dulled Springsteen’s radio momentum after “Hungry Heart” gave him his first big hit single.
Also included here are the finished songs that Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded during sessions from that time that didn’t make the final cut of either version of the album. Many of these have seen the light of day already on compilations like Tracks, but they’re collected here and there are some real heavyweights in the bunch. “Roulette” is as frenzied and furious as the band has ever sounded; “Mary Lou” is an underrated gem; “Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own” is tasty bubble gum; and “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)” is a wild story song with rollicking music to match.
As if that weren’t enough, The Ties That Bind includes eleven more songs recorded from that time that have stayed in the vaults till now. And when you listen to this group as a whole, it sounds like a coherent album all on its own, one which takes things in a vastly different direction than The River eventually traversed. While this group starts out with the big-hearted “Meet Me In The City,” most of the rest of the songs tell how the city hollows you out once you arrive there.
These songs combine some of the musical toughness of Springsteen’s previous album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, with a little bit of the swagger that the band brought forth on The River. (And if you’re wondering what an electricNebraska might have sounded like, check out “Chain Lightning.”) Singing over mostly minor keys, Springsteen hints at an elusive, existential malaise in songs like “The Time That Never Was” and “The Man Who Got Away.” “The sound of broken glass and running feet” is a phrase repeated in a couple of these tracks, and that sums up the sustained mood. By the time Springsteen gets around to the mournful “Stray Bullet,” you might not recognize the guy who sounds so ebullient on The River’s party tracks.
The collection also includes a DVD of a typically inexhaustible and engaging live performance in Tempe, Arizona from The River tour. As great as the footage of prime-era E Street Band is, the studio music is the real revelation here and what makes this collection so essential. You can take many of the couple dozen outtakes from the sessions and imagine shoehorning them into The River, possibly even replacing time-tested songs from the album. Such is the bounty contained on The Ties That Bind that it might make you question Bruce Springsteen’s judgment even as you marvel at his ridiculous talent. 

The Attorney General of the United States Is Disgracing Herself

By David French — December 4, 2015

Loretta Lynch at Muslim Advocates

In her response to what appears to be a deadly, ISIS-motivated domestic terror attack, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has offered an almost Onion-level self-parody of liberal pieties.

Per Obama administration protocol, the attorney general was determined to never let a crisis go to waste. There is now a “wonderful opportunity and wonderful moment to really make significant change,” Lynch declared the day after 14 innocent Americans were murdered and 23 injured at the hands of a Muslim couple who’d reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS. And what is this change? New gun-control measures, of course, including stripping the constitutional rights (without due process) of Americans often arbitrarily placed on the vastly over-inclusive terror watch list.

Lynch addressed the Muslim Advocate’s tenth-anniversary dinner and declared that she is concerned about an “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric . . . that fear is my greatest fear.” Her greatest fear is — not terrorism — but a nonexistent Islamophobic backlash? ISIS has demonstrated that it can bring down passenger jets, strike the heart of a great Western capitol with urban assault teams, and inspire horrible carnage in California. We also know that ISIS has pledged to keep attacking the U.S. and possesses chemical weapons. Yet it’s politically incorrect speech that strikes fear into the heart of our attorney general.

What about blurring the distinction between speech and violence? Lynch is so serious about stopping Islamophobia that she’s sending a clear message to those who engage in “anti-Muslim rhetoric” — the Department of Justice is watching you:
When we talk about the First amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.
And yet, there is no legally meaningful category of “action[s] predicated on violent talk.” Lynch spoke against rhetoric that “edges towards violence,” but the law obviously prohibits violent actions — she’s speaking in terms alien to the First Amendment. True threats are unlawful, and true “incitement” isn’t protected by the Constitution, but these are extraordinarily narrow legal categories. Is it not enough to declare that the Department of Justice will enforce the law and uphold the Constitution?

The First Amendment protects an enormous range of speech — even speech that’s anathema to the Obama administration. Americans are perfectly within their rights to not just condemn jihad but also to make sweeping and angry statements about Islam. If the administration disagrees with this speech, it’s free to make its own statements, but when it starts making up legal categories of problematic speech, it is getting disturbingly close to discarding the Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, when the Constitution conflicts with the demands of social justice, discarding the Bill of Rights is part of the Obama administration’s mission statement. The First Amendment takes a back seat to the administration’s desire to build a national “safe space” for Muslims. The Second Amendment should be tossed aside (without due process, no less) if a person’s name appears on a bloated bureaucratic watch list — a list so over-inclusive that it has included such nefarious characters as TheWeekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes and the late senator Ted Kennedy.

A competent attorney general shouldn’t even be talking about her “greatest fears,” much less that her greatest fear includes free speech. A competent attorney general should be speaking the language of vigilance, courage, and resolve. We know the Obama administration is capable of resolve. It is resolved to fundamentally transform our nation. It is resolved to advance the sexual-revolution agenda of the radical Left. It is resolved to turn our nation’s military into an engine of social justice. But it is not resolved to defend our nation and Constitution from a vicious enemy who seeks to soak our streets in blood. And that lack of resolve is worse than a shame — it’s a disgrace.

— David French is an attorney, a staff writer at National Review, and a veteran of the Iraq War.


Friday, December 04, 2015

Prayers for Shooting Victims Prompt a Dubious Front Page

By Jonah Goldberg — December 4, 2015

Dear New York Daily News,

You’re doing it wrong.

Long before the blood was mopped up, before police issued the all-clear, before the motives of the shooters were known and the names of the dead were released, before you had any idea how the murderers in San Bernardino obtained their guns — or their bombs — you knew exactly what this story had to be about: gun control.

In this, of course, you weren’t alone. Countless media outlets and pundits lunged for their security blankets. As of this writing, the day after the slaughter, CNN and MSNBC are still making this all about gun control, as best they can. President Obama, who always slow-walks any admission that Islamic terrorism is involved in an Islamic terrorist attack, once again leapt into the breach to make this about gun control, even as bullets were still flying.

And to be fair, everybody on both sides of the aisle is susceptible to the social-media-fueled compulsion to chime in before the facts are known. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We all try to resist the race to be wrong first, but sometimes we fall short.

And sometimes journalists get so caught up in the groupthink frenzy on Twitter that we fail to realize how things seem outside our own echo chambers. And that, I suspect, is where you went wrong.

On Wednesday, even as the atrocity unfolded, thousands — perhaps millions — of people offered their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families.

A handful of smug liberal ghouls, hungry to turn the shooting into a partisan feast, decided that the Republican politicians offering their thoughts and prayers were liars. The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten declared on Twitter: “Dear ‘thoughts and prayers’ people: Please shut up and slink away. You are the problem, and everyone knows it.”


Igor Volsky of ThinkProgress spent the evening insinuating that any Republican offering thoughts and prayers was bought off by the National Rifle Association.

And you got caught up in this frenzy of sneering sanctimony and condescension. So you ran the front-page headline “God Isn’t Fixing This,” alongside statements from House Speaker Paul Ryan and various Republican presidential hopefuls offering their prayers.

The supposed news story attached to the cover began, “Prayers aren’t working.” It then celebrated Democratic presidential candidates who “called for stricter gun laws” while deriding Republicans for merely “preaching about prayer.”

I’m sure you thought this was all so terribly clever.

Wrong. It was disgusting and sophomoric — and journalistically dubious. You literally had no idea whether the gun-control policies you prefer would have prevented this attack. Such laws clearly wouldn’t have prevented the numerous pipe bombs the attackers had prepared. You had no clue if this was a jihadist attack, which would diminish the relevance of gun control. (Paris has very strict gun laws. As does California, by the way — and even stricter pipe bomb laws.)

GOP hopefuls weren’t “preaching about prayer.” They were offering their prayers (just like President Obama did the next day). If this had been an earthquake, would you reject prayers while survivors were still being plucked from the rubble? Would you denounce anyone who refrained from touting their preferred building code legislation?

It is no great insight to point out that prayerful statements can be platitudinous. So what? Most of us aren’t really expecting a serious answer when we greet someone with “How are you?”
Just because good manners can be trite doesn’t mean they’re not good manners.

Good manners are a sign of respect. And offering one’s prayers to those suffering is a far more meaningful sign of respect than saying “How are you?”

More important: For some people — a great many people, in fact — those prayers were sincere. You would be among the first to denounce a Republican for questioning the religious sincerity of, say, President Obama. But you preen in self-congratulation disparaging the faith of politicians simply because they disagree with you. Worse, you make it less likely they will listen to your arguments. So what was the point? To get high-fives from people who already agree with you? How courageous.

We hear so much editorializing these days about the coarsening of our culture and the excesses of political polarization. I think that’s overdone. But you should probably hold off joining that conversation for a while, given that you politicized respectful prayers for the dead just to score some cheap points.

— Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. He can be reached by e-mail at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2015 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

If You See Something...

By Mark Steyn
December 3, 2015

That's Kate McMillan's headline summation of the Big Security State in an age of political correctness.

On the one hand, the Department of Homeland Security enjoins us: "If you see something, say something." It's an expensive, focus-grouped official government slogan.
On the other hand, when it's happening in your street, it's all a bit more complicated:
A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.
"Middle Eastern men" bringing strange contraptions in and out at all hours of the night? 
What are you, Islamophobic? Who's to say it's not the local distributor for Ahmed the Clock Boy's amusing new Allahrm Clock? If you see a man of Middle Eastern appearance bearing a ticking object, say something - and get sued for 15 million bucks.

Which is why the most lavishly funded government and media on the planet are seriously debating whether "climate change" leads to "workplace violence".

Because what else can you say?

Because climate change leads to desertification in the California desert which means at the county Christmas party everyone stands around saying in the old days before global warming we could have had a snowball fight, and then it all snowballs:
~Honey, I had a argument at the office. Can you put together a few dozen pipe bombs, get Go-Pros, body armor and assault rifles & meet in 15?
~Can we push it to 20? I'm fresh out of the shower. Can your mom take the baby?
President Obama says we have to pass more gun-control laws, because, as he said a couple of days ago, mass shootings only happen in America. He said this in Paris, so who says he's got no sense of humor? In sophisticated Continental countries like France and Belgium, only the government and the terrorists have guns. So, just to be on the safe side, Syed Farook was a terrorist who worked for the government - in environmental-health regulation. So, whether or not climate change leads to terrorism, apparently environmental regulation does.

"California man Syed Farook" had a government job with great benefits. His wife was a pharmacist. These is secure, well remunerated middle-class employment. But in the end they preferred killing people.

As I wearily say every time, all the stories are different, and yet they're all the same. Mr Farook turns out, like almost every other "lone wolf", to be a known wolf:
(CNN)Syed Rizwan Farook -- who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out theSan Bernardino shooting massacre -- apparently was radicalized and in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism, law enforcement officials said Thursday. 
Farook himself had talked by phone and on social media with more than one person being investigated for terrorism, law enforcement officials said.
So he's in the system, with his name and phone number, with one degree of separation from terror suspects. But he still got to kill 14 people. Because no matter how massively you expand the panopticon Security State it can never have enough manpower to anticipate the moment a Syed Farook goes full Allahu Akbar. Because political correctness requires that we regard as just another part of the vibrant tapestry of diversity people who believe in everything ISIS believes in (sharia, female subservience, clitoridectomies, death for homosexuals) but stop short of chopping your head off. So we cannot stop them before they open fire.

Mass Muslim immigration is imposing strains on western society that we cannot meet now, and we will be buried by in the years ahead. Perhaps if we could talk about that honestly we wouldn't be sideswiped by the next member of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves who - all together now - "appeared to be living the American Dream".

Dream on... Because a moratorium on mass Muslim immigration is - all together now - "not who we are".

~I'll be talking about this and other news on the radio with Hugh Hewitt, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

AP: Syed Farook Traveled to Saudi Arabia, Married Tashfeen Malik, Grew Out Beard

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A heavily armed couple dressed in battle gear opened fire on a holiday banquet Wednesday, killing 14 people and seriously wounding more than a dozen others, later dying in a shootout with police. Here’s what’s known about the two suspects:

Police do not have a motive for the shootings, which ended with a gun battle on a San Bernardino street that left 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik dead. Authorities say they were the only two shooters, and relatives said the two were married. Investigators have not ruled out a link with terrorism and are also looking into the possibility that a workplace dispute triggered the massacre at a social services center for the disabled.
Farook, who was born in the United States, traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year and returned with a wife, said co-worker Patrick Baccari, who attended the holiday party Wednesday but was in the bathroom when the shooting started. Baccari says Farook was gone for about a month in the spring, and when he returned word got around Farook had been married. The woman he described as a pharmacist joined him in the U.S. shortly afterward, and they soon had a baby. Police described Malik as Farook’s wife or fiancee.
Baccari, who was sitting at the same table as Farook, said employees at the holiday party were taking a break before snapping group photos when Farook suddenly disappeared, leaving a jacket draped over his chair. Baccari stepped out to the bathroom when he heard explosions.
“I’m getting pelted by shrapnel coming through the walls,” he said. “We hit the ground.”
The shooting lasted about five minutes, he said, and when he looked in the mirror he realized he was bleeding. He was hit by fragments in the body, face and arms.
“If I hadn’t been in the bathroom, I’d probably be laying dead on the floor,” he said.
The suspects Farook and Malik left their 6-month-old baby girl with Farook’s mother early Wednesday morning, saying they had a doctor’s appointment, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Ayloush based his comments on conversations he had with Syed Rizwan Farook’s brother-in-law Farhan Khan, who appeared at a news conference late Wednesday as a family representative.
The young parents did not return to get their daughter for several hours, however, and their family became worried when they could not reach them after seeing reports on the news about the shooting. The family at first was concerned that Farook might be a victim of the shooting because they knew he worked as an environmental inspector at the county’s health department and sometimes worked at the Inland Regional Center, Ayloush said.
The family only began to piece together the events around 2 p.m. – three hours after the shooting – when a reporter called with questions, Ayloush said. Family members were being questioned by police late Wednesday.
“We don’t know the motives. Is it work, race-related, is it mental illness, is it extreme ideology? At this point, it’s really unknown to us and at this point it’s too soon to speculate,” Ayloush said.
Baccari said his co-worker, who said he was raised on a farm with goats and chickens, was reserved. Several months ago Farook grew out his beard. He appeared committed to his family, and never displayed any unusual behavior or discussed any radical political views.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

An Alternative to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Narrative

Black activists in the 300 Men March are working with police instead of antagonizing them.

By Jason L. Riley
December 1, 2015

At Baltimore's third annual 300 Men March, July 10.
At Baltimore's third annual 300 Men March, July 10. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES
“We have one message,” Brandon Scott tells me. “We must stop killing each other. We’re not focused on any other issue.”
Mr. Scott is a city councilman in Baltimore, where jury selection began Monday in the trial of the first of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray in April. The deaths of Gray and other young black men who encountered police have prompted nationwide protests and ample media coverage over the past year. But Mr. Scott says that “it is unhelpful to only talk about the police behavior. For the most part in Baltimore, the violence is citizen-on-citizen.”
To that end, Mr. Scott and Munir Bahar, a community activist, co-founded 300 Men March, a volunteer organization that trains young men to patrol tough neighborhoods, urges kids to reject gang culture, and calls attention to the far more common inner-city violence that doesn’t involve police. The group, started in 2013, holds a yearly march in honor of the hundreds of annual victims of gun violence perpetrated mostly by gangs and drug crews in the city. Members sport T-shirts emblazoned with the simple message: We Must Stop Killing Each Other.
Mr. Scott stresses that reaching the men in these neighborhoods is key. “For far too long in Baltimore and many cities across the country, overwhelmingly the work at the community level has been done by women,” he says. “This is about getting men involved. When men are consistently engaged in a community and are present, a lot of the nonsense doesn’t take place.”
This message of personal responsibility has to a large extent been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to make police officers the face of ghetto mayhem. Nevertheless, it resonates with many community leaders who reject the Black Lives Matter narrative that highlights black deaths involving law enforcement and downplays those that don’t.
Earlier this year, the “We Must Stop Killing Each Other” slogan also began appearing on thousands of yard signs in St. Louis, where homicides have risen by 49% since 2013. The signs were the handiwork of James Clark, an army veteran who handles outreach programs for a faith-based organization called Better Family Life.
“Black Lives Matter is a good campaign,” Mr. Clark told the Guardian newspaper in April. “It raises public awareness of the biased-ness that exists in America, the inherent racism that discounts black lives. But as an African-American, I think that black lives have to matter first in the black community.”
In other places, activists are working with police instead of antagonizing them. In Portland, Ore., the community group Enough Is Enough is urging witnesses of violent crimes to cooperate with detectives and report what they know. Perhaps the only thing more tragic than the more than 6,000 black homicides that occur annually is the fact that so many are not solved because people who can identify the perpetrator are too fearful to do so. In 2012, just 26% of Chicago’s 512 murders were solved, according to a 2013 Chicago Magazine report.
In the Motor City, the Detroit 300—which like the Baltimore version derives its name from “300,” the 2007 hit movie about Spartan warriors—formed in response to the rape and subsequent death of a 90-year-old woman in 2010. Today the group has more than 1,500 members guarding businesses, patrolling city streets, making citizens arrests and working with police to solve crimes.
Historically, such efforts are nothing new. After crime began spiking in the 1960s and ’70s, black neighborhood activists responded similarly. Billboards appeared throughout Harlem warning “dope peddlers and gangsters” to “get out” and vowing “to return Harlem back into the hands of decent people” with the help of “federal troops, state and local law enforcement.”
Black newspapers and periodicals emphasized personal responsibility. Typical was a 1972 editorial on rising crime in the Washington Afro American. “The exceedingly high incidence of housebreakings, pocketbook snatchings, robberies, shoplifting cases and shootings are not simply the outgrowth of bad social conditions,” the editors wrote. “It is also time that we stop blaming everybody else for the criminal acts which occur in our neighborhoods.” The editors noted that “the victims of most of these criminal acts are black” and that “the vast majority of these are caused by blacks, and in the end the whole city . . . suffers.”
Mr. Scott tells me that he’d like to see more community leaders focus on “building or rebuilding” relationships with police, something that is more difficult to do when the media implies that law enforcement is the main problem. “Don’t ignore police brutality,” he says, “but we also have a problem in America specifically around young black men that we haven’t addressed and that people don’t like to talk about.”
Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

The Left's Response to Planned Parenthood Shooting Is Outrageous

Robert Dear, right, appears on video at his hearing. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP)

The murderous rampage at a Colorado Springs, Colorado, Planned Parenthood clinic had barely ended before the Left began using it to try to shut down the abortion debate.
The shooting was an act of terrorism directed against women’s “health-care services,” and incited by the inflammatory rhetoric around video exposés of Planned Parenthood. The triple murder had been nearly inevitable given, in the words of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, the “toxic” environment created by “hateful rhetoric.”
Never mind that the shooter, Robert Dear, apparently had no connection to the Republican Party or the pro-life movement, or to much of anyone, if initial reports are to be believed. He was a loner who avoided eye contact and dispensed paranoid advice to neighbors on how to avoid detection by the government.
It is possible that Dear decided to shoot up a clinic to make a point, in which case his crime was an act of terrorism. It also is possible that, clearly disturbed, he committed a random act of violence. Or it might be something in between. According to initial reports, he told police after he surrendered “no more baby parts,” but also rambled incoherently. The police haven’t yet determined a motive.
Regardless, the rush to apportion blame as widely and carelessly as possible is on. As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal points out, when Islamic terrorists strike, we get immediate assurances of the peaceableness of Islam. When an oddball drifter attacks a Planned Parenthood clinic, we hear about the collective guilt of pro-lifers.
Their alleged offense is to take exception to Planned Parenthood as the nation’s foremost provider of abortions, and to recoil in horror at its gruesome practices exposed in Center for Medical Progress videos. No matter what rules the Left hopes to impose on the debate, dismembering unborn children and selling off their body parts is inherently controversial. So is abortion.
Planned Parenthood likes to describe itself in the most anodyne terms as providing “health-care services” to women. But no one would care about the work of Planned Parenthood if all it did was provide routine exams and birth control.
In the wake of Colorado Springs, it hopes to delegitimize its critics. But a broad-based movement shouldn’t be tarred by the crimes of one individual (or the excesses of a tiny fringe). In the prelude to the Civil War, there wasn’t any doubt about the motives of John Brown, a domestic terrorist committed to fighting slavery. His raid at Harpers Ferry didn’t silence abolitionists, although Southern partisans used it to galvanize opinion against them. (One Southern newspaper thundered afterward, “We regard every man in our midst an enemy to the institutions of the South who does not boldly declare that he believes African slavery to be a social, moral, and political blessing.”)
When the Weathermen were setting off bombs in the early 1970s, no one said to stop criticizing the Vietnam War. When the Black Panthers were shooting it out with cops, no one said to stop advocating for black rights. When Puerto Rican separatists waged a campaign of terror, no one said that vigorous advocacy of Puerto Rican independence should be off-limits.
Today, most acts of domestic terrorism are committed by radical environmentalists, albeit they typically only involve property damage. Does this mean that we need to tone down the rhetoric about climate change and the allegedly catastrophic threat it represents to the future of humanity? If so, someone needs to get word to John Kerry and Barack Obama in Paris immediately.
The pro-life movement is overwhelmingly peaceful and prayerful, and seeks a more just society where all are welcomed into life. Robert Dear, who wantonly took three lives and wounded nine others, is the antithesis of all that it stands for. Neither his atrocity nor the smears of the Left should hinder its work. The debate over abortion will — and must — go on.
© 2015 King Features Syndicate
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.