I've mentioned before that I hear things from correspondents in law enforcement and other interesting occupations. I also have a network of friends and prior associates who keep me informed about what's happening in their areas from time to time. I'm sensing a growing groundswell of anger and frustration at the seemingly out-of-control screeching mobs of progressive righteousness, and increasing determination that they won't be allowed to impose their shenanigans outside the city centers and inner-city areas that they've so far dominated. Mr. and Mrs. Average American are getting fed up, and are more and more willing to do something about it.
For a start, more and more ordinary Americans are moving away from areas where they can't be sure that law and order will be enforced. They want a stable environment in which to raise their kids, and if they can't get it where they are now, they'll move to where it's available. As the Wall Street Journal put it:
America’s cities are indeed a wonder—built quickly from nearly nothing across a vast continent into a unique story of social and economic success. We may now be on the cusp of a great reordering of the nation’s population as many people decide it is time to separate themselves and their families from the social, political and moral turbulence of this country’s large urban areas ... People with all sorts of political beliefs are going to get out because they are watching city after city reach a tipping point of social disorder and political disorganization.
In two recent, overlooked articles, demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution reports that the well-noted migration into large metropolitan areas that occurred from 2010 to 2015—predicting “the decade of the city”—has in fact reversed sharply in the past five years.
Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington are all leaking people. Meanwhile the presumably disdained suburbs and exurbs, distant from these city centers, are gaining residents.
Then came the pandemic and the protests of 2020.
. . .
Urban dwellers are resilient, but these simultaneous events have forced people to face a hard reality. In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent ... The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result of the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.
I think many younger, often liberal families would stick it out if they thought there was anything resembling a coherent strategy to address this mess—the new health threat, the homeless, the rising crime, the filth, the increasingly weird school curriculums. But there is no strategy.
There's more at the link.
We're seeing this in more and more cities. Families are fleeing to dormitory communities around the cities (sometimes completely separate from them, such as small towns ten or twenty miles away), leaving behind the decaying, crumbling infrastructure that can no longer meet their needs. They're being replaced by less educated, less affluent residents who are more often than not dependent on government handouts to survive. Instead of being centers of productivity for the city, generating rates and taxes and producing more than they consume, those areas are now centers of consumption, demanding more city funds and support than they can produce. Needless to say, attempts by cities to increase rates and taxes to fund this additional demand merely drive out even more people, who resent being asked to pay for such entitlement and social support programs. They're voting with their wallets, and their feet.
What I'm also seeing - and what I think the mainstream media is carefully, deliberately ignoring - is a growing determination, by those who leave such problems behind, to stop such troubles from following them to their new homes. I've been watching this carefully. Law enforcement contacts in several cities have noted that they don't have to patrol more distant suburbs or nearby small towns very much, because the people there "look after their own". Anyone causing trouble is likely to be stopped by residents before the police arrive - and sometimes stopped rather hard, too. As a result, gang-bangers and opportunistic criminals have learned to look elsewhere for an easy score, often targeting those who've moved into the city core, who are less organized and less willing to stand up for themselves.
As Jack Kerwick notes:
Thousands, even tens of thousands, have taken to the streets, many leaving destruction in their wake. But, on average, millions, at least as many as 15 million [gun owners], have had background checks conducted on them this year.
. . .
Again, millions and millions of Americans, many of whom would not have purchased firearms otherwise, are assuming responsibility for their own protection upon witnessing mass lawlessness in city streets.
Gun stocks have soared exponentially. No politicians, no Black Lives Matter, no Antifa—nobody is going to stop Americans from defending what’s theirs from predators. No one.
Again, more at the link.
Some people are taking it even further. I know of several individuals, in five cities, who've carefully measured the ranges from their property to potential trouble points nearby, and possess rifles capable of "reaching out and touching someone" at those distances, if necessary. One has built a front-yard "tree house" for his kids - with ladders that are sized and strengthened for adult weights, and a flat area on top of the "tree house" that provides a useful platform for a man with a rifle, and a clear view down his suburban street in both directions. You might say he's preparing to be a suburban Roof Korean - and I daresay he's far from alone.
Others have formed local support groups, so that if trouble arises they'll provide mutual backup as and when necessary. If a member goes out of town for some reason, their houses - and, if necessary, their families - are watched to ensure their safety. Members who've had training in weapons use (military, law enforcement and private) are passing that on to others in the group during prearranged sessions at shooting ranges. Those who don't have adequate weapons are being taught what's worth having, and assisted to buy them. I've heard of one group that is said to have sent representatives to a gun show held in a location where restrictions on private gun and ammo sales and purchases were less stringent. They're said to have spent a fair amount of money on weapons and ammunition, all of which were "off-paper" cash transactions.
I'm not a member of any such group. Nevertheless, if I, a relatively insignificant blogger and simple retired pastor, know of a few people and groups like that, how many more are there? I was rather surprised at how many friends wanted to upgrade their rifles to a more practical defensive configuration recently (something I wrote about here, as well as writing a three part series on the considerations involved). I suspect the "silent majority" is getting bigger, and more frustrated, and better organized, with every new inner-city crime spree or left-wing riot or fatuous progressive demand.
So far, the "silent majority" seems to have focused on securing its own back yard, and trying to ignore (or at least steer clear of) the festivities in inner cities and similar areas. However, cause enough ruckus for long enough, and someone's going to retaliate - particularly if the police are seen to be helpless, or hamstrung by corrupt, politically correct city administrators. If that happens, the acronym will be TOCB (Take Our Country Back) - and I suspect the reaction won't be nearly as restrained as it's been so far. People are already openly writing and speculating about it. For example:
As the left-wing ancestors of the current rioters used to say back in the 1960's, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".