The Only Solution To The Violent Crime Epidemic

mbbirdy. Getty Images. Los Angeles skyline by night, California, USA.
mbbirdy. Getty Images.

You know you’re living in a state of total lawlessness when criminals start pulling off heists that, under normal circumstances, they don’t even attempt. Think of the train robberies in the Wild West with Butch Cassidy, where they’d detach the rail car and dynamite the safe and so on. Brazen crimes like this only happen when law enforcement isn’t doing its job for one reason or another. Otherwise, the risk of getting caught is just too high, so the thieves don’t even try.

Post-BLM, there’s been a lot of coverage of crime rates increasing as police retreat and criminals become emboldened. But there hasn’t been much coverage of the dramatic increase in one specific kind of crime, which used to be relatively rare. I’m talking about the theft of catalytic converters. Stealing catalytic converters doesn’t take very long, but it’s highly conspicuous. Thieves typically slide under cars and start sawing — or they lift cars for easier access. In either case, it’s a loud and noticeable process. It’s brazen — and it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d try if you thought there might be any police officers around. But there aren’t many police officers left in major cities in this country, which is why thefts of catalytic converters have skyrocketed. 

To give just one prominent example — in the city of Los Angeles, from 2018 to 2023, the number of catalytic converter thefts per year has increased by more than 720%. Put another way — Los Angeles went from having 970 catalytic converters stolen every year to more than 8,000 stolen every year. And the numbers are similar in many other major cities. Nationally, catalytic converter thefts jumped by more than 900% from 2019 to 2023. Thieves want these converters because they have precious metals they can sell for hundreds of dollars. Now that they know the police aren’t interested in stopping them, they’re just lifting cars in the middle of the street and removing the converters.

That’s what happened in the early hours of Saturday morning to actor Johnny Wactor, who was a regular in the show “General Hospital” for two years. He also appeared in the show “Westworld.” Around 3 a.m., Wactor and a co-worker were leaving a rooftop bar in downtown Los Angeles, where Wactor served as a bartender.

That’s when Wactor noticed that three individuals had raised his Toyota Prius with a floor lift, and he initially suspected that his vehicle was being towed. (Thieves target Priuses and other hybrids because their catalytic converters have a higher concentration of precious metals than gas cars). But when Wactor confronted the group, according to police, he was shot, “without provocation.” The men fled and Wactor died shortly afterwards. Watch:

The woman you just saw, Tessa Farrell, is Wactor’s ex-fiance. In a video she posted to TikTok on Monday, Farrell states that she hadn’t seen Wactor “in a few years”prior to his death. She also indicates that she hasn’t “been talking to him” lately because she’s been busy working on a movie. She then goes into some detail about their relationship and how much she cared about him.

But as the video goes on, Farrell reveals how little she understands about what happened to Wactor, and about violent crime in general. Before I show you the rest of the footage, I want to make it very clear that my intention is not to mock a woman who’s grieving. The point here is not to demean Tessa Farrell in any way. But the fact remains that the ideas she promotes in this video must be addressed because they are a cancer on society that has cost many people their lives, and will continue to cost people their lives unless these ideas are rejected. So with that in mind, here’s the rest of Tessa Farrell’s video:

This attitude on display here is deeply sick, yet also entirely pervasive. She implores the criminals who just murdered a loved one to “stop being so mean” and to “love each other” and “not steal.” She acknowledges that the “job market is hard” but says they “don’t have to steal.” We’re all in this together, she says. We need to “support each other.” 

Violent thugs have been allowed to take over our communities precisely because of this delusional liberal approach to crime. If Tessa were just one naive woman crying out in the wilderness, then this wouldn’t be worth responding to. But she’s one of millions of people saying this. Again, this attitude is why lawlessness has claimed hold of so many communities. People with this view elect people who have the same view, or at least who express the same view, and those people usher in more chaos and criminality. The cycle repeats over and over and over again, while thousands more fall victim to these crimes. 

WATCH: The Matt Walsh Show

Here’s the reality these people just can’t wrap their minds around: These criminals cannot be redeemed with a lecture about the value of teamwork. They are not committing crime because they’re poor and desperate. I want to say it again. They are not committing crime because they’re poor and desperate. The job market has nothing to do with it. At all. They steal and kill because they enjoy it. They want to do it, so they do.

Mike Cernovich put it succinctly on X/Twitter yesterday when he tweeted: “Criminals like crime.” It really is as simple as that. They act this way because they want to. You could hand them a million dollars and they’d be back out on the street committing petty — and not so petty — crimes by next week. You could give them a high paying job in a corner office downtown and they’d never show up for work. Not even for a single day. They’d rather be on the street stealing pieces from people’s cars. 

There are observable reasons for this. One of the major ones — though certainly not the only one — is pretty simple: People with high IQs tend to be more empathetic because they have the intellectual capacity to consider what other people might be thinking or feeling. People with very low IQs often have little or no empathy. A few years ago, there was a study published in the journal “Psychological Science” that came up with a finding along these lines. As The New Haven Register reported at the time, one of the psychologists behind the story remarked, “‘There may be cognitive limits in the ability to take the perspective of others.’ Into account” … In other words, the less intelligent you are, the harder it may be for you to put yourself in another’s shoes.”

With that finding in mind — guess where criminals stealing catalytic converters rank on the IQ spectrum? We can assume it’s not very high. In fact we don’t have to assume. Based on the data we have, chronic adult offenders have an average IQ of around 85, which is a full standard deviation below the population’s average. In other words, the people committing much of the crime in this country are very stupid. They’re often so stupid that they don’t feel empathy, at least not to the degree that normal people do. It’s not that they’re psychopaths, although that’s certainly true in some cases. It’s that, by and large, they’re morons. There is no reasoning with them because they don’t care what you think. This is not an excuse for them. Not remotely. I’m just trying to explain that there are deep seated problems here, and poverty and desperation have not nearly as much to do with it as people think. Of course the other major factor — even more significant — is that many of these criminals were raised in homes without any parental guidance and where there was no effort put in to their moral formation. After all, even if they are low IQ, that doesn’t mean they have to become violent criminals. Being raised correctly can guard against that pretty effectively. But they were not raised correctly, or raised at all, really. 

But all of these factors together create a very disturbing situation. The lack of moral guidance, the lack of proper adult supervision growing up, the lack of spiritual formation, and the lack of intellect all together mean that no matter what Tessa Farrell says to these people, it won’t matter. She understands the concept of empathy. They don’t. Although she doesn’t have much understanding of human nature. And that’s why everything she says in that video is completely pointless. It’s also why every politician’s effort to “rehabilitate” these thugs is a waste of time. They quite literally don’t even know what rehabilitation means. That’s why the only thing you can do with them is remove them from society. Put them in prison. Lock them away.

Is it possible for these sorts of people to be redeemed? The type who casually kills another human being after stealing from his car? As a Christian I have to believe that, as a matter of faith. But it takes a supernatural intervention to bring that about, and the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of violent criminals will never be functional members of society, ever, in their lives. That’s a fact whether we like it or not. Which is why our only choice is to lock them away forever, and let God be the judge at the end. 

Even Leftist politicians understand this to some extent, which is why they never blame criminals for their own actions. They find others to blame — sometimes to comical effect. A year ago, there was a video of a Los Angeles city councilwoman named Nithya Raman that made the rounds. She was announcing her decision to vote against a measure that would have, “made it unlawful for any person to possess a detached catalytic converter unless valid documentation or other proof of lawful possession can be produced.” The point of the measure, obviously, is to help prevent the kind of thefts that led to the death of Johnny Wactor. 

Ultimately, the measure passed. But before it did, Raman explained why she opposed it. She said that Toyota was responsible for the thefts of catalytic converters — not the thieves — because they made the catalytic converters too easy to steal. Watch:

So the government requires car manufacturers to place catalytic converters on cars, with the Clean Air Act. And now the government blames car manufacturers for making these converters too easy to steal.

To be fair, it’s true that a lot of cars have their catalytic converters in the engine bay now, where they’re less accessible to thieves. But the reason these thefts have increased in the last six years has nothing to do with their placement on vehicles. If it did, these thefts would be declining, not increasing, as more manufacturers place the converters in the engine bay. The reason these thefts are skyrocketing is that the police have stopped enforcing the law, and D.A.’s have stopped prosecuting crimes. Rather than admit that, Los Angeles politicians are blaming car manufacturers.

These are the lengths that Leftists in Los Angeles will go in order to absolve criminals of responsibility for their actions. They’d rather blame Toyota than hire more police to prevent these thefts, which are brazen in pretty much every case. And the family and friends of the victim, in turn, are hopelessly confused about why their loved one is dead. And by the way, whether you think these criminals are responsible for their actions or not, it actually shouldn’t matter. You could make the argument that if most of these criminals are low IQ and were raised in dysfunctional, neglectful homes, then to some extent it isn’t their fault they turned out the way they did. I think that argument only goes so far.

Ultimately we all have free will and we all make choices, and should be accountable for them. But it doesn’t actually matter. It’s all academic. Either way, the violent criminals must be removed from society. And in fact I would argue that if they are indeed not responsible for their actions that’s all the MORE reason to remove them, because it means all the more that they probably can’t be rehabilitated.

This is usually how it goes after a senseless murder. It’s exactly what you saw in that video. We hear from friends and family calling on the community to come together. Sometimes they advocate on behalf of the murderer, telling us to be understanding and forgiving of the scumbag who murdered their loved one. Just once I’d like to see someone calling for justice and punishment. I’d like to hear something like: “This criminal killed someone I love. I hope that he is brought to justice and that justice is swift and severe.”

That’s a much healthier response. It would actually solve the problem, too, because a very small percentage of the population is responsible for an overwhelming amount of violent crime. But you rarely hear anything like it anymore. The people committing these crimes don’t understand much. But they understand exactly what’s happening right now in cities like Los Angeles. And at the expense of innocent men like Johnny Wactor, they’re taking full advantage of the opportunity.

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