These can be taken as anecdotal pieces of evidence. They can ignored. They can be denied as anything other than random, unrelated incidents tied to purely local realities and complexities, not in any way indicative of a larger, troubling trend.
Or ... we can be honest with ourselves about the state of our society and the consequence of failed progressive policies decaying the heart of our cities.
First, as Not the Bee reported yesterday, the city of Oakland is seeing the demise of West Coast staple In-N-Out Burger. The business is not going under. In fact, it's thriving. Customers love it, flock to it, and even the location that is now closing is still turning a large profit.
So what's the problem? Why close a profitable business in a highly-trafficked area near an international airport?
It isn't about business sense. It's about humanity and concern for employees and customers. Progressive government policy has led to acceptance - or maybe acquiescence is the better word - of a culture of crime, and the company can no longer knowingly subject their workers and loyal patrons to it all.
To be sure, that isn't a conservative writer's interpretation of the situation. It's precisely what In-N-Out Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick explained:
[D]espite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies…
[O]ur top priority must be the safety and well-being of our Customers and Associates - we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment.
Thankfully, In-N-Out is doing their best to take care of their workers, offering them the opportunity to transfer to the nearest alternative location, or, recognizing how moving isn't a possibility for everyone, offering a severance package.
But as nice as that is, it's all needless. There's no rational reason the city of Oakland has allowed living conditions to deteriorate as they have. But like I mentioned, it's not isolated to Oakland. Far from it.
Last week, the city of Boston received word that drugstore giant Walgreens was closing its 4th store in a matter of months, this time the Roxbury location. Roxbury is a predominantly black neighborhood that is simply overrun with theft and crime.
The government's inability to police its streets effectively has not only endangered the population, but is depriving them of access to the many benefits of a low-cost drug store. You'd think that would infuriate and motivate social activists to demand sane public policy corrections. You'd think wrong.
Instead of pointing the finger at a crime and lawlessness-accommodating government, here's the area's former NAACP president to lay the blame at the feet of Walgreens and greedy capitalists. Yes, seriously.
Got that? Walgreens has a duty to subject its employees to armed robberies, its customers to muggings, and its shareholders to gargantuan financial losses. Doing anything else makes them guilty about caring only for the "bottom line."
It's tragic when you think about it. Every year I show my students select portions of the History Channel's America: the Story of Us miniseries. In it, the narrator properly identifies the modern city as one of America's greatest inventions. I don't disagree. As more than one commentator has pointed out, cities have made mankind richer, smarter, healthier, and happier.
Then progressive councils, mayors, prosecutors, and planners took control and turned them into wastelands. The people who live there have always deserved better.