When black families were moving into the white neighborhoods, and things were moving toward riots, the white guys driving things weren’t ordinary citizens. They were all the worst local jerks. We knew who they were. So we’d have a talk with them, and say, You want to drink beer on your porch? Back off.
Ceasefire told gang kids to stop doing crime, I started reading in papers from all over the country, and if they didn’t, put them in federal prison for as long is it possibly could. No, I said. No, no, no. It was hopeless.
Ceasefire was a Rorschach test for people interested in crime, I came to see. They looked at it and saw what they wanted to see.
I came to think of it as the “race to the bottom”—no matter how bad it is anywhere else, you wouldn’t believe how bad it is here. The devil’s Lake Wobegon, where all the children are below average.