Senator Tom Cotton's remarks on crime, policing, and public safety at the National Press Club in June of 2021.

Five years ago, I spoke at some length on the subject of crime and violence in our streets. At the time, our nation was in the grips of the Obama crime wave of 2015–2016. We experienced the steepest two-year increase in murder in half a century and a significant rise in violent crime. That crime wave resulted directly from the Obama administration’s pro-criminal and anti-police policies. Federal malfeasance compounded the harm inflicted by the “Ferguson Effect,” itself the acute consequence of heightened anti-police activism and anti-enforcement policies at the local level.

I warned at the time that the criminal-leniency proposals being adopted across the nation are not merely wrong. They are dangerous. They threaten a return to the worst days of the 1990s, when law-abiding citizens lived in fear of their lives.” Based on the number of unsolved murders, rapes, and other serious crimes, I contended that, far from the fabled “over-incarceration problem,” America had an under-incarceration problem. Woolly-headed critics across the political spectrum condemned me for saying this.

But I was right then, and I’m right now. Tragically, my prediction at the time was, if anything, too optimistic.

Stay up to date with us


Get weekly Canon roundups straight to your inbox