When the election returns showed Republicans in charge of Congress and Washington, D.C.’s Marion Barry with an insurmountable lead in the race for mayor, there was only one thing to do: uncork the Jack Daniels and celebrate. Statehood for D.C. went down the tubes.
In electing Barry again, the city’s seething underclass was thumbing its nose not only at the rest of the country but also at Congress, which holds the keys to the United States Treasury that Barry has become so accustomed to looting. The election was also the District’s referendum on the criminal justice system, the archenemy of many voters who cast their ballots for Barry because the maximum-security jail at Lorton, Virginia, is home to more than a few of their relatives.
But Barry’s election, predictable as it was, paralleled the results in Arlington, Virginia. Arlington, too, thumbed its nose at the rest of the country, not even a month after two carjackers murdered Meredith Miller, the young Floridian who worked for Representative Leslie Byrne (Virginia). Arlington’s proximity to the district by car or taxi or the Metro, the District’s heavily subsidized and money-losing subway, makes it a perfect target for Washington’s professional criminals. In this case, the criminals shot Meredith to death in Crystal City, located in South Arlington just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. A few hours later, the cops caught one suspect tooling around the District in Meredith’s car, the gun sitting in plain view on the front passenger seat. Meredith’s murder was just one of many crimes perpetrated in Arlington by residents of Washington, D.C, which is why Arlington’s election results are as interesting as the District’s.
Readers of the Arlington Courier are treated to news about crime in the paper’s “Police Reports” and “Court Reports,” which record the county’s arrests, robberies, larcenies, vandalisms, vehicle tamperings, and sentencings. On November 4, four of eight sentencings listed in the Courier’s “Court Reports” showed a convict’s address in the District. Indeed, in almost any given week, readers are bound to learn of at least one criminal from the District being sentenced in Arlington County’s Circuit Court. The Commonwealth’s attorney for Arlington puts the tally of crimes from Barry’s subjects at 10 percent of the total.
And Barry has pledged even more. Just a week before the election, as the Washington Post reported, Barry, recognizing how many of his constituents have relatives in the slammer, promised inmates “more lenient parole laws . . . along with possible conjugal visits and ‘gate money’ so that no prisoners are released . . . with empty pockets.” All this wouldn’t be so bad for Arlington if its elected officials understood that one of the government’s more important functions is to protect the life and liberty of the citizens in its jurisdiction. But Arlington’s officials don’t care about Barry or the crimes his subjects commit under their noses.
After Meredith Miller’s savage murder, the Courier published an editorial denouncing the District because its crime spills over into Arlington and suggesting that the race for mayor might more appropriately be called a race for zookeeper. The reaction? A member of the county’s governing board canceled his subscription to the paper. The editorial, he wrote, implied “that our neighbors in the District of Columbia are less than human” and was “mean-spirited at best and racist at worst.” The rest of the board probably thought so too, but simply didn’t say as much. Yet their silence spoke volumes. When Meredith Miller was shot in the chest, Arlington’s police chief said nothing. The chairman of the County Board said nothing. The board’s vice chairman and even its lone Republican, supposedly some sort of conservative, were mute. Evidently, Arlington’s ruling class won’t criticize the District or its mayor, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. More than three-quarters of the District’s residents are black.
Then, of course, there’s the Crackhead- in-Chief himself. Arlington’s muka-muks won’t rebuke him, no matter how many of his criminals run the county’s streets, for one simple reason. Like Barry and the residents of the District, Arlington’s voters are principally Democrats. Indeed, while the rest of the American electorate went solidly Republican, hoping for a change from the acquisitive, corrupt socialists who ran Congress, Democrats in Arlington won the election hands down. Senator Chuck Robb needed more than 50 percent of Northern Virginia’s vote to defeat Oliver North. Arlington voters gave Robb 66 percent of the vote. A hardnosed school reformer went down to defeat at the hands of Arlington’s Democratic majority, which preferred a longtime school bureaucrat. And the incumbent chairman of the County Board defeated a Republican who advocated eliminating the personal property tax on automobiles. Yet the vice-chairman of Arlington’s board thought Arlington’s vote for the Democratic Party showed it was an “island of sanity in a world gone mad.”
Actually, it’s a sign that Arlington’s residents care as much about crime and other issues that inspired the American electorate’s anti-Democratic revolt as their governing board, and that Arlington County has been absorbed by the federal city. Its entire economy depends on its proximity to Uncle Sam. No wonder Arlington thumbed its nose at the rest of the country, just like Washington, D.C. Like the District, Arlington is no longer part of the real America, which brings us back to the dark irony of Meredith Miller’s murder. Young Meredith might still be alive in the real America, but she died thanks to a judge in the District. The judge in question loosed a man later arrested as a suspect in the murder, Anthony Higgins, after Miggins wrote him a letter. “Sir, I have learned my lesson and I know [sic] longer wish to be a victim of society,” Higgins pleaded. When MT. Barry promulgates his new parole program and his pals at Lorton head back home to see the folks, one wonders how many will stop in Arlington for a shooting or two and whether anyone in Arlington will even care.