In D.C., No One Is Immune from Rampant Lawlessness
Late Sunday night, three would-be criminals attempted to break into an unmarked, unoccupied SUV belonging to the Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Joe Biden’s granddaughter, Naomi. They smashed a window but fled the scene in “a red vehicle” when one agent fired his service weapon.
The incident, which took place in the swanky Georgetown neighborhood, is only the latest in a seemingly endless escalation of violent crime in the nation’s capital, where strict gun control laws prohibit most law-abiding citizens from carrying an effective means of self-defense.
As of Monday, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recorded 6,112 car thefts so far this year, a 98% increase over the same time last year. That includes a marked police car stolen just this past Friday. As of Sunday, MPD recorded 863 carjackings so far this year, a 104% increase over the same time last year. (Carjacking is distinguished by the perpetrator forcibly taking a vehicle in someone else’s possession.)
The increase in carjacking corresponded with the onset of the pandemic, but it has not slowed since then. D.C. recorded about 140 carjackings in 2018, about 360 in 2020, and 485 in 2022. The carjacking trend has also afflicted neighboring jurisdictions. In neighboring Prince George’s County, there were 78 carjackings in 2019, 260 in 2020, and 541 in 2022.
The attempted theft of a Secret Service SUV was not the first car theft in D.C. this year with a high-profile target. In October, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) was carjacked at gunpoint in the upscale Navy Yard neighborhood. Weeks later, a staffer for Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.) was carjacked at gunpoint in a relatively safe residential area of Capitol Hill.
It’s not just carjackings. In February, an intoxicated homeless person assaulted Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) in the elevator of her apartment building. In March, a staffer for Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was stabbed after leaving a restaurant by a man just released from federal prison. In June, a staffer for Rep. Brad Finstad (R-Minn.) was attacked at gunpoint following the annual Congressional Baseball Game. MPD records show homicides are up 32%, and robberies are up 68% over the same time last year.
“It’s been almost impossible for the mayor to maintain any sort of law enforcement,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) lamented on “Washington Watch.” “It is because of the Democrat policies — the soft-on-crime policies — where they believe that the police are the bad guys and the criminals are the good guys.” As a consequence, Clyde added, D.C. has lost “over 1,100 Metro Police Department officers leaving the force. So, they are down that many officers. So, crime is on the increase. … When you don’t have law enforcement officers, you’re not going to have law enforcement.”
“This goes back to what we saw after 2020 with the whole ‘Defund the Police’ movement of the Left after the George Floyd incident,” remarked Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch.” “We’re now reaping what has been sown in communities all across the nation.”
“This lawlessness … is really at the heart of the Left’s policies,” Perkins added. “I mean, they are sowing seeds of lawlessness.”
In Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2, Jesus and Paul say an increase in lawlessness will precede the Lord’s second coming. Paul foretold a coming “man of lawlessness,” but he said that “the mystery [something hidden that will be revealed] of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse,” he warned (2 Timothy 3:13). Paul also pointed to government as a restraint on lawlessness (Romans 13:3-4).
“Even Governor Newsom out in California can get serious about crime if motivated enough,” said Clyde. Late last week, the city of San Francisco made news for a massive effort to remove the homeless encampments and drug markets from the streets ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which would bring communist China’s Xi Jinping and other world leaders to the city. “I know folks say, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all these fancy leaders are coming into town,’” Newsom said. “That’s true because it’s true.”
“It’s not for the people, not for American citizens living there, that they’re doing this,” Perkins complained. “They’re doing this … for foreigners coming into the city. … That’s not good governance.”
Similarly permissive policies plague the residents of Washington, D.C. Then-acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the city could reduce homicides if it would “keep violent people in jail. Right now, the average homicide suspect has been arrested 11 times prior to them committing a homicide.”
In 2022, the D.C. city council passed a bill — later blocked by Congress — that would have comprehensively reduced criminal penalties in the city. Said Clyde, “This is another reason why home rule has been a failure here in Washington, D.C., and why Congress has had to step in and fix some of the issues that the Washington, D.C. Council and the mayor have caused.”
According to Scripture, the measure of lawlessness is not what violates manmade laws but what violates God’s divine law. “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness,” wrote the apostle John (1 John 3:4). By John’s definition, lawlessness is not only present in the rise in violent crime, but in every practice contrary to God’s law, even those that are technically legal by the laws of America — sexual immorality, abortion, greed, pride, self-indulgence, and the use of substances that neutralize a person’s self-control.
Scripture warns that the trend of ever-increasing lawlessness will even afflict the church, which prompts a call for the saints to endure. “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold,” warned Jesus. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
To give hope to Christians enduring affliction from lawlessness, Paul reminded them that Jesus would ultimately triumph. “And then the lawless one will be revealed,” he said, “whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.