Certain newspapers and magazines have recently been taking editorial and cartoon potshots at the Los Angeles Chief of Police, Edward Michael Davis. It seems that the liberals are turned off by the enthusiastic rhetoric that accompanies his aggressive enforcement of the law.
With crime, especially violent big-city crime, growing at an accelerating rate, I congratulate any city lucky enough to have such an energetic and successful police chief who makes no apologies about being tough on criminals. The statistics show that crime in Los Angeles is only half the national rate of increase.
Argentina is a good example of what happens when law and order break down completely. It is a nation gripped in an orgy of killing that no one has the power to stop. The people are caught in what amounts to a civil war between Fascist and leftwing terrorists, all claiming to be the heirs of Juan Peron.
The political violence since the start of this year has already taken 412 lives. Just last month, there was a nightlong pitched battle in a suburban residence, involving machinegun fire, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails, which was only brought to a halt after the police called in the army with its 90mm cannon shells.
On the one hand is the Treble A — the execution squad of·the Fascists, which openly sends its death car, a green Ford Falcon, with siren blaring and submachineguns on the seat, driving through Buenos Aires traffic to get its victims. The usual pattern is to pick up several victims marked for death, riddle them with bullets, and then incinerate or dynamite the bodies. Sometimes they use cemetery shootings, in which the victims are driven to a cemetery, shot, and pushed into unmarked graves.
The alleged excuse for the Treble A is the Montoneros, the leftwing terrorists who started out in the tradition of Che Guevara but now concentrate on urban guerrilla warfare. The Montoneros are youths who come from comfortable middle-class homes and affect a British lifestyle with tweed jackets and pipes, play rugby and polo, and eat roast beef and yorkshire pudding. An applicant to join the Montoneros must first undergo a two-month indoctrination course which breaks down family loyalties and replaces them with new values. The final test is the requirement to shoot a soldier or policeman, a crime that binds the apprentice Montonero to the organization and seals his commitment.
This is the group that carried out the brilliant and ruthless kidnapping of the Born brothers, heads of the Bunge Corporation, one of the largest grain companies in the world.
Of course, Americans like to think that such guerrillas could never make headway in the United States, and that the murderous Manson Family and the Patty Hearst gang are isolated phenomena. But I’m glad that we have aggressive and efficient police departments working fulltime to protect us.