The other morning, I was sitting in the park near my New York City apartment with a coffee scrolling through Twitter as a group of people did yoga nearby. Across the way, some elderly folks were doing Tai Chi. The old, salty-looking types congregated on a bench drinking out of their paper bags. Dogs pranced around the dog park, some wearing jaunty sweaters to ward off the crisp, fall chill. Birds chirped. It looked like a normal day except of course almost everyone was wearing masks, but that’s the new normal.
Then I scrolled by a tweet: “BREAKING: US Department of Justice designates NYC as an anarchist jurisdiction.”
I almost spit my coffee out, but no one wants to see anything come out of anyone’s mouth during a pandemic. What does “anarchist jurisdiction” even mean? It sounds like a great name for a punk album, to be honest.
New Yorkers were confused, amused, and insulted. But New York wasn’t the only city designated an anarchist jurisdiction on Monday. Portland and Seattle got the honor as well. So, what was the goal? The Justice Department labeled these three cities as anarchy jurisdictions on orders from President Trump to block federal funding in such “lawless zones.”
Some folks have suggested that Trump cracked down on New York City, Portland, and Seattle because these cities have had some of the largest and most visible protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd on May 25th by four Minneapolis police officers. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the move an attempt at playing politics and compared it to a similar action taken a few years ago when the federal government threatened to take away funding for sanctuary cities.
And while crime has gone up, it’s not exactly anarchy. According to the most recent data from the NYPD, there were 321 murders in New York City so far in 2020 as compared to 230 murders in New York City for the same time period in 2019. While it is certainly bad to have a 39.6% increase in murders, that doesn’t mean anyone living in the City should move or change their behavior. After all, according to this tweet from Mark D. Levine, NYC is still safe compared to other US cities:
New Yorkers believe Trump is punishing their city because he is petty like that—and they took to Twitter to make fun of the anarchist jurisdiction designation and defend their city.
“This morning in my Anarchist jurisdiction, I enjoyed a skim milk cappuccino in the bike lane and then I bought a few bouquets of overpriced flowers,” tweeted writer Molly Jong-Fast.
“Dispatches from the Anarchist Jurisdiction: My dearest Emma, please remain in Paris and do not return to the violent maelstrom that is our chaotic city. Today, I had to walk three extra blocks to find a vacant CitiBike and when I reached the cafe, the last vegan cookie was taken,” wrote one Twitter user.
Stay safe out there!