I returned after a 10-day stay in Rostock, Germany just in time to watch the unfortunate last three innings in game seven of the baseball world series.
Rostock is a beautiful city, as are the nearby villages and towns. Rostock, a Baltic Sea port in Northeastern Germany, has a population of more than 200,000 people. Near the end of WW2, the Soviet army captured Rostock without bombarding it, thereby saving the city, unlike in Berlin, where the Russians reduced to rubble what had not already been destroyed by allied bombings. Thus, Rostock’s historic architecture of buildings and homes was preserved. Until the reunification of Germany, Rostock was part of communist East Germany.
Some reflections from Rostock
The city is very clean, not at all like trashy Houston. Rostock has a mass transit system that Houstonians would die for. It has a massive rail system and its homes are all within walking distance of a bus stop. Unlike Metro’s rail system, Rostock’s trains do not run on the streets. The rail lines run either along a right-of-way on one side of the street or on a median.
Surprisingly, there was lots of graffiti in Rostock, but almost all of it was of the artistic tagger variety. There was hardly any of the crude gangbanger-type graffiti, like that so prevalent in Houston.
Many of Rostock’s streets are historically preserved with cobble stones. The concrete pavement was free of pot holes, but in fairness to Houston, Rostock does not sit on a clay base.
Rostock has several huge Protestant gothic-style churches with domineering spires. They are several hundred years old. There are no Protestant denominations – no Baptists, Methodists, Prespetyrians, Episcopalians, Pentecostals – just Protestants. There are few Catholics in Rostock.
The city provides free housing and cost of living allowances to the homeless. There are no homeless encampments in the city.
Politically, the people of Rostock, as well as many other Europeans, consider Trump’s election a bad joke made by the stupid Americans. MAGA just doesn’t ring true to them. They see Trump’s withdrawal from the Global Warming Accord, his scrapping of the US-Russian nuclear arms treaty, and his abandonment of the Kurds as signs of weakness, not of strength. They are losing their respect for the US as the world’s leader and, instead, see Putin as making Russia great gain. If given a choice between Trump and Obama, Trump would lose by a seismic landslide. Fortunately for us, the Europeans do not get to vote in our elections.
The crime rate in Western Europe has been relatively low. The only cops I saw were at the Berlin Tegel Airport. During my 10 days in Rostock and the nearby towns and villages, I did not see a single police officer or cop car.
However, the crime rate has been rising significantly. The rise in crimes is being blamed on an influx of Muslim immigrants from North Africa – including Ilhan Omar’s birthplace of Somalia – and the Arab countries, as well as on immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria.
In Germany, the immigrants are provided free housing, free medical care and cost of living allowances, all paid for by the taxpayers. Most of the Muslims refuse to assimilate with the Germans and refuse to learn how to speak German. Women who do not cover their heads and hair with a hijab are fair game for sexual assaults by Muslim men. Muslim women keep popping out babies one after another. Many Muslim men refuse to work – but that should come as no surprise since they get free housing and a cost of living allowance from the government.
It’s too bad that there is no land bridge between Europe and Central America. Such a land bridge would solve our immigration problem. The Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorians would all flock to Europe for all the freebies they would get there. There would be no need for Trump’s wall.
The Germans appear to be well satisfied with their socialized medicine program. But the taxpayers pay dearly for all of Germany’s social programs, including free housing and cost of living allowances for the homeless and the immigrants. In addition to an income tax, there is a value added tax of 19 percent on all purchases, except that some foods are taxed at only seven percent.
Crime rates and imprisonment
The Europeans have always smugly shamed us for our huge prison population. Of course, with a low crime rate, especially a low rate of violent crimes, they could afford to build country club-like prisons for the relatively few criminals that would be sentenced to serve time there.
Here in the US, the hug-a-criminal Liberals have been howling for prison reforms that would release thousands of felonious criminals to prey on our law-abiding citizens. Don’t forget that during the Democratic debate in Houston, Joe Biden said “Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime.”
Sadly, the Liberals have been joined by Conservatives who see emptying our prisons as being fiscally responsible. Even Trump has been touting the bipartisan bill he signed last December which shortened the sentences of many federal prisoners, most of them doing time for drug possession. But make no mistake about it, those inmates were not actually doing time for possession, they were in prison for being drug dealers. The inmates benefiting the most from the shortened sentences are the drug dealers who copped a plea to the lesser crime of possession because that would give them a much shorter sentence than for trafficking in drugs.
One need only look at California’s criminal justice reform measures to see how the Liberals are putting public safety at risk. Former Gov. Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown’s prison realignment program reduced the state’s prison overcrowding by dumping prison inmates on the county jails and probation departments. That has resulted in a notable increase in crime. And then, to make matters worse, Proposition 47 reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. That led to a significant increase in property crimes with San Francisco now having the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.
Unlike Europe, the US has always had a relatively high crime rate. That is why our prisons are bulging with inmates. We have long stopped sending people to prison for simple possession of marijuana. Blacks are not in prison for being black and Latinos are not in prison for being Latino. They are in prison for committing felonious crimes.
It must be noted that almost none of America’s prison inmates are first-time offenders. Almost without exception, this country’s prison inmates have been arrested three or four times on serious charges, or even more often, before they were finally sent to prison. Many inmates have absolutely no desire to go straight – they simply enjoy being career criminals. All those prison facial tattoos are a sign that upon release, they do not want to find any legal work. Who will hire some guy that looks like a freak? No one, and the inmates know it.
My trip to Rostock has reinforced my belief that America does not need to apologize for its bulging prison population. Most of the inmates are right where they belong, if not as punishment, then for the safety of law-abiding citizens and the protection of their property.
As for Crazy Joe Biden not wanting to lock up anyone for a nonviolent crime, here is a phrase I coined some years ago: A ‘nonviolent’ criminal in jail is one less criminal on the streets! And for those, like Biden, who draw a distinction between violent and nonviolent criminals, it must be noted that today’s nonviolent criminal may turn out to be tomorrow’s violent criminal.
Although I was very impressed with Rostock, it is good to be back in the good old USA and my hometown of Houston, even though I returned just as the Astros were losing game 7 to the Nationals.
(Photo: Rostock’s Neuer Markt Square – by Nick Katz)
TRAVEL TIP: If planning a trip to Germany and back, make sure you get booked on Lufthansa planes and not on any United Airlines plane. The meals and the service with Lufthansa is better. Believe me, because I’ve experienced both.