News from New York

as editorialized in the New York Times.

For the second straight week, police officers across the city have all but stopped writing tickets and severely cut down the number of arrests. The Times reported that in the week ending Sunday, only 347 criminal summonses were issued citywide, down from 4,077 over the same period last year. Parking and traffic tickets were down by more than 90 percent. In Coney Island, ticketing and summonses fell to zero.

Mr. de Blasio’s critics foretold doom when he was elected a year ago. They said graffiti, muggings and other crime would rush back with a vengeance. They were dead wrong — crime rates continued to decline to historic lows in 2014 — but now it seems the cops are trying to help prove them right.

The problem is not that a two-week suspension of “broken windows” policing is going to unleash chaos in the city. The problem is that cops who refuse to do their jobs and revel in showing contempt to their civilian leaders are damaging the social order all by themselves.

He should remind the police that they are public employees, under oath to uphold city and state laws.

A video emerged this week of a New York cop, apparently with nothing better to do, horsing around on the hood of a squad car, falling off and hitting his head. It would hard to invent a more fitting image of the ridiculous — and dangerous — place this atmosphere of sullen insubordination has taken us.

I’m not sure that insubordination is the issue. The problem, I suspect, is that the culture of obedience demands subordination to persons (superiors), rather than principles (the law). That the cops are not subordinate to the law should not come as a surprise since, for the most part, they are ignorant of the law. Worse, they find being reminded of that to be particularly irksome.

The culture of obedience might also be referred to as the culture of personal responsibility. That is, obedience is to be rendered (be responsive) to persons, rather than ideas or objective principles. Why? Because it is easy, mindless. “Just do what you’re told and you’ll be OK.”