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DOES FAILURE TO PENALIZE YIELD REPEAT OFFENDERS?
July 11, 2019
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
There is a growing trend among Democrats and much of the media to decriminalize certain crimes. The trend runs from big cities (run by Democrats) announcing that turnstile-jumping at Metro stations should be ignored. Meanwhile Metro revenues fall further into the red and the “jumpers” every so often go wilding aboard the train – intimidating paying passengers. Funny, the “leadership” never specifies the age limit at which turnstile-jumping is no longer to be ignored. In some California jurisdictions, ‘larceny’ thresholds have been raised – one imagines to keep up with inflation — and those at the lower levels are no longer prosecuted. So if you report your daily driver is stolen but its worth falls below the “crime enforcement” threshold, will the cops not permit you to report its theft? This slope is getting slipperier…
One surmises that the idea behind such attitudes is that we want to avoid having the young and foolish get criminal records and that they will later outgrow their inclinations toward “minor” violations of the law. In line with this thinking, I guess one should simply tsk-tsk over the past weekend’s wilding event by scores of teens at a Walgreen’s store in Philadelphia. The store was trashed, goods were stolen – including beer and wine and tobacco products — and legitimate customers and store staff were cowed and fearful. But, hey, we don’t want mere “kids” getting criminal records, do we?
We note that Democrats hoping to unseat President Trump next year are proposing to decriminalize the federal crime of entering our country illegally – oh, and proposing to extend health care benefits to all who do so. Some even want to abolish ICE and even now stand in the way of that agency’s efforts to enforce court rulings calling for the expulsion of individuals whose asylum petitions have been denied or who have committed other crimes warranting their expulsion by the courts. Such folks are genuine bad actors who have already had their days in court and who were duly represented by counsel.
Recall, too, that the Parkland, Florida school shooter was a thief and had many other violations of the rules (even the law), but “policy” was in place to ignore such stuff so as not to have “students” such as he “incur a blemished record” upon graduation. Well, maybe that sounded good to some, in theory, but in the real world it led to a warped mind murdering many fellow students.
So this makes one wonder where we should draw the line on enforcing our laws – both at the local level and national level. If entering the US in violation of US law is to be ignored at our southern border, should it not also be ignored at all of our international airports where visitors from all over the world, and US citizens also, must show valid documentation (passports, visas, green cards, etc.)? Today such folks who can’t show the right documents are taken aside and held in detention pending their removal and return to point origin.
And if the progressives feel that all this is tolerable and want to force the rest of us into agreement, why shouldn’t the people who write the laws simply change them? Why do they stay on the books? How can the law enforcement entities at all levels know ahead of time which laws are to be enforced and which ones at which to just shrug their collective shoulders?
Government executives at all levels take oaths of office promising to effectively and evenhandedly enforce the laws. So, how do such oaths square with directives issued under their authorities instructing law enforcement to ignore enforcing some laws but not others?
And since the government funds all sorts of really silly “studies,” might it not be a good idea to conduct a study of the effects of waiving enforcement of such minor crimes as turnstile-jumping and bad behavior in school with actual behaviors of such violators in later life? What if the practice of ignoring minor crimes such as avoiding paying fares on the Metro inure some to the flaunting of other laws?