Annapolis Institute Overview


Crime coddlers in high places

by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Rocky Mountain News, December 14, 1993

Following a week of senseless shootings and spreading problems of gang violence in America’s largest cities, the Clinton administration’s response is to “do something about drug treatment” (the president), license guns (Attorney General Janet Reno), and understand that crime is a public health problem like polio and AIDS (Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala).

Leaving aside that polio is not like AIDS, this kind of leadership does not reassure most Americans. According to a recent CBS poll, nearly two out of three Americans (64%) do not believe that gun control will reduce violent crime.

The Clinton administration’s response to crime is another example of blaming the victim (gun licensing) and coddling criminals, where we are awash with examples from counseling to free needles.

Where was the president’s outrage and his “tough-on-crime” cabinet when, a week or so ago, the Supreme Court let stand a $4.3 million award to a subway mugger who was shot and paralyzed by an off-duty transit cop? Where is the call for the timely execution of people who kill people? Where is the call for legislation to keep repeat offenders behind bars? Where is the admonition to governors to find and nominate tough-on-crime judges?

And where is the study that shows we are reaping the harvest of nearly 30 years of “protecting” students from discipline and religion in our schools and coddling criminals in the criminal justice system?

When gangs roam the streets and people are killed, the knee-jerk reaction of too many politicians is: “Let’s do a gun sweep.” Now, I don’t own a gun; I’m not a member of the NRA; and I’m not a hunter. But gun licensing is pretty far down my list of the things to do to stop violent crime.

Evidence: A National Institute of Justice poll released this week shows that only one in ten of teenagers who have guns got them from a gun store. Gun control is just another example of the triumph of illusion over substance by people who choke on words like “bad,” “wrong,” “stop,” “punish,” “no” and “personal responsibility.”

When all is said and done, all people everywhere expect to be safe on their streets and secure in their homes. After all, governments are instituted first and foremost for protection. When governments fail to provide public safety, they lose the loyalty of the people and their reason for existence.

People certainly do not expect street violence to be used by leaders to justify pleas for more of the same: more money for condoms, more drug treatment, more community development, more job training, and more industrial policy.

What we are reaping is a generation with too many kids who don’t know the difference between right and wrong. We don’t need more government schools that don’t teach reading, writing and counting — but do teach moral relativism and safe sex at an early age. We don’t need more counselors to “understand” gang leaders, more welfare policies that discourage traditional families and more official hostility to religious values. Our need: A little common sense in high places — before people turn to more radical solutions.

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