Two Equally Flawed Views of Violent Crime

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Two Equally Flawed Views of Violent Crime

How do liberals get saddled with a soft-on-crime image? Consider the following.

Earlier this week, former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was held up at gunpoint in his apartment by two men who demanded his wallet. The Washington Post takes it from there:
D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry yesterday urged two young men who robbed him at gunpoint Monday night to turn themselves in to police, promising that he would urge authorities not to prosecute them.

"I have no animosities," Barry declared. "I don't even want you prosecuted, really. I love you. Give yourself up. Call the police ... I will do all I can to advocate non-prosecution."
I have no problem with Barry declaring that he personally has forgiven the two assailants. He's entitled to express "love," compassion or anything else for these men, but as a city council member helping to make the laws for the city where I live, it's outrageous that he would encourage law enforcement officials not to prosecute the assailants.

The Post continues:
... [Barry] said he will prod the council to pass a bill he introduced to stiffen penalties for carrying a gun in the District. The proposed legislation would also prohibit judges in most cases from granting pretrial release to defendants facing gun charges.

"Violence is everywhere," Barry said. "Guns are everywhere. This ought to be the number one priority in our city -- saving lives, getting guns off the street and rehabilitating young people."
I loathe the NRA, and I welcome stricter gun laws. The NRA misses the point when its leaders shout, "Guns don't kill, people do." But Barry's statement reveals the equally flawed, liberal counterpoint: "People don't kill, guns do."

Both the gun lovers and the liberals seem unwilling to acknowledge that both guns and violence-prone people are the culprits. We need to get both of them off the street.

Guns are far too accessible to ordinary people -- I absolutely agree. But that has not led me nor has it led most other Washingtonians to acquire one, stick it in a man's face and demand his money. People who will take such an action should be incarcerated for a reasonable period of time.

The ex-mayor's cocaine-related conviction and his more recent failure to pay his taxes may explain why Barry is willing to tread lightly when it comes to enforcing civil and criminal laws.

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