Police faced with bodies lying in the hot summer streets of a big city are a far cry from jargon-laden comments issued by the Justice Dept. and Attorney General Loretta Lynch about youth, guns, and violence:
In addition to our federal efforts, we are advancing a number of comprehensive, collaborative initiatives with state and local partners – because we understand that the best way to make a difference in communities is to work hand-in-hand with the people who live and work in our communities every day.1
If we understand the problem and know what works, how do we explain out of control killing in a city like Chicago?
The easy answer is too many guns. The hard answer is too many bad people are on the streets. That hard answer is a problem. Why do Lynch’s Justice Dept. and liberal politics support reduced sentences for drug crimes that are inextricably linked to killing?
It’s too easy to take a stand on guns
It’s a lot easier to take a stand than to achieve success. Like most activist bureaucrats Lynch confuses talking with performance even though she claims to be:
… tremendously proud of the work that we have done to take a stand against violence.2
The killing continued in Obama’s home town while the Justice Dept. took its stand.
It makes sense that a Cabinet official reporting to a former community organizer would use words like community, collaboration, and partners. These are the same kinds of feel good words people use when they march through the streets to show their support for ending violence.
Chicago has had those marches. 64 people had been shot in the city by the time the Independence Day weekend drew to a close.3
Guns and police battle the law
Chicago dreaded another holiday weekend while Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson faced his first Windy City Fourth as head cop. Johnson talked about going after repeat offenders [link expired]4 with tougher laws to make sure the bad guys go away and stay away. Why we still need new laws to do this is a curiosity. As bad as the situation in the city is one would think that those shooting guns would be locked up for a very long time the first time around.
It’s safe to say that Democrats are much more eager to crack down on guns than to sentence minority offenders to prison for long periods. This is especially true for drug crimes where there is a racial line in the sand. We can admit that gun offenders are a problem. We won’t admit that African American are doing the bulk of the killing in their own communities. It’s easy to blame a gun, but firearms can’t do anything without a living, decision-making person to pull the trigger.
There is nothing the left would like more than to add some sort, any sort, of gun law to the regulations and restrictions weighing down the Second Amendment. Congress is waging a battle over guns that has little or nothing to do with fixing the problem and everything to do with an election year legislative victory.
Drug dealing is in, guns are out
The Justice Dept. recently updated its list of prison sentences commuted under Obama. 42 new commutations were issued on June 3, 2016.5 Most were for drug trafficking. This black market industry funds killing in cities like Chicago. Nearly 25% of the sentences included gun charges. Nevertheless, Democrats demand that we clamp down on guns as they applaud the president’s actions. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee remarked:
Nearly all of these men and women would have been released and contributing back to society already had they been convicted under today’s laws or reform proposals. I welcome and applaud the commutations of the sentences of these individuals. Incarcerating people for unwarranted lengths of time serves no constructive purpose. 6
What constitutes “contributing back to society” is up for grabs. Attorney General Lynch echoed Lee’s remarks while she was still a U.S. attorney. Lynch highlighted the criminal justice reforms that she believes make America better:
From the reduction of the use of solitary confinement, to the expansion of the federal clemency program, to our support for the retroactive reduction of penalties for non-violent drug offenders to the reduction in the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, we have worked to improve our criminal justice system in furtherance of our human rights treaty obligations. We look forward to the future and the opportunity to do even more.7
On the other side of the aisle, GOP House members questioned Lynch on the who, what, and why of Obama’s clemency drive in a letter that demanded more information on the offenses, including whether firearms were used and how many of the convicts had connections to gangs.8
That was a year ago. Commuted sentences keep coming.
Don’t blame offenders. Blame police and guns.
Police are battling gangs, drugs, and violence while Democrats use incidents like the Orlando massacre to go after guns. They mistake weapons of violence for violent people. The Democratic approach to law enforcement takes the emphasis away from offenders. We don’t talk about radical Islam. Prison sentences doled out to minorities have to be reexamined. We target the police and demand they wear body cameras to record every move. We hear arguments for a repeat offender law to address violence in Chicago while the president lets people out of prison who helped provide the goods responsible for gang warfare.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for a cop like Eddie Johnson who sounds earnest and sincere. He will no doubt eventually run afoul of Chicago pols when they can’t convince the public that their city’s stats on gun violence aren’t improving. That’s a sad irony when you consider that our nation’s lawyer-in-chief and the president are cementing their reputations doing the exact opposite of what a big city police chief has to do: battle people who kill with guns and make their money selling drugs.
Update July 9, 2016:
Just after this post was published 5 police officers were killed in Dallas. 7 were wounded. Call this a hate crime. Call it domestic terrorism. Call it whatever you wish. The left has to answer for the consequences of the same dangerously inflammatory rhetoric it has charged Donald Trump with.
What makes Dallas different? No one has died because of what Trump has said.