America has a certain fascination with killers. Especially the particularly brutal one. So many people know the names of serial killers and mass murderers but don’t have a clue who their congressman or woman is. It’s sad, but that’s apparently just how we roll as a nation.
Yet despite this fascination, many of us prefer our horrible monsters safely behind bars. We prefer to watch them from safety, like seeing a lion at the zoo. We don’t really want them out and among us.
Not everyone feels the same way, though.
The district attorney for Los Angeles, apparently, is just fine with monsters meandering among us.
Since 2012 Kay Martley has attended parole board hearings for Bruce Davis, a member of the Manson family who participated in the brutal murder of her cousin, Gary Hintman, on July 27, 1969. Each time, a member of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office also attended and opposed parole for Davis. When the 81-year-old Martley logged on to a California Board of Parole Hearings video conference in January in which the board was scheduled to again consider parole for Davis she was shocked to learn that there was no Deputy District Attorney or other representative from the DA’s office present due to one of new DA George Gascon’s policy “reforms.”
Debra Tate, whose sister Sharon was also murdered by Manson family members, also attended the hearing and was “outraged” by the absence of a DDA. Both spoke to Yahoo News:
“I had no one to speak for me,” said Martley….“I felt like no one cares about the victim’s families anymore. We are totally forgotten.”
“My jaw drops. I’m outraged,” said Debra Tate…
“At the most horrible moment, when you have to relive the gruesome details of the loss of your loved ones, you are now also supposed to perform the job and act as the DA would,” she said.
The Yahoo News piece states that Gascon is “among a handful of district attorneys…to rethink their stance on automatically opposing parole requests,” which isn’t what Gascon has done here. He’s done more than rethink, and instead of automatically opposing parole requests, he’s automatically not opposing a single parole request. There’s a huge difference between the two.
Look, I have no issue with parole in and of itself. Some people who have done time but have shown a sincere effort to reform? Sure, let’s give them an opportunity. Let them venture back out into the world, particularly those who aren’t accused of a violent crime.
But someone like Davis?
To be fair, even with the past DAs opposing parole, the board recommended it anyway. This time was no different. It’s believed that California Governor Gavin Newsom will deny parole due to the controversy surrounding Davis, especially in light of an effort to recall him, but that’s not particularly relevant.
What’s relevant is that Gascon, who the citizens of Los Angeles have charged with enforcing the laws to help keep them safe, is so tied up in ideology that he’s willing to just step aside and allow a beast to return to the world. Davis was given the death penalty, but when California ended that practice, he got life in prison instead.
Gascon should do all he can to let someone like Davis rot. If we can’t agree that an animal like Davis or Manson should never breathe free air again, then maybe there’s zero common ground anymore.