In California, there’s a mechanism prosecutors can use to punish people found guilty of certain crimes more. These sentence enhancements basically add years to various criminals’ sentences.
Of course, they can’t just be handed out like nasty candy. It has to go through the judge and so on, but it’s a useful tool.
One such enhancement exists for so-called gun crimes. These have the added benefit of just impacting people who use a firearm for an act of violence without hurting any law-abiding citizens.
So, of course, some people hate them.
As for those who aren’t law-abiding, well, the district attorney of Los Angeles won’t use enhancements because the criminals are really the victims in all this.
On the same day that an 81-year-old woman was shot to death in a home invasion robbery, Gascon sent out a fundraising email decrying the use of sentencing enhancements. Enhancements add prison time for violent crimes for a number of reasons, from gang affiliation to the use of guns.
But Gascon thinks we shouldn’t be too hard on criminals. Gascon did not add a sentence enhancement to the charges against the woman’s killer, a man who, of course, had an extensive criminal history and was recently released on parole in September. The enhancement would add 25 years to his sentence.
Gascon said that this is because sentence enhancements are disproportionately used against minorities. It’s a dubious claim at best, but it ignores the real question: Does this individual, a repeat criminal who tried to rob another house after shooting a woman to death, deserve a sentencing enhancement that would keep him behind bars?
Of course, as district attorney, Gascon could have made sure they were applied equally across the board regardless of race. He could opt to reserve them for particularly heinous instances–you know, like the murder of an 81-year-old woman who was killed during a robbery–but he didn’t.
Instead, he took them completely off the table.
Now, I’d like to believe that this is simply the result of Gascon believing crime is crime and the weapon used should be irrelevant. That’s an argument I could actually accept.
But it’s not. Gascon has made his opinion quite clear. He doesn’t think any such thing. For him, it’s really a social justice issue rather than an actual justice issue, and that’s because criminals are really the victims in all of this.
You see, black people are being hit with sentence enhancements too often, but rather than try and do it better–assuming there really is anything wrong going on and this isn’t simply an artifact of black people being more likely to commit crimes for some reason–he’s just throwing the baby out with the bath water and claiming that it’s racist to do otherwise.
Couple this with the rampant shoplifting we’ve seen in numerous videos in California and I have to wonder just how long the good, decent folks left there will be able to remain.
Plenty have already fled the state, but more will, and in the end, Gascon will keep on pretending the criminals deserve lesser sentences because of imaginary racism or something.