Hochul's bail proposals not sitting well with activists

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The idea of making bail isn’t new. In fact, it’s something of a joke that when you’re planning a wild night, you also make sure someone has bail money.

But bail reform efforts have rendered the old joke moot.

Unfortunately, they’re also putting a lot of other people back out on the streets, and those efforts are probably a significant driver to our violent crime surge over the last couple of years. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is looking to change who is eligible for bail and who just gets put back out on the streets.

That will include some firearm-related crimes. It seems, though, that there are reasons some think that’s not a good idea.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic leaders in Albany have pledged they use data as a guide when it comes to any proposed changes to the state’s bail laws, which are the subject of fierce political debate.

“I’m very data driven,” Hochul said in late January, a month after the state’s highly anticipated data was released. “As I’ve said from the beginning, there’s opportunities to have these conversations with the Mayor (Eric Adams), as well as with the Legislature as session unfolds on any reforms that are recommended.”

The other two proposals intend to make certain offenses like hate crimes and gun-related offenses bail eligible.

The state’s pretrial data, which shows an 18-month period from January 2020 to June, shows that the listed offenses — issues that Adams has said are major problems — account for less than one-half of a percent of the total violent felony rearrests, according to a Times Union analysis of the data.

In other words, the cases the Hochul administration identified as worth making eligible for bail account for 29 instances when a person is alleged to have committed a violent felony while released from state custody and awaiting their court date on a different charge.

The article is kind of a mess, but the gist is that the data suggests that bail for gun-related offenses will only impact a small percentage of violent crime.

Which I find interesting. After all, this is the same media that backs every single gun control initiative that comes out of the legislature in New York state. They’ve backed every restriction as absolutely essential to curb violent crime, despite ample evidence that’s simply not how it works.

But now that the target of the law is the criminal, now suddenly we’re not looking at that big of an issue?

Seriously?

I’m sorry, but I fail to see how you can have it both ways. Either guns are the scourge driving all the violence or they’re only a small fraction of the issue. I just don’t see how you can believe both and not have the cognitive dissonance cause a perpetual nose bleed.

And yet, here we are.

The truth is that there will always be “experts” and statistics who will back up whatever position you want to take. Journalists know this and that’s why they keep referring to certain “experts” at different times. After all, notice how Giffords wasn’t quoted in this article? There’s a reason for that, and it’s not that Giffords isn’t knowledgable on bail reform–they’re not, but they know jack about guns either and journalists can’t help but reach out to them for comment on gun issues–but because they’d likely take issue with the idea that guns aren’t tied to violence.

That’s kind of their whole schtick.

Yet the truth is that criminals who are using firearms illegally are more likely to use a firearm illegally in the future. They’re generally not able to lawfully own a firearm, but they have no trouble getting one in one of the most gun-controlled states in the nation. Keeping them locked up until they can make bail is one of those things I find difficult to imagine won’t play some kind of a factor in slowing their violent return to the streets.

But that’s not the narrative we see, now is it?