Drive-by shootings are typically carried out by gangbangers or other criminal organizations, something I mentioned earlier today. We’ve seen them as such for decades now. They’re basically a part of popular culture at this point, mostly as a tactic of American street gangs.
Yet it also seems to be the preferred tactic of deranged failed state legislative candidates, as well. Allegedly.
A failed Republican state legislative candidate who authorities say was angry over losing the election last November and made baseless claims that the election was “rigged” against him was arrested Monday in connection with a series of drive-by shootings targeting the homes of Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico’s largest city.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina held a news conference Monday evening hours after SWAT officers arrested Solomon Pena at his home.
Medina described Pena as the “mastermind” of what appears to be a politically motivated criminal conspiracy leading to four shootings at or near the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators between early December and early January.
Pena was defeated in November by incumbent state Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, the longtime Democrat representing House District 14 in the South Valley.
Police said Pena, an election denier, had approached county and state lawmakers after his loss claiming the contest had been rigged against him despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2020 or 2022. The shootings began shortly after those conversations.
Now, nothing at play here warrants Pena’s allegedly “masterminding” drive-by shootings, even if he was convinced his loss was the product of election fraud.
Of course, he lost by almost 50 points to a Democrat who has held that office for a long time. While I’ve seen some hinky stuff in elections over the years – and don’t believe anyone who dismissed election fraud out of hand – it’s unlikely he had a case.
Yet even if he did, this isn’t what you do. You don’t carry out drive-bys against your opponents.
However, this isn’t Pena’s first brush with the law. It seems he’s a convicted felon.
Solomon Pena, who is the GOP nominee for the House District 14 seat in the South Valley, served nearly seven years in prison after being convicted in 2008 of stealing large amounts of goods from several big box retail stores in a reported “smash and grab” scheme.
He declined to answer Journal questions about his criminal record this week, saying he was too busy knocking on district residents’ doors to talk.
That wasn’t a denial, though.
Now, he stands accused of something much worse than a “smash and grab” robbery.
Many will focus on the fact that he ran as a Republican, but the truth is, crazy knows no party, and in my opinion, that’s precisely what we’re seeing here. Sane people don’t get folks to shoot up political opponents’ neighborhoods.
Even if you could justify an act of violence – you can’t on this one, but let’s pretend you could for the sake of argument – you can’t justify putting innocent lives at risk because of the actions of that political rival. You just can’t.
Now, these are just allegations. Pena is innocent until proven guilty, so it’s possible he didn’t do any of this.
If he did, he deserves to rot in prison.