I began this blog, among other reasons, because I wanted to share with you stories which otherwise don’t get told.
It stands to reason that if something has the power to shock and upset a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, then surely it must be worth sharing with the public at large.
And let me tell you: once again, I am shocked. And once again, I am livid with anger.
The culprit this time, as it is so frequently, is the stark contradiction between a society that strives to rid itself of violence and a court system that allegedly reflects the values of that society, yet refuses to take action against violent criminals even when the opportunity to do so is placed squarely in its hands.
As I write this blog, I am looking at a report - perhaps I should use the word resume here - detailing the progressive history of a career criminal. His emerging pattern shows more than a tendency to commit crime, it shows a true commitment to lawlessness and a total disregard for the officers and judges who enforce and uphold our laws.
In other words, this criminal history belongs to exactly the sort of felon you'd want your police force to take off our streets. Exactly the sort of hardened offender who needs to be locked up for the safety of all, himself included.
And the police did their part, in exemplary fashion. On Wednesday, two of our officers arrested this man in connection with yet another serious gun crime - an armed robbery. In doing so, the officers risked their lives. They put themselves in harm's way to deliver this dangerous person into the arms of our justice system. It's only reasonable they should expect justice, or at least something vaguely like it, to follow as a result.
But how can they expect justice, when they have no reason to believe even the best arrest, of even the worst criminal, will lead to a meaningful sentence?
When we checked this man's criminal history, it turned out he was already on probation for Unlawful Use of a Weapon. That's right...the armed robbery he had just committed was made possible entirely by the misguided leniency in our courts.
When will judges realize, when will they understand, that the bad guys in our society neither respect that leniency nor fear their light sentences?
When will judges see that the failure to impose meaningful outcome in our courts is making the entire system toothless and helpless, like a sheep in wolf's clothing, growling empty threats against the very real threat of crime in our streets?
The final insult in this case, which you might find unbelievable, is that the judge who granted this offender probation for his previous gun crime thought simply ordering him ‘NOT TO POSSESS WEAPONS’ was enough.
Guess what? He didn't listen.
Guess what else? He's not the only one with a listening problem because judges haven't listened either, as we’ve continuously asked for an Armed Offender Docket.
Let me repeat what I said before, to overcome what must be your stunned disbelief: a sitting judge in an American court room looked down at a gun criminal and thought "perhaps if I just ask him to stop carrying that gun, and then let him walk out of here, he'll just decide to suddenly obey the law and kindly refrain from hurting or killing any innocent people".
SPOILER ALERT: it didn't work.
I have to ask the obvious question: if the penalty for committing crimes like armed robbery and unlawful use of weapon in our society is simply being told, "Okay now, please don't do that again", what are we going to do about even more serious crimes?