Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed last week. But the bullet that murdered him had been fired years ago. And it was the Democrats of the New York State government that took the shot.
The trigger had been pulled in 2009 when New York lawmakers passed drug crime “reforms” that targeted mandatory minimum sentences, a particular obsession of the pro-crime lobby, and allowed drug offenders to bypass jail.
Governor Paterson, who had used cocaine and whose close associate was a former drug dealer whose scandal would play a role in the governor’s downfall, claimed that sentencing reform would “Give judges the discretion to divert non-violent drug addicted individuals to treatment alternatives that are far more successful than prison.”
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, New York’s first black Temporary President of the Senate, who would later be busted by the FBI on corruption charges, promised that the reforms would “Reverse years of ineffective criminal laws.”
Senator John Sampson, the first black Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who would be indicted for embezzlement, claimed that drug laws had “decimated communities and destroyed lives” by locking up criminals. Assembly Speaker Silver, currently facing trial for mail fraud, said that the reforms would take advantage of “more effective and less costly alternatives than prison.” Senator Shirley Huntley, who would later be sentenced to prison for stealing money from a charity for public school children, praised the law for giving “families and communities a fighting chance.”
Senator Hiram Monserrate, who had already been arrested for slashing his girlfriend in the face with a broken glass, explained his vote in favor of sentencing reform by saying, “If I had to err, ladies and gentlemen, I would err on the side of compassion.”
Senator Kevin Parker, who had gotten away with punching a traffic agent, attacking a female aide and assaulting a photographer, blasted Republicans for using “Fear and diversion to oppose reasonable changes to the law for 40 years.”
They were all lying.
In that same year, Officer Holder’s killer had been arrested in a shooting that wounded an 11-year-old boy and a 77-year-old man. But he wasn’t done yet.
After 28 arrests, Tyrone Howard was caught with bags of crack cocaine. Instead of sending him to jail, the drug dealer was diverted into a drug treatment program.
And instead of getting help, the drug dealer killed a cop.
Sentencing reform is a scam that promises to only go easy on “non-violent drug offenders”. When most people hear that, they think about some kid caught smoking pot. In reality, it’s code for drug dealer.
The beneficiaries of “sentencing reform” are career criminals and drug dealers like Tyrone Howard. It puts them on the street where they sell more drugs and engage in more gang shootouts.
Eventually someone dies.
Crime runs in cycles. When it gets really bad, we crack down. And then when the crackdown works, the lawyers and judges, the activists and academics begin prying at the system to tear it apart. They tell any lie they have to. They pull out sob stories. They promise that their “reforms” will only help the good people. And when they have broken the system, then the bodies of their victims begin to pile up again.
And the cycle repeats itself because our leaders have chosen to learn nothing from the past.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said the shooting was “A vivid and tragic reminder that there are some people that have to be in prison.”
But it’s Bratton who needs that reminder.
Bratton had signed on to the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration pro-crime push that climaxed with a meeting between the police chiefs who were the public face of the campaign and Obama. The murder of Officer Holder forced Bratton to skip the meeting, but the show still went on with Obama once again holding forth on his favorite topic, racism, and complaining, "As a young man, there have been times where I was driving and I got stopped, and I didn't know why."
Officer Holder was black, as was his killer, as were the people he was protecting, as were many of the politicians who had put his killer back on the street. The murder defied Obama’s cheap race-baiting.
Obama pushed the same old talking points about sentencing reforms for “non-violent drug crime” and diversion of offenders to drug treatment. Officer Holder still hadn’t been buried yet, but Obama was shamelessly pushing the policies that had gotten him killed in New York on a national level.
“The devil is always in the details,” Obama said. And then he showed off some of the detailing on his horns by admitting that pro-crime policies favoring even so-called non-violent offenders wouldn’t be enough and that, “In Europe... they have a lower incarceration rate because they also don’t sentence violent offenders for such long periods of time.”
New York City became a testing ground for fighting crime. Now it’s being used as a testing ground for pro-crime policies that are meant to be implemented nationwide. On the same day as Obama’s meeting, the Senate Judiciary Committee backed the disastrous Smarter Sentencing Act.
The National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys has warned that the Smarter Sentencing Act “Would make thousands of federal prisoners convicted of serious drug trafficking crimes eligible for early release without regard to their criminal history, violent background, or ties to gangs, drug trafficking organizations, or even international drug trafficking cartels.”
Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Jeff Sessions have courageously come out against this.
“When we’re seeing violent crime spiking in our cities across the country, I think it would be a serious mistake for the Senate to pass legislation providing for 7,082 convicted criminals potentially to be released early,” Senator Cruz warned.
“Every one of us who votes to release violent criminals from prison prior to the expiration of their sentence can fully expect to be held accountable by our constituents,” he said.
The truth about “sentencing reform” is that it kills. It kills cops. It kills ordinary people.
Senator Grassley had denounced the “leniency industrial complex” and that is what we are up against here. There is a very sophisticated and wealthy network that not only controls the left, but increasingly dominates the right, that is trying to dismantle the anti-crime measures that worked and are working.
For their varied ideological reasons they are snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in the war on crime. They are putting Americans at risk in neighborhoods that they never visit and don’t care about.
What it all adds up to is more drug dealers, more shootings and more deaths.
The only defense that ordinary people have against the pro-crime network is to hold politicians accountable for “sentencing reform”. As Senator Cruz said, “If a prisoner that we voted to release goes and commits another crime, another murder, another sexual assault, another robbery, we can fully expect to be held accountable by our constituents.”
When a police officer is murdered by a drug dealer, we must look at the politicians who helped him do it. When an ordinary person is murdered, raped or robbed, not only the criminal record of the attacker, but the “sentencing reform” record of the politicians who enabled him must be the issue.
The advocates for criminals will always have more political influence, more money and more media airtime. It is up to all of us to fight for their victims by holding the pro-crime lobby liable for its crimes.