Letter: In support of ‘three strikes’

Potential conservatives have been described as liberals who haven’t been mugged yet. If so, the six-dozen or so attendees of a recent Jamaica Plain Forum and Union of Minority Neighborhoods meeting in Jamaica Plain have the potential of being de facto conservative recruiters by advocating leniency for habitual criminals. (“Officials rally against ‘three strikes,’” Feb. 3.) They met to oppose the strengthening of reforms to prison sentencing guidelines for repeat offenders.

Among the speakers was former federal Judge Nancy Gertner, who pointed out by implication that reduced crime rates have resulted since “three strikes and you’re out” laws were enacted. Then she spoke against making them more effective, reinforcing her reputation of erratic compassion, logic and judgment. Not surprising from Judge Nancy, who also recently spoke out against guidelines for convicted child pornographers.

Next there was the convicted bank robber and ex-convict who failed to notify the bank tellers whom she was robbing that she was really a self-described “friendly and… kind” unarmed thief. She also apparently failed to take advantage of job training programs while in prison and now, she said, “employers are suspicious”. Duh, ya think…?

And how about the founder of Roxbury’s Occupy the Hood movement, who said, “My people are going to suffer disproportionately” for selling controlled substances in Egleston Square just because it’s a felony being committed in an elementary school zone? That’s not called disproportion. That’s called a good bust, fair trial and just conviction. That’s not called suffering. That’s called punishment befitting the crime. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime! And if the organizer/Occupier thinks that drug-related crime is innocuous, he should consider that it resulted in almost 40,000 people in Mexico being murdered as part of that drug trafficking. Hardly non-violent!

Criminals generally tend to target members of their own ethnicity. Eastern Europeans target Eastern Europeans, Latinos target Latinos, Asians target Asians, Arabs target Arabs, etc. Reducing crime by effective punishment has the effect of offering greater protection to innocent members of those groups. It’s not prejudiced law enforcement.

Recent studies have shown that the rates of violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping have decreased, while the rates of “lesser” crimes such as burglary, larceny, car theft and drug distribution are up. And too frequently, the only difference between these crimes being violent or not is an eyewitness happening upon the scene. This destabilizes society as much as violent crime and should not be dismissed as inconsequential. Some offenders never learn and choose to perpetrate criminal behavior perpetually. They need to be dissuaded and prevented from victimizing those who obey the law. They should be removed from our streets and neighborhoods, swiftly and certainly. They have chosen to strike three (or more) times and they should be ejected from the game.

Bob McDonnell

Jamaica Plain

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