You might want to book some time at the range: up to tens of thousands of violent drug dealers are about to be released, thanks to a “sentencing reform” dope deal cut between the Democratic dopes and the Republican dopes in that dismal dope den of delinquency, the United States Senate.
One of the brilliant “ideas” in sentencing “reform” is to eliminate the penalty for 18 USC 924(c), armed drug felony. Right now 924(c) specifies a 10-year mandatory minumum for the first offense, and a 25-year man-min on second and subsequent offenses, if the felon didn’t get the message in the first decade up the river (being felons, they usually don’t). This is not a law abused against peaceable people who checked the wrong box an ATF form, or anything like that, but something employed exclusively against violent drug felons. (“Violent?” They’re carrying guns while selling or otherwise distributing drugs. An extremely high percentage of murders today feature both perps and victims who fit that exact profile).
Want some irony? The principal author of this handout to violent felons is Charles Schumer (D-NY), a man who is opposed to non-felons owning firearms for any lawful purpose. But he’s down with drug dealers owning and carrying guns with impunity.
Or course, the President will sign the bill if it comes to him. If he had a son, he would look like these armed dope dealers!
The press is in Full Propaganda Offensive mode on this one, finding the least unpalatable “victims” of 924(c) and whitewashing their wrongdoing.
For example, here’s the Washington Post on a rapper (what else?) who once worked with Snoop Dogg (hey, what happened to him?) and was turning his life around:
The onetime rapper from Utah was sentenced in 2004 to a mandatory 55 years in federal prison after he was arrested for selling a total of about $1,000 worth of marijuana in three separate transactions with a police informant.
“I obviously did something illegal, which was stupid,” said Angelos, now 36, in an interview at the federal prison in Mendota, Calif. “I’ve accepted responsibility for everything and I’ve already served 12 years of my life because of my mistakes. I lost the family I started, my career and my father’s final days. I just want to move on. My main goal in life is to get out and take care of my children.”
So, what did he do? Don’t tell us, “Dindu Nuffin!” The clay tablet with triangular-stick marks that’s our birth certificate is long since dry.
The son of a Greek immigrant, Angelos grew up poor and on food stamps. His escape was music. In his early 20s, Angelos founded a Utah-based rap label, Extravagant Records. Trying to break into the industry, he wrote and produced songs with several well-known artists, including Snoop Dogg.
Ah, now there’s a recommendation to conjure with. Pity he didn’t have the chance to rap with Two-pack Shaker and his brothers Six and Twelve.
“It was really promising,” Angelos said. “But I just didn’t have the financial backing I needed.”
Translation: “I Thought I was a rap star but the lousy fans didn’t buy my $#!+!!”
In 2002, when he was 23, Angelos was arrested for selling marijuana to a Salt Lake City police informant.
“It ruined my career and my life,” he said.
Unbelievable! The guy got 55 years for just selling a bag of weed! That’s certainly what the Post article, by Sari Horwitz (yes, one of the ATF leadership’s go-to leakers, that Sari Horwitz) wants you to believe. Of course, it’s not what happened.
Another pro-Angelos web story says this:
Somewhat improbably, Weldon thrived as a rap musician—becoming a part of Snoop Dogg’s coterie, recording several albums, picking up the accoutrements (guns, flashy cars, the tough-guy look) necessary for the gangsta image. And, at the same time, he began dealing marijuana, he says, to buy things for his children that his father never bought for him.
Awww… the guns were just accessories in his play at being a criminal.
One wonders if he ever heard the expression, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes?”
And his little bag of weed….?
he sold three half-pound bags, worth a few hundred dollars a piece, to an informant who was working for the Metro Gang Unit as a way to avoid a long prison sentence on his own drug and gun charges. Weldon was arrested by local officers working in conjunction with federal agents.
The informant said that Angelos had carried a gun on his ankle holster during the transactions, at which point the Feds stepped in for the catch.
He was doing it For The Children®. What does the prosecutor say to that?
Weldon Angelos was a member of a really violent street gang, Vario Loco Town, notorious for violent crimes, shootings, murder, serious assault, and drug distribution. …. [A]rmed crime is one of the biggest problems facing our country, and drug distribution is a huge problem. Epidemic. So Congress has chosen to impose huge penalties to try to deter this form of conduct. Section 924(c) is the law of the land. My obligation is to accept that when someone commits the crimes to prosecute him, and then let the courts impose the penalty that’s required by law.
None of these details — the gang membership, the violent connections, the pound and a half of wholesale dope, the unrebutted gun testimony — made it into Sari Horwitz’s report. Did she know these facts and hide them to better spin her story? Or was she just retyping some activist’s press release? Only she knows — all we know is that she didn’t tell the truth.
She, like most of the pro-criminal activists, makes a great deal out of the fact that the informant’s testimony was not corroborated by photographs or other physical evidence. But she also conceals the fact that, while uncorroborated, the evidence of the snitch testimony was also unrebutted by testimony on Angelos’s side. No one was willing to come forward and say he didn’t carry guns to the sales.
Not even him. (He says it now, that his trial gamble didn’t pay off, and that he’s not under oath or subject to cross-examination any more).
So what Horwitz, one of the least trustworthy and most dishonest writers working in the media today, does her best to elide is why this scrote Angelos got the sentence he did. Here it is in Horwitz’s spin:
Angelos never used or pulled a gun, but the informant later testified in court that he saw one in Angelos’s car during the first buy. He said that during the second buy, Angelos was wearing an ankle holster holding a firearm. Officers later searched his home and found guns.
Why, that lousy informant! Daring to disagree with an upstanding citizen like Angelos. He was a rapper! He was turning his life around (well, slowly enough that he says he had to sell weed to feed his kids). And he didn’t actually shoot anybody or threaten him directly, he just carried the gun while committing crimes. And now they come and treat him as a gun criminal! O the humanity.
It’s somewhat ironic seeing this from Sari Horwitz, who is usually the first voice speaking out for various bans on guns for people who don’t commit crimes.
The stats tell a different story. The mandatory sentences enacted during the 1990s (in the Presidency of that right-wing fanatic, Bill Clinton) turned violent crime around and it’s now down 50% from its peak. As most criminals are not easily deterred, the sentences must be working by disabling criminals from their preferred profession.
What happens when you let criminals out? It’s not like there’s no data on this. There’s a mountain of data, for example here at the National Instututes for Justice. And what happens? They commit more crimes. On average, 80% are back in the system inside five years, over half of them within a few months. (Why let them out at all?) Interestingly, property criminals reoffended at a higher rate than violent criminals (our theory is that violent criminals get longer sentences, and are more likely to be released when they’re toothless old men. The studies need to control for age).
Of course, California has been here, at the turn-em-loose-Bruce wild-hair stage, long before the Feds started considering springing thousands of homicidal dopers and gang members. Even the Post’s pro-criminal Eli Saslow, who’s got nothing but sympathy for one meth-addled scumbag who threatened a citizen with a knife (a misdemeanor, now, under California’s Prop 47), notes that things haven’t been all brilliant in the Golden State:
But along with the successes have come other consequences, which police departments and prosecutors refer to as the “unintended effects”: Robberies up 23 percent in San Francisco. Property theft up 11 percent in Los Angeles. Certain categories of crime rising 20 percent in Lake Tahoe, 36 percent in La Mirada, 22 percent in Chico and 68percent in Desert Hot Springs.
In fact, more objective reporting shows that violent crime, which is all but rewarded, is on a different trendline in California than it is in states where crime meets punishment.
Violent and property crimes are up in Glendale by double digits this year compared with the same period last year.
Violent crimes this year so far are listed at 96 cases, up from 87 last year.
Police point the finger at the need for more resources after lawmakers approved AB109 in 2011 and Prop 47 this year.
Decriminalizing crime. And you get more crime. Gee, who could have seen that coming?
Saslow does point out some of the contradictions in CA policy; our favorite was the thief who carried a calculator to make sure he didn’t break the $950 in stolen goods that would get him an arrest instead of a ticket, until this:
There was also the known gang member near Palm Springs who had been caught with a stolen gun valued at $625 and then reacted incredulously when the arresting officer explained that he would not be taken to jail but instead written a citation. “But I had a gun. What is wrong with this country?” the offender said, according to the police report.
If the perps are starting to read the cops’ lines, clemency has already gone too far.
Perfect timing? As we were posting this, The Economist has an editorial thumbsucker on… well, their tweet tells the story.
Reaction about what you would expect, from a variety of tweeters picking up the mantle of Captain Obvious. They’ve got the arrow of causation turned completely around; crime does not cause criminals. The villain in their article: District Attorneys who prosecute criminals.
Fine, we’ll put the next one in a Kelvinator box and mail him to the Fleet Street offices of The Economist. We’ll even try not to forget air holes!
Words fail. The Chicongo Sun-Times:
Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on Friday called for legislation that would end the practice of labeling those released from prison as felons for the remainder of their lives.
During a speech before the Coalition to Reduce Recidivism’s 12th annual luncheon in Waukegan, Ryan told attendees the “felon” tag is a deterrent to someone looking for a job.
Well, Ryan would know. The former Republican Governor is also a convicted… felon. Whose lifelong corruption caught up with him in 2006 and sent him inside for five years. He came out of prison as a pro-criminal activist. See, why do we ever let them out?
Due to a brain-dead writer, California was listed as “the Sunshine State.” He says it’s a reasonable error as they are both warm places full of crazy people. The house zombie having been forced to hork up his brains, he has corrected the error. Thanks for the catch in the comments!