National Review Online invited me to offer comments on the four police officers who were murdered in Tacoma, Washington. Here’s an excerpt:
The vicious killing of the police officers in Tacoma, Washington, may well have political repercussions for Mike Huckabee, as others have noted here. The primary suspect is Maurice Clemmons, who in 1989 received a 95‐year prison sentence that was later commuted, in 2000, by then–Governor Huckabee. Whenever Clemmons has been free, he seems to have perpetrated still more violent crimes, according to the news stories.
I would, however, caution against a blanket condemnation of pardons, as well as any hasty move to simply abolish parole. The American criminal‐justice system is thoroughly swamped. Right now there are more than 7 million people under criminal‐justice “supervision.” About 2.5 million are behind bars, and about 4.5 million are on probation or parole. This system is greatly overburdened by non‐violent drug offenders. Conditions vary by jurisdiction, but in general there is no prison space left. So it is unrealistic for us to say, “If a prisoner violates parole, send him back to jail immediately!”
Liberals thought it was unfair for Bush 41 to attack Michael Dukakis for his decision to release violent offenders like Willie Horton. It was not unfair at all because it raised good questions about Dukakis’s judgment.
The best way to curb violent crime is to lock up violent criminals. Sounds like a no‐brainer but our system is swamped with drug offenders. Problems fester while the pols try to deflect criticism away from themselves.