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Week of: March 18, 2001

Need Teeth to Take Bite Out of Crime

by F.R. Duplantier

There's no mystery to fighting crime. The mystery is why so many public officials refuse to acknowledge what works.

The facts are in, and the fantasy's over. The absurd notion that poverty creates crime is a horrendous slander on the vast majority of low-income Americans who are honest and hardworking. To the contrary, crime creates poverty, as these very same Americans can attest, when their lives are threatened and their property stolen or damaged by miscreants. Forget about rehabilitation. Concentrate on punishment. If a lawbreaker wants to avoid further punishment, he can rehabilitate himself.

Once we get all the criminals off the streets, maybe we should turn our attention to the blithering idiots in the justice system and the academy whose unfounded theories about the origins of crime and the rehabilitation of lawbreakers have wreaked so much havoc on society for the past half century. These pathological bunglers should be arrested, tried, and convicted of malfeasance, malicious mischief, contributing to the delinquency of minors, inciting to riot, aiding and abetting, conspiracy before and after the fact, racketeering, and maybe even sedition. Or, perhaps, it would be most appropriate to have them declared mentally incompetent and confined to insane asylums pending the unlikely recovery of their common sense. Ideas do have consequences, and it's time we held people accountable for the harm their bad ideas cause.

Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis has proposed filing class action suits against public officials whose foolish policies, like suing gun manufacturers, "make citizens less secure." Suing the mayors who are suing the gun manufacturers! Why not? It's about time somebody turned the tables on these extortionists. It used to be gangsters that shook down local merchants; now it's mayors and state attorneys general. The merchants raise their prices to accommodate the payoffs and (presto!) the powerhungry politicians have gotten the tax increase they wanted all along without having to make their case to those pesky voters. That's the worst thing about this whole scam: the lack of accountability. How long will public officials remain beholden to the electorate when they no longer have to solicit funding from it? How long before these demidons become full-fledged godfathers?

Most Americans know at least one person who is alive today thanks to a gun. I do. A couple of years ago, Clyde Bruckerhoff, a farmer friend of mine, was jumped, beaten, and robbed by two young savages just outside the warehouse where he worked a night shift in downtown St. Louis. He struggled to his feet and staggered to his truck just in time to see the duo, now armed, coming back around the corner to finish him off. Clyde grabbed his own weapon from inside the cab and returned fire. That pistol in his pickup saved his life. It may also have saved the life of the young punk Clyde wounded in the arm. The judge who sentenced the assailant to 27 years in prison certainly thought so, telling the boy he owed his would-be victim a debt of gratitude for only wounding him. The boy's mother agreed. She approached Clyde in the courtroom after the trial and thanked him personally for stopping her son before he wound up dead.


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