California Has Gone From ‘Three Strikes and You’re out’ to Issuing Intentional Walks
By John Phillips
After the crime wave of the 1990s, politicians at the state, local and national scene all seemed to adopt different variations of the philosophy — “do the crime, do the time.” Over time, the crime rate went down, incarceration levels went up and the new consensus on violent crime has become: unconditional surrender.
It doesn’t quite strike fear in the hearts of criminals the same way, does it?
Let’s take a short look at our evolution, or should I say de-evolution, on the subject.
In 1990 U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein was practically booed off the stage at the California Democratic Party convention after she told delegates, “Yes, I support the death penalty. It is an issue that cannot be fudged or hedged.” She knew, despite her own party’s stance, that soft-on-crime policies were a political death sentence.
But the winds have changed, and now Sen. Feinstein opposes the death penalty. In a statement to the LA Times, California’s senior senator explained, “It became crystal clear to me that the risk of unequal application is high and its effect on deterrence is low.”
Maybe death penalty proponents can bring DiFi back into the fold by making it part of the Green New Deal — all you have to do is scrap lethal injection and replace it with a solar powered electric chair.
Democratic Gov. Gray Davis governed as an enthusiastic supporter of the death penalty, was endorsed by numerous law enforcement organizations and issued exactly zero pardons.
Now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, ordered a mass reprieve for the 737 inmates on death row. In a written statement, Newsom argued, “[The death penalty] has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. But most of all, the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of a human error.”
To victims, Newson said, “all I can say is, ‘We owe you and we need to do more and do better, more broadly for victims in this state … but we cannot advance the death penalty in an effort to try to soften the blow of what happened.’”