A million years ago, I was a congressional staffer and the 1994 Crime Bill was my baby. Since I wasn’t a high-profile staffer like the cats on House of Cards, I generally did the less sexy issues involving national parks, crops and naming post offices. But I was knee deep in that crime bill drama.
That legislation was driven by years of high crime rates and drug addiction. In 1986, Maryland basketball star Len Bias died shortly after signing with the Boston Celtics and House Speaker Tipp O’Neill demanded that legislation addressing crack be ready after the August recess. I was in college then but word is that a staffer from legislative counsel sat at his dining room table and just made stuff up—no hearings, no research. That is the reason we had that crazy difference in sentencing for crack crimes and powder cocaine crimes.
Anyway, our Crime Bill was well researched and well fought over. While Black Lives Matter is tripping on Bill Clinton, they need to see how many members of the Congressional Black Caucus crafted and voted for the Crime Bill. And for the record, I appreciate the spirit of activism of the Black Lives Matter movement but I generally don’t care for people jumping up inside anyone’s event…there is a time and place.
The 1994 Crime Bill was a balance of prisons, prevention and policing. I want to say that the community policing provisions could be used by local police today. At times, I feel that the local police seem like overseers in my community—the average citizen isn’t the enemy and the average citizen hates crime more than anyone. Some police have been hardened by the constant battle with the worst 10% of the community but that is no reason to treat the community a certain way.
With community policing, the officers develop personal relationships with folks on their beats. They get out of the cars and pull off those mirrored Cool Hand Luke sunglasses to connect with citizens…Mrs. Jones didn’t turn on her porch light at dark, check on her. I will always have a glass of Crystal Light Peach Mango Tea for any officer literally walking a beat.
Officers, deep inside, don’t want to see youth in jail but they must do their jobs and as Beretta said, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” It’s the community’s job to offer options and opportunities to young people so they don’t go down that wrong path.
Finally, I can’t remember if the assault weapons ban was in the final Crime Law but I told my boss that people should have a certain amount of fire power to defend their families and to hunt. However, military style weapons for home defense in subdivisions is too much; good news is you got the bad guy…bad news is you blasted Mrs. Jones’ porch light across the street.
On the other hand, Worth County, Georgia, is half the size of Rhode Island and if the bad guys are at your rural house on one end of the county, your family could be cold by the time the deputies arrive. In that case, you need to let that clip sing. Biggie Smalls said, “Call the coroner..there’s gonna be a lot of slow singing and flower bringing if my burglar alarm starts ringing.”
So, Hillary Clinton isn’t responsible for everything President Bill Clinton and the Dems did back in the day.