Rantz: Democrat bill goes easy on school shooters, campus drug dealers

Mar 8, 2023, 8:54 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2023, 6:17 am

democrat bill...

State Rep. Roger Goodman (middle) in a hearing on use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. (AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

After a school shooting in Seattle, some students, staff, and parents demanded legislative action on guns. Democrats complied, but not in the way anyone would expect. They passed a bill in the House that goes easy on youth school shooters and campus drug dealers. It’s now being considered in the Senate.

HB 1268 fulfills a Democrat promise to restrict sentence enhancements, which adds years to jail sentencing based on how the severity or circumstances of the crime. Under current law, a youth involved in a felony gang-related crime would earn a harsher penalty than if the crime was committed without gang ties. The Democrat-backed bill, however, completely eliminates that sentence enhancement. As troubling, the bill eliminates sentence enhancements for drug dealing in “protected zones,” which include school campuses and on school buses.

When a criminal is hit with multiple sentencing enhancements, current law mandates they are served consecutively (“stacking”). Under HB 1268, firearms and deadly weapons enhancements are no longer subject to mandatory stacking. This position is endorsed by the very same Democrats who are advocating for an “assault weapons” ban.

Finally, HB 1268 allows firearm and deadly weapons enhancements, impaired driving enhancements, and sexual motivation enhancements to be eligible for partial confinement and earned early release.

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Light-on-crime policies continue

Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), the primary sponsor of the bill, argued the intent is to end excessive punishments for criminals who used a gun but didn’t harm anyone. So, we’re supposed to show mercy to someone with bad aim? Should we give a pass to a degenerate for threatening people with a gun because they didn’t fire it?

Democrats insist they’re neither light on crime nor responsible for the crime surge, even though prolific offenders fuel the crime crisis. But under HB 1268, a juvenile gang member who shoots, but doesn’t kill, a classmate on campus would have a lighter sentence, ensuring the dangerous youth is released back into society to shoot more victims. And we’d allow the courts to go easier on someone who has already proven to be a significant threat.

Proponents of the bill offer three main talking points: 1) Long sentences do not deter crime. 2) Sentence enhancements disproportionately impact racial minorities. Both arguments are transparently bad. 3) Juveniles are not old enough to understand the seriousness of their crime.

Bad arguments all around

First, it’s impossible to determine whether long sentences deter criminal behavior.

Democrats argue that crime has gone up despite long sentences. They’re correct. Crime is up, despite long sentences, because they passed bills that make it easier to get away with crime. Miscreants are simply taking advantage of the culture of lawlessness. It’s also a somewhat irrelevant argument. Sentences do not merely need to disincentivize criminal behavior; they’re also meant to protect society from truly irredeemable people. Those criminals can’t create more innocent victims in our communities when they’re in jail. The sentences protect us from them.

Second, sentence enhancements do not disproportionately impact “people of color.” They disproportionately impact criminals who commit acts that justify sentence enhancements, regardless of skin color.

Racial disproportionate arguments are lazy, as they don’t explain why the data exists. Instead, they’re meant to imply that the data proves racism. But it doesn’t prove racism. Asians are not disproportionately impacted by sentence enhancements. Why not? Do racist sentence enhancements give a pass to one minority group over another?

Moreover, Democrats don’t argue that black and Latino inmates didn’t commit crimes worthy of jail time. They simply say there are too many black and Latino criminals. Democrats hope we give criminals a pass on the basis of skin color. That’s not a strategy to help public safety.

Third, it strains credulity to believe that a minor — including a 17-year-old who turns 18 in a week — doesn’t understand the seriousness of using a gun in a crime or selling drugs on campus. Democrats don’t even believe this, they just use it as an excuse to justify their pro-criminal position. Washington Democrats who use this argument also believe children can change their gender with medical intervention. So they’re mature enough to start gender reassignment, but not understand shooting someone is wrong?

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Washington Democrats are pro-criminal

Washington Democrats are pro-criminal. They routinely pursue bills that show an eagerness to give passes to the bad guys while dismissing the concerns of victims or future victims.

Democrats banned vehicular pursuits, prohibited officers from talking to minors without a lawyer present (even when there is parental permission), and eschewed jail for restorative justice programs that don’t work. They even attempted, though thankfully failed, to end using a drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating a first-degree murder charge to an aggravated first-degree murder. What do you think happens when you let criminals out of jail early, or refuse to charge and incarcerate them to begin with? The public is put at risk. Democrats don’t seem to mind.

Driven by a view that the criminal justice system is racist, Democrats have been systematically dismantling police, courts, and the jail system. It’s part of their abolition goal, one they claim is done in the name of equity. While they argue the disproportionate nature of those who go to jail shows some kind of racism and inequity, they ignore the fact that the victims of these crimes are also disproportionately people of color. So why isn’t their concern for them?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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