That loud clacking sound everyone heard Wednesday morning, Nov. 5 after the elections was the sound of area deadbolts latching in homes after the passage of Proposition 47 – the initiative that reduced penalties for drug possession and other “nonviolent” crimes.
If it wasn’t the throwing of deadbolts making the noise then it was conscientious armed citizens locking and loading, preparing for the early release of previously convicted felons about to be freed to roam our streets.
With just the punch of a chad, overnight some felony crimes were reclassified to misdemeanors making your home, property and life easier prey for the thousands of criminals that are going to be released upon local cities.
In their wisdom, California voters with the new measure made thefts, burglaries, possession of stolen property, bad check writing, and forgery downgraded to misdemeanors if the stolen value is $950 or less.
Get ready Californians, your stuff you worked hard to legally get is now vulnerable prey to those who simply risk getting issued a simple ticket to appear in court later if caught.
Show of hands, how many of you think these responsible individuals will actually show up?
It doesn’t stop there as “Just say ‘No’ to Drugs” is now “Well, It’s OK If It’s A Slight Amount of Drugs.”
This is insane.
Your typical dime bag of the destructive drug methamphetamine is now considered a “personal use amount” and is deemed a misdemeanor. Likewise for “personal use” possession of heroin, cocaine, and even predatory date rape drug possession such as Rohypnol (Ruffies), Ketamine, or GHB (Ecstasy).
I got news regarding “date rape” drugs there Sparky; offenders are not in possession of these drugs for personal use, but to commit violence at the expense of an innocent victim.
Why the downgrade of illicit narcotic possession? It’s because the court’s focus now, according to the initiative, should not be on punishment, but “rehabilitation.”
After 26 years as a street cop and detective, I can tell you criminal justice is not all about punishment or rehabilitation.
It’s also about keeping bad guys off the street away from law abiding citizens for society’s protection – not for punishment, not their rehabilitation.
You take it upon yourself to be a good citizen, not forced to be good.
Think street shootings have become excessive? Check this out.
For years, law enforcement and society in general has worked to reduce gun violence.
With its passing, Proposition 47 now deteriorates years of comprehensive policymaking when it comes to gun violence by reducing the penalty to only a misdemeanor citation for those who steal guns – basically the same firearms that are most often used by the crooks to victimize us law-abiding citizens (and frequently against the non-law abiding citizens or thugs as well).
Other consequences of this deception titled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” are prosecutors who used to offer felony drug offenders the option of a rehabilitation program no longer have that ability. The new law also upends drug court efforts where felony charges were set aside for offenders who completed assigned treatment programs.
Without the threat of jail, there is little incentive to participate – it’s not like people arrested for these violations were the most responsible in their decision making to seek treatment themselves. Addicts who cannot get or do not want treatment tend to commit more crimes to get money to buy more drugs.
Not only will inmates currently in county jail be able to receive shorter sentences if their crimes fall under Proposition 47 changes, but criminals who previously received extra time based on felony priors and enhancements will be eligible for reclassification and will have their sentences severely reduced. Additionally, offenders who are serving their time for felonies reclassified under Proposition 47 as misdemeanors will be eligible for release and have records cleaned up in accordance with the new law.
This lack of knowledge of criminal behavior and the ways to prevent reoffending seemed to have caused the “educated” and/or misled voter to believe that if we just decriminalize enough, we can somehow create a path to turning habitual criminals into productive citizens.
So, within the next year I predict Californians will notice an onslaught of a massive crime rate and people will be asking “what happened?’ Don’t blame it on the police who already did their job and put these people away. Just look to Nov. 4, 2014.
Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.