Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tough on Crime

     It's good to know that Fresno, California is tough on crime. If I ever visit there, I won't have to worry about getting hit on the head with a rock, like Rafael Diaz, Jr. in Atlanta or like Elijah Vang in Fresno. In April, Fresno police arrested Elijah's assailant, Maribel Cuevas, for assault with a deadly weapon. A hardened criminal despite no prior record, Maribel spent 5 days in jail for resisting arrest and scratching the arresting officer. Some America-hating, feel-good liberals would have liked to talk to Miss Cuevas, maybe see what her feelings were. Some weak on crime, "everything goes" Lefties probably wouldn't have even let her spend most of a week in jail, even though she's only 11 years old.
     That's right. Eleven. (In case you, you know, needed it spelled out) But don't let her age fool you. Elijah Vang threw a water balloon at her, a harmless prank. Haha, boys will be boys, after all! To respond with a rock is criminal, however, and poor Elijah had to have stitches! Fresno's Republican mayor, Alan Autry (of Heat of the Night fame) feels the police action is appropriate. And you can't accuse Mr. Autry of being hypocritical. While he's fairly moderate, as Republicans go, he's made his reputation on being tough on crime. In 1998, he made a video for Fresnoans (?) and Californians about a new 10-20 law that sends kids 14 years and older to jail for an extra 10-20 years if a gun was involved.
     What this boils down to, of course, is Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance has about as positive a reputation these days as "Politically Correct" and "Liberals". But zero tolerance is fundamentally a conservative, tough-on-crime concept. No exceptions - breaking the law is breaking the law. (Unless you're rich. That's different because you're valuable to society.) "Tough on Crime" is a phrase that needs to get attached to a Republican candidate to get elected. (See Willie Horton) Typically, the buzz-words and key phrases these politicians say at election time mean very little. But sometimes they're trapped by their words.
     I'm a 7-month veteran of blogging. I know what most of the comments will be like, "This girl should never be sent to jail. She should have been spanked." "I agree." But this isn't about Maribel. Her arrest was a direct result of the very things Americans have been asking for during election after election. Forget the neighborhood watch. I want the people I elect to protect me from everything and everybody. And the people running for office are just as quick to promise it to a gullible public. Of course they can't really protect you from everything if you don't protect yourself. If you don't know your neighbors or help keep an eye on the neighborhood or help keep your neighborhood clean, no politician will protect you. But we keep electing people who say things that sound good. We keep electing people who make promises we know they'll never keep. And it's our children who will pay for it. Maribel Cuevas was not the first. Nor will she be the last.


Ben said...

Have you ever actually talked to a teacher, Scott? Most of them that I know are very liberal, and they all LOVE zero tolerance. The NEA, a VERY liberal organization, and the largest group of teachers in the country, supports zero tolerance. In fact I know of no Republicans that support zero tolerance., which chronicles and bashes such regulations, is run by a rightie, the WSJ web edition has a special section devoted to making fun of zero tolerance, and even Neal Boortz bashes it when he hears of it.

While I think sending her to jail is a bit extreme, allowing kids to get away with stuff like that with just a spanking leads to kids shooting firecrackers into truck cabs, causing the truck to overturn and the driver to nearly die. Throwing a rock at someone is very dangerous.

As far as who we elect based on promises made.... That ain't a partisan issue, that's both sides of the aisle. John Kerry made some promises there was no way he could have kept.

Sylvana said...

Ben, we won't know what promises Kerry would have or would not have been able to keep. You can't say that like it's a fact. It can only be speculation.

I don't support zero tolerance. It weakens our freedoms.

And I don't support "boys will be boys". It strengthens inequality and encourages acceptance of bad behavior.

Ben said...

I have a serious question for you, Scott. If you think so many politicians are dishonest, why do you support so many policies that give mroe power and more control to politicians? National health care, for instance, would be yet another avenue that politicians (both sides, don't even dare to say that Dems are more honest than Republicans) can use to buy votes. Welfare, SS as it is now, so many "liberal" policies give more and more power to the people you are saying are dishonest and don't keep promises.

ORF said...

Oh come on, Ben. Like Bush has kept every last promise he made? Christ, I think we all know he's going to reneg on the promise to hunt down and fire whoever in his administration leaked the identity of Valerie Plame. And that wasn't even election season!

Anyway, there's a very simple way to help curb the whole kids with guns who then wind up in jail issue: tighten the hell out of our gun control laws. I'm fine with manufacturers being protected from getting sued because really, once the gun leaves the factory, it's out of their hands and the person ultimately responsible is the one who pulled the trigger. But how did an eleven year old girl get a gun? Her parents most likely had it accessible in the home. And they are legally responsible for HER actions. So they should be punished too.

Scott said...

Uh, ORF? The 11-year old girl had a rock, not a gun. Ben, I think the politicians you support are all dishonest. I support politicians who don't make as many feel-good mean-nothing statements.
And as far as giving more power to politicians: A) state politicians are politicians, too. What's the difference if the corruption is national or local? B) Bush has expanded federal government more than any president since Johnson.

Ben said...

ORF, I think I made it clear that I think politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle are dishonest. And the first time Bush was asked about the Plame crap, he said if the law was broken he would fire the person responsible. Since they haven't even proven in any way that Rove leaked anything, why would he be fired? If Scott McClellan mispoke about what Bush would do, that McClellan's fault, not Bush's. Y'all are changing the goal posts on him.

And as far as power being in the hands of local politicians instead of national ones... I have a lot more ability to influence local politicians that D.C. people, as do you. A lot of decisions made at the national level are things that should be decided by individual communities who have different needs and desires. Abortion, for instance. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, as it should be, then like 10 states will ban abortion, and those are the ones where it's already really tough to find a doctor to do an abortion.

Scott, I've also made it clear MNAY times that I'm very disappointed with Bush's spending increases. On the other hand, he'd never support a National Health Care system, but most of the left does. That would cost FAR more than anything Bush has done, and put far more power in the hands of the Federal Government.

Did you know that crime rates (more to the point, gun crime)have risen in states with handgun bans? Do you actually think a criminal is going to not get a gun just because they are banned? If you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns, leaving law-abiding folks with no way to protect themselves except through the police, which no matter how much funding you throw at them, cannot possibly protect every unarmed citizens from criminals with illegal guns. Gun control stops your local redneck from being able to shoot cans in his backyard, but it does not stop your local gangbanger from getting one to use in drive-bys.

ORF said...

Um, my bad. I've been a little out of it this week. I still mean what I say about gun control tho.

And Ben's right. (I can't believe I'm saying that ;) Corruption on the federal level is a bad thing, but it's much worse at a local level b/c the local level is where the policy, etc. impacts you most. From garbage pickup to school districts to property taxes and highway construction, all of that is handled by the state you live in. Someone once told me that if you really wanted to make a difference you work in local politics because that's where the action is. But Ben, one thing I do NOT agree with is that changing the health care system to be more socialized would cost more than the war in Iraq. And even if it did, at least it would be money that was spent in a way that we would all benefit. Sending billions of dollars to that sandpit hasn't changed my life in any way and I still had to pay $400 a few months ago to be vaccinated for Hepatitis.

Ben said...

Besides the money, which I won't get into any further, my big problem with nationalized health care is that someone has to be in charge, which means that someone else will be making your medical decisions for you. You will no longer be the one to decide what sort of care you get, who you get it from, stuff like that. You may be desperate for some medication, but someone else gets to decide if your case is really bad enough to need that medicine, and the person making that decision won't even be a doctor, they'll be a bureaucrat whose goal is to save as much money as possible (while funneling extra money to their own retirement fund, at least a certain small percentage of overseers will, as corruption will always appear). Kickbacks will probably get you service faster, but you can say goodbye to the friendly neighborhood pediatrician who now can treat your kids to medical services from birth to 18. You'll have to drive 2 hours to get to whomever they've decided you are to see.

Actually it makes me wonder why pro-lifers, with all their "My Body, My Decision" type slogans would go for national health care. Abortion might still be their decision, but nothing else will. "Oh, you got your arm cut off, but you kept it in a bag of ice? Sorry, there's 10 people in front of you in line who have minor sniffles, we have to serve them first, by which time your arm will go bad, so you might as well throw it away and go home." You think that's hyperbole, but stuff like that is happening every day in Canada, which is why their Supreme Court just ended some of the provisions so as to allow private health care again. They are realizing that public heatlh care is destroying the ability of their citizens to get decent health care.

You want to solve health care in this country? Make it illegal to charge more to an insured patient than an uninsured one. It's those markups that make insurance so expensive.

Scott said...

Are you serious? Who pays your medical bills now? I don't have much of a choice with my medical or dental insurance - I get who my company says I get. And that's usually the lowest-cost provider, not the highest-quality provider. I can choose my dentist, sure, but only from a small list of dentists nobody has heard of. "Somebody" is in charge now and I didn't get to pick that person. I don't know why we're talking about nationalized health care, but you're going to have to come up with a beter argument than that, since that's already th case in today's insurance world.
BTW, that makes no sense that charging people without insurance more drives up insurance costs. Doctors do that because insurance doesn't cover the whole cost of procedures. When my father, a doctor, accepts Medicare patients, he loses money on each one. And you, the person who wants less government power, thinks the government should have a law saying what he can and can't charge?

Ben said...

Not more, charge them the same amount, total. Tons of doctors charge insurance patients more because the patient isn't paying for it, and that sort of thing happens in all arenas in which insurance is involved, be it car repairs, a broken arm, or whatever else you get insurance for. I'm surprised you're so in favor of discrimination, Scott. I think it's pretty reasonable to pass law saying that doctors must charge all patients the same for the same work. I suppose I should clarify by saying the doctor should charge amounts that make what he gets in the end equal, be it through insurance or the patient's pocketbook.

And Scott, you have TONS of choices on who you get your medical care from, just as you have tons of choices on who you get insurance from. No one ever said you have to use the insurance your company offers. If you do, that's because you're lazy. My last job had really cheap dental insurance, but I did some research and actually found that I could get it even cheaper on my own. Health insurance turned out to be about the same whether I did it through the company or went on my own. Same at my current job. The only reason you say you don't have a choice is because you've never bothered to look.

Medical care was a heck of a lot cheaper before employer sponsored health insurance became all the rage. That started in WWII when the needs of war caused FDR to pass a law saying you couldn't raise wages. Companies needed some sort of incentive to beat out other companies in hiring, so they started offering health insurance benefits. Maybe if they hadn't, then we wouldn't be having all these heatlh care problems today.