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Enough is Enough: Those who commit violent criminal behavior should stay in prison

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Imagine having to caution and remind your children, as they leave your house for the playground, to drop to the ground if they hear a gunshot. Further, you remind them to remain on the ground, in place, until told by an adult to get up.

Imagine being in your apartment hosting a family get-together when suddenly a bullet comes crashing through a window, killing one of your relatives. This happened in the Bronx on New Year’s Eve.

In a 12th-floor apartment, Luis Diego was hugging his niece and welcoming in the New Year. Suddenly a bullet came through the window, killing him. He now goes down as New York City’s first 2017 homicide victim.

Imagine your child leaving the house heading for school, the store or choir practice. Shortly after leaving, the police knock on your door, notifying you that your child was killed after getting caught in the crossfire of two feuding gangs.

Lastly, imagine your child is home from college break. He/she decides to get together with other neighborhood friends, also home from college on break. They walk down to the local park where they used to hang out and are senselessly gunned down because they chose a path of success, not the life of a gangbanger.

Unfortunately in many neighborhoods throughout our country, parents don’t have to imagine: it’s reality and it has to stop.

Yet this slaughter of innocence occurring throughout many neighborhoods in our major cities goes on basically unchecked. The perpetrators of these crimes have successfully created a wall of silence through fear, intimidation and a reality-check murder or two of snitches and rats, which proves very effective.

Unfortunately, we have politicians on both sides of the aisle who lack the intestinal fortitude to address the plight of those living in our inner cities. They are silent enablers, bearing an equal share of the misery caused by local gangbangers.

In our war on drugs, one of the most successful tools in law enforcement’s arsenal is federal prosecution of society’s dealers of death, a.k.a. drug dealers. This prosecution targets major violent drug dealers, enabling the federal government to ensure these dealers receive long prison sentences in the federal prison system.

Also factoring into whether a person will be prosecuted in the federal justice system is a pertinent question: did they possess a gun while engaged in illegal behavior? If so, this will elevate the sentence.

These major offenders prosecuted in the federal system have long histories of violent criminal behavior. Their conduct demands they be removed from society. They are criminals, not victims of “systematic injustice.”

In his last weeks in office, former President Barack Obama commuted the sentences or pardoned 1,715 criminals, placing them back in their old neighborhoods where they will terrorize and resume their old line of work.

Defending these releases, Mr. Obama came up with a mumbo-jumbo academic phrase, “systematic injustice.” Even academia would have a hard time explaining what that means.

Days later, he left Washington retiring to a safe and luxurious life while condemning the good, struggling hard-working people living in our country’s inner cities to experience what the definition of “systematic injustice” really means. Hint: it won’t be comforting.

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