Sunday, June 22, 2008

Facts vs. Obama

George F. Will, enemy of Hope:
Last July, Obama said that "more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities." Actually, there are more than twice as many black men ages 18 to 24 in college as there are in jail. Last September he said, "We have a system that locks away too many young, first-time, nonviolent offenders for the better part of their lives." But Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, writing in the institute's City Journal, notes that from 1999 to 2004, violent offenders accounted for all of the increase in the prison population.
The statistical game of counting all people convicted of drug possession or trafficking as "non-violent offenders" overlooks a world of facts, e.g., plea bargains. The cops pick up a guy accused of robbery or assault, who also happens to be in possession of dope. Proving his violent crimes may be difficult -- witnesses may be intimidated by the "no snitching" culture -- but that dope in his pocket, baby, that's evidence. So the robber goes to jail on a dope charge, much the same as Al Capone was eventually sent to prison on a tax-evasion rap.

Liberals apparently wish to believe that dopeheads and violent criminals constitute non-intersecting sets -- no dopehead ever commits a violent crime, and violent criminals never use dope. In fact, these are substantially overlapping categories, and if you put enough dopeheads in prison, you will in the process take off the streets a large number of violent criminals. Such an approach to law enforcement might not cheer the hearts of the ACLU, but it does reduce crime.

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