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Three Strikes Grand Slam

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11.3.02

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THREEPEATS
Re: Francis X. Rocca's California Justice Strikes Out:

Interesting article by Francis Rocca on California's three-strikes law. One point that he doesn't mention, however, is that for a person with two strikes on him already, the penalty for shoplifting and the penalty for murder are the same: life in prison. (The only exception are crimes that draw the death penalty, and most states inflict capital punishment so infrequently as to make it pointless as a deterrent.) A person faced with the prospect of life in the slammer might as well pull a gun and kill the person who's attempting to apprehend him: that is the rational choice. Why not? He literally has nothing to lose.
-- Fred Butzen

Unlike your contributor Mr. Francis X. Rocca, I shed no tears for Leandro Andrade, the repeat criminal convicted of stealing videotapes and sentenced under the "three strikes" law.

As Mr. Rocca admits, Andrade was convicted of three prior residential burglaries. There is no way of knowing how many residential burglaries he committed without a criminal conviction resulting. I can assure you, however, that if I caught Andrade breaking into my residence, I would have no qualms about shooting him dead.

We need "three strikes" laws precisely because someone like Andrade can commit three residential burglaries and soon be out on the street again and able to steal the videotapes that (by charitable mathematics) resulted in his third "strike."

I do agree with Mr. Rocca on one point. There is no magic in the number three. Perhaps, given Mr. Rocca's European residence, he would be more comfortable with the "Soccer Rule": Yellow card on the first felony, red card and permanent removal from the game on the second.
-- J. Menicucci

Mr. Rocca's article was certainly interesting. I specifically like his conclusion of what happened to paying one's debt to society. Being on the other side of the hill, I remember in my youth the ditch and road gangs in Florida that dotted the landscape. It would be fitting that Mr. Andrade be introduced to that venerable institution called the road gang. If nothing else Mr. Andrade would lack the free time to be stealing tapes from Kmart. Unfortunately that practice is no longer practiced by most states today. It's "cruel and inhumane" is the usual refrain. But those gangs left an impression. My father would say (every time he spotted a gang) -- "If you S---- Up, this is where you End Up." Ahhhh for the good ole days ...
-- John McGinnis

The important thing is that Californians like this law, generally. It has been reported that many career criminals left the state after three strikes passed. These people are smart enough to remove themselves from a hazardous situation so why should those who continue to flout the law be given any special favors? Most are convinced that criminals who are frequently caught in the act have previously committed many crimes that were not detected. Society is improved by the removal of career criminals after the third opportunity for them to change their habits.
-- Eric Walter

There's nothing wrong with "three-strikes" laws. They serve a serious purpose and are a legitimate facet of jurisprudence. They've been around in this country at least since the thirties, when old-time gangsters subject to them were called "three-time losers."

They have nothing to do with baseball, and attempts to minimize and ridicule them are pernicious.

But then again, some people minimize and ridicule all attempts to punish criminals. They use dishonest arguments and sophistries like calling them "cruel and unusual punishment" -- which the opponents themselves know is not what the Constitution means by that phrase. In short, their argument is a lie and they know it. But they're willing to lie in service of a "higher purpose." That's the absolute curse the ACLU and such people have inflicted on this country over the past few decades.

I'm not sure, if I had been the judge, I would have invoked the three-time-loser clause in the two (carefully-selected) cases. For one thing, I wouldn't have bumped Andrade up twice. First his misdemeanor was "enhanced " to a felony, then he was declared a three-time loser on account of the felony. I think it should be like sales at stores -- you can't compound a discount offer. You can take advantage of one sale price, but then you can't get an extra discount by offering another coupon or invoking another, separate sale offer. It's one to a customer.

Likewise, I think a criminal's status should only be enhanced once. He shouldn't be declared a three-time loser on the basis of his third felony, if the felony was previously enhanced from a misdemeanor. With that proviso, I would be more confident with three-time-loser laws as written and recognized, than with social meddlers who have a hidden axe to grind, in that they oppose all punishment of criminals because they think it's really society that is to blame. God preserve us from such.
-- Larry Eubank
Bloomington, IN

One more adage: "When you are merciful to the wicked, in the end, you will become wicked to the merciful."
-- David Benveniste, S.F.

WHY THEY RUN
Re: Paul Beston's The Sweet Taste of Humble Pie:

Having completed my first marathon (The Marine Corps Marathon in D.C.) at the ripe young age of 48, Mr. Beston's insights succinctly encapsulated the answers to the frequent questions of some family, friends and coworkers who, during my months of training, attempted to convince me that this was not the wisest endeavor I have ever undertaken. They could not understand what would possess someone to spend months training for something that most surely would pain -- and a lot of it.

To answer their "Why?" I simply say, "Veni. Curri. Fini." (I came. I ran. I finished.)
-- Rick Osial
Arlington, VA

I have run over 30 marathons and while I no longer do them, I still do miss them. Thanks, Paul, for putting some of the thoughts and emotions down in a way I could not have. The marathon is a grand race but to realize it you almost have to do it.
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, WI

EGO ACID TRIPS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Charlatans' Progress:

I like the old, acid test for historians (but cannot recall who penned it): "No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar." Of course, facts never stand in the way of libs like Bellesiles, Goodwin, Ellis and their ilk when they attempt to give credence to bizarre political views.
-- Brooks Hughes

GRUNGY GRANHOLM
Re: The Washington Prowler's Last Ditch Dirt:

I suppose dirt is in the eye of the beholder. Here in Michigan faux Republicans -- including former governor William Milliken, whom the UAW suffered to be elected in exchange for his thralldom and the Detroit News which has taken to assigning its Bush hating activist lesbian columnist to "straight" political news reporting -- are loose again. The governor and the Gannett paper are professing shock, shock that the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Richard Posthumus, has called out the Democrats' Jennifer Granhlom, a Canadian landed immigrant, on her endorsement of slavery reparations and claim to be a believing Catholic although pro-abortion. (She announced her reparations stance at a primary appearance before the Detroit NAACP -- along with the other Democratic candidates, former governor James Blanchard and Yorkie David Bonior -- and because the Republicans have it on television tape, her attempts at retrenching have been limited to a "it depends on the meaning of what is, is" defense.)

Although the holier than thou Brahmins say they deplore Posthumus' "racist" and "divisive" appeals, it is difficult to follow their logic. Granholm is not telling the truth in one instance or the other about believing money should be paid as reparations -- she actually mentions money on the tape -- and shouldn't that be considered by voters, even if they are not disturbed by her desire to pay taxpayer funds as a windfall to one group of Americans. (Could any thing be more divisive?) Furthermore, are not voters entitled to be allowed to infer that if Granholm is not faithful to the tenets of her Church that she may break her faith with them -- as all Republicans have such good reason to remember from a similar, seemingly attractive but, alas, amoral political couple. Unfortunately, the behavior of these moderate Republicans reminds me that today the last resort of a scoundrel who is losing on his merits is to claim his opponent is a racist or is-ugh- being "divisive."
-- J. R. Wheatley

REAL TREAT
Re: Michael Craig's No Treat for Steve Case:

Michael Craig makes good points, both about Steve Case and about the creepy Ted Turner. Love it!
-- Larry Eubank
Bloomington, IN

BIG VALLEY
Re: Jeremy Lott's Going Somewhere:

Mr. Lott appears to have misspell-checked -- the Valley wants to succeed at secession, not succession.

As to the Californian Civil War Lott hints at in the last paragraph, that is awful to contemplate; lots of us are responsible gun owners and good shots, to boot, but lots of others (e.g. Hollywood) would be looking for the firearms' cupholders.
-- Lee A. Tichenor

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