I’m less interested in partisan politics than some of my peers, but I’m tired of politicians coddling criminals. Violent crime is up in North Carolina and generally way up in many of America’s urban environments. Violent crime in Asheville is up 31% over five years. Statistics are telling, but behind the numbers are actual dead mothers, sons, and other loved ones wiped out because of rising lawlessness and a gross indifference to human life.
There’s an old “Saturday Night Live” skit from 1992 where Dana Carvey is portraying Ross Perot, and he’s asked how he will deal with a violent rapist and murderer. The Perot caricature says he will tie them to a stake on a hot Texas day and get a red ant trail going. But not just any red ants, but inch-long ones that devour human flesh. When the assailant begs to be put out of his misery, Carvey only chuckles and says, “How do you like them apples?”
Of course, the proposal in the skit violates the Eighth Amendment. Cruel and unusual punishment is outlawed for good reason. The government should never torture its citizens. Yet, sentiments like that can appeal to us when those commissioned to uphold the rule of law fail us so egregiously.
I read the other day that over 1,000 people have been killed in Philadelphia over the past 20 months. One can jump on social media and see videos of people being stabbed, robbed, or brutally assaulted in broad daylight, while onlookers look away or simply maneuver around the attack. An emergency medical technician in New York City was stabbed to death last week in broad daylight for no apparent reason. I know the outrage is magnified by the fact that essentially everybody has a cellphone and is recording the attacks. Still, these are real people with families that love and depend on them, and strangers are snuffing them out.
Maybe it isn’t his place, but Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson reflects many of our attitudes when he jumps on television and calls New York City Mayor Eric Adams “a clown” for failing to control crime. Adams raised eyebrows when he recently declared, amidst surging crime in his own city, that “Unlike Kansas, New York City has a brand.” Robinson fired back at Adams, saying, “Your brand is crime is out of control, and you’re not doing anything about it.”
I may not be a Fortune 500 marketing guru, but violent crime seems like a terrible branding campaign for your city.
I have genuine compassion for inmates and people locked away in prison. As a writer, I’ve visited the Louisiana State Penitentiary, more popularly known as “Angola Prison,” and chronicled stories about my experience. I’ve been inside a prison in Texas and witnessed life-changing rehabilitation programs. I’ve also met with elderly men who are nothing like the man or boy they were in their late teens or early 20s and who will never get out of prison for their crime. I’m for legitimate rehabilitation and restoration. The vast majority of Americans are for second chances.
Obviously, I’m not for these so-called woke prosecutors, mayors, and judges who are destroying cities and people’s lives. They all need to be turned out of office. They are simply letting some violent criminals out with no bail or ridiculously lenient sentences, who then go on to kill or rape again.
While we certainly shouldn’t blindly support every action by police, a proper and basic function of government is keeping order and protecting the life of the innocent and the law-abiding citizenry. How can we justify giving the government more power when they can’t or even refuse to promote public safety?
It’s long past time to put criminals on notice. As a voter, the only legal way I know how to do that, besides arming myself within the law, is by turning out the politicians who continually coddle them.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.