Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tools in the News

This week's tool in the news commuted the lengthy 108 year sentence of violent felon Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons was shot dead today, but not before his parole -- made possible by his commuted sentence -- afforded him an opportunity to commit numerous other violent felonies, including child rape and the shooting deaths of four police officers in Seattle, WA.

Mike Huckabee's supporters have been awfully quick to point out that Clemmons was 16 when he was originally sentenced. These are by-and-large the same folks who cry foul at the prosecutor's failure to object to the original commutation (although stories vary in the telling as to his objection to the parole board proceedings).

Ladies and gentlemen, a sixteen-year-old is just as capable of committing violent crime as a fifty-six-year-old is. When Huckabee speaks as though the system failed, he conveniently leaves out the fact that he was part of that system on which most of Maurice Clemmons' crimes hinged.

No one is suggesting that Huckabee "foretell the future." I simply believe that if Huckabee hadn't known that he was opening the door to parole of a violent felonious psychopath, he had failed in one of his most elementary duties as governor: Ensuring the safety of his people.

Neither is anyone suggesting that Huckabee be held criminally liable for this tragedy. Clemmons was ultimately held responsible for his own actions in his own death, and the worst Huckabee will criminally or civilly have to contend with is the death of his political career. That's a lot less than the families of those four slain police officers in Seattle lost.

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