Massachusetts politicians are pretty much unanimous on one point: the commonwealth has a real problem with violent crime. And as they’re also almost all Democrats (85% of both Houses of the legislature, every single statewide elected office, all ten US House members, and both US Senators), that means that they are also unanimous on the solution: tighter gun control laws.
In fact, Boston’s mayor, The Honorable Thomas “Mumbles” Menino, is so hot for gun control he gets annoyed that we here in New Hampshire don’t share his gun-grabbing fervor, he’s lobbied hard for us to follow his example.
This solution, though, tends to run aground when it comes in conflict with another long-standing Massachusetts Democratic tradition: leniency and “compassion” and “sympathy” for those who, through circumstances utterly and completely beyond their control, end up violating those laws.
Well, a little while ago Boston police arrested an 18-year-old man for shooting a 20-year-old man in the back. He was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
He was not charged with violating the state’s Bartley-Fox law for using a gun while committing a felony.
He was not charged with illegal possession of a handgun. (I don’t know for a fact that he wasn’t licensed to have the gun, but knowing what Massachusetts is like, I have my sincerest doubts.)
He was not charged with attempted murder.
Instead, he was held on $250 bail — even though he was already out on bail for a domestic-violence charge.
Massachusetts has plenty of tough laws already on the books, but it’s obvious that no one takes them seriously. The police don’t. The prosecutors don’t. The judges don’t. The politicians don’t.
And the criminals certainly don’t.
So how, precisely, is passing more laws supposed to help things?