Monday, October 01, 2007

Political Hysteria In Cheshire Case

Hamden Daily News

Since 1997, prosecutors have been required to provide sentencing transcripts to parole boards, but it has never happened. The excuse? The prosecutors and the parole board can’t decide who would pay for the copies.

Villains in the House

I have come to conclude there is no activity vile or heinous enough that some politicians will not attempt to exploit for their own benefit. In the aftermath of the Petit murders in Cheshire, nothing in my 30-plus years in journalism prepared me for the level of pandering I’ve heard in the last few weeks by some conservatives and knee-jerk talk-show hosts about a “three strikes you’re out” law.

What happened to the Petit family was obscene. What is being suggested in the aftermath of that heinous crime is obnoxious.

There is a curious parallel between how conservatives and loud-mouth talk-show hosts take on the issue of inmate recidivism, judicial restraint and of all things, flag burning. Ready? Hang on.

With the regularity of the swallows returning to Capistrano and the buzzards to Hinkley, Ohio, every two years the Republican conservatives in Washington introduce a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution. To hear them tell it, flags are being burned at every street corner. Flag burning is a national emergency.

“We must protect the flag,” they wail, for the fate of the republic is in jeopardy. Ripping a page from their “to hell with the Constitution” handbook, they call for protecting the flag and the American people by making flag burning illegal.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I read about or saw pictures of someone burning a flag. Maybe it is happening in that other democracy just over the hill.

So, when was the last time you heard of a triple or even double murder here in Connecticut caused by a recently paroled felon? I’m sure felons get out of jail every day and commit no small number of heinous crimes but the most recent report from the FBI states that in ALL of Connecticut there were 100 murders and that number is down by almost 60 from 1996.

Admittedly, one is too many but that isn’t the point. Murder represents 1 percent of all reported crimes in Connecticut yet to hear some legislators talk, Connecticut is about to become the Wild West. We have to protect ourselves from these paroled felons who are going to rob our houses, steal our cars and rape and kill our sons and daughters.


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