For too many years, the scales of criminal justice were tilted toward protecting rights of criminals. Those in charge forgot or just plain didn’t care about protecting your rights — the rights of law-abiding citizens. ~Ronald Reagan, Feb. 18, 1984
Kim Kardashian is now the voice for drug traffickers who work with Columbian drug cartels to kill our people. Evidently, some “conservatives” think that is really cool. Where is the voice for crime victims and for law enforcement?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
The truth about “low-level, nonviolent” drug traffickers
Kardashian went to the White House to discuss a potential pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, sitting in prison for 21 years so far for drug trafficking. The jailbreakers are trying to use her as a poster child for their false over-incarceration talking point, but this case in fact proves the opposite.
Johnson was the leader of a drug ring trafficking cocaine, which was one of the largest ever prosecuted in that district in Tennessee. According to the Sixth Circuit opinion, Johnson was the one who had the contacts with Colombian drug lords and trafficked thousands of kilograms of cocaine. She was not a low-level drug mule. She was likely responsible for countless deaths. We now have a crisis with fentanyl-laced cocaine, in which cocaine is the fastest-growing cause of death among drug fatalities. Guess who is the biggest cocaine dealer in Latin America working with the drug cartels? Hezbollah.
And on Johnson’s case, remember that Obama studied the federal prison population very carefully and released almost 2,000 drug traffickers (on top of the 46,000 already released over the past decade), and Johnson was not given a pardon even by Obama.
Why does everybody suddenly minimize the drug crisis when it comes to law enforcement on drug trafficking of substances causing 85 percent of drug overdoses, but when it comes to spending billions on crony and unproven drug treatment programs and regulating health care, suddenly the talking point of “it’s only drugs” goes away? Where is the libertarianism to fight Congress misdiagnosing the opioid crisis and hurting pain patients? Treating doctors like drug dealers and drug traffickers like Girl Scouts appears to be the bipartisan agenda of Washington. Which is why you can’t half-ass libertarianism.
It is simply astounding that the president would promote jailbreak when he campaigned vigorously against this agenda. Just a few weeks ago the president said, “We’re wasting our time if we don’t get tough with drug dealers, and that toughness includes the death penalty.” Trump understands, as Reagan did, that there is violence associated with every step of drug trafficking and that by taking traffickers off the streets, we not only save thousands of lives but prevent most other crimes committed by the same networks. The miraculous decline in crime in the ’90s was just as much a result of Reagan’s crime legislation as the prosperity of the ’90s was the result of his tax and regulatory agenda.
Real facts and history vs. Kardashianism on crime
Without any cost estimate, studies, experiments, or input from the public, the House rushed through a major “First Step” in returning to the pre-Reagan era of weak-on-crime laws. A number of law enforcement groups have concerns about the feasibility of some provisions and about the number of violent drug traffickers that will be released early and/or released into an ambiguous arrangement of home confinement. Why are their concerns, based on past history and current drug and crime trends, not being heard in the White House, while the Kardashians are being entertained as if the Obama presidency never ended?
The entire premise of the need to reduce the prison population at this point rather than improve public safety makes no sense. Consider the following:
Amazingly, the weak-on-crime Koch groups focus obsessively on Texas’ recidivism rate as if it’s lower than the national average. This is why the people bandying about low recidivism rates are the ones counting only re-incarcerations, not re-arrests, as recidivism. They created an obsessive culture to avoid jail time at all costs and then tout lower incarceration rates as success. Hey, I can get recidivism down to zero by abolishing all prisons. In reality, if you look at re-arrests (and that certainly doesn’t account for all re-offenses, which is the most important measure), Texas’ recidivism rate is actually 12.5 percent higher. Reducing the incarceration rate without addressing the underlying problem of crime simply means that fewer criminals are arrested and off the streets. Why don’t these groups ever talk about reducing the crime rate? Incarceration is an effect, not a cause.
These are important points to be pondered as the jailbreak movement tirelessly promotes sweeping attacks on every facet of Reagan’s tough-on-crime agenda. Reagan’s admonishments about the need to focus on the victim and the fiscal cost of crime over incarceration are truer now than ever before with the rising crime, the unprecedented drug crisis, the radical judges whom even Reagan never envisioned, and the one-sided movement to focus on the criminal.
We need balance. There is the force of Soros and the Koch money behind groups combing through every single prison file to let out as many people as possible. Where are the people combing through the thousands of murderers never brought to justice because of loopholes in the system?
For every sob story about criminals, there are 20 sob stories of victims. Yet victims of crime don’t have Kim Kardashian speaking for them. They had Reagan speaking for them. Trump promised to be that voice. It’s time to begin fulfilling that promise.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.