Horowitz: 10 ways Trump can push law and order – and make it stick
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Tweeting out “Law and Order!” every few days with an exclamation mark is OK, but it’s little solace to this country when we are actually suffering from the most widespread and protracted period of anarchy and violence in the modern era. It’s time for Trump to act on law and order, push a winning legislative and budgetary agenda with safety and security as its cornerstone, and communicate those ideas every day to the silent majority looking to the president to fight back.
There is no need for federal action on the George Floyd case. It is getting swift justice. There is however, a need for federal action against the nationwide insurrection in nearly every state, blocking of roads and highways, dismantling and violent occupation of public and even private property, and rising crime from five years of weak-on-crime policies and neutralized police. Rather than promoting federal legislation to further incentivize weak policing and validate the false narrative of the mob, it’s time for Trump to champion a bold contrast addressing the needs of the silent majority of all races and creeds who want law and order, safety and security.
Every day Republicans spend validating the lies of BLM is another day when anarchy and Marxism will consume this country. Aside from the insurrection itself, the war on the police has caused massive increases in crime in major cities. There were 1,600 reports of gunfire in Minneapolis over the past 30 days, up 300 percent relative to the same period in 2019. Every weekend, Chicago, which has tough gun laws, becomes a lawless shootout, with black victims, including children, as casualties. Even New York, which became the safest major city over the past two decades, is now seeing rapid increases in shootings after the NYPD has been neutralized.
This is the true systemic crisis that requires a federal response. To that end, Trump should push the following provisions in stand-alone legislation and in the fiscal year 2021 budget at the end of September:
- Funding for states that prosecute violent criminals: Rather than threatening states with a carrot and stick through federal grants to make police more like social workers, how about dangling funding to states that work on prosecuting violent criminals? There is an epidemic of repeat violent offenders who continuously violate probation and are out to murder and harm people. Congress needs to condition grant funds to states meeting benchmarks in prosecuting repeat offenders and probation violators. While there has been swift justice for George Floyd, there is no justice for people like 3-year-old Mekhi James, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Chicago this past weekend in one of over 100 shootings. Chicago has gone beyond soft on gun felons and probation violators, and now the police are standing back and taking a hands-off approach to violent criminals. Do Republicans want their federal legislation focused on incentivizing more of these shootings or disincentivizing them?
- Defund states that are sanctuaries for criminal aliens and anarchists: Defund sanctuary cities and states. These are the same jurisdictions that are allowing rioters and anarchists to take over city streets. Ignoring federal law was the first step toward today’s breakdown of order. It’s time to condition any law enforcement grants, including existing programs, on cooperation with federal law. Also, Congress should focus on the forgotten victims of illegal aliens by allowing citizens to sue sanctuary officials who release criminal aliens. Congress should also create a fund for victimsof illegal aliens out of the money saved from denying grant programs to sanctuaries.
- Increase funding for court systems to expedite cases: The governing elites have made it clear that they will not spend another penny on enforcement and convictions. As the population grows and they throw endless funding at public education or other poplar services to keep up with the growth, a decision has been made in most states to stop building more prisons and jails and not to add funding to the court system. Doing so conveniently provides them with the talking point that prisons are overcrowded and that trials are backlogged for too long, so it’s unfair to hold people in jail either. As such, there is an epidemic of career criminals out on bond (or with no bond) who await their trial for years and commit heinous crimes intermittently and are often still not locked up. Congress should grant more funding for state court systems to expedite court cases so that the guilty will be taken off the streets.
- Toughen mandatory minimums for gun felons: Felons possessing firearms is a federal crime. The courts gutted the mandatory minimums in the 2005 Booker decision. They need to be reinstated and strengthened. This will box the Left in on the issue of gun control.
- A real anti-lynching bill: Republicans included in their bill an anti-lynching provision that would set the mandatory maximum sentence (not minimum) for lynching at 10 years. First, the crime must be premediated. Also, it actually lowballs the punishment for any murder, much less a horrific murder. A 10-year maximum is nothing. We have all seen horrific attacks posted on the internet in recent weeks, with entire mobs beating individuals severely. We need mandatory minimums against any serious bodily injury that results from one of these pack attacks on individuals, regardless of their race or whether it was premediated.
- Anti–gang bill: Gang violence is the elephant in the room when it comes to violent crime and is responsible for thousands of black homicides in inner cities every year. According to the FBI, “Criminal gangs commit as much as 80 percent of crimes in many communities.” We need a backstop of a federal anti-gang statute that provides federal prosecutors with a tool to prosecute someone who commits a violent crime in furtherance of gang activity. This will open an avenue for the feds to take all of the most dangerous career criminals off the streets when states let them off with a slap on the wrist.
- Close court loopholes letting off violent criminals: The Armed Career Criminal Act was one of Reagan’s great legacies, which led to a generation-long decline in crime. Four years ago, in Johnson v. U.S, the Supreme Court ruled that the “crime of violence” provision in the ACCA is unconstitutionally vague. That has allowed thousands of the worst career gun felons and other violent individuals to get out of jail early or escape reasonable sentencing to begin with. Just this year, in v. Davis, Justice Gorsuch joined with the four liberals in expanding the assault on the ACCA, this time by saying that 924(c)(3), the statute that prohibits using or carrying a firearm during a federal “crime of violence,” is unconstitutional and therefore vetoed out of existence. It is simply astounding that the GOP-controlled Senate has not tried to fix this law, especially in light of Democrats supporting gun control. Now, armed robbers pointing short-barreled shotguns at store clerks avoid tougher sentencing at the same time liberals claim they want to “do something!” about gun violence.
- Federalize the National Guard to protect interstates and property: When states fail to protect citizens, public monuments, and roadways, it is the responsibility of the federal government to step in. Trump should call the National Guard into federal service under Title 10 to protect people on interstates being blocked, monuments from being destroyed, and entire swaths of public areas from being violently occupied. Trump promised, “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President.” But he is not the mayor of D.C.; he is the president of the United States. He must use 10 U.S.C. 253 to put down any occupied insurrection anywhere, including in places like Seattle.
- Prosecute ANTIFA/BLM violent organizers and financers under anti-terrorism statutes: 18 U.S. Code 2339A provides for federal prosecution of those who provide material support to terrorists — foreign or domestic. Subsection C provides for prosecution against those who finance terrorists. 18 U.S. Code § 2384 makes it a crime under seditious conspiracy to “prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.” This applies to many of the rioters, especially on federal lands. It’s time to ratchet up those prosecutions and direct all intelligence agencies to work on identifying those behind the violent insurrection.
- Reimburse business owners for property damage: The media is not reporting on the extent of the damage done by the rioting. Black business owners have been disproportionately harmed. Republicans should focus on law-abiding citizens rather than the looters by offering to reimburse those businesses damaged by the riots, with the exception of any businesses that donated to the organizers of these riots.
Yes, this will cost some federal money and require some federal involvement in the states. But that ship has sailed. If both parties can get together and push weak-on-crime funding and laws, then we can just as easily promote tough-on-crime laws and use federal funding as a tool to influence criminal justice in America. Why is it only the criminals and terrorists who get their voices heard in Washington? Trump promised to be the voice of the forgotten American and the silent majority. It’s time for him to educate a confused generation of youths that crime indeed does not pay and that violence is not the answer.
Author: Daniel Horowitz
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.