Here it is, just days after the election and I am finally, barely able to construct sentences that are absent expletives. In California, there were a large number of propositions on the ballot this year. Some were quite inconsequential, but some were extremely important and will affect the average citizen in their daily lives.
Near the top of that list, in order of importance, is Prop 57. I have written about this proposition in the past, and discussed how it will release thousands of “non-violent” violent felons from prison. The way the proposition does that is by essentially reclassifying the following list of violent felonies as “non-violent.”
- Rape by intoxication
- Rape of an unconscious person
- Human Trafficking involving sex acts with minors
- Domestic Violence involving trauma
- Failing to register as a sex offender
- Lewd acts against a child
- Drive-by shooting
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Hostage taking
- Attempting to explode a bomb at a hospital or school
- Supplying a firearm to a gang member
- Hate crime causing physical injury
- Discharging a firearm on school grounds
- False imprisonment of an elder through violence
With the passage of Prop 57, felons sitting in prison who were convicted of those suddenly no longer violent crimes are now eligible for early release.
You know, because back when the state released thousands of felons under AB109, that had no detrimental effects on public safety (sarcasm). Just like two years ago when the California voters passed Prop 47 which reducing many crimes that were previously felonies down to misdemeanors, making it impossible for law enforcement to take the criminals to jail. Many of those reclassified crimes have very real effects on average citizens who end the victims of those crimes, silly little crimes such as business burglaries, vehicle theft (depending on the value of the car), and theft of firearms. Again, the passage of that has had very little negative repercussions, unless you consider that whole 12% increase in violent crime all over the state in just one year.
Based on the successes (again, heavy sarcasm) of those two previous laws, both heavily pushed by California Governor Jerry Brown, and backed by the Democrat leadership of the state, the California voters decided to ignore the advice of nearly every single chief law enforcement officer in the state, countless law enforcement labor unions, nearly every elected district attorney in the state, numerous mayors, multiple city councils, even several liberal leaning newspapers (the entire list of those opposing Prop 57 can be found here). The CA voters ignored all those people, all of those experts in the field, and passed the law anyway, and by a significant margin (64% yes to 36% no), because hey, what the hell do cops and district attorneys know about keeping cities free from crime, right?
In the “shredding the Constitution” department, the voters of California, in their never ending drive to eliminate their own rights, decided to pass Proposition 63, which in addition to a few other things, made it illegal to purchase ammo without a special permit.
This unconstitutional proposition was dreamed up, and pushed almost solely by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. It was originally billed as the “Safety for All” act, and Newsom found significant assistance in funding the push to pass this in anti-gun billionaire, Michael Bloomberg.
For that matter, as a career cop who sincerely respects the constitution, I felt strongly enough about this proposition that I volunteered my time, and my gas, to haul my butt in to the FPC studio to film an online add opposing this proposition.
The fact of the matter is, Proposition 63 only affects people who buy their guns, ammo and magazines legally, at stores. In my 20 years as a cop, I’ve only encountered two (2) armed criminals who bought their guns and ammo that way, and this law would not have stopped either of them because prior to the commissions of the crimes for which they were arrested, they both had clean records. As I have said many times over, Prop 63 will not prevent a single gun crime. On the other hand, it will indeed infringe on millions of legal gun owners ability to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The sad/funny part is, despite the name, Proposition 63 does nothing to enhance anyone’s safety, which is why out of all the law enforcement agencies in the entire state, only four (4) current department heads from only two (2) very liberal cities, and one (1) retired police chief (one who is notoriously anti-gun), all of whom represent cities in the San Francisco bay area, are the only LE officials to support it. A few DA’s, also all from liberal cities, also supported it. No law enforcement labor unions in the state supported it. In fact, the list of law enforcement department heads (retired and current), the list of district attorneys, and the list of law enforcement labor unions that opposed it exceed several hundred entries, and all six (6) pages of it can be found here.
Despite all of the evidence that shows this law will be just as ineffective at combating gun violence as every other gun control measure. Despite the fact that it very clearly violates the bill of rights. Despite the fact that hundreds of experts on the matter of preventing crime opposed this proposition, the voters of California overwhelmingly voted to pass it (63% yes to 37% no).
The recreational pot proposition.
But it is just weed man. It is no different from alcohol. Except that it is most definitely different from alcohol. I am not a doctor, so I will not even touch on the medical aspects of this, which there are plenty. That said, both sides of that argument will have their own doctors saying things to back one side or the other. I will just say this, weed is NOT the same as alcohol for a great number of reasons.
I am here to talk about the legal aspects of this proposition. Medical marijuana, in one form or another, has been legal in this state for a long time. Anyone with a few bucks and a few hours to kill can go to one of the hundreds of “doctors” around the state and get a doctor’s note to allow them to legally possess and use weed. I have seen notes for an astronomical range of reasons including ADHD, frequent headaches, dyslexia and even scoliosis. The reason I point that out is to show how easy it is to legally get pot.
Since pot was legalized for “medicinal use” in California, the amount of violent crime associated with it has actually increased, despite all the arguments that it would decrease. In the county where I am employed, more than half of the home invasion robberies are pot related, and a significant number of homicides are also related to pot rip-offs. Those are a few of the reasons that a huge number of law enforcement officials across the state, both past and present, opposed this proposition. A large number of elected officials opposed it, including a large number of district attorneys, as did a large number of law enforcement labor unions. The full list of those opposed can be found here.
On the flip side, the list of those endorsing Proposition 64 includes a number of liberal organizations such as the Democrat party, the NAACP, the ACLU, and about 10 retired cops from all over the state, and one police chief from out of state. That list can be found here.
By the way, it is not just us silly California cops and district attorneys making stuff up so that people can’t get stoned. Agencies from other states that recently legalized weed sent warnings to us. Take for example this letter from the District Attorney of Denver, CO in which he documents the dramatic rise in violent crimes across his entire state since pot was legalized there. Just for clarification, since the “nonviolent” crimes that are covered by Prop 57 might have confused you, in this case violent crimes include murder, rape and robbery, to name a few. Not surprisingly, thefts also increased, as they usually do when more people start doing recreational drugs.
And as I have come to expect, the voters of California again completely disregarded the opinions of those tasked with keeping society safe and voted to make recreational pot legal, again by a fairly large margin (56% yes to 44% no).
Currently, law enforcement as a whole is fighting constant battles in the larger War on Cops against the mainstream media and leftist, anarchist organizations like Black Lives Matter. Simultaneously, cops in California are also dealing with the fact that the very society we are tasked with protecting keeps passing laws which make that very job more and more difficult. And it happens election after election.
Even when society is shown the negative results of their previous votes every night on the news, and they read about the skyrocketing crime rates in reports by the FBI, they still are easily swayed by flowery words and hollow promises showered on them by the same politicians that sold them the last fake bill of goods.
The best analogy I can offer is that it is like a dysfunctional marriage. We are the half of the relationship trying our best to make it work, and the voters are the unemployed, alcoholic who keeps cheating on us. We deal with the new limitations put on us, but in the end, things keep getting worse because the other half keeps drinking and cheating, and each time they do it worse than the previous time. Then when called on it, they blame us for causing it.
One of the first negative things to happen when society stops supporting their cops (making their job harder by passing laws like these is the exact same thing as not supporting them) has become known as the Ferguson Effect. If cops know, or can reasonable expect, that they are going to be publicly crucified for simply doing their jobs, then they cease to voluntarily do their job (they stop proactively policing) and instead they do the very minimum they can to get by. It is not that they do not do their job properly, but they stop looking for extra work (crime)on their own and instead just answer the calls for service that come in. This very effect has been noted in most major cities across the nation, and it is especially pronounced in cities where there have been significant outcries and demonstrations against the police. Not surprisingly, the crime rates where that has been happening have skyrocketed.
Currently, California law enforcement agencies, just like agencies all across the country, are having a significantly difficult time filling vacancies. In this pervasive anti-cop environment, where cops are instantly doubted and the suspect’s word is treated like gospel; where no matter what the situation is, if a cop shoots a black person they can expect to be crucified on both social media and in the mainstream media; where cop’s salaries and pensions are being cut while the public simultaneously demands better training and education, it is no wonder we cannot find enough applicants to fill the vacancies. Add to that the dismal work ethic and lack of life experience that many members of the current generation of applicants belong to (millennials), and the growing drop out and failure rates in academies are easily explained.
And lastly, the number of vacancies for most agencies is growing larger every year. Career cops like me are getting fed up with the media, with department politics, with being overworked due to lack of staffing, and with the public constantly sabotaging our efforts by passing these laws. That growing angst is leading to large numbers of us senior cops are calling it quits. The desire to leave is especially high with those working for agencies where their management is less prone to defend them publicly if something negative hits the media. I heard the other day from a person employed by a neighboring agency that 25% of their active sworn staff is currently in the application and background process with other agencies.
Sadly, my prediction is that crime in the once Golden State is going to get far worse before it ever gets better, and it will only get better if the public stops voting these stupid laws into place.