Walter E. Williams

A few days after the murder of Liczbinski, Governor Rendell told a news conference, attended by state elected officials and top law enforcement officials, "The time has come for politicians to decide. You have to decide whether you're on their side -- the men and women who wear blue -- or whether you're on the side of the gun lobby." Instead of saying "whether you're on the side of the gun lobby," Rendell should have said "whether you're on the side of the criminal and the courts, prosecutors, prisons and parole boards that cut soft deals with criminals and release them to prey upon police officers and law-abiding citizens."

If there is one clear basic function of government, it's to protect citizens from criminals. When government failure becomes so apparent, as it is in the murder of a police officer, officials seek scapegoats and very often it's the National Rifle Association and others who seek to protect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. We hear calls for stricter gun control laws when what is really needed is more control over criminals.

There are many third-party liability laws. I think they ought to be applied to members of parole boards who release criminals who turn around and commit violent crimes. As it stands now, people on parole boards who release criminals bear no cost of their decisions. I bet that if members of parole boards were held liable or forced to serve the balance of the sentence of a parolee who goes out and commits more crime, they would pay more attention to the welfare of the community rather than the welfare of a criminal. You say, "Williams, under those conditions, who'd serve on a parole board?" There's something to be said about that.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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