January 29, 2022

Washington State Democrats seeking to lower penalties for drive-by shootings

Democrats have always sided against their own constituents when it comes to criminals. There continues to be no end in sight to this puzzling trend.

In the name of racial equity, Democratic lawmakers in Washington State have proposed a bill to lower the penalty for drive-by shootings, the Daily Caller reported. Currently, there is a seldom-used provision that automatically imposes life in prison on such criminals.

In 1995, drive-by shootings were added to the list of aggravating factors that increased the penalty of first-degree murder charges to mandatory life in prison, according to Fox News. At the time, the state was experiencing a surge in gang violence that continued through the early 1990s.

Other crimes eligible for the higher penalty include hiring a hitman, murder while incarcerated, and killing law enforcement agents. However, Democratic Representatives Tarra Simmons and David Hackney in the state congress proposed HB 1692 to rescind such high penalties for drive-by shootings citing racial equity.

Simmons said that the previous standard “was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and Black.” However, it’s arguable that shooting a gun from a moving vehicle, which can easily result in the deaths of innocent bystanders, shows a deep and depraved indifference to human life.

“I believe in a society that believes in the power of redemption,” Simmons nevertheless continued in her statement to the news outlet. “Murder is murder no matter where the bullet comes from but locking young people up and throwing away the key is not the answer.”

By Simmons’ own admission, the aggravating factor was only used once in 1997 after a college student, Corey Pittman, was killed and two others wounded in a drive-by shooting by a longtime gang member. The shooter, Kimonti Carter, received 777 years in prison for his crime which Simmons chalked up to “systemic racism.”

If Simmons has her way, Carter will be a free man as the bill would retroactively overturn his sentence. Perhaps redemption is possible for criminals, but that hope shouldn’t outweigh the laws and penalties designed to keep victims like Pittman alive and criminals like Carter off the streets.

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