Pubdate: Thu, 10 Feb 2000
Source: New Times (CA)
Author: Ann Calhoun


So the voters in their wisdom are now rethinking the Three Strikes laws
they overwhelmingly passed six years ago ("Swinging at Three Strikes," New
Times, Jan. 27)?

Awwww, how nice.

The Three Strikes law is a perfect example of voter ignorance, laziness,
apathy, unwillingness to deal seriously with the systemic underlying
problems, and the inability to comprehend the law of unintended
consequences. Even the bill's original author campaigned against it, which
should have told the voters something, but didn't.

Instead of complete re-evaluation of our insane and insanely wasteful "War
on Drugs" (the article notes that more than 60 percent of "second strikes"
are for nonviolent property or drug offenses - let's see, do you suppose
the two are related somehow?); instead of separating property crimes from
violence against people; instead of truth in sentencing laws (i.e. "life"
means life, period); instead of meaningful early intervention for at-rist
kids as well as effective prison programs that can break the revolving-door
cycle of ignorance and drug dependency; instead of the hard, slow work of
true reform, with its high start-up costs, but with long-term savings and
future payoffs, the voters in their wisdom went for the cheap, quick fix
only to find it wasn't quick and it wasn't cheap and didn't fix much.

Ann Calhoun, Los Osos
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