By now, I’ve pretty much beaten you to death with examples of extremely violent “nonviolent” third strikers who will soon be released if Proposition 66 passes. So far, I’ve profiled such sweethearts as Charles Rothenberg, Joseph Noble, Steven Mathews, Andrew Abernathy, and Kenneth Parnell. There are plenty more examples where they come from, but frankly, if those five aren’t enough to persuade you that Prop 66 is a bad idea, I doubt that a sixth profile (or a seventh, or an eighth, etc.) will. I am happy to say that they seem to have helped to persuade at least one prominent L.A. blogger to withdraw his support for the initiative, though it’s unclear how much credit I should get for that, having had ample assistance from a little help from my friend Patterico and the Wall Street Journal.
So at this point I’d like to switch gears, and focus on what Prop 66 would do to the definition of “serious” and violent.” Much is said about “making the punishment fit the crime,” so let’s consider a hypothetical scenario to see how good of a fit that would be:
Charles Criminal intentionally sets a fire in the Angeles National Forest, causing $10 million worth of property damage. After watching a few of the some trees to up in flames and yelling “burn, baby, burn,” he heads off to the bar, where he consumes 16 beers and four shots of Jaegermeister, which he then tops it off with a marijuana joint and some crack. After enjoying the joint and the crack, he realizes he had six more joints left over, so drives to a local school and sells these “happy cigarettes” to six 12-year old kids. He then gets back behind the wheel and tries to leave, but being drunk and stoned, loses control of the vehicle and plows into the kids he had just sold his marijuana to, killing four of the kids instantly. He then gets out of the car, turns to the two survivors, and warns them not to tell anyone what they saw, or he’ll kill them, too. He then asks each of them where he lives, and drives to each house with the intent to burglarize it. He tries to get into the first house, but fails, and flees after realizing that a resident is at home. He then arrives at the second house, which is unoccupied, breaks in, helps himself to the family’s valuables, and returns home.
Charles is caught by the authorities and convicted on all the above counts. Under both the existing law and Prop 66, how many “strikes” has he committed?