The continuing cultural catastrophe

As I write this the Democrat-controlled State Legislature continues its assault upon the social fabric of our society by undermining the ability of local communities to self-govern. Legislation (SB 827) would strip cities and counties ability to determine the location of low-cost housing, its density, off-street parking and height of such projects. They’ve also proposed legislation that would permit the transient population to camp, park or hang-out on any public property at any time for any length of time. In the case of transient vehicles, unless it’s restricted for everyone (a red zone) they would be able to park wherever they choose.

The impact of this is that if transients choose to set up a campground in the downtown Sunken Gardens, there’s nothing the City would be permitted to do about it. The same holds true for Atascadero Lake Park, playgrounds, baseball fields, the Veterans Memorial or anywhere else. Any city property could easily become a homeless camp, complete with discarded hypodermic needles and intoxicated or mentally disturbed individuals harassing mothers with children.

Atascadero has done much to assist the homeless population through volunteer agencies and a coordinated shelter program and should be commended for our efforts and compassion. Instead, we’re being penalized.

The regulations proposed by the liberal/progressive legislators would cripple the ability of law enforcement to effectively control criminal activity that destroys the ability of permanent residents to enjoy public places, such as local parks. The individuals proposing these laws are of course once again representatives from the San Francisco Bay area which seems to have been taken over by “alien pod people,” replacing the original inhabitants of that once great city with a population totally devoid of common sense.

Several years ago these same representatives, backed by leftist attorneys, persuaded Californians to pass AB109, Proposition 47 and Proposition 57, which were hyped as measures to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, reducing incarceration costs and diverting non-violent offenders to diversion and rehabilitation programs. The proof is in the details and the legislation was flawed from the outset. Violent offenders suddenly were re-labeled as low-risk and pushed into county jails. The county facilities became overcrowded with felons and lower level offenders, like drug users needing time to detox, were pushed on to the street. Without access to drug rehab programs mandated by courts, these low-level offenders lost the one opportunity many had to clean-up.

Some of the crimes that the above legislation reclassified as “non-violent” included rape of an unconscious person, assault upon a Peace Officer and felony domestic violence. Attacking a police officer is serially dumb and inflicting injuries upon a spouse that require medical attention is a felony worthy of jail in most states, except California after these laws were passed. They also elevated the value of items stolen to approach $1000 before anything other than a summons could be issued and each theft restarted the tab. Thus, semi-professional thieves would steal less than $900 of property, using calculators to keep their tab straight and then steal something else during another theft without fear of being charged with a felony worthy of prison. With the jails overcrowded by “low-risk” felons, these lower-level serial offenders were virtually assured of never seeing the inside of a jail. There’s just no room.

What has happened since these initiatives were passed is an increase in violent crime, 69.5% in LA alone and an increase in violent crime in Sacramento that out-paced the 25 largest U.S. cities. Subsequently, California now has the highest increase in theft and property crime in the nation while it’s declining everywhere else. Grocery stores are experiencing a 150% increase in shoplifting losses; transients just walk in and take what they want knowing there are virtually no consequences. The resulting increased prices are paid by all.

So what to do about it? Local law enforcement agencies are requesting public and government support for the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 which would hopefully undo some of the damage done by shortsighted initiatives foisted on the public by deceptive political campaigns.  That’s just a start. In other areas of public policy, the recent massacre in Florida requires communities to do more than just put a Band-Aid on cancer.

To comment on the why such events occur takes more space than I’m allotted but let’s start by admitting it’s more than about gun control. There are deep psychological issues affecting our society that must be addressed. What we should agree upon regardless of the divisive issues is to immediately secure our public schools by controlling access and hardening classrooms and buildings from armed intruders. They need time to hold off a deranged shooter, at least 10 minutes to allow the police to arrive. Most of these events are concluded within 10 minutes with police arriving too late to effectively intervene. Hardening schools will be expensive but is necessary in the times in which we live.

Finally, I recommend Law Enforcement, schools and anyone interested read the works of retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, a Psychologist, former Ranger and West Point, instructor. His seminal work “On Killing” regarding what the military has learned about what motivates men to kill in battle or teens to slaughter their peers is second to none. He followed it up with additional works titled “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill” and “Assassination Generation.” They’re worth reading.

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