Arthur Saginian | Gascón’s Policies and Root Causes

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

This is what L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón told reporters about the suspect regarding the murder of Jaqueline Avant: “As far as we can see, he never received any meaningful intervention that may have helped him set his life on a different path, one that would have prevented the terrible tragedy from occurring.” From one perspective one might see Gascón as a visionary who has realized that cycling people through the prison system doesn’t deal with the root cause of crime (which is what, a difficult life?) and that too many resources are being spent processing non-violent offenders. Gascón’s policies are apparently intended to deal with both problems at the same time. 

In going into Gascón’s past, starting as a beat cop in the L.A. Police Department, rising to assistant police chief there under Chief William Bratton, then on to becoming police chief at the Mesa Police Department in Arizona (and butting heads with Sheriff Joe Arpaio over immigration sweeps) and the San Francisco Police Department, being appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom as the DA in San Francisco County, and finally being elected DA for L.A. County (George Soros, financier of “liberal progress,” being his biggest campaign contributor), one can see a track record of decreasing violent crime but increasing misdemeanors or non-violent crime wherever he goes. Gascón also supports the decriminalization of all drugs, a view with which I happen to personally agree. In all of this I think I can see his fundamental logic – repeatedly busting non-violent small-time criminals ultimately creates violent big-time criminals. So, there should be a better way – right?

However, aside from Gascón’s issue with the possession/sale/use of drugs being a crime, which puts me and him on the same page as I think it is as nonsensical and counterproductive as 1930s prohibition, letting petty criminals off the hook will not stop crime, but will only encourage it, which it has. The problem here is that Gascón has control over only half of his envisioned solution to crime in general. The other half, making people feel more “loved,” thus making them less apt to turn to crime, is something over which he has very little, if any, control.

I have nothing to say about Gascón’s complaints about a failing criminal justice system that seems to unfairly punish the disadvantaged over the privileged (and it probably does, but such is life), but his policies are somewhat akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater in that suspending law and order at the non-violent levels before addressing the “root causes” of crime actually causes greater overall damage to society and civilization than continuing with the status quo of busting everyone regardless of status. And that, I think, is the root cause of the drive to recall him.

Arthur G. Saginian

Santa Clarita

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