By Tom Hogan for RealClearWire
Lt. gov. Pennsylvania Democratic nominee John Fetterman insists he agrees with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist, on “virtually every issue.” Sanders, in turn, has supported Fetterman and appeared at events with him.
But if Fetterman takes his economic advice from the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, where does he get advice on dealing with violent crime? Unfortunately for the voters in Pennsylvania, Fetterman appears to be leading the way from Larry Krasner, District Attorney of the City of Brotherly Love, of Philadelphia.
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Fetterman described Krasner as a “beacon for each of the 67 counties of the PA”. He appears to have missed the news that Krasner’s de-prosecution and decarceration policies have led Philadelphia to record a record 562 homicides in 2021, with the city on track to surpass that total by 2022.
Fetterman also doesn’t seem to realize that more than 90% of those murder victims are minorities living in the poorest parts of Philadelphia.
To anyone who has followed Fetterman’s tenure as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, none of this should come as a surprise. Fetterman serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. His fellow board members have described him as an ‘activist’ and a ‘bully’.
When Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general and now Democratic nominee for governor, opposed Fetterman’s desire to pardon a few convicted murderers in 2019, for example, Fetterman reportedly presented him with an ultimatum: vote for pardon, or Fetterman would run against Shapiro in the primary for governor.
Shapiro changed his voice and the killers were released; Fetterman is running for Senate and Shapiro for governor. This exchange nicely summarizes Fetterman’s vision on the interface between criminal law and politics.
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Fetterman has shown his gentle stance on criminals in other areas. Last year, he was the only positive vote on the Board of Pardons to release convicted murderer Wayne Covington. Covington had shot a teenager while trying to rob the young man for drug money. Covington pleaded guilty to first degree murder and accepted a life sentence to avoid a possible death penalty.
The victim’s family strongly opposed Covington’s release, and the other members of the Council of Pardons supported the victim’s family by keeping the admittedly guilty killer behind bars – but not Fetterman.
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Fetterman’s campaign website provides virtually no useful information about his crime and criminal justice policies. Instead, visitors get light-hearted videos with progressive buzzwords about “mass incarceration,” “second chances,” and the “legalization of weed.” Fetterman also declines to comment on rising violent crime, particularly in Krasner’s Philadelphia; nor does he explain how he might help crime victims, unlike criminals themselves.
There is a remarkable video about gun violence on Fetterman’s campaign site. It includes a story about Fetterman – when the mayor of Braddock – heard gunshots and saw “a person dressed completely in black” running past. What Fetterman fails to mention is that the person who drove by was a young black man jogging.
Fetterman also does not mention pointing a shotgun at the young man and holding him in custody. The jogger said Fetterman aimed the 20-gauge shotgun at his chest and held him until police arrived. The police searched the young man and found that he had no weapons on him and was just practicing. Fetterman admitted he “may have broken the law” by acting as he did.
He could have been arrested for a simple assault through physical threat, unlawful restraint, terrorist threats, and a host of other crimes. Instead, despite the seriousness of an incident whose circumstances, if not outcome, resemble the Ahmaud Arbery episode, he was not charged.
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When it comes to law and order, Fetterman is a confusing figure. Is he a progressive progressive like Krasner? Or is he a hot-tempered hothead who thinks he’s above the law? Fetterman’s excesses seem to provide an opening for Republicans. Too bad the GOP has nominated a TV personality from New Jersey as a candidate.
In the distracting, meme-laden campaign between Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, the issue of protecting Pennsylvanians from rising crime seems to have been forgotten. If Keystone State elects an ally of Larry Krasner and Bernie Sanders to the United States Senate, there will be plenty of blame.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
This article was originally published by RealClearPennsylvania and made available through RealClearWire.
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