There were more than 2,000 murders in New York City in 1981. To be more precise, 2,166 men, women, and children had their lives ended by other human beings in that one very bloody year.
Out of all that carnage, one murder stood out as a symbol of the liberal attitude towards crime and punishment. And it is very relevant today as thousands of criminals are being released from federal prisons.
22-year-old Richard Adan, an actor and the son of Cuban immigrants, was waiting tables at his father-in-law’s Manhattan restaurant. He got into a beef with a customer who challenged him to step outside and promptly stabbed him to death.
That killer, as you may know, was 37-year-old Jack Henry Abbott, a career thug and murderer who had won the sympathy of some of America’s leading bleeding hearts, most notably far-left author Norman Mailer.
Abbott, born to a prostitute and raised in foster homes, had spent most of his adult life behind bars. But he showed a certain talent for writing and began corresponding with Mailer, who considered Abbott a victim of American injustice. Those letters became the foundation for Abbott’s best-selling book ‘In The Belly of the Beast.’
Norman Mailer helped win Abbott’s release from prison, then helped the newly-freed ex-con begin a new life in New York City. After just six weeks of freedom, Jack Henry Abbott, who had once killed another inmate and had boasted about his penchant for violence, shoved a knife into Richard Adan.
The day after that murder, still unaware of Abbott’s all-too-predicable crime, the New York Times hailed his writing as ‘awesome, brilliant … an articulation of penal nightmare.’ The ever-so-talented Mr. Abbott was soon back in prison, where he eventually hanged himself to death. Too late for Richard Adan.
Why bring all this up now? Because President Obama has ordered the early release of thousands of drug dealers from federal prisons. To be very clear, these are inmates who were convicted of drug crimes, not murder. There are no known Jack Henry Abbotts among them. But we should also be very clear that these are not college kids caught with a dime bag of weed. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these men and women hastened the death of others.
Our legal duo of Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle revealed that one of the lucky miscreants is Roscoe Minns, who has already been released. Less than five years ago, Minns was arrested in Maryland in a conspiracy involving $3 million worth of cocaine and weapons. Minns also had a long rap sheet that included assault.
Then there’s Regis Payne, a D.C. guy who had been arrested for selling PCP. With his prior arrests and convictions, prosecutors called him a ‘calamity waiting to happen.’ Thanks to President Obama, Mr. Payne may soon be coming to a street near you.
How about Tuan Evans, who made his living selling guns and cocaine but now says he learned haircutting skills in prison. Pardon the pun, but this aspiring barber just had nine months shaved off his sentence. Are you ready to have Mr. Tuan Evans standing behind you with a straight razor? Maybe there is an opening in the Senate barbershop.
These are not isolated cases. The AP has identified about 100 early release candidates whose past convictions include robbery, assault, and large-scale drug dealing. Of course, liberals and even some conservatives consider drug dealing a ‘non-violent crime.’ But tens of thousands of Americans die from overdoses each year, thousands more are killed by drug-addled drivers. Sounds pretty violent, no?
Federal officials say that about 40,000 prisoners will be eligible for early release in the coming years. The odds are that most of them will not commit violent crimes. But any oddsmaker worth his salt will also tell you that many of these folks will go back to selling drugs, inherently a very violent profession.
Drug dealing is one of the lowest forms of human activity, but our president is giving leniency to folks who sell hard drugs. Are you willing to risk public safety in the name of ‘compassion’ and ‘racial justice?’ President Obama apparently is.
Georgetown law professor and former federal prosecutor Bill Otis, who runs a blog called ‘Crime and Consequences,’ poses a very tough question: “When these people start up with a criminal life again, as we know many will, who will pay the price for the harm they cause?” Who indeed?
We should never forget that ultra-violent year of 1981, when bleeding heart liberalism helped kill Richard Adan. And we should all hope that same misguided sympathy does not lead to more bloodshed in 2015 and beyond.