Another Brutal Murder, and Silence from the White House

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Early on June 17, Elsa Mikeska was shot and killed outside a Houston gym.  The 62-year-old grandmother had just pulled into the gym parking lot when two men in an older Chevy Suburban got out, apparently demanding money, and then shot her dead as she fled toward the gym entrance.  At this point, one of those responsible, a 16-year-old now charged with capital murder, has been apprehended, while two others remain at large.

It appears that the same persons who killed Mikeska may have attempted a carjacking an hour earlier and that same night shot through the window of a nearby home — into the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl.

It goes without saying that Mikeska’s killers must be caught and punished. But these killers, described by police as young Hispanic men, are just two or three out of a brutal underclass that threatens the conduct of everyday life everywhere in America.  Though it includes whites as well, a disproportionate share of that underclass is Black and Hispanic — the same groups that are now flooding into America across our southern border.

According to 1991 Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4.4% of white males, 16% of Hispanic males, and 28.5% of Black males have spent time in state or federal prison.  According to a study based on more recent 2010 data, 8% of the U.S. population overall and 33% of Black males have been incarcerated.  In 2019, Blacks committed 5,660 murders and non-negligent manslaughters, while whites were responsible for 5,070, despite the fact that Whites constitute 60.3% of the population and Blacks 13.4%.  In other words, Blacks commit approximately five times as many murders per capita as Whites.  Yet Biden believes they are overrepresented on death row.    

Obtaining current data on such a straightforward question as the number of U.S. felony convictions is not easy, since Google search frontloads the answers with “felony disenfranchisement” responses.  I am not interested in felony disenfranchisement — I am interested in punishment and deterrence via incarceration and execution of violent felons.

Liberals do everything possible to muddy the issue, pointing out for example that large numbers of felons are nonviolent drug-related offenders.  That may be, though it takes only a second for a “nonviolent drug-related offender” to become a murderer.  But it doesn’t change the fact that there were more than 20,000 murders and perhaps a million shootings in the U.S. last year.  This is another statistic that is difficult to locate on Google search.  Ask how many shootings took place in the U.S. in any one year, and you will be met with pages filled with “number of mass shootings.”  Again, I’m not interested in mass shootings — I want to know how many people shot other people.  The FBI’s UCR site, which reveals that a violent crime occurs every 25.3 seconds (2010 data) is not that much easier to use.  A bit of math reveals that 1,246,482 violent crimes were reported in 2010 (actual numbers, though the large number of crimes that go unreported would be significantly higher).

Media like to describe murders such as that of Elsa Mikeska as “senseless” and “tragic.”  In fact, it was horrific, brutal, vicious, and pitiless.  It was a violation of all that is civilized and humane, and the perpetrators, whoever they turn out to be, deserve expeditious capital punishment, not after decades of appeal, but promptly following a fair trial and appeal.  Their continued existence sullies the earth.

The fact that media distort and cloak information, make excuses for criminals, and attack the police is part of the problem.  That behavior has emboldened criminals and contributed to a 25% increase in murders in 2020, a rise that is continuing in 2021.  If a criminal believes there is no publishment or that punishment will be weak, that criminal will commit more and more violent crimes.

If the actual number of violent crimes is 3,000,000 per year, as it may well be, it means that almost 10% of Americans could be the victim of violence sometime in the next decade.  It also means that one has a nearly 80% chance, on average, of being victimized in one’s lifetime (10% times the average eight decades of life, though perhaps somewhat less, taking into account those who are repeatedly victimized).

That fact that we must go through life knowing that, at any point, we may be shot, stabbed, beaten, or raped even at familiar places of business, and in our own homes, should be unsettling.  Just the anxiety of having to live like this — double-locked in our homes, fearful every time we leave, watchful when we step out of our vehicles to enter a store or gym — is unacceptable.

The solution to this problem is not, as Joe Biden says, “helping criminals transition back into their communities.”  It is to lengthen jail time and demand the ultimate punishment for the most violent.  It is to face the situation with realism and to do whatever is necessary to make society safe.

It is ironic, and disgusting as well, that Biden proclaimed April 2021 “Second Chance Month” for felons, including violent offenders, just two months before Elsa Mikeska’s murder.  Biden believes we should spend a month “focusing on prevention, re-entry, and social support, rather than incarceration”; “eliminating exceedingly long sentences and mandatory minimums”; and “rethinking the existing criminal justice system.”

This is not the first time Biden has spoken up for violent criminals.  So far, Biden has said nothing about Elsa Mikeska’s killing, nor to my knowledge that of any of the other 8,000 persons who have been murdered since he took office — except for those criminals killed by police while violently resisting arrest.  When Biden finally acknowledged rising crime rates under his watch, his “solution” was taking guns away from lawful owners — and getting at the “root causes” of crime by handing more money to criminals.  

The Mikeska murder is just one of some 80,000 that will occur during Biden’s first term.  Every one of those deaths is horrific, brutal, vicious, and pitiless, and none of them, other than celebrity minority police killings, will likely be publicly lamented by the president.  Biden has stated his belief that convicted felons are spending too long in prison and that many billions need to be spent “rehabilitating” them.  Meanwhile, he will not “spend” one breath on the victims of crime.

Americans deserve the chance to live safe from violent criminals.  No one should be killed just for going to a gym at 5:00 A.M.  No one should be carjacked just because her car breaks down.  And no one should be robbed or murdered — for any reason.

Biden does not appear to believe this.  His administration has spent a great deal of time on matters like “second chances” for felons, proclaiming an entire month in their ‘honor.”  What month has Biden proclaimed to honor those like Elsa Mikeska, murdered while stepping into a place of business near her home?  What has Biden done to promote justice?  What is he doing to make America safe?

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

Image: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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