By Craig Hastings
I’m old enough to remember when Americans might choose which state they wished to live based on more simple this or that. Did you want to live in a state with four seasons or maybe you’re someone who preferred to be warm most of the year. It could be that your career steered you east, west, north, south, or somewhere in the middle. No matter, whichever state you ended up the rules of living were going to be pretty much the same in all of the states right? In just four years all of this has dramatically changed. In the past two years we have watched some states throw the rules of uniformity for all states out the window. Governors and even some Mayors in the larger cities have somehow gotten away with changing laws and or making new laws to suit their own flavor. I’m no constitutional scholar by any means but, can they do this? I guess the answer is “yes” because they have and still are. Here’s what I don’t understand. For two hundred and thirty years all states played by the same rules. If the federal government said “no, stop that’’ state’s governors pulled back and life was good again. Why? Because the federal government controlled so much of the purse and because each state wanted their fair share of what was in the purse, any governor going rogue was threatened to have their allowance cut. Well how is it that this has worked for two hundred and thirty years but isn’t now?
Because the two party system of our government worked! It doesn’t work anymore. Democrats vote everything Democrat and Republicans do the same. There is no bipartisanship anymore. There are no negotiations in Congress. Congress is nothing but a numbers game today. Whichever party occupies the most seats in each branch wins. Oh it gets even more ridiculous too. Whoever might be the majority leader of each branch controls the votes. So, there really is no need for more than four people to ever show up for voting. What happens now is each party’s representatives stand before the cameras and scream lies about the other side and expect all of us common and ordinary citizens thirsty for the truth to drink it all up. What we consume is 200 proof and when we’re done we’re so drunk we forgot all about what we were told. So what’s happening now is, Americans want to stay sober so we’re simply tuning out and allowing whatever happens, just happen. We hope for the best at each day’s end. We don’t believe or trust anyone of our elected so-called “leaders”. Remember the “Biden the Uniter” theme of a year ago? How’s that working out for Americans?
So where do we go from here forward? If you’re not paying attention, it’s already begun. Americans are choosing to move and live permanently in the states that govern how they wish to live their lives. Florida, Texas, and South Dakota are the top three go to states if you believe in a conservative government. You know; states that have laws and trust police to enforce those same laws. The same laws Americans have put their faith and trust in for over two hundred years. The rules have changed, remember! Governors and their state legislatures are conforming their state constitutions to fit their own needs and federal laws be damned! Some states are self sustaining and need less help from the federal government. These states are breaking away and doing their own thing. I’m not sure this is a good thing. It led to a civil war the last time it happened.
In the past two years we’ve witnessed the City of New York do away with cash bail for most crimes. The Los Angeles County District Attorney is refusing to prosecute certain crimes of theft and property damage along with releasing prisoners charged with certain drug offences. Seattle allowed several blocks of the city to be occupied by those engaged in civil unrest and property crimes along with open defiance of police authority. Minneapolis has almost disbanded its own police force in favor of catering to a minority number of the population. Surveys have shown that the majority numbers of blacks, whites, latinos, and all citizens want their police in numbers to sufficiently protect them. And then we witnessed the Mayor and government officials of our Capitol, Washington DC, turn on our sitting President! And then the grand finale of any of the great circus acts happened last week right here in our very own State of Illinois!
Unbelievably to me our governor, J.B. Pritzker, I assume in an attempt to one up the proactive, leftist regime in America signed into legislation HB 3653. What this bill effectively does is remove most of the abilities allowed for police in Illinois to protect its citizens. This is not an overstatement either. I’ve been doing this for forty-one years and I’ve seen a lot of changes come and go but this, this bill contains the most ludicrous legislation I’ve ever seen. This bill is beyond “police reform” as it has been touted and sold to the citizens in Illinois. This is not reform. This is a complete do over as to how police officers are allowed to protect the citizens in Illinois. The Governor and his Democratic companions that contributed to this bill obviously have never had much law enforcement experience. “No cash bail” What?! Cash bail is a deterrent! I don’t care what anyone has to say about how it’s unfair to those with less available cash to bond out. Those with money bond out and those without can’t bond as often, it’s true. But how in the world does anyone with any sense of logic conclude that the fix to this is just let everyone go home or worse yet, go commit more of the same crimes the same day or the same night! Right now, without any changes, I could arrest say a shoplifter, process them at the jail, turn them loose because remember there is no bond under this legislation, the same offender could immediately return to the same store and steal again and the process could play over and over and over!!! You might call us to your neighborhood because someone is having a big drunken party with lots of noise and loud music. We could arrest the homeowner, process him/her, release him/her because no cash bail, and they could return home and start that party up all over again! But wait! It gets better! If any of these offenders refuses to be arrested peacefully and states they will resist, we, the police, must turn away and leave the scene! Why? Because we will not be allowed to use force to arrest for most non violent crimes!
So how will this affect the arrests of drunk drivers and domestic violence offenders? I have no idea. It’s not been specifically addressed. Ask the Governor I guess. Listen to me! We can not protect you from crime if we are not allowed to use force to arrest those who resist being arrested! Police officers will be melted down into nothing but security guards. But wait, I’m wrong, because security guards could call the police when they suspected or witnessed crimes being committed! Who will the police call when security guards call us? The Governor? This is serious stuff here. The citizens of Illinois better pray that trailing legislation follows this bill up and changes are made before July 1, 2021. Without changes to HB 3653 I will encourage everyone to make that move to a state that protects its citizens with laws enforced by real police officers. Our elected politicians in Springfield are expected to be wise and educated people. We rely on all of them to protect us, spend our tax money wisely, provide for our children’s education, and provide for the health care of our needy and elderly citizens to the best of their ability. What in the world were our legislators thinking and how could they get this so wrong!?
I despise boards, committees, group think tanks, etc., but, Mr Pritzker I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with whoever and serve with other seasoned law enforcement officers to make this better. To make it work. There is indeed a way to improve the internal workings of law enforcement in Illinois and probably most all other states. But, this legislation has all but abolished protective law enforcement ability of police officers in Illinois. Reduced bail, yes. Increased bail for second and subsequent offences of the same crimes, absolutely. No bail, no sense. If I don’t answer leave voicemail, I screen robo calls.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)