Monday, March 17, 2008

Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee on “Unfortunate young men that …take the life of a coed.”

Twelve days ago, UNC-Chapel Hill Student body President Eve Carson, 22, left home in Chapel Hill early in the morning to make copies for school. Before she reached campus, she was shot and died in the street. On January 18th of this year, Abhijit Mahato, 29, a graduate engineering student at Duke University, was shot in his head in his apartment during an apparent robbery. Laurence Lovette, Jr., 17, has been charged in the murders of both Carson and Mahato. A 21 year old convicted burglar, Demario Atwater, has also been charged in the murder of Carson.

“Both Atwater and Lovette had histories of burglary and theft but managed to get probation rather than jail time,” reports the L. A. Times. The state of North Carolina seems to have become quite "progressive," in that it doesn’t seem to put criminals, short of murder, in jail. For a description of the bungling and absurd leniency by the North Carolina courts and criminal justice system that enabled Lovette and Atwater to keep their freedom when it should have been denied to them, see here and here.

With the above as a backdrop, Cong. Jackson Lee (D- Houston, TX) with degrees from both Yale and University of Virginia Law School discussed, on Thursday of this past week, on the floor of the House, the Federal Budget and the above murders. Apparently, Jackson Lee had done enough research to conclude that the two individuals, identified above as charged with murder, were “unfortunate young men.” Murder victim UNC Student Body President Eve Carson? She would rate only a description of “coed,” from Cong. Jackson Lee. Murder victim Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato? He would rate no mention at all. One wonders if Cong. Jackson Lee believes women and men should have quite a bit more protection from “unfortunate young men,” than North Carolina courts and the criminal justice system gave them in this instance. If so, she wasn’t saying.

Take a listen:
…We understand that there are now people who are now evicted who were homeowners. We give out 200,000 housing vouchers so that those in my district alone, 25,000 people on the waiting list for Section 8 and other housing resources, not because they can’t work, because there are no good facilities for them and because the market is out of control. This is what the progressive budget does. And, it takes to the least of those—those children who in the foster care system that circle [Jackson Lee asks for more time to speak] around in the system, who knows who they turn out to be. Maybe it’s the unfortunate young men that found themselves in the streets of North Carolina to take the life of a coed. There are tragedies out there and this budget understands that investing in America and these workers will make the difference…

Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee (D- Houston, TX), speaking on the House Floor, March 13, 2008
Jackson Lee ties all of the above into a federal budget issue. Is she saying, “They were depraved because they were deprived,” stealing a line from “West Side Story.” But, it was reported that the high school dropouts (Lovette and Atwater, above) were convicted of crimes but put back on the street by a system that failed to notice when they were arrested again. Both are now behind bars, held without bail and charged with murdering two college students.

Perhaps Jackson Lee agreed with Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez, who said, “We've got a lot of kids out there who have a sense of helplessness, with a propensity for violence." "We need to look at the reasons our youth are doing this." [See here].

Perhaps the police and courts first need to get individuals off the streets who are making a career out of breaking and entering, robbing and killing those who get in their way. Handing out probation, like it was candy and everyday is Halloween, is probably not a good idea.

Then, if you think society has “Kids or adults on the street,” because their public educational system or foster system has failed them, you might try to do something rational about that. But, flailing around, as does Cong. Jackson Lee, speaking almost incomprehensively about suspected murderers as “unfortunate young men that found themselves on the streets,” and perhaps decided to kill a few people to facilitate a robbery of an ATM card is not a good start. Maybe Jackson Lee would tell us we need to supplement “gun control,” with “unfortunate young men,” control. Yes, we do. They call it jail time for criminals. How is that for a new idea?

Neither Cong. Jackson Lee, nor her Communications Director, Judith Kargbo, returned this reporter’s call on Friday to discuss the above.
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include, among others, tonight's show in the city of Chicago at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 with Senator Brady, our show with former Sen. Rauschenberger, assessing Barack Obama, our prior show with Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dr. Steve Sauerberg, discussing his opponent--Senator Durbin-- and domestic, cultural and foreign policy issues, our prior show featuring State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston,IL), discussing Barack Obama, as well as various Illinois Budget issues (spending, mass transit, capital budget, education, gaming and taxes) and possible 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidates and 2010 U. S. Senate candidates (assuming Obama moves up to President in 2008) , a discussion with State's Attorney for Cook County Republican nominee Tony Peraica; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to current State's Attorney for Cook County Dick Devine and now the Democratic nominee for State's Attorney of Cook County.