In case you still think every unilateral action taken by local officials is driven by science and intrepid concern for public safety and health, I present to you the case of Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
On Monday, after holding a virtue-signaling press conference lecturing the public on the Bible, Chronister arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for holding services on Sunday, even though his lawyer says he was following CDC guidelines for sanitation and social distancing.
“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff really cares about human life and public safety, right?
Well, now channel 10 news in Tampa is reporting that Chronister has released 163 prisoners as a “precautionary” measure to avoid spreading the virus in jail, as if somehow taking them out of the ultimate quarantine into the general population will stop the spread, and as if criminals will actually abide by the home confinement Chronister so zealously wants to impose on all citizens.
Chronister repeated the same disingenuous line that these criminals are all low-level. "These defendants are the lowest public safety risk," Chronister said. "They were merely sitting in jail because they could not afford to pay the amount it would take to bond out."
The problem is that most people who wind up in jail these days, especially with the trend of leniencies up and down the system, usually are serious criminals or repeat offenders. Non-serious criminals simply don’t serve time any more. These releases don’t take into account prior history and plea bargains, which are ubiquitous throughout the system. Judges will often keep people locked up for “low-level” crimes, if they have priors and have been arrested for more serious charges that were pled down.
Channel 10 lists the criminal charges among those released by the sheriff, and the bulk of them were locked up for theft, burglary, and drugs. Yes, some of them could be relatively low-level, but what we’ve seen nationwide is that it is usually high-level criminals who are rearrested and jailed on these sorts of crimes. Any cop looking at these crimes will tell you that these are not people who just simply couldn’t pay their bail and will stay out of trouble if released.
Last week, a woman in Utah was violently attacked by a man who broke into her home after he was released under coronavirus jailbreak because he was “only” serving time for drug charges.
As the streets remain quiet and lined with vacant stores, is now the time to release career burglars? Farther south in Florida, Palm Beach County is experiencing a rash of burglaries. "We have seen an uptick in the number of burglaries because, unfortunately, some people are trying to take advantage of others during this time of crisis," said state attorney Dave Aronberg in an interview with WPTV.
Palm Beach County is under a shelter-in-place order, even as the rest of the state has not ratcheted the restrictions to that level yet. It turns out criminals don’t follow emergency edicts the same way they don’t follow basic laws.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that none of this jailbreak is rooted in concern for public health, and it certainly will not be limited to low-level offenders. California Governor Gavin Newsom commuted the sentences of 14 people charged with murder, citing coronavirus and the concern of spreading the disease for expediting their release. Several of them were convicted of murdering children, and one was convicted of murdering a pregnant woman. Two of them are immigrants who should be deported, but Newsom does not cooperate with ICE to ensure safe transfer, even of other countries’ murderers.
These jailbreaks are now occurring in every major city in both blue and red states. Despite Governor Greg Abbott’s efforts to block jailbreak, Harris County, Texas, still plans to release 1,000 inmates. But fear not, Houstonians, Mayor Sylvester Turner has begged criminals not to commit crime, so you will be safe. “Until the coronavirus is resolved, criminals take a break. Okay. Stay home. Stay home and don’t commit any crimes,” implored the Houston mayor on Monday. “Wait till the coronavirus is over and then we’ll all be okay.”
Thus, as pastors and business owners get arrested, just remember that if you are caught violating your home arrest, you can just tell the cops you are on your way to committing a “low-level” crime and you will be let off the hook. Whether you like it or not, this is what must be done for your well-being. It’s all in the scientific models and projections. A message brought to you by the Ministry of Truth in “1984.”