Good thing for John Earnest that he shot up a synagogue in California and not in Texas. Thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the worst thing Earnest faces in California is three square meals a day at taxpayer expense for the rest of his life; in Texas his crime would have meant execution.
The contrast between California, where Newsom has obliterated the death penalty by executive fiat, and Texas was never more apparent than last week. On Wednesday Texas executed one John William King by lethal injection for the brutal 1998 murder of James Byrd, Jr. King and two other white men chained Byrd, a black man, to a truck and dragged him for over three miles. The autopsy showed that Byrd was alive for half the dragging and that he died when his body hit a culvert, severing his head and arm.
The crime so outraged the nation that Congress passed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but in Texas this was also a murder punishable by death. One of the murderers was executed in 2011, King paid for his crime last week.
But in California, thanks to Newsom, there will be no execution, despite the similarities of the crimes. King and his cohorts hated blacks, and took out their hatred on James Byrd. Earnest hated Jews and took out his hatred by opening fire on Jewish worshipers celebrating the end of Passover at their synagogue.
The Poway shooting brings up several interesting issues. Earnest used an AR-15 type assault rifle, but aren’t these illegal in California under our assault weapons ban? So how did he have one, and doesn’t this once again prove that bad guys will get guns no matter how many we try to outlaw. Does not this show that gun control, in the nation’s number one gun control state, does not work very well.
Secondly, why all the emphasis on this being a hate crime; of course it is, but more importantly it was a murder. A woman is dead; this goes far beyond hate, Earnest purposely killed her. Murder in California remains a capital crime, let’s keep the focus there.
Isn’t this also another example of failure to police social media? Earnest apparently posted a 4,000 word letter on a media site professing to be a white nationalist who hated Jews and Muslims. He apparently also firebombed a mosque last month.
Earnest will now enjoy years of defense lawyers trying to get him out of prison. Perhaps a liberal judge will come along and find that prisons are overcrowded and Earnest will have to be released.
And if Bernie Sanders gets his way, Earnest will still have his voting rights despite being a convicted felon, since Sanders is running on restoring the ballot for felons while they are in prison. Under a President Sanders, Earnest will be able to cast a ballot for his favorite white nationalist candidate.
That’s a lot better than waiting for his execution at Huntsville, Texas, which would have been his fate had this crime occurred in the Lone Star State.