Where is the ‘equity’ for victims of crime?

Aug 8, 2022

— August 8, 2022

It was apparent then, and is even more apparent today: The 2021 legislative session really pushed our state in the wrong direction.

Governor Inslee and others who longed for a state income tax finally got their way.

Hard drugs were essentially legalized. Even worse, it was done in a way that puts treatment farther out of the reach of those who would likely benefit.

Lawmakers who decided they knew better than trained law-enforcement officers imposed limits on policing that have done nothing to slow a rise in violent crimes while enabling a record spike in vehicle thefts.

Inslee’s crusade to force people into EVs became a fuel-standard law that will make gas and diesel more expensive without generating a dime to make Washington roads safer and more efficient.

Now another mistake from 2021 is in the spotlight: the passage of SB 5164, titled “Resentencing of individuals sentenced as a persistent offender due to a robbery in the second degree conviction.”

As reported in The Columbian recently, this policy change undermined the state’s popular, voter-approved “three strikes” law in a way that is likely to let a Clark County child-killer escape from his life-without-parole sentence and instead gain an eventual shot at freedom.

The now-retired lead detective from that 2005 child-murder case told the newspaper something that really stood out to me.

“The question should be: Do the legislators think of the consequences of their actions on the victims? They’re looking at fairness and equity, but we are forgetting our victims.”

He’s right. State government’s recent emphasis on “equity” has been ethnicity- and identity-based to the exclusion of other communities.

I maintain that the severe racial and economic disparities created by remote schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic are the number-one equity issue of our time. Despite all the talk about equity in education – the subject of another bill passed in 2021 – it’s hard to get anyone to look into that. Certainly not Inslee, based on this veto.

If not for the children who are victims of government-driven, pandemic-related disparities, the number-one question about equity could rightfully be: Where is the fairness and equity for victims of crime in our state?