The news media reported relentlessly on all matters relating even remotely to the horrific murders in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Fair enough.
But I haven’t heard much from the mainstream media about the shooting in Philadelphia of six police officers by a felon who wasn’t permitted by law to possess a firearm. Maurice Hill is believed to have fired more than 100 rounds during his standoff with police. Reportedly, he was armed with an AR-15-style weapon and a handgun.
Hill has a lengthy rap sheet. According to this report:
Hill’s criminal record dates back almost two decades and includes convictions on illegal gun possession. He was first arrested as an 18-year-old in 2001 for illegally possessing a gun with an altered serial number, court records show. He was found guilty on five counts related to that arrest.
In 2002 he was arrested yet again and eventually pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy.
Hill would continue to be arrested over the years, with his crimes escalating in severity. In 2008, he was convicted of resisting arrest, criminal trespass and fleeing from police. Three years later, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and most recently was found guilty of perjury, in 2013.
Hill was convicted of federal weapons crimes in 2010 and was under the supervision of federal authorities up to around 2016. Federal court records indicate he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to four years and seven months in prison, plus three years of supervised release.
However, Hill also avoided convictions on dozens of other charges, including kidnapping, terroristic threats, illegally possessing guns, possession of controlled substances and simple assault. Other charges, like receiving stolen property and more gun and drug charges, were dismissed through the years.
Court records also indicate that Hill repeatedly violated his probation. In fact, he had a probation violation hearing scheduled for next Tuesday.
Clearly, this bastard should have been in jail, not on the street. Why wasn’t he in jail?
U.S. Attorney William McSwain blamed [Phillie district attorney Larry Krasner] and his reform-focused policies for the shooting. In a statement, he said the gunfire erupted because, “there is a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this City that is promoted and championed by District Attorney Larry Krasner – and I am fed up with it.”
Krasner, who is fairly new to the job, concedes that Hill should not have been on the streets and “obviously was a tremendous danger to the public and to law enforcement.” McSwain seems to be implying that Krasner’s “reformed-focused policies” won’t keep criminals like Hill off the street. I suspect that’s true. Krasner should rethink his “second chance” policies.
The fact that a repeat offender like Hill was on the street is more evidence of America’s under-incarceration problem. In addition, Hill’s shooting spree also confirms that anti-firearm possession laws don’t prevent criminals from getting guns. They don’t even keep guns out of the hands of criminals like Hill who have prior weapons convictions and who are under supervised release.
James Hohman of the Washington Post is honest enough not to skirt these realities. Indeed, he cites other recent instances in which felons have shot police officers. His examples further illustrate our under-incarceration problem and the ineffectiveness of anti-gun laws:
A California highway patrolman was killed by a felon on Monday night, and two of his colleagues were badly wounded, during a gun battle after a traffic stop on the freeway in Riverside. The shooter used an AR-15 assault-style rifle without a serial number, which makes it untraceable, according to the Los Angeles Times. These “ghost guns” are assembled from parts that can be ordered by mail or obtained underground, and ATF reports that about a third of all firearms seized in California now are un-serialized. Agents expect this number to grow.
A sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot last month in Arkansas when he responded to a domestic violence call. That same deputy had reportedly arrested the man who would kill him for hitting someone else with a metal pipe in April 2018. The perpetrator had been charged with making terroristic threats, aggravated assault and second-degree battery. On July 8, Sgt. Mike Stephen was talking with a woman who had called 911 for help in the front yard of her home in Leslie, Ark., when Samuel Fullerton, 39, walked outside and opened fire, wounding both of them, according to KATV, the Little Rock ABC affiliate. Fullerton was dead when additional officers arrived.
Something similar happened in June in Sacramento, Calif., where local police were helping a woman collect her belongings from a home as part of a domestic violence call when Adel Sambrano Ramos allegedly opened fire on them and mortally wounded Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26. Court records show that Ramos, who is facing murder charges, has a history of domestic violence restraining orders. At the time of the shooting, he was wanted on a bench warrant that had been issued nine days earlier for failing to appear on a charge that he battered a young woman last year, per the Associated Press. In addition to murder, the 45-year-old Ramos is also charged with felony possession of an AR-15 with a non-fixed magazine and a pistol grip, as well as felony possession of another assault-style rifle with a telescoping stock, the Sacramento Fox affiliate reports.
(Emphasis in original)
Like Hill, the Riverside cop killer should have been serving a long prison sentence. According to Hohman, he had previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder and two counts of burglary. He had also been convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, as well as assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, disturbing the peace, vandalism, battery, and stalking.
The Sacramento killer had a lengthy history of domestic violence and battery against women, along with theft and driving under the influence. The Arkansas killer also had a long history of domestic violence. A court had extended an order of protection against him just days before the recent shooting.
Killers like these aren’t in the habit of doing favors. Yet, in a sense, they inadvertently do society a favor by demonstrating their propensity for lawlessness long before they murder people.
The least society should do in return is to “throw the book at them,” thereby maximizing the likelihood that they will be off the street and unable to kill.
Unfortunately, contemporary America seems hell bent on taking the opposite, lenient course.