Yesterday, a 34-year-old man was sentenced to 12–15 years in state prison for shooting a state trooper in Springfield, MA, which is where I happen to live. The trooper survived his wound because he was hit by a stray shot in the leg when he responded to a report about two guys fighting in the street and one of the combatants pulled out and shot a gun at the other guy.
The shooter, a black guy named Chris Gardner, was convicted of the following crimes: armed assault to murder (2 counts), assault and battery on a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon (2 counts), carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.
Seven felony charges and the guy’s going away for 12–15 years. Maybe he’ll only be locked away for 9 years if he behaves himself in stir.
Actually, he may only be off the streets for 6 years because he’s been in jail since the shooting occurred, which was — ready? — December 31, 2020!
I don’t know whether Gardner had committed other crimes prior to how he was celebrating the New Year by trying to kill someone else three years ago, but I suspect this particular incident wasn’t the first time his behavior had come to the attention of the police.
Most individuals, almost all individuals who try to kill someone by using a gun have been behaving in a violent, anti-social way from at least their early teens, if not before. We know this from the research conducted by Marvin Wolfgang published fifty years ago. We also know from the research by Alan Lizotte, that men who wind up using a gun in crimes first get interested in guns when they are 12–13 years old.
Is there a chance that Chris Gardner had been leading a happy, carefree, and lawful life up to the moment he tried to kill someone in the street and happened to shoot the wrong man? The chances of that are about equal to the chance that Donald Trump will announce that he is supporting Joe Biden and wants to serve as Vice President after Joe is re-elected next year.
I find this situation incomprehensible for two reasons. First, I always thought the Constitution guaranteed a speedy trial after someone is charged with a crime. Three years is speedy? Are they serious? What if Gardner had been found…