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Kate Tibbitts can’t make this plea to you. She can’t cast a vote or call a legislator or sign a petition for change. She can’t install a security system or add another deadbolt to her Sacramento home. Kate Tibbitts is dead. She was raped, murdered, her pets killed and home set on fire by a transient career criminal. Her innocent life ended in horror. Her death, while heartbreaking, is not surprising. Kate’s tragedy can be traced back to political trends and liberal policy decisions that, if not reversed, will leave a longer trail of victims behind them.
The recall election succeeded in highlighting California’s dysfunction. This administration will be forever linked to raging wildfires, massive and inhumane homeless camps, Employment Development Department fraud and French Laundry hypocrisy, but what most symbolizes Newsom’s reign, and the madness of the legislature, is the upside-down view of crime and punishment. The saddest and most profound symbol of Newsom's tenure is Kate Tibbitt’s tombstone.
California is conducting a real-time experiment implementing the “de-incarceration” philosophy, which paints the criminals themselves as victims of “the system,” and considers their imprisonment the true injustice. This is the animating thought behind the emptying of our prisons and the no-cash bail push in the legislature. Newsom’s administration recently went all-in for de-incarceration by sidestepping the legislature and unilaterally green lighting the early release of more than 70,000 of felons back on to California streets. Expect a crimewave to follow.
It’s hard to end up in prison. The myth of a prison sentence for a first-time offender for marijuana possession may be politically appealing to some, but it’s mostly imaginary. Our prisons are stuffed with hardened criminals, violent felons, who get paroled and commit new felonies to get back in.
Troy Davis, the suspect in Ms. Tibbitts’ murder, has a rap sheet that would defy the belief of a law-abiding citizen. The Sacramento Bee reported Davis’ list of charges includes resisting an officer, battery on an officer, possession of methamphetamine, threatening an officer, misdemeanor sexual battery, assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, and other unnamed crimes in June 2021. He was also, according to the Bee, arrested for auto theft this past June and released with zero bail, per state policy. He did not show up for his arraignment and became a “parolee at large.”
One-man crime scourge Troy Davis should be in prison. Kate Tibbitts should be alive.
But we’ve recently built a system where it’s hard to get in to prison and easy to get out. “Realignment,” Proposition 47 and Proposition 57, Newsom good-time credits increase, Newsom-mandated zero cash bail, all of these policies are pillow-soft on crime. They rob law enforcement of power and the ability hold criminals accountable. Society suffers as crime explodes.
Greenhouse gas reduction is not a concern for Kate Tibbetts. It doesn’t matter that she can’t get a single-use plastic bag at the grocery store or a plastic straw at a restaurant. She can’t get a subsidy to buy a Tesla or install rooftop solar. While Newsom and the legislature focus on fashionable leftist elite concerns, the real state has fallen apart.
Basic government services, such as public safety, which includes punishing criminals to hold them accountable, as well as keeping them off the street where they commit more crime, have taken a back seat to self-congratulatory moral grandstanding.
Kate’s last moments must have been grisly. I pray for her family and friends, who will deeply mourn her death. No legislation can undo her loss. No policy will prevent wickedness. But we absolutely cannot facilitate it.
The simple fact is that career criminal Troy Davis could not have killed Kate from his prison cell.
I plead with you all – support policies that punish crime and maintain our civil society. Our lives depend on it.
Senator Ted Gaines (Ret.) was elected to represent the Board of Equalization’s First District. He is a leading taxpayer advocate, defender of Prop. 13, and is committed to providing trustworthy and transparent representation for nearly ten million constituents in 30 counties of northern, eastern, and southern California. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Gaines.