Different strokes for different folks

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who wants to be president, sacked a county prosecutor for saying he wouldn’t enforce abortion and transgender laws.

In Washington, Loren Culp, a small-town cop, earned a run for governor by refusing to enforce a gun safety law.

In Colorado, a “Second Amendment sheriff” refused to enforce a red flag law, and a gay club slaughter ensued (read story here).

Different strokes for different folks.

DeSantis flexed his authority to relieve Andrew Warren, the elected county prosecutor in Tampa, for signing a letter saying he wouldn’t enforce GOP-enacted Florida prohibitions on abortions and transgender medical procedures for minors (see details here). Warren didn’t actually not enforce those laws, but DeSantis, outraged by him saying he wouldn’t, removed him and appointed a replacement.

But rightwing sheriffs and politicians routinely refuse to enforce laws they don’t like. In Florida, DeSantis defied CDC-imposed Covid-19 mandates, and his state ended up with a Covid-19 death rate twice Washington’s, where mandates were enforced. And in the American West especially, it’s common for “constitutional sheriffs” to refuse to enforce gun laws (and defy federal mandates).

Such defiance catapulted Culp to fame and into politics. His record as the one-man police force of Republic, Washington, a small mining town near the Canadian border, was spotty and even his police dog was a bad cop (see article here). Probably no one outside Republic would’ve ever heard of him if the Washington legislature hadn’t passed a gun safety law, which he loudly refused to enforce.

This won him the GOP nomination for governor in 2020, and he got over 450,000 more votes than Tiffany Smiley, the GOP’s far more credible nominee for U.S. Senate in 2022. (More people voted in 2020, but Tiffany also trailed Culp in percentage, see article here.)

Colorado enacted a red flag law in 2020, which allows law enforcers to petition a court to take guns away from people who are a danger to themselves or others. But El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder (photo, right) refused to enforce it, even going on TV to criticize the law. El Palso County was to be “a Second Amendment sanctuary.”

One person he didn’t enforce the law against was Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested in 2021 for threatening to kill his mother with a bomb. For still-unknown reasons, Aldrich wasn’t even prosecuted; the case was buried. A year later Aldrich murdered five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs; now many people are debating whether Sheriff Elder should’ve used the red flag law to prevent this horror (see story here).

My point here is that selective law enforcement is like gerrymandering or using personal email accounts for official business: It’s bad only when Democrats do it.

Stop the hypocrisy, please. If you’re not going to enforce laws, then don’t throw stones at your political opponents’ glass houses. For voters, it’s time to realize that Republican talk is forked-tongue talk.

I guess we have a choice between voting for politicians who don’t enforce gun safety laws and health regulations, or those who don’t enforce laws banning abortions and oppressing trans kids.

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