The immorality of being soft on crime

I blogged the other day about Dennis Prager’s strongly expressed opinion that those who have runaway compassion for criminals lack compassion for innocent people. Prager made that point in connection with the killing of Sean Taylor, something that took place at the hands of four young men with lengthy rap sheets. I later updated that some post to ask this question: “What do you bet that the two guys arrested for this horrific accident both have rap sheets?” I’m now in a position to answer that same question.

To begin with, the “accident” was no accident. Two men stole a car and, once they were spotted by the police, they took off, ran a red light, and smashed into another car, killing both men in that other car. One of the men killed was Kristopher Bratt, only 20 years old:

Bratt, who was reportedly a nephew of the actor Benjamin Bratt, worked until recently as a laborer for Redwood Engineering in Tiburon. He was laid off last week because of a seasonal slowdown, said company owner Rob Poole.

“He was a nice guy,” Poole said. “If I hadn’t laid him off, he would’ve been in bed getting ready for work. You feel weird about it.”

Bratt’s survivors include his mother in Mill Valley.

Bratt’s mother had to say what any mother would say upon learning that her son was the victim of random, violent death: ”

I’m just in shock right now – my youngest son is dead.” [snip] “Kristopher happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “If he died instantly, that’s a blessing.”

About the other man killed, Alfonso Felipe Cortez, 36, nothing is yet known.

Those are the victims, men who had the spectacular bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But let’s get back to my question about the perpetrators. I asked, what do you bet they both guys had rap sheets?

I can tell you now that at least one of them, the man who drove the stolen car and caused the crash, had a lengthy rap sheet:

The 22-year-old man who allegedly fled from police in a stolen car and slammed into a second car early Tuesday in San Francisco, killing two men, has a long arrest record and was recently released from jail, authorities said.


Records show that Gosnell has a string of offenses dating back to 2004. Most were for burglaries and petty theft, but he also been arrested for allegedly making terrorist threats and carrying a concealed weapon.

In February, Gosnell was ordered to serve a year in county jail for a probation violation. He spent about 10 months behind bars. He could have faced up to two years in state prison.

Gosnell has four burglary- or theft-related convictions, records show, and each time, he served days to months in jail before being released on probation. As part of the sentence this year on the probation revocation, he was placed on probation through 2009.

He was arrested in November in San Francisco stemming from a warrant in Daly City, according to prosecutors. Details about that warrant and the status of the case were unavailable late Tuesday.

Gosnell’s attorney wins this year’s “master of understatement” award. In commenting on his client, he said “My impression is that he was a decent enough chap who had problems – I’m stunned that this has happened.” Yes, that’s what he was — a decent guy with problems, little problems such as terrorism threats, carrying concealed weapons, at least four burglary/theft crimes (and we assume many more for which he was not tagged), not to mention stealing a car and killing two innocent young men.

Now, I understand that this is an attorney talking about his own client, but here’s another bet for you: What do you bet that Gosnell’s defenders will quickly get back to us with stories of his social/economic/mental/racial/familiar/[fill in the blank] problems, all of which explain or excuse the terrible crime he committed?

UPDATE:  And here’s a political note about being soft on crime, in a column asking if Huckabee’s penchant for forgiving violent criminals is going to make him soft on Islamic terrorism.


6 Responses

  1. If Huckabee is so easily taken in by con man criminals, how will he deal with a Putins, a Chavez, or the double-talking Saudis? The POTUS needs a BS detector that Huck seems to lack.

  2. he POTUS needs a BS detector

    I think the Prez needs his own personal executioners. Old school.

  3. don’t commit on a person you do not know. you don’t know his mental state at the time. yes he was very wrong for running in a stolen car. but the police were wrong for keeping the chase up after it reached over 80 mile per hour. this kid does and will always have a mental problem. his father was killed by a drunk when gosnell was 6, his mother is unfit, he was denide the right to know his fathers family after the age of 8, he was flopped around in foster care until being returned to his unfit mother at the age of 17, was around drugs and abuse with his mother, doesn’t know the real meaning of love and family. the kid made a stupit choice. now he will spend a very, very long time in prison. he will alway have on his mind that he caused the death of 2 innocent people. his life was domed the day his father was killed. DON’T JUDGE UNLESS YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. On Gosnell, The truth is that a lot of people these days are coaght in the wrong situations for good reasons. Everyones got to eat, that does not mean that what he did or has done is right. The fact is, the US government makes it so hard to make a living that some have no choice then to resault to a life of crime these days. Yeah, you can say “I whent to college and got a degree” or “I got a good job”. Thats “YOU”, the person who had mommy and daddy pay your way through school and hook you up with a job, easy when it’s thrown at you for free. There are those, like Gosnell, who have grown up with no familey, no guide lines, life for them is hard enough. Gosnell is a very good guy that just made some bad choices and is paying for them right now, I for one am on his side of things. Why? Because unlike you, who talks bad about someone you don’t even know, I know him very personaly. He’s my brother by blood and I know he has changed his way. Thought long and hard about the mistakes he has made in his life and has repented for all his sins. People do change for the better, like in my brothers situation. He now has somthing to look forward to after 16 years of having nothing. 16 years of never seeing his brother, or two sisters, 16 years of never seeing his mother, or family, 16 years of being a nobody, being truly and utterly alone, empty, in the world can do a lot to a person, But all has changed and because of his big mistake, Gosnell has changed and is wanting to just finish his sentance and start his life over, start new, start living straight, clean, legal, like everyone else. So don’t go talking about how “criminals get off easy” or “the judicial system is never against convicks but for them” or any other B.S. when you don’t even know how it is in the system. Prison can change people, family can change people, living with your mistakes can change people. What Gosnell di, he has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life, not a day goes by when I’m on the phone with him and he says how much he screwed up, how he wishes he could take it all back, NOT because of where he is now, sitting in prison, but because Bratts family, and what they whent through, what they deal with everyday, a son that is nolonger in this world. A son that will never be there for birthdays, holidays, and family functions, these are my brothers words, Gosnell’s, not my own. Gosnell has to live with that forever, and he IS living with that. Like I said, the SYSTEM does change most people for the better of humankind, Gosnell being one of them. And as for his attorney, don’t even get me started on that low-life degenerate prick that can’t even handle his own job of being an attorney, that forgot Gosnell was even one of his clients and never even returns Gosnell’s calls.

  5. And as for Joshua Wilson, just because his rapsheet is not mentioned, does not mean that my brothers was worse. Because of court details and case problems I won’t get involved in his situation. But I will say he is just as much at fault as Gosnell, and yet he’s as free as a summer bird, “I wander why?”. (movie quote)Being a snich gets you good deals and out of trouble when and if you put the blame on the other person and not yourself. That life must be great, real great.

    • WOW. How pathetic of an excuse. Your brother robbed these two men of their future. Their families suffer because of the poor choice your brother made. Him and his accomplice!! Do you know the loss of these two men how their family have been grieving???? Do you know how this accident has affected everyone????? Two families will never ever see them ever again. Your brother killed a son, an uncle, a brother and the person I loved that I, that we will never see again. He robbed us of our future.
      My only wish now is to hope your brother and his accomplice rot in jail.

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