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Travis Rowley: Liberals and Criminals

Saturday, January 11, 2014


“Those who once saw the tech boom as an aperture for democratizing societies through technologies and online networks must now realize the cybernetic dream is dead…[Swipely has a] desire to rid Downtown [P]rovidence of the poor and once-imprisoned, a conservatism in the tech world that would uphold a Tale of Two Cities.” – Natasha Lennard, Salon.com

“The statistics say that somewhere between 19 and 27 percent of the folks that are served by this office that are on parole or probation are there for a violent offense. And statistics say that 61 percent of those folks are going to commit another offense,” Swipely CEO Angus Davis told Dan Yorke this week on Mr. Yorke’s television show State of Mind. It was a statement that built upon Davis’ open letter to Governor Lincoln Chafee (D) that objected to his “plans to relocate a parole office serving over 1,500 convicted criminals to the heart of Providence.”

Davis’ position would eventually gain support from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses and associations. Even those most inclined to disagree with Davis found it difficult to do so, evidenced by the fact that several prominent Democrats acknowledged the legitimacy of Davis’ concern – and the fact that Governor Chafee ultimately suspended his proposal. While attempting to market the State’s capital city as a safe and business-friendly destination, why would anyone decide to prop up a “government-mandated criminal convention center” on Fountain Street – as Davis put it.

But with such a politically incorrect opinion having now been expressed, detractors sprang up from – yup, you guessed it – the political Left.

Writing on the far-left news-blog RIFuture.org, Oswald Krell urged Ocean State employers to “[set] up employment opportunities for ex-offenders” rather than “categorically [reject]” them. “They might find that some ex-offenders are quite employable and have a valuable contribution to make to society.”

I’ll concede Krell’s point. As long as Krell will concede that some ex-offenders may also decide to rob and rape their new employers instead.

Krell’s logic was hardly unique among those who were appalled at Davis’ nerve. Their push to establish a “meeting place for violent offenders” (Davis’ words) in Downtown Providence is primarily backed up by their insistence that former inmates are gentler than most people realize, and that other parole/probation sites don’t seem to spawn high-crime locations – entirely disregarding the potential for such a consequence to occur within an urban center, of course.

RIFuture’s Sam Howard had something to say to those he derided as people who “[think] they can spot a parolee” out of a crowd, people who are afraid “to get out of their car in Providence,” and “every employer who views a criminal conviction as a scarlet letter to be carried around for the rest of one’s life.” Howard called the reaction by Davis and his supporters a “disappointing chapter in recent events.” They all “should be ashamed of themselves.”

“Parolees and probationers…have just as much right to be in downtown Providence as, say, the head of a bank,” wrote Jorge Elorza, a Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence. “Segregation and inequality are the greatest challenges our society faces, and these problems are compounded every time we choose to exclude the most vulnerable among us — the very people we should be working to help and support.”

Common-Sense Conservatism

On display during this controversy was not only progressives’ crooked worldview, but also their inclination to characterize others as closed-minded, cruel, and unforgiving. To refer to convicted felons as “the most vulnerable among us” – astonishingly overlooking their victims – is not a mere slip of the tongue, but an accurate illustration of how the Left views the world. That is, a place where “criminals” – particularly African-Americans – may be considered “victims;” a place where “terrorists” could be considered “freedom fighters;” a place where crime is not committed at the hands of the criminal, but at the hands of “racism,” “poverty,” “capitalist oppression,” and “the system.”

It’s the kind of crap you learn in college – the kind of knowledge you learn to finally reject at 2am when you’re being mugged and groped outside of Haven Bros.

Salon.com contributor Natasha Lennard will surely accuse me of using my “classist bent” to make “reductive assumptions about individuals who go through the prison system” for saying this, but here I go anyway: In contrast to progressives, conservatives – before they even have a chance to delve into anything truly worthy of controversy – are often forced to be mere ambassadors of common sense.

Think “Voter ID.”

Think “balanced budgets.”

Think “competitive tax rates.”

Lennard is surely reaching when she accuses Davis and Swipely of speaking in accordance with “conservatism.” This writer has been deeply involved with the RIGOP for the past five years, and cannot say with any measure of confidence that Angus Davis is a champion of limited government, or even a Republican. To me, he has always seemed to be – simply – an entrepreneur; a businessman.

Conservatives, however, like most normal Americans, do believe in accepting the consequences of their actions. They believe in upholding moral priorities by reserving most of their compassion for victims – and civilization itself.

Is the concept of redemption important? Of course. But not if it comes at the expense of a civil and moral order.

Progressives, on the other hand, are freaks. Freaks who aim to intimidate people into abandoning their instincts; into becoming naïve enough to trust convicts; and into perceiving an ex-criminal to be just as worthy as a law-abiding businessman in Downtown Providence – “say, the head of a bank.”

A Sick Mentality

Understanding the long-held affinity radical progressives have had for our society’s criminals helps to make sense out of the RI Left’s compulsion to spring to the defense of the State’s parolees; to side with convicts over law-abiding citizens.

No doubt under the spell of the same liberal mindset, this week President Obama nominated Debo Adegbile to be Attorney General Eric Holder’s top civil rights enforcer. Adegbile is the race-obsessed activist-lawyer who defended the unrepentant cop killer – and the Left’s cause célèbre – Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal is the former Black Panther convicted of brutally murdering a Philadelphia police officer (one of the “oppressors”) in 1981, and who is now frequently invited to speak at college commencement ceremonies.

Obama’s, Holder’s, and Adegbile’s radical mentality is identical to the one that had Democrats successfully pushing “Ban the Box” through the State House last year, legislation that now forbids Ocean State employers to ask job applicants about their criminal history.

If the “Ban the Box” law fails to shock you, consider the fact that it is merely a toned-down version of what progressives really want. Several years ago State House Democrats were sponsoring legislation that “would ban employers from denying a job to anyone because of his or her criminal history.” The bill firmly warned employers that “a finding of ‘moral turpitude’ or ‘lack of good moral character’ based solely on a criminal conviction is not sufficient cause for denying license or employment.” Upon passage of this bill, any person refusing employment to a criminal would have had to answer to the General Assembly, explaining the decision within “a written statement setting forth the reason for such a denial.”

Like I said, progressives are freaks.

So, naturally, their sensibilities were set aflame when they witnessed a member of the “capitalist class” – who is clearly oblivious to all the suffering and oppression he has helped to spread – raising concerns over members of the “criminal class” flooding into a neighborhood that many hope will someday become a thriving business sector.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


Related Slideshow: The Best of Travis Rowley

Here are some of Travis Rowley's most well-read articles to date:

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In the event of a victory by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney several weeks ago, I had prepared myself to draft a column intended to quell the anticipated jubilation of the political Right nationwide – my primary point being that, despite such a Republican triumph, America’s enduring crisis would have been that Barack Obama was practically guaranteed 47 percent of the popular vote simply by being the endorsed Democratic candidate (Obama ultimately secured 51 percent).

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Travis Rowley: Republicans Told You So

August 25, 2012

While Anthony Gemma’s highly anticipated press conference was certainly compelling, it remains unclear whether or not it will be enough to sink Congressman David Cicilline’s re-election hopes. At the very least, however, it seems Gemma is in possession of convincing evidence of large-scale voter fraud that would incriminate high-level officers within Cicilline’s inner circle.

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Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage is a Sham

January 5, 2013

The consequences of silence were on parade this week when Channel 10 aired a report titled “Same-Sex Marriage Could Help RI Economy.” The premise for saying so is that many people, while decidedly against the passage of a gay marriage bill, have been entirely bullied out of the controversy – and that this has resulted in a growing confusion over how to even begin defending traditional values.

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Travis Rowley: Lessons From Boston's Post-Bombing Lockdown

April 20, 2013

In the midst of the ongoing debate over the 2nd Amendment, I discovered lessons to be learned from the events in Boston this week.

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Travis Rowley: A Letter To An Undocumented Student

September 28, 2011

Dear Undocumented Student,

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Travis Rowley: Hendricken, Progressives, and Homosexuality

May 19, 2012

Bishop Hendricken High School president John Jackson set off somewhat of a Facebook firestorm this week when he penned a letter to the Providence Journal that criticized President Obama for “favor[ing] same-sex marriage,” and for essentially recapitulating the Catholic Church’s position concerning homosexuality.

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Travis Rowley: Rhode Islanders, Pay Your Own Damn Taxes

March 10, 2012

Local property taxes in Rhode Island are among the highest in the nation. And it has little to do with what progressive Democrats claim. That is, that recent tax cuts for the state’s high-income earners are the cause of your skyrocketing property tax bill – that “the rich” are not paying their “fair share.”

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Travis Rowley: Outlaw Government Unions

April 7, 2012

Offering collective bargaining privileges to Rhode Island’s public employees was always an imprudent idea. And they should be rescinded immediately.

This is a simple conclusion to reach when one considers the nature and purpose of a union. That is, when a group of workers view themselves as having collective leverage over their employer, and find it in their best interest to threaten him with a work stoppage unless their demands are met – most commonly, a greater share of company profits.

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Travis Rowley: Gay Marriage: The Odds of Error

January 19, 2013

It is no secret that both the conservative and the liberal often charge the other with ignorance, a natural imputation for those with whom one disagrees. You don’t know what I know. And that’s why you disagree with me.

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Travis Rowley: Left Wants Gays To Receive Magic Beans At Mass

August 10, 2013

Reverend Brian Sistare, the pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Woonsocket, is currently denying Holy Communion to Lew Pryeor and Pierre Leveillee, a gay couple who are members of Sacred Heart’s regular congregation.

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As a liberal, the first piece of legislation I would support is a mandatory life sentence without parole for anyone owning a firearm.....period! Then I would release all the prisoners.

Comment #1 by Jonathan Bainsworth on 2014 01 11

So, once a criminal is released back into the public, they have a hard time finding jobs because nobody will hire them because of their past. Then they go on public assistance because they can't find a job and they are bad mouthed for being a welfare queen. You can't have it both ways. You can't ostracize these people and make it more difficult for them to find a job, then also complain that they are on public assistance. We need to do a better job of finding ways to integrate these people back into society otherwise we'll be supporting them until they die. People wonder why there is a high rate of recidivism when we make it so difficult for them that they see no other choice for themselves.

Comment #2 by Phil Paulson on 2014 01 11

Mr Rowley
It's the conservatives who have a love affair with felons, and elect them time and again. Just one example is GOP leader Rep. Darrell Issa, who was arrested FIVE TIMES Issa was arrested TWICE on illegal weapons charges, twice for car theft, a third time for fraudulently faking a car theft. Then there was allegations of arson. Issa quadrupled his building insurance from about $100,000 to $460,000 (flammable liquid had been poured on the only area WITHOUT sprinklers) Makes one think about how many crimes he got away with.
The police suspected Issa was involved in many other felonies but lacked enough evidence to charge him

Comment #3 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 01 11

First, the underlying cause of crime are criminals, not poverty, discrimination, etc., etc.

Second, if you don't want to be discriminated against because of a criminal conviction, don't commit crime.

Comment #4 by Christopher Lee on 2014 01 11

Unfortunately, the really far-gone liberals will have to have a knife put to their side or experience a home invasion before they understand that violent criminals couldn't care less if liberals stand in solidarity with the victimhood suffered by criminals. Most likely such criminals would be happy for the easy prey.

Comment #5 by Art West on 2014 01 11

I guess most progressives didn't grow up where crime was a daily presence,nor have much day to day contact with criminals.otherwise they wouldn't vomit out the BS we see above.The fact is that a hell of a lot of criminals have no intention of changing their behavior.Right now people who aren't ex cons are having a hell of a hard time finding jobs of any value-criminals can't expect to go to the front of the line.
As far as going after gun owners Jonathan-good luck on that-that isn't going to happen now or in the foreseeable future.There are 80 million gun owners more or less in the US.If only 5% resisted you can do the math on that.It'll be more than 5%
Progressives are really freaks-they live in some bizarre make believe world.

Comment #6 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 12

As far as Darrell Issa goes,he's not one of my favorite legislators-kind of like that guy from Texas,Tom DeLay(whose conviction was overturned)-but has Issa been convicted of anything?That is the question when bringing up someone's criminal record-arrests by themselves don't constitute a criminal record.I guess nitwit sammy is now a criminal investigator specializing in arson
What ajerk.

Comment #7 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 12


Comment #8 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 01 13

Most of you are rather in-artfully ignoring Phil's point:how do we create an environment where criminals who have served their time can become productive and contributing members of society. Sending them back to their old friends and neighbors without some intervention is just encouraging recidivism. Having said that, down city was a truly stupid place to put a probation office.

Comment #9 by John Onamas on 2014 01 13

So its ok to house probation and parole in a poverty stricken neighborhood but not downtown? Is that the point?

Comment #10 by bill bentley on 2014 01 16

Housing Probation & Parole in the Harris/Promenade vicinity would not impact any residential area.Nor do children and elderly frequent the area.

Comment #11 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 18

Joseph Bernstein -

A pleasure as ever to read your spot-on remarks. Until reading your commentary, hadn't realized that Sammy made Detective. Some kinda kudos gotta be in order there. Had no idea that Rep. Issa was so nefarious.

You think maybe he's Keyser Soze? lol

Comment #12 by paul zecchino on 2014 01 20

Sammy is a pisser-I wonder if he takes himself seriously?I'm sure no one else does.

Comment #13 by Joseph Bernstein on 2014 01 21

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