This is a sick and sad story about a crime victim, but it has an unexpected ending.
U.S. Rep Mary Gay Scanlon has misplaced sympathy. (Photo: People)
The victim was U.S. Rep Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents most of Delaware County, a Philadelphia suburb ranging from blue collar to white shoe, which had been a Republican bastion until recently. In 2018, she won a special election to replace Republican Pat Meehan, who had resigned. Scanlon became the first woman and third Democrat to represent this district.
Two years ago, while on official business in her car, the 2017 Acura MDX was hijacked in South Philly’s FDR Park — at gunpoint.
You know what that means?
One nervous twitch of a finger on a trigger and someone is dead, perhaps the congresswoman who is always campaigning for “common sense gun safety legislation.”
That didn’t happen.
What did happen is police found the car and arrested a suspect, Josiah Brown, 19, of Wilmington.
Brown was tried and convicted last week, and here’s where we come to the sick and sad part of the story.
Although she didn’t appear at the sentencing, Scanlon sent a letter to trial judge Cynthia M. Rufe asking for a second chance for the convicted felon, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which said Scanlon did not respond to a request for comment on Brown’s sentence to 7 ½ years last Wednesday.
I left a telephone message at her D.C. office and sent a tweet asking for a copy of the letter and about her knowledge of Brown’s past. I have received no reply.
“What Josiah Brown did was wrong,” the Inquirer quoted her saying in the letter to the judge.
“But punishment is not the only goal of our criminal justice system. Rehabilitation and reform are also important goals — especially for someone so young.”
The judge responded that she was sympathetic to what Scanlon said, but mandatory minimum sentencing laws required a sentence of at least seven years. And that’s a great argument for minimum sentencing requirements that are often accused of “tying judge’s hands.”
In my messages to Scanlon, I specifically wanted to know — in regard to a desire for a second chance — if she was aware of the fact that when he hijacked her he was on probation for an armed robbery of a Days Inn in Chester County, and, according to the Inquirer, “had racked up prior convictions for resisting arrest, disregarding a police officer, and a robbery of a 7-Eleven.”
Plus other crimes.
So we are not talking about a second chance. Not even a third or fourth.
What we have here is a career criminal, even as a young man.
It is sad that both the judge and the congresswoman in an Alice in Wonderland inversion of reality seemed to profess sympathy for the predator. They seem to share the sick notion that all criminals are actually victims.
It is also sick that they can’t recognize a threat to society when it stands in front of them. What kind of progressive indoctrination brings normal people to such abnormal beliefs?
During the hijacking, Brown pointed a gun at Scanlon’s chest. As I mentioned, all it would have taken was a twitchy finger to turn a hijacking into a homicide.
What is it in the progressive mind that so blinds it to reality, to find an excuse for the inexcusable, to turn off the genetic switch of self-preservation?
Yes, rehabilitation and reform are desirable goals. Can’t Scanlon see that being incarcerated for seven years might open Brown’s eyes to rehabilitation and redemption?
And if it doesn’t, at least other honest citizens will be safe for 7 ½ years.
If Scanlon is so repulsed by a career criminal’s earned punishment, she ought to quit politics and go into social work.