- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? With serious and sundry scandals making several of the District of Columbia’s top Democrats look like Charlie Brown’s pal Pig Pen, you would think individual Democrats would at least try to clean up their act by working to prevent crime the old-fashioned way.

Jim Graham is one such Democratic lawmaker in desperate need of a makeover as a card-carrying liberal who misleads stakeholders into thinking government has all the answers.

Last week brought more of the same from the Ward 1 Democrat when Andrea Noble of this newspaper reported that a crime wave in his ward, which includes Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, is leaving residents a bit jittery.

Can’t blame them.

One bloody incident stemmed from a craps game.

“There is no reason at all why there should be a craps game taking place,” said Mr. Graham, who described the gambling on Parkwood Place Northwest as a notorious problem. “If the police would focus attention, this would end.”

It is impossible for police to patrol every nook and cranny in the District, despite the fact that officers employed with more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in the city are armed and at the ready 365 days a year.

What’s sorely lacking, though, are organized groups of ordinary stakeholders with their own eyes, ears and mouths.

Preventing crime is already tough with Mr. Graham and other Democrats stifling residents’ Second Amendment rights.

It’s unfortunate as well that Mr. Graham considers funneling precious tax money to neighborhood cleanup programs as crime prevention.

Indeed, he once blamed pizza parlors for contributing to crime and in a heartbeat tries to shut down an establishment when crime visits upon its patrons.

Liberals are so typical in that respect, using their right hand to wag a finger at the very idea of personal responsibility, and using a finger on their left hand to hook pockets of public dollars.

How about a different approach?

Teach taggers a lesson by making them clean up their own graffiti.

And those loiterers who urinate in public and use sidewalks and alleys as trash cans? Hand them buckets, mops and brooms.

Surely, Mr. Graham and the other legal minds at city hall can develop policies that encourage personal responsibility and discourage criminal activity at the same time.

Lawmakers know summertime breeds ne’er-do-wells and other nefarious creatures. And to effectively fight back, communities need to employ every imaginable tool the law allows.

Pushing neighborhood crime prevention might not change residents’ perception of all the dust-ups of their own making that politicians face, but curbing crime will certain change their reality.

Speaking of crapshoots: Have federal justice authorities ruled on whether federal workers can legally engage in online gambling?

D.C. officials say the online gambling proposal is a done deal, and they already are salivating about the money they expect to pour in.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. lawmakers are gearing up to begin online gambling this fall, but opponents have a few pertinent questions.

Federal laws and regulations prohibit gaming inside federal buildings. For example, you cannot buy or sell a lottery ticket at the White House or on other federal property.

What will happen when, say, a government worker gets caught gambling online inside the Pentagon or on a military base?

Can federal bureaucrats use their personal or work computer to gamble at lunchtime at their work desks?

Some critics say these and other concerns pose a precedent-setting crapshoot.

Their questions deserve the attention of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

c Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.