- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Marion Barry is in a forgiving mood after being robbed at gunpoint by two men in his Southeast apartment Monday night, which is an abdication of his responsibilities as a public servant.

Although one of the men cocked a handgun and pointed it at Mr. Barry’s head, he professes to “love” both men and urges authorities not to prosecute them if they are apprehended.

This should be taken as reassuring news to those constituents Mr. Barry represents in his Ward 8 neighborhood. If the two hoodlums think nothing of sticking a cocked gun to the head of the former mayor — now an elected council member whom they called “B” — how might they respond to an ordinary citizen? Perhaps they would have been inclined to pull the trigger.

Of course, social engineer that he is, Mr. Barry wants to change the societal conditions that produce thugs. His is a mostly idyllic dream. Government is not in the business of raising children, of making certain they are properly fed, clothed and educated. That is the responsibility of parents or, more and more in America, a single parent who is often overwhelmed and undereducated.

If government really could be the parental nurturer in the vision of Mr. Barry, he would be the toast of the city instead of a star-crossed political figure. His man-of-the-people appeal, though useful in his four terms as mayor, only resulted in a bureaucratic bloat that still haunts the city.

The D.C. public school system is as ill-serving as ever, despite the tons of money that have been thrown in its direction.

Mr. Barry was first elected mayor in 1978, and at no time in his political life has he been able to put a dent in the criminal pathologies of the city. Crime rates may rise or fall in the city, although often because of variables that have nothing to do with a well-meaning politician.

Expressing love to your assailants is an ineffective sentiment. When Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York, he expressed the opposite and cleaned up the Democratic city that no longer believed in liberal solutions to the criminal element.

Mr. Giuliani was not tolerant and did not care to understand the motivations of the criminal mind. He just said, “We’re cleaning it up.” And that was that.

Mr. Barry has taken up residence in a fantasy world, judging by his appeal to the gunmen.

His tongue apparently was not planted in his cheek as he said, “For the young men who did this to me, I say to you, I don’t hold any animosities. I don’t even want you prosecuted, really. I love you. Give yourself up. Call the police. Let them know you engaged in this activity.”

Right. Give yourself up. And while you are at it, please thank the police officer as the hand-cuffs are being slapped on you.

Predictably, Mr. Barry said removing guns from the streets should be the “No. 1 priority of this city,” as if that declaration has muscle to it.

Criminals, by nature, do not follow laws, gun-control laws or otherwise.

Our nation’s lawmakers could pass legislation that would criminalize the possession of any kind of gun, and it would not matter a bit to a criminal. It is not as if a criminal would say, “Before I go knock off another 7-Eleven, I think I will turn over my handgun to the nice police officer standing over there because it is illegal to own a gun.”

The District has the toughest gun-control laws in the nation, as if it matters. Of course, one is obligated to blame the carnage in the city on the more permissive gun laws of Maryland and Virginia.

Yet, hard as it is to accept, criminals do not play by the rules of society, and they are not apt to be persuaded by the love of a long-time politician.

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