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SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow wants you to know you're probably going to get raped or murdered because of the coronavirus, or more specifically because of our namby-pamby snowflake governor, Gavin Newsom, and the soft-on-crime autocrats running the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) who recently announced up to 8,000 state prison inmates will be released early due to COVID-19 concerns.


"I am very troubled that victims of crime and other law abiding citizens who are doing every thing they can to follow state and local directives in order to stay safe and healthy will now have to wonder if they will become the next victim of a career criminal who was released early from serving their prison sentence," Dow wrote on the county website. "Our compassion for prisoners cannot outweigh our compassion for victims of crime and law abiding citizens."

Dow, who seems to be ripping a Willie Horton-esque page out of the Lee Atwater and George H.W. Bush playbook of fearmongering, noted that "career criminals and those convicted of serious, violent, or sex offenses will be released to communities without having fully served their terms. Inmates with prior convictions for offenses like domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking for labor, which are not classified as 'violent,' may be among those released early."

The sky is apparently falling, people! Get an umbrella and a concealed carry permit toot sweet!

At the end of Dow's dire and foreboding warning, he writes, "Victim's (sic) of crime who are concerned about the potential release of a criminal offender are encouraged to contact the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to voice your concern," followed by the CDCR's phone number.

Is this an election year and Dow is flexing his tough-on-crime muscles, or is he just an empathy-free stickler? The 8,000 inmates proposed for release are all within a year of release anyway. What's the difference if we get raped and murdered this year or next? It's not like any of us is having any fun sheltering in place.

And for Christ's sake, can we please take the "Rehabilitation" out of the CDCR's name? I mean, as least until we actually have the kind of prison reform that would lead to actual rehabilitation of state prison inmates because, let's face it, prison is advanced training for criminals. We put too many young people in prison where they transition from being misguided, undereducated fools into savvy criminals who get brutalized in prison and hence become brutalizers. If the CDCR actually did its job and prepared prisoners for success upon release, we wouldn't need to worry about early release, right?

Is another year in prison going to make these inmates less dangerous or more? If any of these 8,000 prisoners had been one of Donald J. tRump's convicted advisors, cronies, or confidants, they'd already be released, pardoned, commuted, and negotiating their book deals.

By the way, general public, in this day and age of us-against-them tribalism, please forgive our journalism. Last week New Times reported on the local Facebook "Protect" groups ("Locals create Facebook groups in response to vandalism, looting in other parts of the country," July 9) and their goal of supporting the police and protecting private property in the face of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and protests. Instead of favoring the SLO County Protest Watch group that was created to share BLM protest information over the Protect Paso, Protect Atascadero, Protect Five Cities, and Protect Santa Maria groups, we had the unmitigated gall to give voice to both sides! Gasp! Pick a side! We're at war with each other!

Oceano CSD board member and Facebook commenter Cynthia Replogle coined the term "both-siderism" to describe us, and then local gadfly Aaron Ochs chimed in: "The problem with the NT is exactly that: bother-siderism."

Both-siderism? Huh?

Um, journalism is the act of gathering and publishing information, and objectivity is about fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship. Sorry New Times didn't take your side, or your side, or whatever the hell your side is, or anybody's side. We talk to all sides, let them have their say. If you want opinion, on the other hand, you've come to the right place! I've got opinions out the wazoo!

"Between their 'both-siderism' and tortured, highly contrived attempts as being 'hipster edgy,' the NT is one of the weaker weekly papers of all the ones I've regularly read while living in four different parts of the county," commenter Tim Bauman boasted. "FFS, they give a serial liar and far right propagandist a column every two weeks like clockwork."

First of all, Tim, your description of columnist Al Fonzi is not all wrong. However, please note he's an opinion writer in our opinion section every four weeks, which also features serial truth teller and far left intellectual Amy Hewes every four weeks, but I don't hear you bitching and whining about her polemics. Also, "highly contrived attempts"? How dare you, sir! It should be obvious to anyone who reads this column that I'm not trying at all. I'm phoning this shit in. And trying to be "hipster edgy"! Please tell me more (insert batted eyelids). Δ

The Shredder is super hipster edgy. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.



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