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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHow to Avoid Another Canegata Ballpark Tragedy

How to Avoid Another Canegata Ballpark Tragedy

Dear Source:
Let us examine the recent events at Canegata Ballpark. First of all it was a disaster for those who were in attendance, those innocents that were injured and for all of us in our island community. In a sad way let’s be thankful that things were not worse. It was so close to being a tragedy for all involved and their families. With the amount of people at the ballpark you could have had twenty shot with five dead.
Our governor, because the arrestee was free on home release from other charges, wants to talk to the judiciary concerning being more strict about pre-trial release. Although I am in agreement and believe that if you are caught with a gun you don’t get bailed, ever, I don’t know what talking to our courts will do. They have been designed as a free and impartial system with standards that have been set up both on a local and national basis to which they are held accountable. Changes in the law would make more sense than a lecture. There are, however, some measures that the governor can take, and indeed should have taken prior to this, to assist in the well being of our community and the prevention of guns coming to our islands.
-First, the Governor needs to instruct his attorney general that if there are guns involved in a crime there are no deals, ever, a very simple concept. Every week in our newspapers we see the court outcomes where someone who is charged with four offenses including commission of a crime with a gun or possession of an unregistered firearm is pled down to the least penalized offenses, gets a term of three years with 2 ½ years suspended and credit for five months time served. The big hammer of the five year mandatory is always taken off the table. We all know that if there were never any plea agreements the wheels of justice would come to a crashing halt but I say if you bring a gun and commit a crime you go away for a very long time, period.
-Second, the governor needs to send every, and I repeat every, one of those criminals convicted of a gun crime to a maximum security prison in the states. Let that be a disincentive to carrying a gun on our islands.
-Third, activate the National Guard to do inspections at our container ports. It only makes sense that the places where the most goods coming to our islands are also the places where most guns are arriving. Customs does not have the equipment or the manpower to examine more than the current, I am told, 1-2 % of the containers that are delivered and that is not good enough. Activate the Guard and keep them at home to protect our borders.
-Fourth, make a request of President Obama to add Navy vessels and additional Coast Guard ships and crews to interdict the weapons coming into our beaches. Anybody ever wonder what all those boats were arriving to the shore at 2:30 in the morning? Let’s get the Navy and Coast guard out there to find out for us.
-Lastly, what about the alleged shooter who was arrested. Well, first of all let’s remember that he is innocent until proven guilty. We do know he was out of jail under parental custody for a previous charge with a gun. If he was released to the custody of his parents and under house arrest what was he doing at Canegata to begin with? If his parents knew they could not control him they should have called the courts and told them that so he could be taken back to custody. If his parents on that night knew he was out of the house they should be charged and arrested and any bail or property put up for his release confiscated. This is the final area where the Governor can act with instructions to his attorney general and create another way to prevent pre-trial release with a disincentive to house custodians.
As I said above, this was a tragedy but there are others waiting to happen unless we act swiftly. Let’s see if we can get something done before that happens.
Michael A. Monagle/St. Croix
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