By Alan Bean
The graph to the left shows how the prison population exploded after 1980. Part of the blame for this nightmarish experiment with big government must be laid at the feet of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.
The goal was to raise money for the cash-strapped anti-gun regulation organization. Accusing the Clintons (both of them) of being soft-on-crime was a great way to catch the attention of conservative Americans shocked by the apparent demise of the Reagan revolution. Banging the drum for more prisons, mandatory minimum sentences, and the defunding of rehabilitation, re-entry and alternatives-to-prison programs fit the tenor of the times.
In 1992, when the NRA’s “lets-build-more-prisons” campaign got underway, Bill Clinton, like every other American politician, was doing his best to talk tough on crime. The NRA’s goal was to talk tougher, even if that meant spewing utter nonsense and supporting ruinous policies. You rarely see mass incarceration identified as a massive tax grab, but that’s exactly what it is. (more…)