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Bush's crime policies have worked

Oct. 25, 2000

Despite Al Gore's claims, crime in Texas has gone down during Bush's reign as Governor. Al Gore is not only wrong, but contradictory as well. The White House Web site credits the Clinton-Gore administration for the decrease in Texas's crime rates, yet Vice President Gore claims that crime has increased.

Crime has in fact decreased during Bush's administration. Texas's crime rate is at a 25-year low. The state's murder rate has dropped to its lowest point since the 1950s, and violent crime is down over 20 percent.

Gov. Bush has seen a 45 percent decrease in the number of murders and a 23 percent drop in rapes, according to the Web site.

The reason for all the decreases in crime is simple: George W. Bush and his tough enforcement of the laws. In the Wake Forest Debate, the governor said that 'if you have a state that fully supports the law, like we do in Texas, we're going to make sure people get punished for the crime.'

Bush wants to enforce gun laws. The Clinton-Gore administration allowed federal gun prosecutions to fall 45 percent. The Texas Governor will give prosecutors the resources they need to enforce gun laws.

Bush will support state and local law enforcement agencies with federal funding, provide them with technical support, and a national database to be used for identifying,

tracking and arresting fugitives.

Governor Bush believes that local law enforcers are largely responsible for the prevention of crime and supports decentralized methods of law enforcement.

Although he wants local agencies to have independence and the ability to innovate their own ideas, Bush believes the federal government should assist with financially expensive technologies.

George W. Bush has also been responsible for the large decreases in juvenile crime. Texas's violent juvenile crime decreased 44 percent during Bush's terms as governor.

Bush lowered the age where most violent juveniles can be tried as adults to 14. He increased the already large amounts of state funding that go to community organizations aimed at deterring crime.

All of Bush's actions fall under his 'tough love' policy and his idea of the 'responsibility era.' By tough love, as he told the Fraternal Order of Police, Bush wants law enforcers to know 'we're going to stand by the men and women who wear the uniform.'

The responsibility era is intended to let children know that there are right and wrong decisions, and consequences that follow the wrong ones. As outlined in his Blueprint for the middle class, Bush supports zero-tolerance in schools, and he will provide teachers and principles with the legal protection to allow them to enact such policies.

A controversial issue of crime that has come up in the campaign is capital punishment. Critics have argued that Governor Bush was elated during the last presidential debate while discussing the death penalty.

Texas leads the nation in the number of capital punishments performed per year and the Governor has taken some of the heat. Critics also wonder how this fits into his 'compassionate conservatism' campaign.

During the St. Louis presidential debate, one audience member asked the governor why he was gleaming during the second debate while he discussed the future executions of the men accused of killing James Byrd.

In response, Bush replied that in no way was he proud of Texas record of executions, but he was proud of his record of reducing crime in Texas. 'I'm proud of the fact that violent crime is down in the state of Texas. I'm proud of the fact that we hold people accountable. But I'm not proud of any record.'

Kurt Kidd is a junior management information systems major from San Antonio.