Former Vice President Joe Biden has been pilloried by his fellow presidential candidates for his support of President Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Hillary Clinton was similarly criticized during the 2016 election.
Both of them were forced to apologize for their support in order to remain viable candidates within their party. Their sin was supporting a law that their critics alleged “destroyed communities” and led to the evil of “mass incarceration.”
However, I think their apologies were unwarranted.
Bill Clinton’s law was trying to counteract a rapidly rising crime rate that persisted for decades. For example, the crime rate per 100,000 citizens for murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault nearly quadrupled between 1960 and Bill Clinton’s election in 1992.
Since the crime bill’s passage, and the passage of similar laws by the states, the violent crime rate has dropped dramatically, being cut in half.
If the 1994 crime rate had gone unaddressed and had persisted 20 years later, a shocking 14,300 more citizens would have been killed in 2014 alone, and 41,000 more women would have been raped. That would have been destruction on a mass scale.
For those citizens who value innocent victims over violent criminals, the dramatic drop in violent crime rates since 1994 is a major success story, not a cause for apology. Bill Clinton should be proud of his accomplishment, and so should his wife and Joe Biden.