John McCroskey Commentary: Punishing Good Citizens Won’t Stop Gun Violence


It’s been a tough few weeks for Northwest law enforcement. Two officers — one in Everett and another in Pierce County — were killed by criminals with criminal histories prohibiting possession of guns. They both probably should have been in jail, but weren’t.   

And locally, a young officer with the Centralia Police Department was stabbed by a suspect in Chehalis, but thankfully recovered.

This is becoming an all too familiar scenario: creeps who are not in jail, but should be, hurting people. It seems the nationwide trend to have violent offenders arrested and released without bail isn’t much of a success. Still, elected officials in these places suggest this is making us safer.

It’s insanity, but they continue to say it, proving once again anyone can be an elected official.

And just a few days ago, in a heralded public edict, our president announced he was outlawing so-called “ghost guns” to stop gun violence.

Really? That’s been the problem? Like the mischievous SUV is called out in every accident or incident and not the driver?

I’d suspect if ghost guns were really the answer to ending murders we’d know it.

It used to be the infamous gun show that was the culprit. They must have worn out that one, because I’ve not heard it for a while.

No, it isn’t gun shows, ghost guns, or even SUVs at fault in anything they are involved in. It’s the idiot behind the wheel or pulling the trigger. The solution is often simpler than most elected officials who helped create this problem in the first place will admit: Restore bail requirements and put guilty violent criminals in jail as long as we can.

Instead, the response continues to be that it’s the guns' fault and our best option is taking them from law-abiding citizens.

In the meantime, our governor has signed a law that will restrict the number of rounds allowed in a clip. This is great news because if the evidence has taught us anything, criminals shooting things up in Seattle (and elsewhere) live in fear of having a clip with too many rounds.

I doubt some of these thugs can even count to 10 to know, but I am certain they don’t care.

Ah, but that is the logic of today's liberal. Don’t lock the jerks up to keep us safe. Defund the police and limit what those of us in the hinterlands can do to protect ourselves and families.

In fact, over the last couple of COVID years, it seems to me the only way to really get in trouble, with serious consequences, was to point out to the government their COVID science isn’t really science at all. Or fail to wear a mask that hasn’t done much to protect anyone. This problem isn’t rocket science.

Lock up violent offenders, make them serve serious time and stop making decisions about who should be in jail politically. Smash and grab a store, go to jail with serious time involved. Use a gun or possess one if you legally can’t? Mandatory jail time and no good time — serve every day.

And for good measure, those who want to eliminate qualified immunity from officers forced to deal with these people’s idiotic and political decisions, should lose their immunity as well. Some of them spend weeks coming to the wrong decision while the officer dealing with it often has nanoseconds to make theirs.

The tough time for good cops doesn’t end there, though, and dealing with those who behave badly isn't easy either. As the front page of a recent Saturday edition of The Chronicle reported, four Centralia officers who failed to respond to a domestic violence call in a timely fashion appear to have done a lot of damage to law enforcement as a profession.

Currently, the state training commission is weighing taking their certification for their failure to act on a 911 call last year.

As I wrote earlier, they should have been terminated based on the facts as reported. I will be interested to see what happens if the training commission pulls their certification to be officers, and the very labor-friendly public employee arbitrator gives them their jobs back.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis and can be contacted at