In the wake of rising shootings and a growing fentanyl epidemic throughout the country, Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) said that America needs to focus on “restoring law and order.”
In response to violent crime in the United States reaching a 10-year high in 2020, Harshbarger said that poorly equipped police and sheriff’s departments “breed lawlessness.”
“We don’t need more laws, we just need to use the laws on the books, and make sure that we convict these criminals that are already out there,” Harshbarger told NTD’s “Capitol Report,” adding that in her view Proposition 47, a California theft law, is an example in which criminals are allowed to roam free.
The passing of Proposition 47 in 2014 raised the shoplifting threshold from $450 of merchandise to $950 before the shoplifter can be convicted of a felony.
The National Retail Federation reported a rise in store losses from from $453,940 per $1 billion in sales in 2015 to $719,458 in 2020, according to the New York Post.
While shoplifting has been traditionally perceived as a non-violent crime perpetrated by teens or drug addicts, nearly two-thirds of retailers told the National Retail Federation in a survey that mounting violence from store thefts is associated with organized gangs that resell stolen goods.
Homicides nationwide have also jumped from 6,977 in 2019 to 9,630 in 2020, while the murder rate has been estimated to be at a 25-year high.
In early February, President Joe Biden unveiled a plan to crackdown on illegal guns and to launch a national ghost gun enforcement initiative to combat violent crime. This follows two years after many Democrats aligned themselves with the movement to defund police.
“Gun violence is a huge reason for the surge in crime,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a press briefing on Jan. 24, adding that action should be taken on funding police departments and supporting them with “additional resources.”
On top of rising crime and homicides, Harshbarger said that the growing influx of fentanyl via the southern border has led to skyrocketing of deaths as a result of overdosing.
With the number of drug deaths nationwide being over 100,000 recorded between April 2020 and April 2021, Harshbarger said that the nation is on track to “lose a whole whole generation of young people” to drug overdoses. Fentanyl was involved in almost two-thirds of those deaths.
To combat the fentanyl epidemic, she urged America to “close the borders, build the wall, hold the cartels accountable, and then get those people the help they need.”
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, testified at a Feb. 1 hearing that Border Patrol agents are so busy processing large groups of illegal aliens that, in one Arizona area, only four agents are available to patrol a 150-mile section of the border.
“If we seize even 5 percent of what’s coming across the border, we’re lucky,” Judd said, referring to a question about fentanyl pills. “And if there’s nobody there to detect you and apprehend you, the cartels are going to push it through between the ports of entry when they know that there is absolutely no chance that we’re going to apprehend that narcotic.”