The national crime wave has crashed into Congress.
A House Democrat was the victim of a carjacking in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, was reportedly carjacked by three men brandishing guns.
The incident took place in the Navy Yard section of the city, just blocks away from the Capitol.
This is the second time a member of Congress has been the victim of violent crime in the past eight months. In both cases, the victims were Democrats, the party long criticized by some as soft on crime.
“As Congressman Cuellar was parking his car this evening, 3 armed assailants approached the congressman and stole his vehicle. Luckily, he was not harmed and is working with local law enforcement. Thank you to Metro P.D. and Capitol Police for their swift action and for recovering the congressman’s vehicle,” Cuellar’s chief of staff, Jacob Hochberg, said in a statement to ABC News.
The Daily Signal reached out to Cuellar’s office about crime in Washington, D.C., but there was no response.
Here’s what Cuellar said to reporters after the carjacking.
As Cuellar said, several members of Congress live in the Navy Yard district. It used to be a rough area, but it’s gentrified considerably in recent decades with the building of Washington Nationals Park baseball stadium and the surrounding development. Now, it appears this trendy neighborhood is slipping back into being dangerous.
Nor is this the first high-profile carjacking to hit the city recently.
Brian Robinson, an NFL running back who plays for the Washington Commanders—formerly known as the Redskins (clearly, a lot of “progress” has been made in Washington)—was shot during a carjacking in August 2022.
Robinson eventually recovered from his injuries, and the 15-year-old who shot him confessed to the crime and was sentenced to six years in prison.
It seems like carjackings might be kind of a problem. What’s going on here?
You won’t believe what happened next.
Carjackings have been on the rise in the District for five years, but the numbers really started exploding in the summer of 2020. Curious timing.
“In the nation’s capital, carjackings have surged by nearly 250% in the last five years, with 148 carjackings in 2018, jumping to 360 in 2020 and 425 in 2021,” the Washington Examiner reported. “In 2022, the number of incidents reached 485, according to data … . This year, there have been more than double the number of carjackings compared to last year, with D.C. police reporting 753 as of Tuesday. Seventy-five percent of carjackings in the city involved guns.”
The carjacking problem has been festering for years, but now it’s getting worse. Do violent teens run the city?
Given this crisis, you’d assume that city leaders would be scrambling to find a way to prevent their residents and visitors alike from being violently assaulted and potentially killed.
Not only has the D.C. Council insisted that there is no crime crisis in the nation’s capital, it has also actually done its best to go softer on carjacking crimes.
Heritage Foundation legal expert Zack Smith had an excellent thread about this on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The D.C. Council sought to reduce penalties for carjackings and other crimes with the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022.
“The bill would eliminate most mandatory sentences, lower penalties for a number of violent offenses, including carjackings and robberies, and expand the requirement for jury trials in most misdemeanor cases,” The Hill reported in early March.
The code was vetoed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, but the veto was overridden by the council.
That wasn’t the end of the story, though.
The legislation was so bad that Congress finally asserted its constitutional authority over the federal district and rejected the criminal code changes. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the bill. President Joe Biden signed the override bill, but 173 House Democrats voted against it. (Cuellar was not among them.)
It’s not hard to see why Democrat-run cities have become so dangerous. We also have to ask, is the clueless D.C. Council capable of doing anything at all about the crime issue or is it just going to let this fester?
Following the Cuellar carjacking, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, had a terse, but important, take:
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority over the District of Columbia. Perhaps it’s finally time for Congress to realize that the 50-year experiment in D.C. home rule is failing and that a more direct approach needs to be taken.
Forget D.C. statehood. It might be time to consider whether the District of Columbia is even capable of self-government.
There are ways to crack down on crime and restore order if Congress is willing to intervene. It’s getting hard to argue against it at this point.
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