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The Golden BB

("The Golden BB" is a concept I picked up from the military. It refers to that tiny little vulnerable part of an aircraft, that is hit by that one-in-a-million shot and brings down the aircraft. It's also a wonderful metaphor.)

It's amazing what tiny little things can lead to big stories. There aren't many things that are smaller than a BB for a BB gun, but they ended up at the heart of two stories ouf of Massachusetts over the last week.

First up, there was absolute hysteria in South Boston when it was revealed that the Junior ROTC class had been conducting target practice. With BB guns. In a school. In a locked classroom.

Obviously, Something Must Be Done About This.

On the other hand, showing a surprising smidgen of common sense (and an unsurprising amount of political opportunism, Massachusetts' governor, Democrat Deval Patrick, has said that he is seriously considering a pardon for a man denied one by Mitt Romney.

Romney has made a point of saying that while he was governor of the Bay State, he turned down every single request for a pardon, clemency, or commutation, shoring up his "tough on crime" credentials.

One of those Romney denied, saying he didn't want to overturn a jury's verdict, was Anthony Circosta.

Circosta is a decorated Iraq War veteran who served honorably, then came home to Massachusetts. He sought to become a police officer, but he was barred from the job by his criminal record.

His heinous offense? When he was 13, he had shot a friend in the arm with -- yes -- a BB gun.

Romney had a good idea. Pardons and commutations are a very potent power of a chief executive, and they should not be "handed out like lollipops," as he described the last days of the Clinton administration. (An investment that paid off handsomely when Hillary ran for Senate, and some of those who'd either benefited or paid for argued for or supported the pardons repaid returned the favor with support for Hillary's campaign.)

But justice should be tempered by mercy, and mitigating factors must be taken into account. Circosta won a Bronze Star in Iraq. He's more than atoned for his dipshit move as a kid. He's earned his pardon, and deserves a chance to at least be considered for a job with a police department. Romney should have granted him his pattern, and Patrick should do so.

Patrick should also do so without grandstanding, without using Circosta as a bludgeon to go after Romney. But if he does, Romney will have no grounds for complaint. He chose to make his absolute stand on pardons and commutations, and that meant that cases like Circosta's were sacrificed on the altar of Romney's political future.

The most important thing, though, is Mr. Circosta. He served our nation most honorably, and is asking for a very small thing in return -- the chance to continue to serve us.

Let him. Let him stop being a political football, and let him just try to be a cop.


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Comments (10)

The sign of the times: they... (Below threshold)

The sign of the times: they treat kids like adults, and adults like kids.

If tempering justice with m... (Below threshold)

If tempering justice with mercy isn't any option,I'll settle for common sense.

I thought juvenile records wear expunged when the child reached 18 anyway?

I've read news accounts tha... (Below threshold)

I've read news accounts that stated it is illegal in Massachusetts to possess a single "BB", since it is considered "ammunition".
Fortunately, I believe Massachusettanians may still legally possess potatoes, despite the fact that they are considered ammunition for spud guns!

I searched through that ROT... (Below threshold)

I searched through that ROTC article for the letters 'bb' in consecutive order, and couldn't find them. The casual reader might get the impression they were talking about real firearms.

Way to put it in perspective, Herald!

The very last paragraph men... (Below threshold)

The very last paragraph mentions that they were Daisy air rifles firing .177 pellets.
In other words, single shot air rifles that are highly accurate (at least they include that in that last paragraph).

Very funny. Next up, they'll get all upset at people practicing with marshmallow guns.

They are in fact very accur... (Below threshold)

They are in fact very accurate "pump-up" sporting match single shot pellet rifles. I have the 888 model, the "pretty" CO2 version (I hate pumping)that I use in a basement range in my house. I find it very useful when the family gathers to get my 5 nephews (nieces are invited but so far not interested) together and spend a little time coaching.
Of course, when I grew up I was on high school & college rifle teams that used Winchester 52D .22 caliber rifles in school owned indoor ranges.
In high school we were actually allowed to bring our personally owned firearms to school (kept in the headmaster's office during academic hours) if we were leaving to go hunting after school or if we owned our own target rifles.

Circosta is a deco... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:
Circosta is a decorated Iraq War veteran who served honorably, then came home to Massachusetts. He sought to become a police officer, but he was barred from the job by his criminal record.

His heinous offense? When he was 13, he had shot a friend in the arm with -- yes -- a BB gun.

I'd be interested in finding out more about the circumstances of that conviction - MSNBC says the shot didn't even break the skin, yet The Boston Globe reports that it was a felony conviction. I have to wonder why he would have been prosecuted and convicted of a felony for shooting a friend in the shoulder with a bb that didn't even break the skin.

However, assuming there isn't something more there, then the first problem is with the law that prohibits him from becoming a police officer. After all, nobody seems to be making the argument that he was unjustly convicted of his offense, but rather that he continues to be punished for it.

Of course, the whole reason for giving the pardon power to the executive is so that he has the ability to reverse miscarriages of justice. In the MSNBC report, they report Romney says he didn't want to overturn a jury. Jay's right in that Romney deserves some criticism for taking the other extreme from former Arkansas governors when it comes to pardons.

And soon they will have the... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

And soon they will have the kids turn in thier BB guns for a stupid pink monkey dolls and have kids sining dumb liberal songs like GIVE PEACE A CHANCE,DOG AND BUTTERFLY,MUSKRAT LOVE,AGE OF AQUARIUS OR MEDITATING TO TREES, MOUNTIANS, WOLVES, AND WHALES,

I personally know and went ... (Below threshold)

I personally know and went to school with Tony and was close to him when this incident occurred and I still talk to him and his wife from time to time now. It happened right down the street from my house. The facts are correct.. it was a BB gun and it did not break the skin. There's really nothing more to the story. The only stretch is in some articles saying that he "shot a friend".. they were not "friends." It was obviously a dumb thing to do and he paid the price for it and is sorry for it. The victim has even agreed that Tony should be pardoned so he can pursue becoming an officer. I agree and can state that he is an honorable family man with a good head on his shoulders. He did not come from the ideal family life as a kid and to accomplish all that he has is a great story. It is not too late for him to pursue a career in law enforcement and Gov Patrick should grant the pardon. Tony has gotten approval from two boards, a senator, mayor, and police chief, etc etc etc. He worked his way through college, worked as volunteer firefighter in our town for years, and served our country honorably in Iraq.

I hope this hurts Mitt - not because of my connection with this story but because he was wrong to simply not grant ANY pardons just so he could A)Not deal with controversy during his term and B)brag about the fact that he is tough on crime. Part A is a copout and part B shows that he doesn't understand that Governors have that power FOR A REASON. If didn't get it as governor, he's certainly not going to get it as president.

wicked, I have a few questi... (Below threshold)

wicked, I have a few questions though is it ok to post them here?






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