“He cannot be safely released from prison because he has not mitigated his risk of fomenting further political violence.”
Back in August, a California parole board voted in favor of Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.
The left-wing Los Angeles prosecutor George Gascón didn’t oppose the decision.
California Governor Gavin Newsom doesn’t agree. In fact, he just blocked parole for Sirhan.
NBC News reports:
Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Bishara Sirhan denied parole by California governor
California Gov. Gavin Newsom denied parole Thursday for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.
A two-person panel found Sirhan suitable for parole in August. The California Parole Board’s staff had 120 days to review the decision, and the governor had 30 more days to approve, deny or modify it.
Newsom explained his decision to overrule the parole board’s recommendation in an editorial published by the Los Angeles Times.
“After carefully reviewing the case, including records in the California State Archives, I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into the community,” Newsom wrote. “I must reverse Sirhan’s parole grant.”
He went on to say that even though Sirhan is 77 and decades have passed, he “remains a potent symbol of political violence.”
“He does not understand, let alone have the skills to manage, the complex risks of his self-created notoriety,” Newsom said. “He cannot be safely released from prison because he has not mitigated his risk of fomenting further political violence.”
A cynical person might think the only reason Newsom arrived at this decision is because Democrats are getting hammered in the polls on violent crime.
Writer Gary Weiss offered this observation:
Sirhan Sirhan is not a "Palestinian refugee." He lived in Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem, with Jordanian citizenship, until his family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.
The only "refugee" is the California parole board, which was a refugee from reality by voting to spring him. https://t.co/DSuRqivrDD
— Gary Weiss (@gary_weiss) January 13, 2022
Newsom explained his decision in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times:
Why I will not release Sirhan Sirhan on parole
In 1968, Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy just moments after Kennedy won the California presidential primary. Sirhan also shot and injured five bystanders. Decades later, Sirhan refuses to accept responsibility for the crimes.
California’s Board of Parole Hearings recently found that Sirhan is suitable for parole. I disagree. After carefully reviewing the case, including records in the California State Archives, I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into the community. I must reverse Sirhan’s parole grant.
Kennedy’s assassination not only changed the course of this nation and robbed the world of a promising young leader, it also left his 11 children without a father and his wife without a husband. Kennedy’s family bears his loss every day. Millions of Americans lost a unifier in a time of national turmoil and grief, just nine weeks after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and four-and-a-half years after the murder of Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.
Yet, after decades in prison, Sirhan still lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the kind of dangerous and destructive decisions he made in the past.
Whatever his reasons, Newsom made the right decision in the end.
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