In an article purportedly about Lovelle Mixon’s criminal record (he has been linked to one rape through DNA and is being investigated in another), the San Francisco Chronicle inexplicably chose to give the deceased quadruple murderer several column inches to assert his innocence, good intentions, and career goals. He apparently thought he was a pretty good guy, carjackings, attempted murders, and sundry crimes notwithstanding:
Mixon told authorities that in the attempted carjacking, “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and did not act responsible and allowed someone else to act just as bad,” according to the report. “Now I have to take responsibility for it all.”
Mixon also is quoted in the report as saying he planned to move away to “a better area, get a job, and hopefully in about two or three years get my own business, raise my kids in a responsible way.”
“I wish I could fix or make up for what happened,” Mixon was quoted as saying. “But I can’t, so I am going to attempt to make the best out of it and learn as much as possible to help me when I get out.”
At the time, Mixon had a 1-year-old son but was not paying child support because he was unemployed, the probation report said.
In 2000, he worked for six months as a grocery packer for Webvan in Oakland, making $10 an hour, the report said. The next year he spent three months as an inventory worker for another Oakland company and made $9 an hour.
How, precisely, do you call arming yourself and committing a violent carjacking “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”? How do you “make the best” of the fact that you have beaten and could have killed an innocent victim? How do you “take responsibility” for a crime by denying that you intended to commit it?
The real problem isn’t that Lovelle Mixon said these things. The problem is that so many of the people who are entrusted to keep the Lovelle Mixons of the world from harming others say and believe the types of things Mixon said about himself.
A judge believes the lies of a recidivist burglar who claims he has stopped offending (with some exceptions, of course) and shouldn’t go to jail for his latest crime because he might lose his (probably imaginary) job. Naive activists buy (with your tax dollars) into the idea that violent recidivists will change their ways if only they get the chance to read a good book, and recidivists are set free to read books with them.
And a publicly-funded radio station gives a cop killer his own show. Did Lovelle Mixon listen to Mumia Abu Jabal’s taxpayer-subsidized cop-hating ravings on Bay Area radio before gunning down four police officers?
Pushing back against all of this pro-criminal, anti-victim sentiment is hard. Being a cop-killer on death row gets you your own radio show and endless cachet with academicians and media types, the people who set the terms of debate about criminal justice in America. Being a crime victim gets you silenced, first by the criminal, then by the opinion-makers. But to the credit of the San Francisco Chronicle, they do preface Lovelle Mixon’s words with the words of the man he car-jacked. They’re worth reading carefully:
The victim, Francisco Cardenas, told police that Mixon was holding a gun as the three “got me out of my car, telling me to shut up,” court records show. As he tried to run, the assailants hit him.
“Then I saw one of them shooting his gun at me,” Cardenas said. “After that, I don’t remember any more.”
Cardenas required 16 stitches. The men drove off in a car without stealing the truck, and police arrested Mixon and the others a short distance away. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.
In a sentencing report, San Francisco probation officer Yvonne Williams wrote that Mixon’s juvenile record was that of a “cold-hearted individual who does not have any regard for human life.” She said state prison was the only way to “to rein in this man’s proclivity for violence.”
Somebody needs to promote Yvonne Williams and let the rest of us see what she saw in Mixon’s juvenile record. If Williams’ words had been taken seriously, four men might be going home to their wives and children tonight.
And somebody else needs to ask the question: why wasn’t Mixon charged with attempted murder? Is bad aim a murder defense?