I returned from a family visit in the northwest, one where my wife and I walked with old friends across a benign campus, where I played in a park with a favorite four year old (whose Mom had taken her safely away from Oakland a couple of years ago) and where we strolled though a magical Chinese garden. I was insulated from the news. On my return yesterday, I was reluctant to comment on Oakland’s latest criminal outrage, but I will now do just that.
THAT MONSTROUS CRIME IN OAKLAND
Oakland Police Officer John Hege, 41, has now died at the hands of a homicidal thug during a traffic stop on Saturday, March 21 at about 1:00 PM. His father, Dr John S. Hege told the press earlier that his son was attached to a ventilator but “does not have vital brain function to sustain life and will not regain that.”
John Hege was preceded in death by three other fine men. Sergeant Mark Dunakin (40) died on the scene of the Saturday traffic stop at the time Officer Hege was shot. Mixon shot both officers at close range when they were down, just to make sure.
Two hours after the shooting, a SWAT team surrounded the hideout. Sergeants Ervin Romans (43) and Daniel Sakai (35) were SWAT team members who died during the attempt to apprehend the killer of Hege and the (then attempted murder) of Dunakin. The killer, a typical Oakland thug, was hiding out at his sister’s place in Oakland. Atypically, he was armed with military firepower, an AK47, firing rounds capable of grievously wounding anyone who was wearing anything short of Iraq combat gear.
This will sound harsh to some faint hearted souls, but if a certain thug named Lovell Mixon had been dealt with more firmly & much earlier in his miserable life, he’d still be potentially redeemable.
But Mixon is sinking into the depths of hell with a millstone around his neck.
His four latest victims, John Hege, Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai, brave soldiers in the ongoing battle against those would take down civilization, these fine men are riding on angel’s wings to that hallowed place where fallen heroes dwell in eternal honor….
Lovelle Mixon, a 26 year old parolee (i.e., thug) was killed by police in the ensuing gun battle. Young Mixon had been released on parole from state prison a few months earlier, having served five years for assault with a deadly weapon. While on parole he evidently raped a girl.
It seems that Mr. Mixon was married to one Amara Langston, 25. After that fatal gun battle, she had this to say: “He didn’t know really where to start. He was trying to make himself a better person and trying to realize his mistakes and what he was doing was wrong.”
LaTasha Mixon, Lovelle’s cousin, was quoted saying that he was “not a monster.”
I note this from the San Francisco Chronicle, (03-24) 15:57 PDT OAKLAND – “Lovelle Mixon was linked by DNA to the February  rape of a 12-year-old girl who was dragged off the street at gunpoint in the East Oakland neighborhood where Mixon’s sister lived.”
After Mixon shot the two traffic police, he barricaded himself in his sister’s apartment. Mixon’s sister, Reynete was sleeping when police kicked in the door and threw flash grenades. She reportedly wasn’t aware her brother was in the apartment. She escaped when the shooting began.
A quick review of this thug’s rap sheet:
He was sent to state prison in 2002 for assault with a firearm in a San Francisco carjacking.
Within two months of his first release on parole in 2007, he became a suspect in the uncharged murder of Ramon Stevens, a 42-year-old Oakland man, whose sister, Felicia, has told authorities that she is certain that Mixon shot her brother to death on the corner of 86th and E. 14th Street. Witnesses are hard to come by in Oaktown.
Mixon was held for several parole violations including ID theft and attempted grand theft and recommitted to the joint. He was released again in November of 2008
THE MYTH OF THE FIRST OFFENSE
Almost no one goes to state prison on California for a first offense. For someone of Mixon’s age there always is a trail of social damage wrought by the offender, a dismal narrative of pain inflicted on others, a descending path that is partly obscured by juvenile privacy laws, partly hidden by the absence of living, willing witnesses.
This much is plain as day to me:
Lovell Mixon was a whiny malevolent excuse for a real man; most likely he was a child rapist; certainly he was a brutal-minded thug and the murderer of four fine men whose loss made the world poorer in the same way that his own death made the world a little better.
Yes, many thugs are redeemable. But the process is long and labor intensive. It requires discipline and toughness administered within a firm moral framework where the moral rules have real world consequences that are calibrated to the gravity of the offence. Tough justice is kindness in the long term.
Never forget this lesson: A life story contains lines crossed and lines not crossed. Once a thug aims a loaded firearm at another human being in aid of a criminal purpose (as in Mixon’s carjacking), a line has been crossed that is just a single trigger jerk short of murder. Every line crossed makes the next line easier to ignore.
Here is the ‘don’t-you-dare-forget’ subtext. In California, state prison parolees are as likely to re-offend as feral bears are likely to get into your unprotected food garbage.
I have pointed out repeatedly that Oakland, California is home to more than 3,000 state prison parolees. Actually, my information is stale. In 2001, there were about 4,600 parolees living in Alameda County, 3,000 of which were living in Oakland, but about 80 new parolees were arriving per week. The number has undoubtedly grown to more than 4,000.
Police deter crime when they are actively engaged in crime fighting, policing at the street and neighborhood level in adequate numbers. But the numbers considered adequate are not the same for a given population. The parolee population is the seedbed of a larger subpopulation of ‘homeboys’, new recruits, aiders and abettors. Three to four thousand parolees represents a huge concentration of crime-prone, violence-prone criminals for a city of a million, much less for an economically challenged city of less than half that size.
There are hundreds of Lovell Mixons on the streets of Oakland at any given moment. The half-hearted, ineptly implemented and belated efforts of the city fathers and mothers over the last several years to increase police protection to adequate levels were aimed at the wrong target. At the Oakland police Department’s full authorized strength, the street-level presence of police will necessarily remain about 40% short of the robust presence necessary to achieve civil peace and relative public safety. Short of shipping 2,000 parolees out of town and reducing the influx to a comparative trickle, there is no answer but the one Mayor Giuliani successfully implemented in the Big Apple: You can talk tough and be tough but whatever else you do, get more trained, tough professional badge officers on the street and keep the pressure on until the bad guys are brought to heel. And then don’t let up.
Links to some of my other articles:
Thugs and Saints — http://www.jaygaskill.com/ThugsSaintsOldFashionedCriminals.pdf
Oakland’s Murders, Part One http://www.jaygaskill.com/triba.htm
Oakland’s Murders, Part Two http://www.jaygaskill.com/tribb.htm
Oakland Reaping http://www.jaygaskill.com/reap.htm
My Speech to Sheriff’s Academy Graduates http://jaygaskill.com/sheriff.html.htm
Why is Oakland dying http://jaygaskill.com/TheOaktownChronicle.htm