Don’t be fooled by ‘tough’ Gov. Hochul on crime


The streets of New York increasingly resemble a haunted house, only for real, and with no laughs of relief when the ride ends. Meanwhile, our leadership continues to wave their hands in the air with elaborate flourishes, hoping we won’t notice that not only are they not pulling rabbits out of hats — there is no hat.

New Yorkers were shocked, but not surprised, the other day when Bui Van Phu — on lifetime parole for raping a teenager in 1994 — sucker-punched a stranger on a Bronx sidewalk, apparently for no reason. His victim suffered a fractured skull and is in a coma.

In the latest episode of the only-in-New York series, “Look Who’s Walking?” Phu was released back on the street with no bail. Though arrested for attempted murder, Bronx DA Darcel Clark’s office downgraded his charges to misdemeanors, meaning that, under New York State’s perp-pleasing bail regime, Phu could not legally be held in jail to await trial.

Van Phu Bui
Van Phu Bui was arrested for sucker punching a stranger on a Bronx sidewalk.
NY Sex Offender Registry

Don’t forget — as the pro-savage legal defense bar keeps telling us — he’s technically innocent! Yes, we know how the presumption of non-guilt works in courtrooms. But we also know — based on video evidence of the crime — that Phu is manifestly a dangerous individual. New York State, however, remains the only jurisdiction in the country that lacks a “dangerousness” standard for bail. That is, the only consideration that counts for assigning bail in New York is flight risk, no matter how brutal, vicious, and unrestrained a violent perpetrator obviously is.

Gov. Kathy Hochul tried to play the hero in the Phu case. “I took action in my own hands,” she boasted, directing the state corrections department to bust Phu for violating his parole. “People of New York need to know that as their governor,” explained Hochul, “I’ll stand up and protect them.”

We’re lucky, in other words, that Bui Van Phu raped a teenager 30 years ago, because that’s the only way the state was able to get him off the streets after attacking a pedestrian and breaking his skull. We are also lucky that the whole event was clearly caught on video, because it’s unlikely that the case would have generated so much buzz without the horrible visual evidence.

And we’re also lucky that Hochul is facing an election in a few months, and that her opponent, Lee Zeldin, was about to hold a press conference pointing out that New Yorkers are sick to their stomachs at the rising tide of chaos that threatens to overwhelm their city. Otherwise, who’s to say she would have bothered to respond at all?

Hochul added that she is “also asking our district attorneys” to “closely examine” the criminal justice reform laws that have caused this mess. It’s unclear why she would ask the DA’s to examine the law, when she should be pushing the Democrat supermajority in the state legislature to do something about changing it.

But if Hochul were serious about wanting the state’s district attorneys to do their jobs, she would take the bold step that Florida’s Ron DeSantis recently took by removing a do-nothing district attorney from office. Gov. Hochul has the authority to give DAs Darcel Clark, Alvin Bragg and Eric Gonzalez the boot — if she really cared about these revolving door travesties, she would do something real about it.

New York Post cover for Friday, August 19.
The New York Post’s cover for Friday, August 19 of the sucker-punch crime.

But doing something real about crime and impunity in New York would agitate her political base, who think that restoring sanity to our criminal justice system would empower racist judges (in the Bronx?) and unfairly stigmatize New Yorkers (like convicted rapists?) So instead of doing anything significant, Hochul has embraced the tried-and-true strategy of relabeling reality to make it sound nicer. Just last week she signed legislation changing “inmate” to “incarcerated person” in official documents, because “language matters,” according to state senator Gustavo Rivera.

Language especially matters to feckless politicians like Hochul and Rivera, because they evidently have no control over anything happening in the real world of flesh and blood and concrete. If we have learned anything in this era of progressive domination of society, it’s that when reality doesn’t meet expectations — whether pertaining to gender, inflation, or crime — just change the definition of reality. That way you always win.

Seth Barron (@sethbarronnyc) is managing editor of The American Mind and the author of “The Last Days of New York” (Humanix).


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