The rise of political violence on the American right and left is a troubling trend, and the latest attack came on Thursday evening against Republican candidate for Governor
in New York. Incredibly, the assailant was released immediately after his arrest without having to post a bond.
Mr. Zeldin, a U.S. Congressman from Long Island, was campaigning in Perinton when a man climbed a small stage and attempted to stab him. The assailant said “you’re done” as he attacked. Mr. Zeldin managed to parry the attempt and wasn’t harmed, and members of the audience subdued and disarmed the man, who was identified as 43-year-old
Mr. Jakubonis was charged with attempted assault in the second degree, though you have to wonder how this wasn’t an actual assault. The attacker had a hard plastic object that could have harmed Mr. Zeldin, or killed him if it had struck an artery in the neck.
the incumbent Democrat, condemned the attack “in the strongest terms possible” on
and said “it has no place in New York.” Except apparently it does, and the reaction of the New York justice system in this case may be one reason.
Mr. Jakubonis was released on his own recognizance without having to post bail. The man assaulted a Member of Congress at a political rally, and he is let back on the street as if he committed a misdemeanor drug-store theft. Check that. In New York such a theft is rarely prosecuted these days.
The assailant’s release is the product of New York’s notorious bail law reform that gives little latitude to judges to keep the accused off the streets before trial. The bail law has become the bane of police and crime victims across the state, but Ms. Hochul has refused to offer more than token changes. Under New York law, Mr. Jakubonis could face minimal jail time.
News reports on Friday suggest that Mr. Jakubonis has been having emotional problems, but that hardly makes him less of a threat to the community. Some commentators are suggesting he should be tried in federal court, which has more severe penalties. That logic makes sense since Mr. Zeldin is a federal official.
Threats of political violence are becoming all too common, and law enforcement needs to get serious in prosecuting it as a deterrent. Supreme Court Justice
home was staked out by an armed man who says he meant to do harm.
the GOP House whip, was shot and nearly killed by a politically motivated
supporter in 2017. Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Zeldin has been running against Ms. Hochul’s weak policies as crime rises in New York, but we doubt he expected that an attack on him would make his political case. New York voters can add this to their mental crime blotter as they go to the polls in November.
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Appeared in the July 23, 2022, print edition.