D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry yesterday urged two young men who robbed him at gunpoint Monday night to turn themselves in to police, promising that he would urge authorities not to prosecute them.
"I have no animosities," Barry declared. "I don't even want you prosecuted, really. I love you. Give yourself up. Call the police. . . . I will do all I can to advocate non-prosecution."
Barry, 69, was held up in his kitchen about 9:30 p.m. Monday by two assailants who minutes earlier had helped him carry groceries from his car to his third-floor apartment in Southeast Washington. They pointed a gun at Barry's face and stole his wallet, which contained more than $200, his driver's license and two credit cards, police said.
The thieves apparently knew that Barry (D-Ward 8) was a longtime community leader, a fact that he said made the crime "kind of hurt" because he is well respected by so many people in the city. Barry was not injured in the holdup.
"There is a sort of an unwritten code in Washington, among the underworld and the hustlers and these other guys, that I am their friend," Barry said at an afternoon news conference in which he described the robbery in detail. "I don't advocate what they do. I advocate conditions to change what they do. I was a little hurt that this betrayal did happen." . . .
Words fail me. Thanks to OpinionJournal's Political Diary for the pointer.
UPDATE: Matt Rustler (Stop the Bleating) points out:
["]Barry vowed not to move from his home in the council district he represents. But he said he will push for tougher gun control laws. Last session he offered a bill mandating a 10-year sentence for those caught with a gun. So far, a hearing has not been scheduled, but Barry hopes to see action on it this year.["] [Link in Rustler's post.] . . .
Marion wants a ten-year mandatory sentence for possessing a gun, presumably in order to further deter possession of firearms in the District, but he doesn't want people who commit robberies using guns to be prosecuted. . . .