Paying Gang Members To Not Break The Law.

As a group, we have been writing on this blog for many years. It is rare that something comes up that leaves us relatively speechless. It’s one of those things that when you write and use a lot of words, you have a tendency to have some comment form in your mind.

This one has thrown up for a loop.

Sacramento plans to pay gang members $1.5M to keep the peace<

How bad has gun violence gotten in Sacramento, Calif.? City leaders now plan to pay gang members $1.5 million for a cease-fire.

Following a fatal shooting last weekend in a city park, the Sacramento city council unanimously approved a controversial program called Advance Peace in an effort to address a recent spike in violence.

The program offers gang members cash stipends for graduating from school and generally staying out of trouble.

Apparently, the final straw and the impetus for this program was shooting death this past weekend.

Forty-nine-year-old father Ernie Cadena was killed when shots rang out Sunday afternoon at the popular Sacramento neighborhood park.

“He was working hard, he did what he could for his daughter and his girlfriend and his baby to come. I don’t think he expected this at all,” said Cadena’s cousin Inez Sutton.

Cadena was spending the day at the park while his friend C-Bo, a well-known Sacramento rapper, was filming a music video. The artist had announced his video shoot on Instagram, writing, “let’s go Sactown OG’s will be outside.”

“It’s a sad, senseless shooting that shouldn’t have happened,” said close friend Allen Brown.

The Sacramento City Council held a special meeting and voted 9-0 to institute the plan and allocated $1.5 million in initial funding.

Not all people in the government are fans of the program:

In a statement, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said she has serious concerns.

“I support the gang prevention task force and the many evidence-based youth mentoring and intervention programs already in existence in the city of Sacramento. I have serious concerns with a program that is apparently based upon the payment of money to high-risk individuals in exchange for a promise not to engage in violent criminal conduct. There is insufficient evidence-based data to show this approach is effective in preventing gun violence.”

And then there is this:

Sheriff Scott Jones said in a statement that reads, in part, “I have fundamental objections to this program. I am against significant taxpayer funding (or any money) being paid to people just to NOT commit crimes or shoot people. They do not engage in law enforcement at all, and I have been told that if they become aware of one of the participants committing crime, they will NOT notify law enforcement.”

Wouldn’t mentoring mean holding people accountable for their actions?

Why would anyone want to have “mentors” that say “go ahead and bust somebody. We won’t tell.” That’s not what a mentor should be doing.

The “numbers” to support this program seem to be from Richmond, CA:

From 2010-2016, firearm assaults and deaths dropped by 60 percent in Richmond.

Eighty-four fellows were enrolled in the program from 2010-2015.

Of those, 94 percent are still alive, 83 percent have no gun-related injuries and 77 percent have not been suspected in any firearms activity, according to Advance Peace in Richmond.

Richmond is a city of over 100,110 people. If one were to believe the numbers of the “success” in Richmond, one has to believe that with the drop in gun violence and assaults, 84 people were responsible for the 60 percent of the crimes. If those 84 people were responsible for all the deaths and assaults, shouldn’t they have been prosecuted and sent to jail?

Furthermore, how can anyone tell that the kids weren’t involved any crimes? After all, the mentors aren’t cooperating with the police and investigations. That seems to skew the numbers a great deal.

Isn’t the moral of this story “we are paying people to follow the law?”

Furthermore, who is paying for these programs?

If you answered “the law abiding citizens,” you’d be correct.

It is perverse thinking to be taking money out of the pockets of good, law abiding citizens and putting that money into the hands of criminals.

It seems to us the message is “we need to commit crimes so we can get paid.”

Oy vey.

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