City Proposes Paying Gang Members Not to Shoot Their Guns

The City of Fresno, California is considering funding a program that would, according to the San Joaquin Valley Sun, “pay stipends to gang members to curb gun violence.” Right away, I become suspicious when anyone uses the term “gun violence.” This assigns agency to an inanimate object instead of a human being.

City council member Miguel Arias, who offered the proposal, said the budget would fund $75,000 for “the administrative element.” The program would be a local version of the “Advance Peace Initiative” used in other cities. I don’t fault anyone who says they’re interested in reducing violence. But when I read that Advance Peace is a “social justice” organization, again, I become suspicious.

As a retired cop who saw so much money and resources wasted on leftist, social justice initiatives, I cringe when I hear someone offer to pay criminals not to commit crime. And with the social justice industrial complex being the money vacuum it is, my suspicious meter buries the needle.

Fresno would base the program on one started in Richmond, California. Mother Jones reported the program uses “pseudo-social workers,” ex-cons, to keep an eye on gang members and try to talk them into giving up violence and joining the program.

However, with stipends ranging from $300-$1,000 per month, I’m wondering if that will entice gang members used to running guns, drugs, and other illicit contraband and illegal enterprises, or just make them laugh.

How would verification work? Unless police arrest a gangster for “gun violence,” how would anyone know the gang member is not still shooting his gun at people and using the stipend to buy ammo?

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Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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