Friday, April 8, 2016

Related imageIf you think you have heard it all well, you haven’t. One California city is paying thugs not to shoot each other in their gang violence that seems to be in every city now.  It is a revolutionary new way to curb street violence. Yes, they are paying young men who are often armed and dangerous not to shoot. Do we really need to beg the thugs to stop doing illegal activities? We can’t seem to hold gun manufacturers responsible to who they sell guns too, we can’t seem to pay to get all the guns off the streets and everyone is screaming about their Second Amendment right to carry guns. Meanwhile we know that the guns are in the hands of just punks who can’t seem to talk things out.
When there is a street shooting there is a retaliation planned which usually ends up with more dead bodies.  It is a potent mixture of teens with anger and pain and `lots of energy to put towards the drama. Richmond, California was once one of the most deadly cities in America. The streets are just hunting grounds where young men are running from the bullets that follow. Every night the news report on another killing. It can be compared to a war zone in the Middle East. The city came up with this solution to pay the men in 2007. The better the behavior the better the pay check. The maximum per month is $1,300 to not pull the trigger.
They must choose not to avenge their friend’s death. There were about 18 men participating in the program. It is a program mostly funded by taxpayers. DeVone Bogaan, is the Founder of the Office of Neighborhood Safety pushing the program. Many people do not want to fund teens that should be obeying the laws anyway. Progress for young men who get arrested at age 12 for armed robbery is slow because they don’t know of any other kind of life but a life of crime. The only people eligible for the program are young men that already have long rap sheets for violent crimes. Their jobs now is to intervene and to stop potential shootings. In a 5 year period the number of homicides dropped 76% per cent across Richmond
It is important to expose them to a world from not caring about much to caring enough to try to stop a bullet. The next step in the reward program is to be able to travel with someone you want to kill or who wants to kill you. The program will pay for a trip to New York or Chicago as a vacation. Face to face meetings can turn deadly in an instant so they prepare them with supervised meet and great meetings first. They get to discuss how they have been disrespected. Talking with words and not bullets is something new for both of the men.  They still carry their guns but don’t use them. So many armed men on the streets is not a number that police are comfortable with. Even a traffic stop can end up in an armed stand off.
Other cities also struggling with armed street violence like Washington D.C., Baltimore and Oakland are looking at this program carefully to be used in their cities. This is a coddling, coaching and discipline approach to a problem rather than jail time alone. The men shoot to matter and to be noticed. They need to be noticed for other things and not this. They need to learn a new perspective of the world around them and a life without violence. It is a lot harder to shoot someone you know, like or respect. We can only hope that this change is for the better.

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