“Ernestine Daniel opened a bag and handed police officers a couple of old handguns she inherited when her father died. In return, she got a $50 gift card for Dave’s Supermarket, tickets to Cavaliers and Lake Erie Monsters games and a good feeling.” And so cleveland.com joins every other media outlet in the United States singing the praises of that non-debatable darling: the gun buyback program. I’ll say it again: gun buybacks are an enormous waste of money (at best) that threaten to increase the market for stolen guns (at worst). The idea is so dumb that even the MSM feels obliged to introduce a teeny weeny bit of doubt. “Many of the guns turned in looked old and shoddy, even rusty. But some looked brand new.” Vague much? Anyway, I have a modest proposal to fix these gun buyback programs . . .
If you want to “get guns off the streets” you have to start with the realization that the problem lies in gangland. Gang guns. There’s your trouble.
Unfortunately, other than a reduced prison term, there’s not a whole lot you can offer gang members that will convince them to relinquish their firearms. Gang bangers are smart enough to know that if they surrender a gun today, they may need it tomorrow. Or later the same day, actually.
Crack-for-guns wouldn’t stand a chance amongst the people committing the majority of gun crimes. Gang members may not be the sharpest tool in the box, but they’re not going to surrender their tools for a high they can get anyway.
Drug dealers, the other source of metropolitan ballistic friction, are also out. Unless you stump-up them a major amount of Bolivian bouncing powder, it’s simply not worth their while. Dealers need another rock about as much as an 18th century New England farmer.
Which leaves crack addicts.
They are the weakest link: mentally-addled no-hopers whose ability to weigh the consequences of their actions makes a three-year-old look like an ethics professor. Set up a crack-for-guns program for crack addicts and by God, they’ll find a gun. They’ll root out weapons from family, friends, dealers, gang bangers and fellow dope-heads. Real guns.
The obvious risk: crack addicts will break into the homes of upstanding citizens to get guns to trade for crack. Fear not. I refer you to The Influence of Crack Cocaine on the Likelihood of Incarceration for a Violent Offense: An Examination of a Prison Sample. As I don’t have a spare $25 for the full document, here’s the abstract‘s bottom line:
Using race-specific models of logistic regression, results from this research found that respondents who were under the influence of either crack or powder cocaine wereless likely to be incarcerated for a violent offense than respondents who were under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, the probabilities of serving time for a violent offense were approximately equal for individuals who were under the influence of crack cocaine compared to those who were under the influence of powder cocaine. However, the probability of serving time for a violent offense was approximately two times higher if the respondent was under the influence of alcohol compared to either crack or powder cocaine. This was true for both white and African-Americans offenders.
So booze-for-guns is out, crack-for-guns is in!
The only significant barrier to this program: the PR fallout. Cops can’t give out cocaine, even it was seized as evidence. They need to resell it on the street to top up their pensions! Kidding. Kinda. Feeding addicts’ habits is not the way to keep a cushy government job. No problemo. I’ve got that sorted too. Just don’t tell anyone.
That’s it: don’t tell anyone.
Does the general public get a full accounting of the tax money cops “invest” in informants’ intel? Of course not. That’s top secret stuff. So why should the people who pay the bills know about crack-for-guns? Just tell the folks (as Mr. O’Reilly condescendingly calls them) about lowered crime rates. You know; if it works.
It will work won’t it? I mean, if you remove guns from gang bangers and dope dealers, they won’t be able to get more guns, will they? Someone please tell me that there’s a small and finite number of guns out there . . .
Hang on. I forgot. Whether or not a cash/gas/groceries/sports tickets-for-guns program reduces violent crime doesn’t matter. The whole idea is a PR exercise designed to reduce the idea that the cops aren’t doing anything about gun crime. So you can’t keep a crack-for-guns program on the down-low. So it won’t work.