Color me surprised. Our good friends at Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop machine thetrace.org report that Feds Say One of Chicago’s Last ‘Violence Interrupters’ Was Really a Gang Leader. Don’t get me wrong. I’m surprised by The Trace’s coverage, not the story.
We’ve been highlighting the insanity of paying convicted criminals huge salaries to stop convicted criminals from shooting one another (and others) for years. Baltimore “Violence Interrupters” Caught Dealing Drugs, Possessing Illegal Guns, for example. And New York City Paying $12.7m to Unaccountable Felons to Curb “Gun Violence”.
It’s such a ridiculous concept, so fundamentally corrupt and ineffective, that even The Trace has been forced to take note . . .
Francisco Sanchez said his days as a gang leader on Chicago’s West Side were over.
At 50, he said he had seen numerous lives ruined by violence — young people losing the best years of their lives to prison; children left without parents in the name of petty disputes and turf wars. That’s why he became something else: a leader in an organization committed to ending gun violence.
But last week, federal prosecutors charged that Sanchez’s redemption had been a sham. They said that at the same time Sanchez was moonlighting as a supervisor at CeaseFire Illinois, he was heading up one of Chicago’s most violent street gangs, the Gangster Two-Six Nation.
Get this: The Trace feels so chastened they link to a previous story lauding Mr. Sanchez’ work to reduce “gun violence.” And write “The arrest of one of the chapter’s highest-profile remaining workers renews questions about whether using ex-gang members and felons as outreach workers is worth the risks associated with doing so.” (Hint: it isn’t.)
Of course, in the current piece, writer Ann Givens feels obliged — or was obliged — to include a defense of violence interrupters programs.
Jeffrey Butts, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who is studying the effectiveness of Cure Violence, said it is unfair to argue that the arrest of an outreach worker means that the entire program should be disbanded.
“Everyone loves to jump on this story every time,” Butts said. “We never do that when a police officer shoots an innocent person. We may say, ‘We should be more careful who we hire,’ or ‘We need to train people better,’ but we never say ‘We should stop having police officers patrol our streets.’”
Butts also pointed out that the very thing that makes Cure Violence effective requires that it employ people with gang and criminal histories. When a member of Alcoholics Anonymous goes back to drinking, the validity of the whole program is not questioned, Butts said.
That is perhaps the best possible example of fake moral equivalence I’ve ever encountered. When gang bangers go back to banging people die. The piece ends with a defense of Mr. Sanchez from his defense attorney.
Doherty, Sanchez’s lawyer, said he’s known Sanchez for years. He said that Sanchez has asked him to speak to young people in West Chicago about the horrors of prison, and that Sanchez has done small jobs for him — like delivering documents for $50 a job. No gang chief would need to deliver documents for such a paltry sum, or work for Cure Violence for a salary of about $30,000 a year, Doherty said.
“I think they’ve made a sad error here,” he said.
Someone has, and for once, it ain’t the ATF.