Sometimes — a lot of times — I wish the mainstream media would Google search their “gun violence” stories before shooting their mouths off. So to speak. If NPR had taken the time to research so-called “violence interrupters” — ex-cons charged with convincing gang bangers not to shoot each other — they’d discover two salient facts. First . . .
there is no scientific evidence (i.e., data) that violence interrupters interrupt violence. Second, a significant number of the convicted criminals involved with these multimillion dollar programs commit criminal acts while sucking on the taxpayer’s tit (e.g., Baltimore “Violence Interrupters” Caught Dealing Drugs, Possessing Illegal Guns). In short it’s a scam.
Well-intentioned, perhaps, politically correct, for sure, but a scam. The best way to reduce firearms-related gang activity: lock them up. OK, legalizing drugs might starve them of lifestyle-sustaining resources. But you can no more talk gang bangers out of gunplay than you can talk a 1911 fanatic into ditching JMB’s legacy for Gaston’s plastic pistol. If you know what I mean.
If you don’t know what I mean, check out You Can Stop Gun Violence The Same Way You Stop AIDS Or TB. It’s a highly edited Q&A with physician, epidemiologist and CeaseFire founder Gary Slutkin and Chicago “church leader” Autry Phillips [neither shown above], shilling for “violence interrupters.”
If I’m a young man with a gun, and I’ve just seen my best friend shot down by a guy, what do you say to make me stop shooting that guy?
Phillips: The best thing we can do is remind you of the consequences of pulling that trigger. Think past right now, and it’s two hours later. You’ve pulled the trigger. Someone else is dead, and now the police are looking for you.
So what I want you to do is think about mama right now; what would Mama have you to do? Would Dad be pleased with you right now? More importantly, how is this going to affect you two hours from now? I know you’re mad, but let’s take a walk right now, and let’s get away from the situation.
Hang on. “Now the police are looking for you”? Is Mr. Phillips harboring fugitives in the name of “gun violence” reduction? This is my surprised face. Anyone want to take a bet on the effectiveness of this “think of your mother” strategy, once reserved for police officers bull-horning criminals holed-up in a surrounded house.
Now how much would you pay? As I said, hard working, law-abiding Americans already pay tens of millions to these ex-cons (New York City Paying $12.7m to Unaccountable Felons to Curb “Gun Violence”).
But wait! There’s less!
Some people don’t believe that gun violence is like a disease, that killing people involves perpetrators and victims.
Slutkin: Victims and perpetrators are all victims. Someone who has active tuberculosis passes it on to his son. Is there a perpetrator and a victim in that case? That guy, he got the TB years ago from his friend, so was it conscious or unconscious?
You have people now in Iraq who are 15 years old, and for them, there’s always violence. Same thing in Afghanistan. And people who grow up seeing violence, they don’t know that it has anything to do with enemies or war or gangs. Violence is just normal, just like for some people, going to school is normal. But it’s only because that’s what you were exposed to. It’s not because it’s the only way.
And there you have it: the liberal/progressive dynamic that spawned this now-viral social welfare program — shooters are victims, too! The Violence Interrupters’ operating principle of personal responsibility is underpinned and undermined by the belief that it takes a village to make a shooter. It’s the logical, politically correct outgrowth of the victim mentality that informs virtually all social welfare programs.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong and everything right with using community pressure and individual intervention to try to stop the cycle of violence in crime-plagued neighborhoods. Nor am I fundamentally opposed to using ex-cons to do so. The problem here is . . . wait for it . . . the government.
Like all government programs, CeaseFire and its criminally tainted ilk lack any accountability. A proper study of their effectiveness – rather than the vague pronouncements and junk science fisked here – would reveal that they’re less effective than incarceration. Violence interrupter programs are designed to give politicians cover (we’re doing something!) and finance the criminal conspiracy between gangs and elected officials. You heard me. It’s an extortion racket, too.
Some historians argue that the end of segregation triggered the degradation of many large American cities into ghettos. “Black flight” – wealthier, successful, influential black citizens abandoning the inner city for the suburbs – left those cities without a moral core. Without social cohesion. Without economic engines.
That’s one theory. It’s certainly true that high profile leaders in many crime-plagued cities shamelessly exploit racial politics and play the victim card – rather than doing everything they can to provide positive role models and social constraints for their constituencies. That’s the kind of “community organization” that works. If that effort includes ex-cons, great! If it depends on them, it’s doomed to failure.