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"Violence interrupters" Hanif Cardale Walker, Gregory Myers, Eugene Jackson, Charles “Flip” Barnette, John Thompson and Keith Guinyard (courtesy

“Seventeen counties will compete for $13 million as part of a new initiative to fight gun violence,” reports. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined in his budget address Jan. 21 that he would shift money from the popular Operation IMPACT crime-fighting program to a new Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative. State officials said the program will start immediately because there is money in this year’s budget to fund it.” Cuomo urged local agencies to “apply for this funding and work toward making New York’s streets safer.” Rock and roll! So what’s the plan? Yes, well, they’re working on that . . .

To be eligible for the funding, municipalities need to develop a plan “to promote integrated, evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.”

The plan also includes an expansion of the state’s five crime analysis centers to be address gun violence. They are located in Albany, Broome, Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties.

The state Department of Criminal Justice Services will host a conference next Tuesday in Albany to discuss the initiative.

Applications will be due in late March and the grants will be awarded in the late spring, state officials said.

Excellent! Because we wouldn’t want New York’s cities and towns to spend their share of the $13m taxpayer-funded bonanza on disorganized emotion-based gun violence reduction strategies like . . . the SAFE Act. And you have to allocate the funding before you know what you’re going to do with the funding, obviously.

What’s the bet that a big chunk of this $13m will flow down to “violence interrupters” (i.e., ex-cons) with no proven (i.e., evidence-based) track record for reducing firearms-related crimes? Why just yesterday, reported that one such group (SNUG) received $300k from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services [via SAFE Act co-sponsor Senator Jeff Klein] to “operate in The Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center.” So to speak.

Saying that, the $350k (the hospital kicked-in $50k) represents a fraction of the $2.8m New York State taxpayers will fork-over this year to groups of convicted criminals and admitted gang members who claim they’ll use the cash to stop convicted criminals from committing firearms-related crime – despite SNUG’s non-quantifiable track record.

Yes but – again, what exactly does that money – or the $13m up for grabs from Governor Cuomo’s gun grabbers – pay for? Details! Don’t you know that there are children being shot every single day? “If it saves one young person’s life it’s worth every penny.” (True quote.) Those of you who reckon the money shouldn’t be sucked out of taxpayer’s pockets in the first place, or should go to beef-up New York’s criminal justice system, are just being churlish. That is all.

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    • Sure, there’s plenty of money in the State budget! Meanwhile, the State of New York will, again, borrow money from the State Employees pension fund in order to make its required annual contribution of funding to the State Employees pension fund.

  1. “To be eligible for the funding, municipalities need to develop a plan “to promote integrated, evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.””

    So they’re saying up-front that NO municipality will be eligible, because all the actual evidence proves that NONE of their strategies reduce gun violence.

    • “To be eligible for the funding, municipalities need to develop a plan “to promote integrated, evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.”

      Promote and encourage gun ownership and gun safety, based on the evidence that gun violence is reduced when citizens are armed and trained …. There That should get me my funding.

    • You should check into the 2nd District Federal court opinions regarding gun control laws and you will find that the word ‘evidence’ means something different in the faery-tale land of lost unicorns then it does to people like you and me out here in reality.

      For instance (I know this is Jersey, but ‘same thing’, same circuit in any case):

      “The predictive judgment of New Jersey’s legislators is that limiting the issuance of permits to carry a handgun in public to only those who can show a “justifiable need” will further its substantial interest in public safety.[fn17] New Jersey contends that the “justifiable need” standard “precisely fits New Jersey’s interest in assessing the corresponding dangers and risk to the public and to the person seeking to carry a handgun. The [standard] provides a means to determine whether the increase in risk and danger borne by the public is justified by a demonstrated risk and danger borne to the person seeking to carry a handgun.” Appellees’ Brief 34. To be sure, New Jersey has not presented us with much evidence to show how or why its legislators arrived at this predictive judgment. New Jersey’s counsel acknowledges that “there is no available commentary which would clarify whether or not the Legislature considered statistical information to support the public safety purpose of the State’s Carry Permit Law.” Appellees’ February 27, 2013 Letter at 1-2.

      “New Jersey’s inability to muster legislative history indicating what reports, statistical information, and other studies its legislature pondered when it concluded that requiring handgun permit applicants to demonstrate a “justifiable need” would reasonably further its substantial public safety interest, notwithstanding the potential burden on Second Amendment rights, [**10] is unsurprising. First, at each relevant moment in the history of New Jersey gun laws, spanning from 1905[fn18] to 1981,[fn19] the [*438] legislature could not have foreseen that restrictions on carrying a firearm outside the home could run afoul of a Second Amendment that had not yet been held to protect an individual right to bear arms, given that the teachings of Heller were not available until that landmark case was decided in 2008. Moreover, Second Amendment protections were not incorporated against the states until 2010, when the Supreme Court issued its splintered opinion in McDonald. Simply put, New Jersey’s legislators could not have known that they were potentially burdening protected Second Amendment conduct, and as such we refuse to hold that the fit here is not reasonable merely because New Jersey cannot identify a study or tables of crime statistics upon which it based its predictive judgment. As the District Court correctly concluded, New Jersey’s legislature “has continually made the reasonable inference that given the obviously dangerous and deadly nature of handguns, requiring a showing of particularized need for a permit to carry one publicly serves the State’s interests in public safety.” District Court Opinion 42. To require applicants to demonstrate a “justifiable need” is a reasonable implementation of New Jersey’s substantial, indeed critical, interest in public safety. See IMS Health, Inc. v. Ayotte, 550 F.3d 42, 55 (1st Cir.2008) (explaining that under intermediate scrutiny states are “allowed to justify speech restrictions by reference to studies and anecdotes,” and also by reference to “history, consensus, and simple common sense”) (internal quotation marks omitted), abrogated on other grounds by___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2653, 180 L.Ed.2d 544 (2011). ”

      vs the dissenting judge:

      “At the outset, we should emphasize that the justifiable need requirement itself, not the State’s permitting law in general, is at issue. The majority apparently disagrees insofar as its opinion focuses on whether permitting schemes in general further an interest in public safety. By doing so, I submit that the majority misapprehends the regulation under review. Appellants take no issue with permits in general or with the [**25] other objective requirements that an applicant must satisfy prior to obtaining a handgun carry permit, such as background checks, safety courses, and qualification tests. Rather, the regulation at issue is the requirement to show justifiable need, that is, that the applicant has a special need for self-defense greater than that which exists among the general public. Preis, 573 A.2d at 152. Accordingly, our inquiry must focus on that requirement. To be precise, we must ask whether the State has justified its conclusion that those with a special need for self-defense are less likely to misuse or accidentally use a handgun than those who do not have a special need.

      “Although the State must show only a “reasonable” fit, New Jersey comes nowhere close to making the required showing. Indeed, New Jersey has presented no evidence as to how or why its interest in preventing misuse or accidental use of handguns is furthered by limiting possession to those who can show a greater need for self-defense than the typical citizen.[fn18]

      “The majority excuses the State for this evidentiary void by reference to the fact that Heller was not decided until 2008 and that the Second Amendment had not been incorporated against the States until 2010. [*454] “Simply put,” the majority states, “New Jersey’s legislators could not have known that they were potentially burdening protected Second Amendment conduct, and as such we refuse to hold that the fit here is not reasonable merely because New Jersey cannot identify a study or tables of crime statistics upon which it based its predictive judgment.” Maj. Typescript at 438.

      “Even if one were to ignore the fact that people bore and desired to bear firearms in New Jersey in the decades prior to Heller, the lack of legislative history surrounding the State’s enactment of the justifiable need requirement is not the chief problem with the State’s showing. To be clear, New Jersey has provided no evidence at all to support its proffered justification, not just no evidence that the legislature considered at the time the need requirement was enacted or amended. The majority errs in absolving New Jersey of its obligation to show fit. Our role is to evaluate the State’s proffered evidence, not to accept reflexively its litigation position. See Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1259 (holding that the government had not borne its burden under intermediate scrutiny because “the District needs to present some meaningful evidence, not mere assertions, to justify its predictive judgments”); Chester, 628 F.3d at 683 (holding that the government had not borne its burden under intermediate scrutiny because “[t]he government has offered numerous plausible reasons why the disarmament of domestic violence misdemeanants is substantially related to an important government goal; however, it has not attempted to offer sufficient evidence to establish a substantial relationship between [18 U.S.C] § 922(g)(9) and an important governmental goal” (emphasis in original)). “Without pointing to any study, empirical data, or legislative findings,” New Jersey submits merely “that the fit [i]s a matter [**26] of common sense.” United States v. Carter, 669 F.3d 411, 419 (4th Cir.2012). Under these circumstances, the State has not carried its burden to “affirmatively establish the reasonable fit we require.” Fox, 492 U.S. at 480, 109 S.Ct. 3028; see, e.g., Carter, 669 F.3d at 419; Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1259; Chester, 628 F.3d at 683. ”

      (sorry about the length)

    • “So they’re saying up-front that NO municipality will be eligible, because all the actual evidence proves that NONE of their strategies reduce gun violence.”

      Actually, it’s worse – there is no such thing as “gun violence.” And it is impossible to create a strategy to combat a nonexistent thing. If it were, I would create a “100% effective Unicorn Repellent” and sell it on eBay so I wouldn’t have to work a real job.

  2. To be eligible for the funding, municipalities need to develop a plan “to promote integrated, evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.

    The winning plan: buy everyone in town a J-frame and a Bianchi. That’s the ONLY evidence-based strategy.

  3. Here in Rhode Island Sen. Gayle Goldin and Rep. Maria Cimini are set to introduce a bill that will impose an additional 10% tax on all sales of guns & ammo in order to pay for this sort of “nonviolence” work. Chief among such nonviolence groups in RI is the much-touted Institute for the Study and Prevention of Nonviolence whose “streetworkers” have turned out to be unreformed gangbangers on more than one occasion. The leader of this group is a citizen of Israel whose salary takes up about 8% of this not-for-profit institute’s annual budget. It’s just gross (no pun intended).

    • You can always count on L’il Rhody’s politicians to come up with inventive ways to screw the people. And you can always count on the people to say “thank you, may I have another,” as they bend over.

      RI isn’t just the most corrupt state in the Union. It also has the lowest collective IQ (present company excepted).

  4. How to solve gun violence in the inner city:

    End modern prohibition and take away the financial incentive to deal in illegal drugs, and fight over turf.


    • Ok…..but we’ll have to increase the education budgets massively if we do that. No doubt with the end of the war on drugs, all of those ex-gangbangers will trade their gats for bookbags and sign up for college. Maybe take some art history courses, possibly audit a survey of classical literature? It’s only been that mean old racist war on drugs that’s kept these little angels from the straight and narrow. Surely with its end, they’ll all instantly pursue more wholesome endeavours.

        • Hmmmm….maybe you missed the part in your own point where you suggested ending prohibition (presumably of drugs) would end gun violence. Because in my poiny, I illustrated how absurd it is to envision these street monsters suddenly becoming decent people just because prohibition is lifted.

          Do you get it now, or are you still confused by the simple stuff of your own point and mine?

  5. Seriously how much time do these people waste coming up with these acronyms? Its just way to convenient for every turd they lay out on the table to have some catchy or witty acronym attached to it.

  6. “To be eligible for the funding, municipalities need to develop a plan “to promote integrated, evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.”

    Eliminate all gun free zones, there I win!

    • In addition to that, I’d like to see at least one county sheriff declare all law-abiding citizens to be “auxiliary deputies” with the authority to carry openly or concealed any firearm that is commercially available to the public in the rest of the country (i.e. no “SAFE” restrictions). Then watch the horror when the anti’s realize that this county’s crime reduction far outpaces anything they try. Competition is a good thing.

  7. GEM (Government Executes Murderers) would be a more useful and less expensive initiative if frivolous appeals were quickly denied and the state adopted hanging as the execution method. The recidivism rate would be the envy of every other program.

  8. Here’s my proposal. I believe it will do more than reduce “gun violence” as it tackles the root of 80% or so of homicides (at the least the ones in NYC).

    1. Legalize drugs.
    2. Create an infrastructure to monitor the legal production and sale of drugs.
    3. Tax drug sales and pump that money into educating students in under-served communities.
    4. Enjoy pulling the rug out from under the drug cartels and gangs who are responsible for much of the violence we see in NY and whose major profit base is selling illegal drugs.

    The 80% bit isn’t randomly chosen. I few months ago I was looking over NYC homicides stats and for the year I checked around 80% of arrested murderers and 80-something% of murderees in NYC had previous drug arrests. I think it’s safe to say that many of their murders have something to do with the sale of drugs or gang activities that are drug-related (protecting turf and such).

    I don’t think Cuomo would go for that, though. It’s a lot easier to blame law-abiding gun owners for our drug violence problem.

  9. Step right up ladies & gentlemen & see the mighty coma tackle crime bare handed, in the other ring is o with his pen & 3 cell phones, see if you can find liberty under any one of them./// Apparently their garbage pleases the sheep.

  10. So if you’re home is broken into in NY, or you are mugged, or generally any incident where you lose property, you’re getting double taxed by the NYS government. Nice.

  11. Hand out clubs and knives, increase knife violence and blunt object violence, gun violence goes down. Please contact me for instructions on where to send that money.

    Seriously does their dictionary not have the words “root cause” in it? I know it’s missing the word “freedom”.

  12. Sorry to rain on the parade, but what they are talking about is referenced in a TED talk by Gary Slutkin (no name jokes please, he didn’t pick it) wherein he, an epidemiologist, applied techniques used to halt the spread of infectious disease in refugee camps to halting the spread of inner city violence in Chicago.
    Is the technique perfect? No, but it should be noted that he does not Scholl for gin control, rather he advocates training members of the afflicted community to act as “coolers” in essence, identifying and talking down people on the verge of violent action.
    I believe that violence is perpetrated by people, therefore strategies which directly address the root causes of violent crime definitely deserve a look. Community volunteers and charitable orgs my be a better way to finance such a program from the conservative and libertarian viewpoints. But, investigating programs like this, where gun control and registration are not even part of it, I think is one of those areas where bipartisan agreements and compromise can actually work to produce a public policy which has a good chance of enabling some real benefits.
    So, lets sit back and take an honest look at the studies and their methods and see if maybe we have something here before automatically dismissing it.

    • Sorry, but you kind of lost me at “TED Talk.” I do not choose to subscribe to that particular appeal to (self proclaimed) authority, no matter how in vogue it is with modern convention.

      On to the idea of using disease prevention methods to curb inner city violence…sorry, but that’s apples and freight trains. Couple of thoughts:

      (1) Diseases do not spread based on the will of the disease. A virus just is.

      (2) As such, the mathematical models for disease spread are FAR simpler than any sociological problem such as violence. Viruses do not organize into groups, have political goals, have the occasional puppetmaster. Nor do they even hunger for more or have ANY motivation to act a certain way.

      Disease control essentially boils down to understanding (and modeling) communication vectors and exposure rates. On the whole, by comparison, it’s pretty simple.

      (3) A particular virus has certain properties, and once control of that virus is known, it pretty much applies across the board.

      This is not true of social problems. What solves the violence problem in Chicago may be far different than what might work in NY or Paris or anywhere else. Each city is a microscopic mini-culture, and human beings (as individuals and as social groups) are not monolithic.

      (4) Diseases have been studied and eradicated; urban violence has been extensively studies but never “cured.” Obviously, they are far different animals.

      (5) Humans have choice. No matter what programs are in place or what Utopian solution is devised, at the end of the day, the efficacy is up to those participating to participate.

      Heinlein’s notion of Rational Anarchy comes to mind as an important concept to understand.

      Well, that’s a start.

      • Excellent reply. I certainly concede the point on human choice and free will being unaccountable in mathematical models. Humans while rational, do not always make choices in their best interest, sometimes they do. That random variable is impossible to account for.

        I concede that violence spread does not mimic the simple infection model of a virus.

        I concede that violence is in the nature of every human being at some level, therefore complete erradication is a pipe dream.

        Here is where I differ. The methods in question that were utilized in the camps were targeted toward educating some individuals from the group in identitfying early signs of infection and encouraging the infected individual to quarantine and seek help. The violence inturruption method trained people to identify when someone was becoming keyed up for violent action either on their own, or by encouragement from peers, or as retaliation for wrongs, then step in as the voice of reason and talk said person down.
        I concede that the particular motivators and cultures of violence will differ from area to area, which is why I vehemently oppose federal level programs of this type.
        I will argue, however, that (ideally) involved parents and programs such as after school arts, big brother/sister, church programs, aimed at providing positive, and relevant, alternatives to joining gangs or engaging in otherwise criminal behavior can be effective in reducing gang membership and defaulting to violence to solve conflict.

        Note that legalization of many drugs will probably have a much larger impact on the major source of homicide than any social program. However I am always encouraging those on the anti-gun side to explore options such as these to focus on the people committing the acts rather than the tools they use.

        As to the source of the idea, I tend to spend a lot of time reading and analyzing material and ideas from democratic underground, VPC, Brady, etc. trying to ensure I am aware of the most likely anti-gun arguments I will encounter. Whenever I encounter folks trying to take a more honest and in depth look at violence, I encourage them and provide insight from my perspective. It generally goes a lot better than screaming at each other about ban versus constitutional carry.

        I am also not completely sold on this idea as presented, but I think the willingness to look at the details and see if there are good solid ideas that can be built upon that dont infringe on people’s right to keep and bear is important, hence my overly windy commentary.

        • Great response, Josh. You’ve described what I think the Progressive approach should be, but sadly, rarely is.

        • Josh, you make some solid points. Thank-you, sir, for a far more serious discussion of the topic than I fear the people thinking about how to spend millions of tax payer dollars will give.

          My position on programs like this is that they cannot hurt, so they are worth a try. And, there probably should be quite a few of varied ones active at any given time (a scattergun approach?). However, I do maintain that this can / should come from the private, non-profit sector.

          Perhaps that is more of a statement about my underlying cynicism on the topic of government efficiency than of the program itself.

  13. I heard they changed the name of the campaign from GIVE to Future Utopias by Cuomo’s Knowledge and Understanding, or FUCKU. The campaign will mostly consist of Cuomo driving to pro-gun rallies in New York, flipping off the crowd, then having the NYPD stop and frisk every protester that attended the event.

  14. Let’s not forget the $27.7 million from last years budget to create the database system to handle ammo purchases under the Safe act. You know, the system that doesn’t exist,( that’s a good thing) but where was the money spent? And let’s not forget the increase in this years budget of $3.2 million for more personnel to administer the Safe act, parts of which are not being enforced by many county Sheriffs and the NYS Police.


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