The PJ Tatler

Latest Bright Idea from the New York Times: Buy Off Criminals

It’s long been my theory, based on more than 40 years’ experience with the breed, that there’s no idea too stupid for a liberal to advocate and, if we’re really unlucky, actually try. Here’s one now:

To Stop Crime, Hand Over Cash

We modeled our approach on “Cure Violence,” a community outreach program in Chicago founded by the epidemiologist Gary Slutkin. The Chicago project evolved from the Operation Ceasefire program begun in Boston in the mid-1990s, since replicated in scores of cities across America. Many of these were successful at reducing gun violence, but we felt that they were too law-enforcement-driven and lacked the social services to help the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods.

The young people on the streets saw Ceasefire as a police initiative and little more. These were the young men who became our clients, those whom we’d identified as especially at risk — either of being a shooter or of being shot.

You can see the problem with this already. In the Leftist world view, there’s no plain old violence; there’s only gun violence, as if the gun itself was the cause of the violence and not the savage, uneducated, sociopathic nature of the thug wielding it. And since — in another important element of the Leftist world view — money solves everything, hey: why not just pay them off?

A police liaison officer told us this startling fact: An estimated 70 percent of shootings and homicides in Richmond in 2009 were caused by just 17 individuals, primarily African-American and Hispanic-American men between the ages of 16 and 25. We employed street-savvy staff members, whom we called neighborhood change agents. Think of their work as a kinder version of stop-and-frisk, more like stop-and-blend with the profile subjects, to build healthy, consistent relationships with those most likely to shoot or be a victim of gunfire.

Once we’d identified the city’s potentially most lethal young men, we invited them to a meeting (the first was in 2010). Then came the big innovation of the Operation Peacemaker fellowship program. We offered those young men a partnership deal: We would pay them — yes, pay them — not to pull the trigger. The deal we offered was this: If they kept their commitment to us for six months — attended meetings, stayed out of trouble, responded to our mentoring — they became eligible to earn up to $1,000 a month for a maximum of nine months.

Fascinating that the first and only thing a “progressive” thinks of is money. But there are other ways. Just ask Pat O’Brien and James Cagney (click to the next page to see):