Sacramento City Council members have allocated $1.5 million from the city’s general fund (matching private dollars) to a program called “Advance Peace,” which will pay known gang members not to kill people. The program’s proponents claim that the money will reduce “gun violence.” Go ahead and pinch yourself: This isn’t a hallucination, it’s ultra-liberal California. The failure of liberalism has become so strong and pernicious that leaders there believe throwing cash at criminals is the only answer.
This is maddening. Instead of funding subject-specific tutoring to keep kids in school—a proven method for keeping children out of gangs—or converting empty school buildings into STEM centers as is the plan by HUD chief Dr. Ben Carson, so-called progressives will pay criminals for the lowest possible achievement: not killing people.
The “Advance Peace” initiative offers a contract through which gang members can receive a stipend for “remaining peaceful” or graduating from college. Of course, to enter college, one must first have graduated from high school, but let’s not permit such details to deter another feel-good government project.
There is pathology at work here that deserves examination—the tragedy of low expectations.There is pathology at work here that deserves examination—the tragedy of low expectations. Progressives, liberals, use whatever name they prefer, simply do not require the same normative behaviors of blacks as are expected of Americans as a whole. Instead of cracking down on crime, which is understandably difficult for a state with an enormous budget deficit and prisons overcrowded with illegal immigrants, they’ve chosen to throw money at the problem.
Sacramento’s city council isn’t the first to implement this awful idea. DeVone Boggan created Advance Peace in Stockton, Calif., as a means to connect role models, government services and coaching opportunities to men who are prone to commit “gun violence.” In Stockton, Advance Peace is primarily funded by private donations, which Boggan requests in his presentations at churches and civic organizations around the city. Participants can receive a stipend of up to $1,000 a month for compliance.
Instead of removing the requirement that welfare recipients have no adult male present in their household, leftists seek to pay men—many who have children that they do not support—to remain peaceful. Boggan explains the monetary component, “We’re providing a stipend for young men who are working hard to get their lives together.” That’s instead of, say, paying them to work.
After largely obliterating the black family through government intervention, liberals have run out of tricks. Things weren’t always this bleak for black families in America. According to the Hoover Institution, “In the 1950s, after at least 70 years of rough parity, African American marriage rates began to fall behind white rates.”
It’s time to point out the obvious: Paying gang members not to commit crimes is not a long-term solution.Decade after decade since 1950, black marriage rates have declined with disastrous results. And the answer from liberals is always daddy government to the rescue.
The state of inner cities across the country is directly attributable to the leftist desire to make government the husband, father and sole provider of broken black families. Now that paying the single-parent households has failed eminently, it’s time to pay the children of those broken homes not to kill. Where will it end?
It’s time to point out the obvious: Paying gang members not to commit crimes is not a long-term solution. How will elected official respond when gang members demand a cost-of-living pay increase? How will city councils manage the inevitable increase in gang members? Governments cannot legislate morality. While laws sustain a free society by establishing norms, the impetus for right behavior comes from within.
Thomas Sowell once said, “You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization—including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain—without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.” How true.
There is a way to stop the carnage that is ever present in inner cities across America: Stop focusing on guns—focus instead on intact families. Children want a mom and a dad. Kids having their fathers in the home to lead and guide them is the fastest way to decrease poverty and violence. There is no stipend, government program or feel-good private initiative that can replace that.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God and guns, and is a member of the NRA, obviously.