Hail, Hail the Gang's all here
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Laramie at
written by Laramie:
Yesterday In Indio, California, a court issued a gang injunction against the Southside Indio Gang. It prohibits a suspected Gang member from certain activities within a designated "safety zone" area in the city. A violation of the order is a misdemeanor and as such carries with it possible jail time and a criminal record on a background check, and no right to an attorney if arrested. The police are given the right to stop, question, and arrest any violator within the "safety zone."
The barred activities include weapon violations, drug related activities, a 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM curfew, lying to police, loitering, harassing citizens in the "safety zone", Gang signing by hand and wearing Gang apparel or associating with Gang members. The injunction resulted in 168 arrests, and 100 weapons were found and confiscated. Do we wonder how many of the weapons were bought and registered legally? And It will be up to the District Attorney to prove that each person arrested belonged to the Gang and that they violated one or more restrictions in the "safety zone." Is there any argument for the notion that maybe you can't define every gang member, but you can sure tell them when you see them? Oh, but would that be the dreaded "gang-profiling?"
The situation brought out mixed reactions. Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union felt the action seriously affected civil rights and restricted otherwise legal behavior. Others felt the move would surely drive the behavior underground, since no alternate behavior was being provided for the gang members. Also there was concern that the deep rooted problem of gang membership attitudes and behavior would not be changed by sending violators to prison since, as one detractor put it, "The #1 generator of gang activity was the prison system."
One ex-gang banger said that he "...supported police action against those who commit crimes and make neighborhoods unsafe, but not police being arbiters of what's right or not right on the streets." I wonder who he felt could better decide if someone had broken a law besides the "cop on the beat.?" He didn't say!
A Deputy District Attorney called the violations "nuisance activity". I wonder if she thought other "nuisances" that gang members were involved in might include drive by shootings, home break-ins, thefts, hold-ups, rape, murder, assaults, and other activities gang members have been proven to be involved in.
And the beat goes on. Let's not ask anyone to account or answer for their behavior. Let's give them politically correct names. Let's arrest them, release them and give them 2nd and 3rd or more passes to repeat the same violations. Let's not give the police any authority to do the job we pay them to do. Let's excuse their social missteps because they were raised that way, or it's their culture, or it's genetic. Let's let them all out of jail, it's too crowded anyway, and they didn't mean any harm, they're just kids, or you were young once, don't you remember? Or their parents made them that way, it's their religion, or haven't you ever made a mistake? How about, the devil made me do it.? Is there no end to the rationalizations that some individuals, groups, parties, societies, will resort to in order to escape accountability? Maybe it's time to look for a path that leads to being held responsible for the mistakes we make, after recognizing them as mistakes, and then paying the price being asked.
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers