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Reducing gang violence is hard but I think if everyone will going to participate in this kind of program. Everything will be so well and this kind of violence will be stop.


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Cool Breeze

Want to end gang violence?

Give them free marijuana.

Then they'll be too laid back
to do anything.

Dany Riopelle

Since all the money in the world and all the care in the world don't seem to make any appreciable difference in gang activity, how about trying something that worked very well and very effectively for our ancestors for thousands of years, plus didn't cost any money at all...isolation.
I don't mean that we should send gang members to prison--that's not isolation, that's just putting them somewhere else among a lot of other gang members. What I mean is pure isolation: use 1% of the money that's being allocated to finding solutions to the gang problem to send them where they are alone--no stores, no homes, no electricity, no weapons, nothing but raw, hostile nature: the desert, the polar ice caps, uninhabitable islands in the middle of the ocean, etc.
Let them put their collective energies to good use by forcing them to survive out in the wild without weapons nor training; let them figure out for themselves how to live from minute to minute. They will either learn how to get along with each other and survive or die en masse at the hands of nature.
For those who think this is cruel, unusual or pityless, consider how the gang members feel when they kill someone--80 years old, 28 years old, 8 years old or 8 months--for no other reason than that person was wearing the wrong color, or they needed to steal the $24 and change in the person's pocket to get money to buy another gun or another fix, or someone was unlucky enough to happen to be in the way of one of their bullets. "I'll get off for lack of evidence," or "I'll get so little time I can do that standing on my head," or "While I'm away, my friends will watch out for me and on the inside, I'll hook up with others who can teach me even more about how to get ahead in the gangs."
Our judicial system seems more geared to locking people up rather than rehabilitating them, so let's make gang members live by the very rules they themselves have created: live by violence and succeed at any cost. Instead of hoping for the best after two, three, 20 years in prison with little chance for real change, let's see how they do after one month or two alone and weaponless--exactly like the majority of their victims--against natural predators in the wild. The money, time and talent saved could be better used toward improvements in education, medical resources and living standards/conditions for the millions of Americans whose lives have been needlessly overshadowed by the attention and resources wasted on
those who live by the law of the jungle, anyway--I say, if that's how they want to live, that's exactly how they should live, and let them finally deal with the consequences of their actions, without any sense of anger, revenge, mercy or pity...and in spite of it all, this is still a more just and fair action toward them than they showed toward their innocent victims.
Dany Riopelle

Lew Finfer

Trying again on Shannon Grant funding for law enforcement and prevention strategies on gang violence

In 2005, Senator Barrios and Rep. Cannessa (D-New Bedford) sponsored a bill with three parts:
a) Laws to give tools to prosecutors to curb witness intimidation by gangs,
b) $1.5 million in funding for a witness protection and relocation program, and
c) $11 million in grants to cities for law enforcement and prevention efforts against gang violence. The last part of this was called Shannon Grants named after the late State Senator from Somerville, Senator Charles Shannon. Through a campaign effort by these legislators, other legislators like Senator Murray, Senator Travaglini, Senator Wilkerson, Rep. DeLeo along with Mayor Menino, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, and community groups, this bill and funding were passed.

These Shannon grants went out to 15 cities in June 2006. However, it was only a one time, one year program unless renewed in this year's state budget to be passed in June.

In Boston funds were used for police and prosecuter strategies, direct counseling of gun shot wounded person in hospital emergency rooms, keeping community centers open on weekends, and a re-entry program for ex-offenders. In New Bedford and Fall River, community groups organized and convinced the mayors there to use part of the funds to hire street outreach workers who reach at-risk teens on street corners and in parks and connect them to positive opportunities, jobs, and education.

Despite numerous appeals in letters, testimony at transition hearings, etc., we were very disappointed that Governor Patrick did not include refunding of the Shannon Grant program in his recently filed state budget. He did have to make some budget cuts because of the deficit and did propose cutting less overall by closing tax loopholes, but providing no funding for this program was still very disappointing.

However, this program originated in the Legislature last year and the Legislature can certainly pass this again.

My organization is a federation of 6 faith based community improvement organizations located in Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Worcester, North Shore, MetroWest, and Springfield. We are working hard to reach our legislators to urge them to include refunding and increased funding for the Shannon Grant program in the state budget they are developing now . We also help lead a coalition with other groups called Safe Teens/Safe Communities and those groups are working on this too. Many mayors of the cities who were funded are also working to convince the Legislature to provide this funding. They work together in the Massachusetts Urban Mayors Coalition staffed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

Certainly, contact your own state legislators on this issue. Thanks,
Lew Finfer, Massachusetts Communities Action Network (617) 470-2912

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