Thanks to Paul Kersey:

Fulton DA Alarmed by Rise in Gang Crimes

Justin Gray — myfoxatlanta

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard spoke out Thursday about what he called an explosion of gang activity in Metro Atlanta. . . Howard said that gang violence was never really a big problem in Atlanta until now.  There are now more than 100 active gangs in the city and the numbers just keep growing.  “It started as a small stream and now it seems like there is a river of them,” said Howard.

This is not a new problem.  Drug gangs have always existed in Atlanta.  Back in 1991, I arrived at work one morning at a refugee services center in Clarkston and was startled to learn that a group of young immigrant men had been caught very near our office (and child-care center) with a trunk full of automatic weapons.  Ironically, we were in the process of applying for a federal grant to address violent immigrant gangs in Atlanta.  This is the type of coincidence one can do without.

It is also the type of coincidence that forces you to sit down and ponder whether “providing more outreach to the community” is really the right response to, say, a trunk load of automatic weapons in the hands of a bunch of antisocial 18-year olds.

Now Paul Howard is telling reporters that we have to talk with the gang members because we cannot possibly arrest and prosecute them all.  Why not?  With murdered innocents, devastated business owners, and communities under siege, shouldn’t he at least try to prosecute and imprison as many of these thugs as possible before declaring defeat?  He apparently feels otherwise:

When asked if locking up the people involved in the gangs would solve the problem Howard said, “It’s not going to solve it and that’s what I want to say to people. I’m the DA and I tell you we cannot lock up every gang member in our community.”

Howard said he was looking at options outside the courtroom, starting with sponsoring a community-wide gang summit.

“As prosecutors we’re not on some campaign to add more prosecutors,  we’re not asking the governor to strengthen laws to fight gangs, but what we are asking to do is to start to look for the roots, the sources,” said Howard.

This is utterly insane.  It is also doomed to failure, as has been every single quest for “root causes” for crime in the past fifty years, ever since such disingenuous foolishness became the mantra of criminologists, certain activist journalists, and other unpleasantly eager aging subculture hangers-on.  When somebody says they’re going to “look for root causes for crime,” here is what they really mean:

  • Criminals are not to blame for committing crime: society is to blame, and society should feel really, really bad.
  • And, by the way, we’re not going to incarcerate those criminals because they aren’t to blame, you know?

But why should the DA’s goal be to “understand” the little monster who just pepper-sprayed terrified store employees or shot a bartender?  Paul Howard is not a therapist: he is supposed to enforce the law.  Besides, there are scores of other people in Atlanta whose job is to “understand” or counsel or otherwise attend to the needs of deprived youths.  Paul Howard’s job is to do something when such efforts do not work.

The notion that there is anything we don’t already “understand” about gang activity is both dangerous and ridiculous.  The evidence has been in for decades now, and it is incontrovertible: young men from fatherless environments, immersed in a culture that glorifies violence and gangster lifestyles, mimic what they see and become involved in gangs.

If any of that is unclear to Paul Howard at this stage of his career, spending more time on the inquiry is not going to enlighten him.  Such talk is all just smoke and mirrors anyway: Howard refuses to lay the blame for gang violence where it really belongs, so he has already chosen a misdirecting excuse — he’s going to blame us all:

Howard attributed a lot of the jump in gang activity to the downturn in the economy.

Bunk. The economy” has nothing to do with it.  It’s not as if gang members were paying their own rent and utilities while pursuing a nice little marketing degree while clocking 39-hour weeks at the McDonald’s before the stock market crash forced them to take up sub-machine guns and drive stolen cars through the front of Lenox Mall with the regularity of lab rats hitting levers for pellets.

Why does anyone let poor Paul Howard get away with saying stuff like this?  Look at the Facebook pages of these kids if you “need to understand” anything else about them.

Here is what the media, and the public, needs to be asking the elected district attorney, every day, until he actually offers some answers that don’t insult our intelligence:

  • Why isn’t he “on some campaign to hire more prosecutors,” if gangs are multiplying in the city and crime is exploding?
  • Why doesn’t he “ask the governor” to strengthen Georgia’s recidivism law, that Swiss cheese of the Georgia Code?
  • Where does he get the chutzpah to scold people for asking him why he does not try to get more resources to fight crime while spending their money to “understand” the people committing crimes against them?

The city is in serious trouble when the District Attorney holds a press conference to simultaneously warn the public that the gang problem is spiraling out of control and to announce that he’s not equal to the task of enforcing the law to the highest degree possible, which is what Howard said:

“It’s a warning and I think people ought to heed the warning.  I think we should start getting ready,” said Howard.

and:

When asked if locking up the people involved in the gangs would solve the problem Howard said, “It’s not going to solve it and that’s what I want to say to people. I’m the DA and I tell you we cannot lock up every gang member in our community.”

Howard said he was looking at options outside the courtroom, starting with sponsoring a community-wide gang summit. . . Howard said he is planning his gang summit for August.

I’m amazed there has not been more of an outcry over this type of expensive, dangerous boondoggle.  Why has nobody demanded an accounting of how much taxpayer money the DA is requesting to do this; how he is going to identify these apparently unidentified, violent, recidivist offenders who are currently apparently impossible to find; and what, precisely, he is going to do with them when he finds them?

Where is the media?  This is a story.

The gang-summit idea has been tried repeatedly — it is a beloved activity of precisely the types of people who don’t believe that holding a gun to somebody’s head should land you in prison and who don’t live in the types of communities where criminals control the streets.

It’s an employment program for already-employed criminologists and community activist types, an exciting (for them) exercise that actually inflates gang members’ sense of invincibility.  In California and elsewhere, it funnels grant dollars into allegedly-reformed gangsters’ pockets, predictably subsidizing their criminal activities.

It rewards gang membership while neglecting youths who don’t break the law.

Again and again and again, in other cities, it hasn’t worked, and then after millions of dollars get squandered and more innocent lives get wasted on the streets, some adult has to step in, enforce the law and clean up the mess.  Not that you’ll hear this from the excited criminologists who get paid to hang out with tough and authentic gang members and ask them if they feel their self-esteem has been enhanced by getting free money and face-time with important elected officials — for this is how “success” really gets defined by the people involved in such cash cows.

Does anybody actually believe that community groups that stand to get millions of dollars in federal funding to “do anti-gang outreach” would actually admit that such efforts don’t really work?

Meanwhile, if Howard really feels that he cannot do his job, he needs to quit and let somebody else step in.  There needs to be consequences — legal consequences for committing crimes . . . political consequences for refusing to do the work you have been elected to do: enforce the law.

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