By Doug Newman

January 12, 2007

Posted at Old Right Pundits, The Price of Liberty, Trumpet America, Novakeo's Blog,
The Libertarian Enterprise, World News Digest, Freedom News Daily, Rational Review and Liberty Post.

RB is a Christian friend who is of sound mind on political matters. He is no fan of either the present administration or of big government in general. He writes:

“I watched Peter Boyles’ talk show last night on PBS. They covered gangs and the Darrent Williams' murder and all that gang-related stuff. Denver is not LA or NY, but we have a problem with gangs, something the politicians, churches (not the inner city churches) and us honkies in south suburban-land (i.e. Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch) are not willing to look at or deal with. Your thoughts on that subject, especially being from back East, etc.”

I replied:

Thanks for writing. The tragic shooting death of Bronco cornerback Darrent Williams may well have been gang related. Thus it has got everyone asking: “What should we do about gangs and gang violence?” My thoughts on the subject are shaped not so much by my growing up in New Jersey – in a honky suburb – but by my Christianity and libertarianism.

People who ask “what should we, as a society, do” about a given problem always conclude that we need more laws, policies and programs as if we did not have enough already. America has more social programs than any other country on the planet.

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. We drive ourselves crazy enacting more and more laws, policies and programs while the problems we attempt to solve get worse and worse.

Here are just a few suggestions:

As a friend used to say, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If the only tool you have is government, every problem looks like it can be solved by a law, a policy or a program. Again, America has more of this nonsense than any other society in history. All this micromanaging has not worked and will never work.

It didn’t save the life of Darrent Williams. More of the same would still not have saved the life of Darrent Williams.

Here's another way to reduce gang violence; stop getting involved in overseas wars. The teenage gang problems of the late 1950s can be directly related to WWII. The teenagers of that era were born during the late 30s-early 40s. It's a pretty safe bet that most of those gang members were fatherless; how & when did their fathers die? Take a guess.

Also, during WWII, gangs roamed the streets of most American cities. One of those gangs, The Zoot Suiters, terrorized the citizens of Los Angeles. In 1944, a group of Zoot Suiters almost beat a 16 year-old by the name of DM to death. I'm glad they failed, as he later went on to become my father. -- JM

You are being snookered about gangs in general terms. We all are. Our government wants us to live in fear so they can ask us to pay for safety. We already know that from history, and yet we vote for more of the same. It has been a Democrat trait to throw more money at things that don’t work, but now the Republican neo-cons are playing the same game.

You are correct about the drug war being the imputes for gangs to exist, and wouldn’t it be great to put the kibosh on that by ending prohibition? But that would put an end to the biggest and strongest gang there is – the police. -- PT

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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman