Washington D.C. -- In one of the most ridiculous moves ever, the District of Columbia Council voted unanimously this week to approve a bill that will pay residents not to commit crimes.
Yes, you read that correctly.
According to the Associated Press, under the bill, city officials would identify up to 200 people a year who are considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill those obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid.
While the bill doesn’t specify the value of these anti-crime bribes, participants in a similar California program receive up to $9,000 per year. Yes, California does this as well.
"I want to prevent violent crime — particularly gun violence — by addressing the root causes and creating opportunities for people, particularly those individuals who are at the highest risks of offending," Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, a former prosecutor, said in a letter to constituents last week.
The Council is touting the results of similar programs in which taxpayers are robbed by the government to pay criminals not to commit crimes. However, there are no clear correlations between these programs and drops in crime.
According to the AP, there was but a single voice of reason during the Council's vote on the measure. Longtime civic activist Dorothy Brizill was the only person to testify against the stipend program at a lengthy hearing last fall, saying it would waste taxpayer dollars.
"These incentive programs don't work," Brizill said.
Apparently McDuffie and the majority of the D.C. Council have no understanding of the idea of incentives. They can see only one side of the ostensible incentive of preventing crime. However, they are completely ignoring the monetary incentive created to be a criminal to receive the stipend.
How many people, when this bill was proposed, began thinking, "I can't wait to be considered a violent criminal to get $9,000"?
What this program illustrates is the simple, but dangerous idea of government in thinking they can fix every problem by throwing money at it.
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While stealing money from innocent citizens to give it to criminals to reduce crime may seem like a good idea on the surface, it does nothing to address the root causes of criminal behavior and only serves to pacify the state's determination to look good on paper.
Unfortunately, the state never realizes that morality does not happen with the stroke of a pen. In fact, it's the pen stroke that is so often the cause of crime.
For example, when the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the black markets. All the while, demand remains constant.
We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a testament to the state legislating crime into action.
Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs. However, the illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems.
This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
The War on Drugs creates criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is setup in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.
The system knows this too. But they'd rather steal your money and give it to violent criminals than admit that their dystopian legislation failed them.
When drugs are legalized, gang violence drops — drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too.
Until Americans educate themselves on the cause of this violence, uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms -- by throwing your money at them.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world.