"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

After Decades, Gangs Still Kill

Gang violence in America’s big cities has been an issue for decades, and no matter what law enforcement seems to do the killing continues. In today’s LA Times a story covers how the city is changing tactics because they simply are not making progress. Sound familiar?

Los Angeles' top law enforcement officials have agreed on a new attack on gang violence, one that focuses more enforcement on smaller neighborhood gangs and uses a new legal tool tried last year on skid row.

The effort comes as L.A. officials are trying to quell a 14% increase in gang-related crime during the last year, marked by several high-profile incidents of race-motivated violence.

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton met this week with Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and representatives of City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo to begin formulating the plan.


Think about this in relation to Iraq. The American people, impatient as we are, expect total victory in a few years over vicious terrorists who make gangbangers look like boy scouts. And check out this statistic:

Police have identified 720 street gangs in Los Angeles, with 39,315 members. But officials said a small number of them are causing a disproportionate amount of crime in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.


Almost 40,000 gangsters just in LA alone! And after 30 or 40 years of trying to wipe them out. That is amazing. But if we are having such a tough time snuffing out the insurgency in Iraq we must understand that this is the nature of what is called asymmetric warfare. It is a cultural thing as much as it is a law enforcement or military thing. And Iraq’s culture is a whole lot more screwed up than that of south central LA or the Bronx or the south side of Chicago.

The president tonight will lay out his plan for a change in his Iraq strategy. Democrats and liberals are already bitching and moaning that, well, there are little green men on the moon so it won’t work. It doesn’t matter what the president does, they will revert to their natural selves, i.e. they are inveterate political opportunists devoid of principle, and complain. City government and law enforcement officials in LA are fortunate they don’t have to put up with lying unprincipled louts as they seek to make their city a better place.

10 comments:

Frederick C said...

Right on Mike! Its about time that someone pointed out that we're worse than them.
The problems of Bagdad, LA, The Bronx, Chitown and the rest of America is the lack of the four letter word. That word is Fear! There isn't any fear of authority because authority fears itself.
Let's surge and hold. Including LA.

Tom Van Dyke said...

A strong point, Mike, and we also forget the current troubles in Mexico and Brazil, where scores and hundreds are killed in Baghdad-style barbarity.

Anonymous said...

It doesn’t matter what the president does, they will revert to their natural selves, i.e. they are inveterate political opportunists devoid of principle, and complain.

I find this sort of "argument" to be nothing more than a convenient mechanism for avoiding any sort of real discussion or engagement. It's like saying Democrats' opposition to Bush Administration policies are motivated by "Bush hatred." There's never a moment's thought to whether or not perhaps opposition (and no small amount of personal detestation) is predicated on President Bush being a truly terrible executive.

There's no excuse for short-circuiting the debate; which is all that spurious comparisons between urban America and Iraq are. Especially around "changing tactics," which I'll address in the post above.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I find this sort of "argument" to be nothing more than a convenient mechanism for avoiding any sort of real discussion or engagement. It's like saying Democrats' opposition to Bush Administration policies are motivated by "Bush hatred." There's never a moment's thought to whether or not perhaps opposition (and no small amount of personal detestation) is predicated on President Bush being a truly terrible executive.

The first sentence seems a proper observation, but I find the third sentence contradicts the second, with the exception of the former properly identifying "hatred" as a pejorative.

The words vary somewhat, but the tune is very much the same.

Mike D'Virgilio said...

James, it wasn't intended to be an argument, or even an "argument". It was an assertion, and I'm sure you know the difference. One can't make much of an argument in two or three paragraphs. To me, in my opinion, Democrats, especially the leadership in the Congress, have been exactly what I said they are.

I don't have any need to avoid "real discussion or engagement," because I believe I am right and believe I have the evidence to back it up. The psychology of Bush hatred is very real, and it is a waste of time to engage those people. Not unlike Clinton hatred way back in the day.

To say Bush is a "truly terrible executive," or to imply it as you are, means to me that you are closer to the "Bush hatred" camp then an objective observer. He has been terrible in some things and terrific in others. If you can't admit that, then you are the one with the "convenient mechanism for avoiding any sort of real discussion or engagement."

Anonymous said...

There's never a moment's thought to whether or not perhaps opposition (and no small amount of personal detestation) is predicated on President Bush being a truly terrible executive.

It seems to me that the third sentence is merely an exhortation to re-examine one's underlying assumptions - the "assertion" Mr. D'Virglio makes - that Democrats are merely "political opportunists." But then, I can't help it if one's biases lead to subjective interpretation.

He has been terrible in some things and terrific in others.

Really? Such as... I find that I am quite impressed by his personal lack of racial or sexual animus, and I found his stance on illegal immigration admirable and worthy of support. I fully supported and continue support the mission in Afghanistan, and the willingness to use flexible military power, such as in Ethiopia. I like the military re-structuring into fast-reaction combat brigades begun under Rumsfeld. Beyond that, I'm at a loss. I cannot find, by any consequential objective measure, an indication that President Bush is a successful executive.

Anonymous said...

That should read "Somalia," not "Ethiopia."

Mike D'Virgilio said...

I cannot find, by any consequential objective measure, an indication that President Bush is a successful executive.

Liberal hyperbole at its best!

Really? How about the economy? Your bias betrays you, sir. Is the unemployment rate and GDP growth not objective enough for you? Was the FACT that President Bush inherited a recession not objective enough for you? Or that 9/11, corporate scandals and the dot com bust was a trifecta that only makes his stewardship of the economy that much more impressive? I'm sure you'll find something to complain about, but it sure doesn't make you objective.

James Elliott said...

Liberal hyperbole at its best!

Tom, this would be one of those indications of why I left the site. Mr. D'Virglio's level of engagement doesn't extend beyond partisanship. Mr. D'Virglio, it is not betraying your ideology or party - unless they are authoritarian and predicated on unwavering loyalty - to acknowledge what a terrible executive President Bush has been. To castigate others for making net worth judgments - I for one find lives spent far more costly than dollars earned - is the height of intellectual equivalency and moral bankruptcy. There is nothing compelling about a coward unwilling to make judgments, Mr. D'Virglio, for all the nonsensical ravings about "objectivity." Objectivity is worthless when it leads us to make equivalencies like "America's hard and soft power has been wasted and squandered to the tune of so much blood and tears, but by damn, investment income is up!"

In an economy of stagnant wages, where full-time employment that makes full use of people's skills are lacking, this is not the measure of a healthy economy or society. Unless all one cares about is aggregate wealth. Indeed, when one realizes that supply side economics work ONLY BECAUSE OF massive government expenditures (deficit spending and, specifically, military-industrial spending), one must question whether such growth is sustainable or even healthy. Reagan's supply-side economics worked because of the Cold War. President Bush's policies work only because of the war on terror. I for one think that the administration recognizes the value of open-ended conflict, like the Cold War, and that explains the current framing of the conflict in Iraq as part of the a larger, unending war.

One need only look out the window or talk to a few people to understand that an economy that does not benefit the majority is not a worthwhile economy at all. Unless one lacks a sense of common empathy, a trait familiar to observers of modern conservatism.

Take a look at the long-term spreadsheets - these gains have come at such an immense cost, there is doubt that we will ever pay the debt. If one is honest, one finds that the scales do not balance.

But why pause to take stock when you can dismiss things that cast your equivalency into doubt with a shrug of "It's so much liberal hyperbole"?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, James, I find the discussion above well within the realm of civility, especially in view of what is offered on your own blog.

;-)

Dismissing Bush as an unsuccessful executive is a meta-argument, as was the retort. And we all might agree that's not the most effective way to go about things.

(MDV did throw a sentence worth of snark at Democrats [and it proved eerily prescient], but he also later allowed that Clinton hatred by the GOPers took much the same form.)

Now, you might argue that Iraq totally negates Bush's presidency, and seem to do so. It's an argument, at least, altho not one I would subscribe to. I find Clinton's starvation of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women and children during the sanctions regime far more craven and easily as ineffective and provocative to the Muslim world as the current war itself. If I were to argue that that negates Clinton's presidency, well, I don't think I'd get much agreement from you.

The original post suggested that the sectarian fighting in Iraq is similar in kind (altho certainly not in scale) to other various violences, including in the US. There's something to that, I think.