The ‘social contract’ or ‘social compact’ refers to a theory of governance that, in general, states that citizens willingly give up some of their rights in order to gain the protection of other rights by the government. An example would be the legal system; when our rights are violated, say through theft, rather than going and beating the tar out of the perpetrator, we agree to let the legal system determine guilt/innocence and render punishment accordingly on our behalf. We lose out on the ability to dispense our own brand of justice but we benefit through the agreement of the community that actions such as theft are inappropriate and government is entrusted/empowered to undertake actions to eliminate the occurrence. This isn’t a perfect example, but generally illustrates the point – when we choose to live somewhere, we consent to the limiting of some individual rights in order to gain the benefits of living in the community.
Another example, perhaps, would be the payment of taxes to provide a community police force. We agree to pay taxes to fund a community police force because all community members, in theory, will benefit from the protection of law enforcement officers. But what if that tax money is taken and given directly to the criminal?
That is, apparently, the approach that the city of Sacramento has decided to take. Rather than round up and lock away the gang-members that prey on their community, city “leaders’ have decided to pay the gang-members out of city funds to not break the law. Rather than enforce rules that all community members are expected to live by, if someone is sufficiently anti-social, Sacramento city leaders will throw their hands up and just pay them from tax dollars in the hope that they will stop being losers. So in Sacramento, rather than giving up some of your resources to provide community protection, your resources are instead used to pay people to do what they are already supposed to do – not break the law.
Stunning. So much for that whole “crime doesn’t pay” mantra.
Raise your hand if you would knowingly move to an area where you are expected to pay extortion money to not be hassled. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
After a violent weekend of suspected gang-related shootings, Tuesday the Sacramento City Council took action to reduce the bloodshed.
It approved a controversial program called Advance Peace, which offers cash stipends to gang members who remain peaceful.
The program is already in use in Richmond and is also being considered in Stockton. Some believe it can help curb violent crime.
The vote came the same night as a vigil for the latest victim of gun violence in South Sacramento.
“He was a wonderful father, and he was a soon-to-be father,” said Aliseah Cadena, the victim’s daughter. “And I wish I could have him back.”
…The homicide prompted Steinberg to push up a vote on the controversial Advance Peace program by two weeks.
“Let’s get going on doing everything we can to save innocent lives,” Steinberg said.
The program targets key gang agitators, offering them cash stipends to graduate school and remain peaceful. It already claims success in dropping crime rates in Richmond. But the city would still have to pay half the cost of the program, $1.5 million out of the city’s general fund.
“In multiple places in the resolution, we say it’s a four-year contract, in the contract, we call it a three-year contract, those are key critical terms, they don’t agree,” said Councilwoman Angelique Ashby.
During the discussion leading up to the vote, Ashby criticized the Advance Peace contract’s language — often butting heads with the mayor.
But in the end, the council agreed to the program, voting 9-0 in favor.
Unanimously approved. What weakness. What cowardice.