Cities Sue Gangs To Keep Them From Congregating

You know, I read this headline:

Cities sue gangs in bid to stop violence

And I immediately thought “wow, civil suits against gangs would be a novel concept, and an interesting test of anarcho-capitalist theory!” Instead of trying to meet the standard of evidence to put them in jail, which is typically a very difficult thing, suing them monetarily due to the harm they inflict on the community might actually make a difference. Of course, it wouldn’t do nearly as much to end their damage as ending drug prohibition, but I can guarantee that suing them for their drug profits would be a lot less of a “rite of passage” as the first time a gang member gets sent up the river. Plus, it would be much more honest theft than the taxes they extract from us.

Nope, it’s just the equivalent of suing them to create a restraining order to keep them apart from one another:

Fed up with deadly drive-by shootings, incessant drug dealing and graffiti, cities nationwide are trying a different tactic to combat gangs: They’re suing them.

Fort Worth and San Francisco are among the latest to file lawsuits against gang members, asking courts for injunctions barring them from hanging out together on street corners, in cars or anywhere else in certain areas.

The injunctions are aimed at disrupting gang activity before it can escalate. They also give police legal reasons to stop and question gang members, who often are found with drugs or weapons, authorities said. In some cases, they don’t allow gang members to even talk to people passing in cars or to carry spray paint.

“It is another tool,” said Kevin Rousseau, a Tarrant County assistant prosecutor in Fort Worth, which recently filed its first civil injunction against a gang. “This is more of a proactive approach.”

The injunctions prohibit gang members from associating with each other, carrying weapons, possessing drugs, committing crimes and displaying gang symbols in a safety zone — neighborhoods where suspected gang members live and are most active. Some injunctions set curfews for members and ban them from possessing alcohol in public areas — even if they’re of legal drinking age.

So government declares you to be a “gang member” or a “suspected gang member”, and slap a laundry list of restrictions on you. Ahh well, at least they’re not being sent to Gitmo, right?

Doesn’t anyone wonder that we’re treating the symptom, not the disease? What gives gangs their power? It’s very simple, when you have a black market, you actually help those who are willing to illegally supply that market. The drug war hasn’t stopped drugs, and it’s actually created gangs. And now, the government is fighting an unwinnable, ridiculously expensive two-front war against the pair.

  • trumpetbob15

    I might be naive and it probably wouldn’t even cross their minds, but what is the argument that circumvents the First Amendment’s freedom of association restraint? Yeah, I know, silly me looking at the Bill of Rights and all, but it is amazing that the ACLU cares more about the fact that it is young blacks being targeted than civil liberties being trampled. But as the article points out, this won’t work because the gang members will go somewhere else to meet outside the injunction’s range.

  • Listener

    Can government just do something right for once? Please, just once.

  • js290

    Doesn’t anyone wonder that we’re treating the symptom, not the disease? What gives gangs their power?

    If you consider that the government is just one big gang that we’ve been coerced to be a member of, then you can easily ask the same question about government: What gives government their power? Seems like the government crime family in essence creates these small fry rival gangs to distract us from the real racket. That is, these small time gangs are just the wake of a much larger disturbance. To quote Major Gen. Smedley Butler:

    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

  • Kaligula

    Well what do you expect. The drug war is unconstitutional to begin with. if you are going to have federal prohibition of narcotics then we should have amended the constitution, just like we did for alcohol. Bob Barr is absolutely right, the drug war is the “gateway power” for the leviathan state.

    this clearly unconstitutional, violating the 1st and 14th amendments. Local governments can’t use court injunctions to violate 1st amendment rights of free association. A clear violation of the 14th amendment. If they are breaking the law, by dealing drugs or carrying firearms, arrest them for that.

    if the prevalence of drug gangs makes standard law enforcement techniques impractical, then that speaks loudly on the efficacy of drug prohibition to begin with. For the life of me I can’t see why people can’t have the common sense to attack problems at the root.

  • Jeff Molby

    “It is another tool,” said Kevin Rousseau, a Tarrant County assistant prosecutor in Fort Worth

    Does anyone else cringe when they hear this tripe? A hammer is a tool. This crap is increased government power of questionable constitutionality.

    Though now that I think about it, I guess they do wield their power like a hammer. Sigh…