Report from a Madhouse

When you throw your last scraps of civilized incentive-architecture in a dumpster and set it on fire it looks like this:

Cities across the country, beginning with the District of Columbia, are moving to copy Richmond’s controversial approach because early indications show it has helped reduce homicide rates. […] But the program requires governments to reject some basic tenets of law enforcement even as it challenges notions of appropriate ways to spend tax dollars. […] … when the elaborate efforts at engagement fail, the mentors still pay those who pledge to improve, even when, like [violent criminal Lonnie] Holmes, they are caught with a gun, or worse — suspected of murder. […] … To maintain the trust of the young men they’re guiding, mentors do not inform police of what they know about crimes committed. At least twice, that may have allowed suspected killers in the stipend program to evade responsibility for homicides. […] And yet, interest in the program is surging among urban politicians. Officials in Miami, Toledo, Baltimore and more than a dozen cities in between are studying how to replicate Richmond’s program. […] … five years into Richmond’s multimillion-dollar experiment, 84 of 88 young men who have participated in the program remain alive, and 4 in 5 have not been suspected of another gun crime or suffered a bullet wound … […] Richmond’s decision to pay people to stay out of trouble began a decade ago during a period of despair. […] In 2007, Richmond’s homicide tally had surged to 47, making it the country’s sixth-deadliest city per capita. In the 20 years prior to that, Richmond lost 740 people to gun violence, and more than 5,000 had been injured by a bullet. […] Elected leaders of the heavily African American city of about 100,000 began treating homicides as a public health emergency. … [DeVone Boggan] who had lost a brother in a shooting in Michigan … had to raise the money because he couldn’t persuade officials to give tax dollars directly to violent firearms offenders. […] Boggan and his streetwise crew of ex-cons selected an initial group of 21 gang members and suspected criminals for the program. One night in 2010, he persuaded them to come to city hall, where he invited them to work with mentors and plan a future without guns. As they left, Boggan surprised each one with $1,000 — no strings attached. […] “This is controversial, I get it,” Boggan said. “But what’s really happening is that they are getting rewarded for doing really hard work, and it’s definite hard work when you talk about stopping picking up a gun to solve your problems.” […] So far, the attention — and money — seems to be working for Holmes. Although the $1,500 he has received since getting out of prison last fall has not led to a miraculous transformation, it enabled him to make a down payment on his black 2015 Nissan Versa — something meaningful for a young man who for many years was homeless. […] He now spends hours each day in the car, driving around with friends, often smoking pot but not “hunting” — Vaughn’s term for seeking conflict with rivals. […] “The money is a big part,” Holmes says. “I can’t count the number of times it has kept me from . . . doing what I’ve got to do. It stopped me from going to hit that liquor [store] or this, you feel me, it’s a relief to not have to go do this and endanger my life for a little income, you feel me?” …

That’s as much as I can take. The phrase subject to XS emphasis describes the core principle of the scheme. Maybe it should count as a relief that these gangstas aren’t being directly rewarded for whacking shop-keepers.

There’s a term for this kind of scheme: Dane Geld. It’s not something civilizations with a future tend to engage in.

ADDED: Highly relevant. “… there are entire classes of people who can get more from the world by being unstable and dangerous …”

March 29, 2016admin 19 Comments »

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19 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    We have placed so many limits on law and policing that the crime problem is intractable anyway, so they have extended the welfare state to neutralize threats. Reminds me of Soviet Russia: a factory job and vodka coupons kept the proles from being too surly.

    This is like most things advanced by democratic politicians a distraction. They want to make some headlines that make it seem like problems are being “solved,” knowing it will take the press ten years to find any glitches or faked data, and at that point, everyone involved will have been promoted up the chain and will have zero responsibility.

    Can we vote to end democracy yet?


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 3:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    I am now going to end all statements with “You feel me?” in order to boost my r-selected cred and thereby hasten efforts to find a spawning partner.


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 4:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    It’s really the sort of thing we should expect.


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 5:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • beavis Says:

    The danegeld analogy doesn’t really fit here. The vikings were paid off as groups, their leader would negotiate terms. The modern danegeld is the alredy familiar community organizing phenomenon, the threat of violence is implicit in their demands. This coddling of individual thugs is far more debased than even that, more like feeding and releasing a rabid dog that you could’ve put down at minimal expense.


    Thales Reply:

    Could have put down save for the fact that the rabid dog is the pet of the powerful — look to the end of the leash, that’s the master wielding the mongrel as a threat.


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Wrong Side of History Says:

    Weird. When the non-victim class get paid not to hurt people, It’s called extortion.


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 7:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • RxFerret Says:

    So, I say we track, month by month, the change in crime rate in Richmond, CA. I, for one, predict the unintended consequence of an INCREASE in crime there, now that they’ve decided to subsidize it.


    vxxc2014 Reply:

    Mr. Ferret is correct.


    admin Reply:

    What could possibly go wrong?


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 8:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Grotesque Body Says:

    “Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.”

    After researching that article, Mr Aaron Davis probably has at least an inkling that’s not an either-or proposition.


    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 11:44 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    As bad as it is, this is still less bad than minimum basic income.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Have to agree here. All forms of high-IQ to low-IQ redistribution are the same in effect, although some are more salient and in-your-face. You feel me?


    Posted on March 30th, 2016 at 12:23 am Reply | Quote
  • Malcolm Pollack Says:


    To be fair, though, 10th-century Anglo Saxon civilization did, in retrospect, have some substantial future left despite paying the Danegeld. (All blown to hell at this point, of course; now they’re paying the Danegeld again and being sacked anyway.)


    Posted on March 31st, 2016 at 4:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • null Says:

    The comparison to Danegeld is less than apt, most obviously because the YFMs are holding each other hostage, rather than threatening the PriusTribe themselves with harm. And even beyond that, the PriusTribe could easily prevent YFMs from harming each other, if the PriusTribe were only willing to get their hands dirty. Given the fragile preciousness of the PriusTribes hands + their unquenchable thirst for saintliness, the policy seems almost too convenient: the patheticness and dependence of the YFMs allows the PriusTribe to Become Holy by paying up while at the same time maintaining a mind free of such vulgar words as “extortion”.


    Posted on March 31st, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • bomag Says:

    “But what’s really happening is that they are getting rewarded for doing really hard work, and it’s definite hard work when you talk about stopping picking up a gun to solve your problems.”

    And the fire of absurdity burns ever brighter.


    Posted on March 31st, 2016 at 10:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:

    Does NRx want this civilisation to have a future? Perhaps, what comes next will be better.



    Posted on April 1st, 2016 at 5:50 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2016/04/06 | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Danegeld to the domestic savages. […]

    Posted on April 6th, 2016 at 5:11 am Reply | Quote
  • Nikolai Vladivostok Says:

    I just listened to an organizer being interviewed on radio. He boasted that 79% of the fellows were not suspects in a new shooting since joining the program. In other words, 21% of the crims were already suspected of shooting more people after just a few years.

    A good analogy might be the Romans paying off the barbarians not to attack because those barbarians invaded anyway.

    A logical extension of the program: pay Muslims living in western countries not to blow us up. Pay transphobes to let trannies use whatever changing room they please. Pay white supremacists not to say racist things. Oh, oh, I know – pay men not to rape!


    Posted on April 10th, 2016 at 2:30 am Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2016/04/03) - Social Matter Says:

    […] Twitter Cut, which I had missed, from Konkvistador. I won’t spoil it for ye. Also this Report from a Madhouse. I don’t know how one could better describe paying criminal gangs to commit fewer crimes than […]

    Posted on April 27th, 2016 at 1:02 pm Reply | Quote

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