Sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. That’s apparently the key to success in Stockton, California where their young mayor, Michael Tubbs, has some interesting plans to turn things around for the citizens of his community. One idea, which we’ve seen before in Europe on occasion (without much success), is a guaranteed basic income for some of his residents. Nothing to retire on, mind you. Just $500 per month to keep the basics covered.
But Stockton has other problems, including some gang violence issues. How do you deal with that successfully when so many larger cities have failed? By taking the same approach. Tubbs wants to identify the people most likely to shoot someone and pay them $1,000 a month not to. And before you ask… no. I’m not even joking. (LA Times)
Tubbs, a Stockton native and Stanford graduate who is all of 27 years old, wants to give at least $500 a month to a select group of residents. They’ll be able to spend it as they wish, for 18 months, in a pilot program to test the impact of what’s called guaranteed basic income.
If the very sound of that knocked you half off your chair, this next initiative might finish the job.
Stockton is about to award stipends of up to $1,000 a month to residents deemed most likely to shoot somebody. This program is called Advance Peace, and it’s modeled after a crime reduction program in the Bay Area city of Richmond.
You see, the theory here is that only a small number of people are responsible for a large portion of the violence in the community. They would be the really hardcore gangbangers who are most prone to see violence as a solution. If you can get them to stop shooting people, a big chunk of your gun violence problem goes away. At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, holy cow! How did nobody else think of this already? But examining the idea a bit further, you might begin to wonder whether or not this might be seen as some sort of reward program for violent felons. Never you fear. Mayor Tubbs wants you to know that it’s nothing of the kind.
“Let me be clear, Advance Peace is not a get out of jail free card,” Tubbs wrote in explaining the program on Stockton’s public safety website. “Participating in this program doesn’t erase the past, but it does help these young men learn how to make better choices for their own and our community’s collective future.”
We’ve discussed the idea of Basic Guaranteed Income here in the past and I’m not going to wade back in and cover the same territory. But “Advance Peace?” I’m guessing that the only way to identify people who are “the most likely to shoot somebody” would be to select candidates from a pool of people who have some, er… experience in that area. And if they’re already shooting people, don’t you have some other sort of public service program they’d qualify for? I think it’s called “prison” or something like that.
The problem is that this isn’t just some crackpot idea from a guy running for office who is trying to gain attention. He’s already in office, so this has an outside chance of becoming reality. With that in mind, all of you people who enjoy recreationally shooting up your fellow human beings might want to head out to Stockton. This could be worth some extra cash.