13 Gangs

I’m going to take my full control over SWGA Politics out for a spin and cover something that Jeff would never talk about:

Albany Gang Taskforce officers met with city officials yesterday. The verdict? They’ve identified 13 gangs in Albany. They’ve even indicted 10 men for being gang members and participating in a shoot out with rival gang members (more on this later). Of course, with 13 gangs, indicting ten men seems like a drop in the bucket.

Of course, police also raided four local convenience stores on Wednesday that had illegal gambling machines. Four operations shut down. There is even a move by the District Attorney to take one of the store owners (he actually owns two of the stores) home and other property. Wow.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but why is it that gambling machines get so much of an effort by local law enforcement, but gangs (who commit actual crimes) get such minimal effort? Nice priorities, don’t you think.

Now, going back to what I said earlier, the Herald reports that those ten men are indicted for being gang members. If that’s accurate, and I’m not sure it is, I have a problem with yet another of our laws here in Georgia. People have the right to associate with whoever they want. I see nothing illegal about the mere act of being a member in a gang. It’s when it goes beyond that, into the other criminal acts associated with gangs, that it’s time to step in.

However, our Nanny State needs to make sure we do what they feel is best for us, including not being in a gang. While I agree that gangs are bad and offer no valid service to the community, the idea of the State telling me who I can associate with is ridiculous. How long before they extend this idea out to other things? Maybe the local gun club is next? Or your church?

It’s imperative to remember that freedom for all means protecting all freedoms. Any attack on a freedom is ultimately an attack on all freedoms, and this is a prime example. It can start benignly enough, but like a cancer it will spread. The argument may even be made that “we already restrict X, why not restrict Y?”

Yes, gangs are bad. Yes, our youth should avoid gangs like the plague. But no, membership in one shouldn’t be illegal. I pray the Herald’s article is wrong, and if so I’ll post an update on this post to correct the information.

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2 Responses

  1. Tom: as a person in Sylvester (suburban Albany and suburban Ty Ty), I follow the crime situation in Albany because our little town is next. When I heard this TV news report and read the Albany Herald story, I thought law enforcement was using some part of the RICO or other laws crafted to stop “organized crime.” Civil libertarians monitor these laws which might stay that someone committed a gang-related crime goes down and others with him with gang tattoos and gear also go down. You are right; the DA and GBI must avoid guilty by association.

    As a sidenote, I really enjoy the A&E and History Channel shows on the history of gangs. I remember one retired member of Murder Inc. (the old school New York gang and not the rap label) saying from retirement in Miami that if he had it to do over he would do the same thing but he would join the government and do it all legal—sometimes, the major political parties strong-arm techniques seem rather goon-like.

    Someone must figure out a way to take back the streets because Albany is becoming the Wild Wild West.

  2. Thanks for your post. You’re absolutely right about taking our streets back, but I don’t think the laws currently in place are going to support that. Police can’t prevent crime, only arrest the offenders. It’s up to the community to actually stop crime, but as long as the culture glorifies gangs, and the parents allow that to continue, the police will never be able to stop it. It’s just the way of the world these days I’m afraid.

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