Paying People Not to Shoot Each Other

is on the table in California.

My first (and pretty much only) question is, “Does it work?” If not, then bag it. If so, seems like money well spent to me. I’m told (when the subject is not gun violence and poor people) that people are rational actors when it comes to money and that is why the sacred Invisible Hand of the Market will always create good and never result in evil. If people are as rational as all that, it seems to me that they would prefer the $$$ over shooting each other. So it seems worth a try if you buy that (I’m not sure I do buy the whole “rational actor” what with sin making people stupid, but it’s still worth a shot, it seems to me). However, I suspect that not a few people’s first response is “Human life is less important than my tax money” or, “The shiftless poor need to learn from the hard experience of being shot to death how to pull themselves up and work for a living” or the related sentiment “If the poor be like to shoot each other, they had better do it and help decrease the surplus population”. I’m happy to have my taxes go to save people from abortion. I’m also happy to let it go to saving them from being shot, if it works. Cuz gun violence is a prolife issue.

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  • ivan_the_mad

    According to the article, “[t]he city provides an operating budget for the ONS, but the stipends are funded by private donors.” This is a marvelous example of community action, evincing the complementarity between different parts of society. May God bless their efforts, and most especially the young men being mentored.

    Taxation and action by the civil authority to secure the common good are very much part and parcel of the social doctrine and the Church’s theory of state.

  • … but it’s still worth a shot …

    So to speak.

    Normally, people seek to get more bang for their buck, not less.

    • Dan F.

      I see what you did there….

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Unfortunately, I studies show that people are very emotional about money, and most everything else.

  • Dan C

    Invoking free market principles is not helpful when the government is involved for those who adhere to the Free Market religion.

    Any involvement of the government immediately taints the endeavor as intrinsically evil, especially with the likely use of some tax dollars somewhere in this endeavor. Such is the religion.

  • PalaceGuard

    “His critics accuse him of paying criminals to behave, but the tactic might just be working.” Actually, it just might be. Long-term attitudes and behaviors, which can morph in time into actual morals and values, can be established through repetition until they become habits of thought and action It’s what usually makes bad kids bad kids in the first place. So, if it works, more power to them! At the very least, it’s cheaper than prison. (And most of the comments at that site are, btw, absolutely vile and disgraceful.)

  • sbark

    Based on your heading and description, I expected to disagree with the program. I think that if there really was a program to pay people not to shoot each other, the program would be unworkable. After all, if there was a way to know whether or not a person was eligible for payment, we’d also know whether or not the person should be locked up for murder.

    Instead the payments are for participating in a mentoring program. That is something that can be properly administered. As long as the program is effective, it should be continued. If it’s not effective, it should be cancelled.