Re: “No silver bullet to end plague of youth violence” (Insight, May 23):
This year in Oakland and in the state of California, we see the continuation of 30-plus years of failed policy based on twisted priorities. We see massive budget cuts to education, mental and physical health care, food and general support for low-income families, arts and cultural programs, and other practices that build thriving communities.
These cuts are accompanied by a continued expansion of funding for policing and imprisonment, exemplified by the gang injunction and AB900, a law to expand the prison system. It is time to stop pretending that these occurrences aren’t related. If we are serious about reducing violence that affects the lives of working-class people in Oakland, then we must stop treating it like a mystery. Funding community-based violence prevention and intervention programs, relevant and meaningful education, health care, child care and job training programs will seriously reduce the harm that happens in our communities.
On the other hand, the innovative police tactics that you mention will result in locking more and more young black and Latino people in cages for part or all of their lives. And in return, the rest of us will get funding cuts.
Stacie Szmonko, Berkeley