Monday, November 21, 2005

Virginia's "War on Gangs"

Fairfax County is considering a ban on brandishing machetes similar to the law against brandishing handguns for purposes of intimidation. While this is a positive, albeit minor, step in Virginia's "War on Gangs," there is so much more that can and should be done. If the police arrest a gangmember who is in the country illegally, judges and immigration officials have to stop releasing them and expecting them to show back up for a later court date. RICO statutes must be used more aggressively to go after gangs the way they were used to go after the mafia and other organized crime in the 20th century. These gangs are the organized crime of the 21st century. And longer prison sentences should be handed down for first-time offenses. As for the argument that this will only turn them into hardened criminals while in prison, my point of view is that these people are already headed that way if not already there and longer sentences means keeping them out of circulation even longer, thus keeping the general population safe from them while they are incarcerated.


At 11/21/2005 10:55:00 AM, Blogger neocon22 said...

this proposal seems more symbolic than practical and also useless. banning weapons of any sort does not stop a gang member from shooting someone or stabbing them.

At 11/21/2005 12:26:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Exactly. Although it does give the police one more excuse to take these gang members into custody just merely for displaying a machete in a threatening manner. If this were an outright ban on machetes, I would have pointed out how ludicrous that would have been since we'd then have moved from gun control to machete control. At that point, gang members would just go to Home Depot and get screwdrivers or hacksaws. What then? Having to show IDs to buy those at a hardware store the way you have to show an ID to buy over the counter Tylenol cold medication now on account of meth producers?

At 11/21/2005 02:16:00 PM, Blogger neocon22 said...

when a policeman takes a gang member into custody, are they allowed to ask for proof of citizenship? are they allowed to check themselves?

At 11/21/2005 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous marty nohe said...

A policeman cannot ask for proof of citizenship at the point of arrest, insofar as many people who are legally could not prove that they are at that exact moment. It can be an issue at arraignment, however.

The challenge is that if someone is in the country illegally, and is released from custody, either because there is no casue to hold them, or because they have served their time, the Aduly Detention Center generally has to let them go. Localities cannot hold an individual simply because they do not have legal presence, but ICE (formerly INS) almost NEVER picks up illegal aliens from the ADC unless they are wanted on federal charges.


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