I should also extend kudos to the general WaPo editorial board for cutting through the wheat and chaff and outlining the numerous flaws in the new Gang legislation that just passed the house:
THE HOUSE OF Representatives passed a bill last week designed to reduce gang violence. The so-called “Gangbusters” bill would greatly expand federal authority to prosecute gang members, even for local activity. It would establish mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for many crimes, including but not limited to newly defined offenses. These are terrible ideas that ought to be rejected if and when the Senate considers similar legislation.
The bill’s definition of gang activity represents an unwarranted federalization of local crime. Gang violence is a serious problem, and some gangs operate across state lines and require federal attention. But this law is written so broadly as to potentially include many local crimes, which are traditionally prosecuted by the states. Under its terms, anyone who commits or conspires in a “gang crime” — defined to include a wide range of drug and violent felonies — in order to further “the activities of a criminal street gang” or gain entrance to one can be prosecuted federally. A “criminal street gang” is defined as “a formal or informal group” of at least three people who commit two or more gang crimes. And the bill would require only the most tenuous connection to any legitimate federal interest before the matter could be handled by the Justice Department. In other words, just about any pattern of street violence involving people who wear the same tattoos could become a federal matter. The predominant state role in prosecuting street crime deserves more respect.
Read the whole thing. These knuckleheads in Washington think that they can do anything if they just say they are fighting ‘gangs.’ They need to be stopped- I know which gang is a bigger threat to me. And their colors aren’t red or blue, but pinstripe.