This letter is in response to the recent peace rally in Planada after two gang-related killings. While it is true that criminal street gangs are running rampant throughout Merced County, Im sure that cultural dances and hula hoop demonstrations are not the way to curb gang violence. The positive thing about the rally was that it showed that the community is fed up with the violence.
Most have learned that if youre not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. As a retired peace officer, I learned that getting a handle on gangs was like a Sugar Ray Leonard fight. Once you get your opponent on the ropes, keep on them and dont let them breathe enough to fight back. This tactic will only work when law enforcement has the full support of the community. As far as the Brown Berets go, they can help by pointing out to the parents of gang members that the parents are indeed responsible for the actions of their kids.
Beginning in 2012, parents can be court ordered to attend anti-gang classes per AB 177 and have to foot the bill for the classes as well. Its not a cure-all, but hitting the parents in the wallet is one way to get parents to keep better track of their kids activities.