Monday, July 23 , 2018, 9:05 am | Fair 74º


Letter to the Editor: ‘Thoughts’ on Gang Injunction Not Well Thought Out

In his op/ed "Thoughts on a Gang Injunction," appearing in the Santa Barbara News-Press, Mike Jordan states that opponents of the injunction believe it "will … serve to negatively affect efforts targeting those who are not in a gang." He goes on to insist that this is a misrepresentation of the truth, a common strategy among opponents of the injunction since they are "manufacturing a debate" in order to "nurture doubt and ignorance" in the public.

Yet it should be pointed out that Jordan is guilty of the same tactic.

For example, Jordan tries to reconfigure the arguments of opponents concerned about the priorities revealed in favoring police enforcement over educational programs through his insistence that they therefore believe that the injunction "cannot co-exist with efforts and resources to keep people from joining gangs." Jordan's practice of putting words into the mouths of the opponents of the injunction "is not simply a happenstance strategy" but part of a larger ploy towards dismissing their objections as nothing more than the vocalizations of a manipulative minority.

Despite Jordan's beliefs to the contrary, Latinos who are not gang members will also be negatively affected by the gang injunction due to the fact that the measure declares that the Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara are "unincorporated entities" subject to civil laws of association. That is to say, city officials view the geographical locale of these predominately Latino neighborhoods as suspect in and of themselves. Consequently, the gang injunction includes everyone living in these areas.

The proposed "safety zones" will see the division of the city into districts under soft-core martial law that will only encourage a heavy police presence in these working-class neighborhoods already suspicious of the ongoing police harassment there.

In a technique known as "draining the swamp," the U.S. military targets and controls an undesirable population through a brutal campaign of divide and conquer. "Draining the swamp" features the enforcement of laws that interfere with the normal interactions of people in a community thereby fomenting social frictions that result in the fracturing of personal bonds and relationships. It pits family members, friends and neighbors against one another with the ultimate goal to destabilize the community and force the eventual dispersal of people from the area.

While the pursuit of profits benefits the short-term investors in the city's gentrification industry, its long-term result will be the destruction of the diversity of Santa Barbara.

Kathy Swift
Santa Barbara

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