Published July 2, 2007 CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Batavia -- Gang violence is out of control in Chicago and the police don't seem to be able to keep up with it. Obviously traditional law enforcement isn't working, so we need to adopt more creative methods in order to protect the public.
One way to control and defeat these thugs is to call in our most fearsome weapon: the Chicago City Council bureaucrats to establish a Department of City Gangs that would enact regulations that would reduce the carnage out on the street and increase city revenue in the process. The first thing this department would do is to require gangs to pay taxes to the city and purchase "franchise" territories. City inspectors would vigorously enforce codes and issue numerous citations if laws are broken. Code violations would require court appearances and fines.
Step 2 would involve the gang members themselves. Each would be required to undergo a series of tests before they could earn and pay for a license to belong to the gang. Mandatory vision screening and target practice would be at the top of this list (Does anyone other than innocent victims ever get shot?).
Gangs would still be allowed to have their special "colors" (for a fee, of course). Each member would then be forced to wear this special shirt that would consist of black-and-white target rings on both front and back. A photographic yearbook of gang members would be issued monthly, so that true gang membership and identity could be verified and established. Their parents would also be encouraged to display signs that declare "Proud Parent of a Gang Member" on both their lawns and car bumpers.
The City Council needs to pass a law that would bring back dueling and make it legal. Since the gangs seem bent on killing each other, why not let them do it? The city would provide safe battlefields (like paint-ball courses) for them to pursue each other until the death. This would require a permit and entrance fee to underwrite the cost of the arenas.
The end result of all this creative legislation would be to make the streets safer for all the future and potential innocent victims of street gangs, not to mention reduce jail occupancy and, most important in the City of Chicago, increase revenue.