There are days that I feel that I am living in the Twilight Zone.

Then, I remember I live in California, the place where the state capital OK’s a plan to give $1.5 million to gang members so they won’t kill.

Following a fatal shooting last weekend in a city park, the Sacramento city council unanimously approved a controversial program called Advance Peace in an effort to address a recent spike in violence.

The program offers gang members cash stipends for graduating from school and generally staying out of trouble.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg requested that the vote be moved up in response to the park shooting, which left one person dead and four injured, Fox 40 reported. The vote was supposed to take place in two weeks.

Proponents assert that the plan is will work, based on models from other cities.

“If we don’t try something different, we’re gonna continue to see these patterns,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

The Advanced Peace program is aimed at combating gun violence in Sacramento by targeting the roughly 50 young men who are believed to be responsible for most of the gun violence in the city. The program is one modeled after a similar, successful one in Richmond that provides participants with high-level mentorship, daily check-ins, case management, and life-goal plans. Per studies presented to the council, from 2010 to 2016 Richmond saw a 50 percent reduction in firearm assaults and 54 percent reduction in related homicides.

The funding for the gang members will be from the city’s general fund and will go to 50 men who are suspected of killing people (but lacking not enough evidence to prosecute them). The skeptics of this plan question the basis on which it was approved.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert had this assessment:

“I support the gang prevention task force and the many evidence-based youth mentoring and intervention programs already in existence in the city of Sacramento. I have serious concerns with a program that is apparently based upon the payment of money to high-risk individuals in exchange for a promise not to engage in violent criminal conduct. There is insufficient evidence-based data to show this approach is effective in preventing gun violence.”

Schubert isn’t the only one perplexed by the vote:

Indeed! In other, normal states, Sacramento’s plan would be called “extortion”. But in the Golden State, our political leaders hail it as a sensible peace proposal.

That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone California!

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