It seems as if our inner cities suffer from duel failures: the fact that the so-called drug war is failing and that there is not effective way to eliminate the existence of "gang" control and influence.
Why don't we consider making peace with the world we face and use it to improve our world? What if the government went to the gangs and offered something akin to this:
You claim this is your turf. OK, we will acknowledge and give recognition to your claim on the following conditions:
1. You keep the legal violations to those of a minor nature: no murders, not sexual assaults, no burglaries;
2. No violence from drug deals and a reduction in over-dose deaths: control your territory;
3. Watch over your "turf": keep your territory safe for ALL the residents, respect the elderly and those that need assistance;
4. Get your gang members to learn to read, write and do math: they need good math to compute your profits anyway, and they should be able to write down notes for you and be able to read your instructions, so this benefits you anyway...and it sets good examples for your community;
5. Finally, we will look to you for a call when police are needed, if you do all of the above: murders, physical harm burglaries, suicides and the usual assault type crimes that show a lack of respect to your resident and to you, we will respond to, and you will make sure that those occasions are welcomed and endorsed by your community.
Do we have a deal?
This would bring gangs into the legal world, encourage them to take real responsibility for their areas and eliminate them from being an "enemy" of law enforcement. Certainly, it would involve being blind to drug deals, but our attempts to stop that are failing now, particularly in the inner cities, so what are we losing?
Sure, this could fail miserably...but we are failing miserably now. Maybe this is worth trying. I haven't seen anyone else come up with this idea...but it seems worth a shot. What do you think?