If you have teenagers or ever had the unfortunate pleasure of watching a teen television drama, then you’ve heard the phrase “most likely to succeed” at least once. Though usually reserved for high school settings, the mayor of Stockton, California is putting a new spin on the title.
Most likely to shoot somebody.
Back in February, we introduced you to Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. Endorsed by Barack Obama, the 26-year old Democrat is a rising star in California politics whose ideas are a bit left of left. Tubbs made headlines recently after he partnered with the Economic Security Project to test Basic Universal Income.
However, this week the young mayor is floating a new idea that makes UBI seem normal. The program is called “Advance Peace” and it aims to prevent mass shootings. How? By offering someone deemed “most likely to shoot somebody” a thousand dollars and free counseling.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the program hopes to reach out to would be mass shooters before tragedy strikes. They believe that the money and counseling will be an incentive to turn them away from violence.
Speaking about the program, Mayor Tubbs explained that it’s not a free pass. “Let me be clear, Advance Peace is not a get out of jail free card,” he said. “Participating in this program doesn’t erase the past, but it does help these young men learn how to make better choices for their own and our community’s collective future.”
Unsurprisingly, Tubbs’ plan is receiving pushback on social media with some people concerned about the cost and message it sends. “How about threaten [would-be shooters] with the death penalty,” Lori Hendry asked on Twitter. “That would be cheaper and more appropriate.”
Tubbs responded with “We already do that, it’s called the status quo. It’s not working.”
While he is right that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes like lawmakers hoped it would be, that is an irrelevant point when it comes to school shootings. The 17-year old Santa Fe High School shooter is a perfect example of what we mean.
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that the death penalty cannot be applied to juvenile offenders. SCOTUS dealt another blow to juvenile justice in 2012, ruling that a sentence of life without parole is too harsh.
So, you see, deterrents can’t work when young criminals know the penalties don’t apply to them.