Millionaires Make a Killing as Killings Continue


Robert Placencia, 17, and Shanneel Singh, 18, are two recent murder victims in a low-income neighborhood in south Sacramento. Both youth lived and died within a night and two blocks of each other.

Statistically, Placencia and Singh were the 43rd and 44th killings this year in Sacramento. The city’s homicide total this year has spiked almost 40 percent from 2005.

But numbers alone only begin to tell this tale. The violence is devastating families.

Children are left parentless. Parents are left childless.

Against that backdrop, authorities are quick to shift blame to gangs for the recent rash of violence. What’s the favored intervention as the body count rises?

The answer is to put more police on the streets. First they apprehend the suspects.

Next up is prosecution, followed by incarceration. Other forms of prevention disappear like drops of water on hot sand.

In this way, government on the local, state and federal levels locks up more of the nation’s citizens than any other worldwide. This approach to crime and punishment by definition sidesteps strategies of prevention based on input from the people most affected by violent crime.

Government sidestepping community input this way is a fool’s errand. But such foolishness is a part and parcel of the prevailing view that government works best when it serves the interests of the upper class.

There seems to be no shortage of public funds for these fortunate few. By way of comparison, Sacramento’s low-income communities plagued by violence face a shortage of tax dollars to end the loss of life from violence.

"Neither the city nor the county has sufficient resources to do all that needs to be done," according to an unsigned editorial in The Sacramento Bee of August 21. "That means the business community, churches and private charities must step up as well."

President Herbert Hoover made a similar case for the limitations of government to address social ills during the depths of the U.S. Great Depression when 25 percent of the adult work force was out of work. Later, massive citizen mobilization spurred the federal government to respond to change its approach to meeting human needs.

There is a word for that process: democracy. How weak it has become in 2006 comes into clearer view when we turn to two Nov. 7 ballot measures for a Sacramento County sales-tax increase.

Welcome to the Maloof tax, a public subsidy to build a new basketball arena, and an associated advisory referendum before voters. The Maloof family owns Sacramento’s Arco Arena, where the NBA Kings and WNBA Monarchs play.

Crucially, consultants, lawyers and politicians hatched the Maloof tax plan behind closed doors. The public had no seat at this table.

Without a trace of irony, Maloof tax backers claim a new arena will boost civic pride. It will also show the world that Sacramento is a world-class city.

These are absurd assumptions. Tax dollars funneled from the majority up to the wealthy are nothing but welfare payments.

The Maloof tax is a window of opportunity for those who have oodles of private property to become "have mores" with public subsidies. Think of this taxation as a version of President George W. Bush’s "ownership society" in which ordinary people foot the bill for the continued gain of a well-off minority.

The Maloofs, of course, have the capital to build the new arena, but they want Sacramento County taxpayers to help them bear that cost. Since capitalism is by its very nature an unstable system due to the built-in unpredictability of market forces, the Maloofs seek protection for their investment.

City and county politicians in Sacramento are all too pleased to oblige the Maloofs. Thus the taxpaying public will vote on funding a new NBA/WNBA arena, whose big profits would flow to the Maloofs.

In the weeks to come, the campaign for the Maloof tax will pick up steam. Expect a tsunami of radio and TV ads arguing that the building of a new arena will be the best thing ever for regular citizens.

Meanwhile, Sacramento politicians are proving their worth according to the highest standards of early 21st-century America"increasing the profitability of the rich. Low-income families at-risk of lethal violence must wake up to reality that elected politicians who claim to represent are simply strapped for cash.

These families living in a state of siege should turn to other institutions than government for relief. Remember, government has limited resources except when it comes to those who own professional basketball arenas and teams.

SETH SANDRONSKY is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at ssandron@hotmail.com


Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?