Saturday, June 17, 2006

The World According To Doogan

Knowing how a candidate will be on the issues, you should look to their past on what they have stated and how they stood on issues. It gives the voters a sense of the candidate's abilities in looking years ahead to problems that may face the citizens of Alaska.

So I will be posting a serial thread called "The World According to Doogan". For $3.00, I can go back in time and get a sense of what Mike is about.

So the first installment on Mike goes back to 1997. I think Jake Metcalfe the Alaska Democratic Party Chairman/School Board Member/IBEW lawyer will need some oxygen on this and future installments of "The World According to Doogan."

Anchorage Daily News (AK)
September 2, 1997
Section: Metro
Edition: Final
Page: B1


Mike Doogan
Anchorage Daily News


How big a threat are youth gangs in Anchorage? The police think that there are 300 gang members here, with another 400 people somehow associated with gangs. Every once in a while, the gangsters shoot at each other. Sometimes, one of them gets hit. The police say gangs are also involved in selling drugs. According to some people, all of this means that the police should have a special gang unit. Maybe it should. But at what cost? At a meeting last week between police officials and the Assembly, Assembly Chairman Mark Begich went so far as to criticize Mayor Rick Mystrom for having a unit to catch people who run red lights, but not a gang unit.

When I talked with Begich Monday, he defended his statement.

''The difference, in my view, is that the gang issue is multifaceted,'' he said.

Busting gangs, he said, has a ripple effect through the crime statistics. It affects drug sales, and the burglaries that pay for them. And a stronger police effort might have some effect on the number of gangsters shot by other gangsters. All of that, Begich said, means the city and the police department should be paying more attention to gangs.

Maybe. But making public policy is always a matter of deciding what to pay for. In arguing that paying for a gang unit is more important than paying to bust red-light runners, Begich is dead wrong. There is absolutely no question that the average, law-abiding Anchorage citizen is in more danger from people running red lights, speeding, driving drunk and what have you, than that citizen is from gangs.

Allan Barnes, an associate professor of justice at UAA, calls this ''the at-risk'' aspects of gang activity.

''People who are driving around Mountain View shooting at people get shot back at,'' he said. ''But I doubt that you pull a .45 and start blasting away at your neighbors ... and they don't do that either.''

That's right, I don't. But I do drive on the streets, and in the past week I have seen two young men in pickups blow through red lights, one doing at least 80 mph. Think about it yourself. When was the last time you saw somebody drive in a way that threatened other people on the road? When was the last time you saw some tattooed hooligan in an Oakland Raiders' hat shoot somebody? Here's another way to look at it. Last year, 15 people died in traffic accidents in Anchorage. How many died in gang shootouts?

So if Rick Mystrom is assigning police officers to enforce traffic laws, instead of gathering information on gangsters, I'm on his side.

And gangs? Well, here are two solutions. The only way police can know how many gang members there are is if they counted them. If the police counted the gang members, then it follows that the police know who they are. So arrest them. What for? Well, they're gang members, so they must be breaking the law every half-hour or so. And if they aren't, let Begich and the rest of the Assembly pass a law making it illegal to be a tattooed hooligan in public.

If that's too police state for you, let's just give the little gangsters marksmanship lessons. I'm sure the NRA would help. Once they learn to shoot straight, they'll solve the gang problem themselves. And none of this banning gang clothing. We'll want them to be able to recognize each other.

When I read this, I damn near had a heart attack. And I thought is Doogan really a Democrat? Why? Wait and see what is next.

Will someone please pass this on to Jake.................................(snicker)

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