So I’m stuck in a traffic jam (thanks Mr. 18-wheeler who thought he could slide two lanes over during rush hour and then overturned), and eventually tuned into NPR. Who could guess that I’d actually hear two interesting stories? Since I assume that I was the only person in such desperate straits, I’m going to relate the information to you for your edification.

Boston has had a wave of gang crime lately. The last straw for Police Commissioner Ed Davis came recently when two gang members decided it might be good fun to murder a 14 year old boy who had the audacity to be playing outside. Although the two alleged (sweet how I used alleged, just like a real life reporter, huh) murderers were quickly arrested, Davis decided to use the opportunity to break the hold of gangs in parts of Boston.

So what Davis did was put out fliers with pictures of ten more individuals who were believed to be members of the same gang as the two who were apprehended. He believes that this will cause other members of the community to ostracize these individuals and thus shame them into improving their behavior.

I’m not sure if this will work or not. It would have worked on me when I was young, but I was educated in Catholic school, so shame was a regular part of my training. Unfortunately, the reporter said that shame may not work in the gang society as they regard shame as a badge of honor. When they are shamed, it makes them angry, upset, and violent. My guess is that, since members of the gang killed a 14 year old whose offense was playing, anger and violence may not be unusual emotions for them.

As expected, the Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union was upset since it regards this action as a smear campaign. They referred to this as guilt by association, and apparently believes that it will tar all gang members because of a mere murder by a few of them.