“Pay me and I won’t kill you.”
Some people might see that as armed robbery. A Baltimore ex-convict and community activist, however, is trying to tell people it’s a great way for criminals to earn a living. Institutionalized armed robbery, as it were.
Tyree Moorehead, who spent 18 years in prison for committing second degree murder when he was 15, told FOX 45 in mid-February that the way to lower the city’s soaring number of shootings is to simply pay criminals not to kill people. The story was rounded up by News LA.
“I can relate to the shooters,” said the wise Moorehead. “Guess what they want? They want money. I’ve talked to these people, I’ve seen the shooters, it’s a small city, I know who the hustlers are,” he said.
He didn’t give any more details as to how such a system would work. Would you have to register as a “criminal”? How can we know if you would actually be willling to shoot someone? How about just paying everyone, to make sure no one’s tempted?
Baltimore had the second highest murder rate in the US in 2018 and 2019 after St. Louis. New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana were second and fourth. Chicago’s shooting problem is huge, but its murders per capita has never put it in top five for deadliest cities in the U.S.
While Moorehead’s strategy may seem like extortion, it has been done before.
In 2016, officials in Richmond, Calif., tested a program where they paid young offenders to stay out of trouble. Convicts or troubled youths could earn up to $1,000 if they completed a series of goals over a certain amount of time. It lowered the city’s murder rate to the lowest it had been for 30 years.
Baltimore police officials do not think it would be effective in their city, however.