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Latinos who are not gang members will suffer the negative effects of the gang injunction due to the fact that it declares the Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara to be “unincorporated entities” subject to soft-core martial law. This is not a manufactured debate to nurture doubt and ignorance in the public.

The U.S. military has a technique called “draining the swamp” by which it targets and controls an undesirable population through a brutal campaign of divide and conquer. “Draining the swamp” features the enforcement of laws that interfere with the normal interactions of people in a community to foment social frictions that fracture personal bonds. It pits family members, friends, and neighbors against one another with the ultimate goal to destabilize the community and force the dispersal of people from the area.

The gang injunction is likely to have a similar effect. Can the short-term profit to investors of Eastside and Westside gentrification be worth the long-term destruction of Santa Barbara’s culturally diverse neighborhoods?

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