In an unusual move with a goal to further help curb skyrocketing crime and murder rates in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office in collaboration with the City Council has announced the launch of a new program that will provide non-lethal paintball-type bullets to potential criminal shooters in Orleans Parish.
The radical program, named Operation Skeet, looks to assist a severely understaffed and underfunded New Orleans Police Department said to have a mounting backlog of calls that it cannot overcome. It comes as an alternative to Mayor Cantrell’s other proposal to completely eliminate crime in the Crescent City.
“Think of it as methadone for gangbangers — a new kind of rehabilitation,” said Donald ‘Oddball’ Kelly, CEO of the First Church of Fast Cash Loans, Bail Bonds, and Daiquiris, the sponsor of the program.
Using the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as collateral, New Orleans will receive an advance from Fast Cash to pay for the program until the Department of Justice can establish permanent funding.
Instead of grievous, lethal wounds, Kelly said the new bullets will make “pretty pictures” that will help add even more character to an already colorful city.
“They can shoot all they want while still getting their point across without really hurting anyone. In fact, this program also aims to help criminals discover their repressed artistic abilities. Hello, crime reduction. Bienvenue, job creation.”
Up to 50 of the non-lethal paintball-type bullets will be provided per month, free of charge, to any convicted felon, drug dealer, gang member (gang tattoo required) or bitter loner with a gun who requests them no questions asked. The initial bullets will be made in the most popular street caliber – 9mm – with .22, .223, .32, .40, and .45 following next year.
According to information released by the Mayor’s office, the city is working with the Justice Department to expand the initiative by creating a gun exchange program, similar to a needle-exchange program, to make sure shooters have safe, clean paintball guns for their new bullets.
Additional future plans call for the program to offer bullet packages in fun seasonal colors like black and orange for Halloween, purple, green, and gold for Mardi Gras, and rainbow for Decadence Festival, among others.
“We’re in talks to get officially licensed Saints and Pelicans paintball colors for the fall,” said Kelly. “Then who knows, maybe even high school branded paintball packages.”
No one on the City Council was available for comment but together did release a statement saying they will release a statement making a statement at an appropriate, beneficial time.