In a race where both candidates are obsessed with being seen as "tough," Brizzi couldn't have asked for more.
"These are not the types of criminals we need to give second and third chances to," he said with typical showmanship. "What we want to do is make Indianapolis as inhospitable as possible for these guys."
The problem for Kennedy is Brizzi has effectively bashed her lack of prosecutorial experience for weeks. Her proposing "a get-out-of-jail-free card," as Brizzi called it, gave him another chance to point to that issue.
"Only someone who has never prosecuted a gang member would propose something like this," he said.
In a race this big, each candidate will have bad days. Brizzi's had a few. Monday was Kennedy's turn.
Her response was weak. She defended her gang proposal but tried to downplay it by insisting it was only a "concept." She said the "concept" was aimed at "taking down the whole gang infrastructure by trying to peel away the young wannabes" and getting them to "testify against the gang leaders."
She wouldn't say what level of crimes would be forgiven but pointed to offenses such as carrying a handgun illegally.
Reality check. How many gang "wannabes" will take the stand and testify against gang leaders in exchange for dropping a minor charge?
As for renouncing gang affiliation in writing, Brizzi compared that to naively making gangbangers "write on the blackboard 50 times, 'I will not be in a gang.' "
"Gang members," he said, "will say and do anything to get out of trouble."
I suspect the policy wonk who stuck this amnesty idea into her policy position statement is taking a few licks today. This plays right into Brizzi's hand. As he has said before, gang members in L.A. refer to Indianapolis nowadays as "little L.A." Rewarding amnesty to law-breakers doesn't strike me as the right approach to this growing problem.