More on Diana Tomas

I know some people that live in the Rampart neighborhood where 14 year old Diana Tomas was shot. I’m told that it took around 30 minutes and multiple phone calls to 911 before the police and ambulance finally showed up on the scene, which is especially unsettling as the Rampart police station is literally down the street, one block away. Oh yeah, and one of the cops on the scene described her as a “gangmember”, even though they didn’t know who she was. I am not surprised.

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3 Replies to “More on Diana Tomas”

  1. El Chavo, it won’t make you feel any better but we had similar happen this spring in white bread Monrovia. A young man was shot as a result of a fight that started in a bar a block away from the MPD station. He was drug across the street to Library Park and left to die on a picnic table. It took 20 minutes from the time the first 911 call was made for police to arrive. The poor guy died before help arrived. Oh, and there were nearly 100 witnesses in the park as it was the all night Cancer Walk-a-thon.

    It’s unsettling whenever a young person dies. It is absolutely pathetic when it happens blocks from the police station and it takes 20 minutes for them to arrive.

  2. Today, December 13, 2007, ABC7’s local news reported that a 14 year old girl, Diana Tomas, was gunned down on Sunday, December 2, 2007, died in the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. Her mother reported her missing on Sunday, but the connection to the girl gunned down and the missing fourteen year old was not made until yesterday afternoon. This is when the mother was notified. The girl died as soon as her mother was at her bedside. She was shot on Sunday afternoon almost at the exact location my aunt committed suicide three decades ago, off the Benton Way bridge on the 101 Hollywood Freeway. This hit home for many reasons, one I already mentioned, another is I have four daughters (two being around this poor victim’s age), and my other reasons are locked in factors evolving from being raised in the Ghettos of Los Angeles. Ghetto areas all around Los Angeles are full of gangs, drugs, prostitution, and all the other dynamics that are associated with people in low social economic neighborhoods. Crimes like these are a common occurance in these areas mainly because of the personalities that are passed on generation after generation by the people who feel helpless to rise above the poverty level.
    “Poverty should be defined psychologically in terms of those whose place in society is such that they are internal exiles who, almost inevitably, develop attitudes of defeat and pessimism and who are therefore excluded from taking advantages of new opportunities” (Harrington 12). Michael Harrinton’s piece, “A Definition of Poverty,” not only defines poverty, but he explains some of the personality that evolves from poverty. My work in the non-profit world involves working with youths of families from Ghetto areas of Los Angeles County. I always ask the same question, “who do you know that has a college education,” and the answer is almost always, “no one, sir.” When they come into my program, Los Angeles Young Marines, it’s usually because their parents feel this is their last hope. When I listen to the new enrollees, recruits talk, it is always about who got beat-up, who’s having sex with who, and who got kicked out of school. Keep in mind, the mean age of the program is thirteen. Their world revolves around the helplessness of the Ghetto. The parents of these recruits are usually under investigation by Child Services, and they also feel helpless. Victims like Diana Tomas are many in the Ghettos of Los Angeles, and they go unnoticed.
    One cannot help wonder that if Diana was reported missing from a Beverly Hills family, her picture would have been on the evening news that very day. But, this was the Rampart Division of Ghetto L.A.. There are Diana’s being reported missing everyday. Will her parents blame themselves for not being able to better provide for Diana, or subjecting her to this neighborhood of crime? When mom and dad go to work to make just enough to pay the rent and put food on the table, will they not wonder if their work has any meaning, or is because they had to work such long hours away from home that little Diana was taken from them. Unfortunately, this tragedy will feed into their helplessness, and cause further psychological harm to them, their family, extended family, and the ghetto.
    Harrington also wrote in his piece, “Poverty should be defined absolutely, in terms of what man and society could be. As long as America is less than its potential, the nation as a whole is impoverished by that fact. As long as there is the other America, we are, all of us, poorer because of it” (Harrington 13). In 2003, I attended a national conference for Young Marines Inc. in Biloxi, Mississippi where a New Orleans Police captain gave a workshop on gangs and drugs in America. According to this police captain, drugs and gangs in America stemmed from the Ghettos of Los Angeles. If this is true, and let us say it is for the “sake of argument,” then Harrington is on key, when he suggests that there cannot be two America’s, because what happens in one America will by in effect affect the other America if not by shame, then by cause.
    Yes, no secret here: People of low social economic backgrounds develop personalities different than those of privileged backgrounds, and from the perspective of the poor, privilege is anything that pays the rent, affords food, education, and security. They are mean and bitter. The young ones just don’t know enough to explain it; they simply express it by criminal behavior, but they are “MAD.’ Unfortunately, their anger is misguided toward each other. America needs to embrace all of her children and care for them equally, or one “one rotten apple, will spoil the bunch.” In an end note, when America provides for her children, then she can adopt and stretch her arms abroad; plus, then, and only then, can she be an example to other nations.

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