Welcome to LA Childhood – sniper drills

As a kid I remember the first Fire Drills, kind of scary the first time.  “What if the school burned down?” does spook a kindergartener.  By the time first grade rolled around we didn’t take it seriously because we were coming into the age of immortality.  Moving to MO for high school brought “Tornado Drills” into my range of preparedness.

Just a few minutes ago I walked into my youngest sons Elementary school, springing him early from his usual afterschool programs and saw all 100 kids lined up against walls, crouching away from windows.  “Oh, Tornado drills?” I ask.

Nope..”Sniper Drills”.  Shit, now what. I asked if this had to do with the Monrovia Nueve Vario vs Duroc Crips gang warfare here in town that has left one dead, one MHS Student wounded (unrelated incidents) and several others with bullets in their walls in recent weeks.  “Now, you know I can’t answer that”. 

Welcome to LA.  We don’t teach our kids dodge ball but we teach them to dodge bullets.

17 Replies to “Welcome to LA Childhood – sniper drills”

  1. Yes, I find it interesting dodge ball is considered violent and a kid can get hurt so it isn’t played on school grounds.

  2. Um, so…when something is positive you credit Monrovia but when something is negative you blame Los Angeles?

    This is more a sign of the times than the place. The Militant never had sniper drills when he was in school – an LAUSD one at that.

  3. At least the kids are not worrying about mutual assured destruction and global thermonuclear war. At least not *global* anyway…

  4. Several years ago gangs from Monrovia and Duarte were getting very hot and started killing each other.

    There were several drive-bys near my house, Duarte high school, and pretty much all around the city border which runs down south Mountain Ave.

  5. Thanks Ivan I was talking to a friend on MPD during that last break out and he tells me things were pretty bad. As always its over turf and control for their dealing or whatever gangs do.

    It is sad anywhere in the city when people get shot for no reason. Sadder when they can’t feel safe in their own home.

    It is equally sad that a kid has to lose a part of childhood replaced with fear of getting shot and has to practice sniper drills.

    All communities need to pour as much into gang control as into prevention. Meaningful prevention giving kids choices to not decide to join gangs, not just classes on why it is bad.

  6. I’d like to know more about this situation, and woudl appreciate all I can get about it. What gangs are involved? Where are their specific territories/strongholds? What is the motivations (is there a story behind the uptick in problems)? Is there a racial element to it? Are other local gangs (like from Bolen parque, Azusa or El Monte flores) involved?

    I know that La puente/Valinda had a murder/gang crime spike last year that left over 30 people dead, are these issues related or part of an overall problem arising in the SGV?

    I would greatly appreciate any knowledge about the informal street politics of this area, my job will be working in this community (not the murals, more greenspace related) and a lay of the land is needed. I once did community service with a guy from Duroc who told me a good deal abotu the area (which i forgot most of) as well as the black gang landscape in the SGV area. Any mnore info will be put to some good, trust me.

  7. Aye aye where do I start Adikonda. There are many gangs loosely connected in the SGV.

    A contact of mine that worked local PD and now is with the District Courts gave me some insight and here is what I have. There are a lot of complex issues so I can give a short outline. What we have is a cycle of the bad guys rounded up and sent to prison bring a period of quiet, then we have them released and the violence starts over.

    The current eruption comes down to the MVN which is loosely aligned with the Duarte Eastside Gang. The two are more or less aligned with what he calls the “mexican mafia” or “cartel” depending which word you want to use. This is from my source whom I believe to have a good handle on the situation as well as access to information on the various police forces.

    In the SGV, actually LA area in general he tells me that though the gangs are racially aligned it isn’t really so much a “race issue” as it is about turf and control of crime. The innocent victims caught in the cross fire aren’t chosen so much on race, affiliation as they are just easy targets. IT’s all interelated, not directly in a chain of command kind of way.

    In Monrovia in particular he tells me that our increased started this summer when a couple of bad guys were released from prison this summer, escalating when more were released this fall. It’s about turf and retribution.

    The shooting sprees got going in November and escalated to the point were 2 weeks ago an older gentleman with no gang ties was shot down in his driveway coming home from church.

    Another one, and this hit close to home as my daughter has known the kid for years and thought of him as a good kid, good student etc., got shot in the back in a driveby. His nickname is “Day Day” and at one point we thought he would be a quad. He’s doing better and will eventually walk from what I last heard.

    Here is a list of active SGV gangs from a few years back: http://lang.pasadenastarnews.com/socal/gangs/articles/sgvnp1_ganglist.asp

  8. In the last eight years, over 200 kids have been killed while in school. It’s a fucking travesty. It’s terrible. But how many of those were killed in LA? I’m going to guess nowhere near the lion’s share…maybe nowhere near, say, a handful of small towns across the US where this sort of mass sniper homicide seems to perpetuate. I say bravo for teaching kids what to do in any emergency; instead of pointing the “only in LA” fingers, this is somethigng that ought to be taught nationally. It may save kids’ lives on-campus or not.

    /rant

  9. Lisa Bee: Those numbers average out to 25 kids a year.

    Applying those numbers only to the 95,726 public schools in the US, this averages to one death per 3829 schools. Its hardly an epidemic, or something to be very concerned about.

    No matter the number of shootings at schools, the number is unfortunate. But to frighten our kids with these unnecessary drills likely causes much further harm than whatever possible safety skills they’re given.

    There are, however, skills that could actually be used that should be taught and taught again: the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and basic first aid. But sniper drills? A waste of time, money, and jitters.

  10. Thanks frazgo, actually i’m Art, just messed up in the name part. Im familiar with the La puente and El Monte SGV gangs, that list link was good though.

  11. Oh, so where are the main neighborhoods in Duarte and Monrovia located? I remember that the guy from Duroc noted they were near the cemetary or something. But what about the ESDuarte guys from, how about the MNV. I figure around the mayflower area possibly is someone’s territory? An old friend used to leave right there (near live oak) and it seemed kind of janky.

  12. Frazgo-

    I understand your concern. It fights for first place with the seeming selfishness that prompted me to go under the knife so many years ago. (Having lived in so many other countries, I know how religion works, why children are wanted to be bred by the masses and all that.)

    I also understand why previous concerns, while no less imminent (how many countries have given up the bomb? How many have gained it since the “duck and cover” days?), tend to be less sexy when trying to passively terrorise the kids while they are in the grip of the state.

    The whole sniper bit is bullshit. Hell, I just attended a recent by an olde friend Danny Weizmann–he usta live here (and by here I mean Boyle Heights) after he came from Israel, survived the 1970s and 1980s, went to NYC, and again lives in Israel. His father was killed in the 1967 war, and one of the his albums produced and released by Black Flag’s Gregg Ginn (on New Alliance), he talks about kids having to “dodge bullets while trying to learn that math shit.” (Were the powers to be worth the money they steal from the tax”payers,” then it would not have to be referred to as “that math shit,” hm?)

    Mr. Weizmann was just getting home a few days ago as the wall between Gaza and Egypt was literally blown up, so it is as if he is back home in two ways–and he never had sniper drills to help keep him safe.

    Anyhow. The terror is everywhere, but the people who exploit it must be taken to account, owing to the fashion by which they exploit it when and how it is convenient. The terror being instilled in your kid is the kinda crap that is later used in such a fashion as to compel folk to go to war for no reason. I know–I am still angry at my own loss that sent me back to NYC for nearly five years and which ended in me limping back to Los Angeles in 2005 broke, destitute and more angry than anyone should be.

    The whole sniper alert is bullshit, and lemme tell you: when I came stateside in 1975 after having endured three years of angry japanese kids stone me nearly daily owing to their parents’ anger at my parents’ attacks, I was angry. When the Montgomery, AL, cops tried to get kids to narc on others by assembling us in the lunchroom for no other reason that to let us literally smell the danger of burning pot–they actually burned a plateful of pot so we would know the smell that they hoped would compel kids to call the cops!–I understood the bullshit.

    What is going on is yet one more attempt to do what the state and the church–once one and the same–what all successful rulers have always known: “get ’em while they’re young.”

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