Gangs of Los Angeles

chola.jpgGang violence has become L.A.’s dirty family secret. We know it exists, and we know how bad it is. But, we don’t want to talk about it, and nothing ever gets done about it. Why? Because this city is run by dirty, spineless politicians who operate on 300 different agendas. Gang violence has not affected them directly, so it’s not really their priority. We have seen so many innocent people fall at the hands of stupidity in the past few weeks. A kid picking lemons. A standout athlete. Innocent bystanders. What if one of these unlucky victims were, say, the daughter of a city council member? The son of a county supervisor? A mistress of the Mayor? Would Los Angeles finally say enough is enough?

The Mayor wants 10,000 officers on the streets by 2009. He should get that, plus 10,000 more. Budget-be-damned, we need this. For our city, our families, and our sanity. We need the eradication of gang mentality to be a #1 priority in L.A. Sure, we have other problems, like a lack of affordable housing, crappy public transit, and underfunded schools. But, until L.A. is a safe city to live in, none of that really matters.

The Mayor needs to make this his legacy. Make this a zero tolerance city – not just in name, but in action. Any gang-related first offense should be prosecuted by military draft or outright deportation. Yeah, that sucks. You may even think it’s unfair. Too bad. Too many innocent lives are at stake.

If you have any other ideas on how to fix this, let’s hear ’em. I’m tired of hearing about innocent kids getting killed, followed by some press conference. Stop talking, and do something already.

44 thoughts on “Gangs of Los Angeles”

  1. I think the money would be better spent on more school teachers and improved classrooms.

    Cops may catch the bad guys, but a better environment growing up will keep these kids from going bad in the first place.

  2. Oh Jason you stepped into my favorite pandoras box. It’s no secret, it is the top billing most days in LA. It rocked my corner of LA hard recently as the local pols couldn’t keep a lid on it.

    I’m with Markland prevention is the first part of the solution and that is more into our schools so kids have the knowledge needed to see what life has to offer other than that life style.

    The hardest nut to crack is reaching those who don’t give a shit about the consequences of chosing gangs. Zero tolerance sounds good but will it make an impact on the problem?

    Social engineering takes place in all sorts of forms, unfortunately it doesn’t reach those that need to make the change and don’t want to. We can’t round them up and put them in a prison or their own island. It isn’t possible economically. It only shifts the problem elsewhere.

    What I want to know is what can be done to reach those so disenfranchised from the rest of society that they accept that as normal. Until we get them to want to reinvent their normal it won’t work.

  3. I was listening to KFWB on the way to work (its my morning humor show, they screw things up so often I listen for the laughs) and they did 3 reports in a row:
    1. A study by the LAPD showed that kids who finished/stayed in school were less likely to be involved in gangs.
    2. We are hiring more cops to deal with gangs.
    3. We are laying off a shitload of teachers because we don’t want our poor abused legislators to have to take pay cuts, fire their nephews or actually do anything else that might help the budget situation.

    See. Humor. I bet not one of the mouthbreathers at KFWB made the connection.

  4. Gang mentality cannot be eradicated. It is deeeply embedded in the Latino and African-American culture — a relatively new phenomenon in the latter culture, by the way, but extensive historic ties in the former. Remember the Zoot Suit wars in L.A. in the 1940’s? Gang violence is an unfortunate by-product of life in a sprawling, culturally diverse city like Los Angeles.

    It’s not going away any time soon. Hate to be the bearer of bad news.

  5. It’s not going away any time soon.

    I understand your point Rodger, but, comments like that are part of the problem.

    No, it’s nothing new. And no, it’s not going away any time soon. But, it is the responsibility of this generation – politicians and citizens alike – to make the effort to fix the problem. Would you have us do nothing at all, and hope that you never find your kid lying dead in the driveway?

  6. Education is definitely a part of the solution, but another aspect to keep them off gangs would be jobs. Jobs have to be brought to gang areas, and I don’t mean service jobs, like at Starbucks or at the local supermarket. The jobs that come need to promise some sort of upward mobility, or else those who don’t want to pursue their education won’t want to pursue a job either. It’s not a panacea, but it’s definitely an important element of the solution.

  7. Jeezus another out of towner with the easy solution. Really, honestly how long have you lived here I really want to know?

    “What if one of these unlucky victims were, say, the daughter of a city council member? The son of a county supervisor? A mistress of the Mayor? Would Los Angeles finally say enough is enough?”

    Just a refresh, but there was this little murder of then police chief bernard parks, granddaughter a few years ago. Villaraigosa himself and many downtown politicos grew up in East LA proper and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s naive of you to think that none of them have been touched by gang violence and that it’s just a matter of will in los angeles regarding gangs. You obviously don’t understand the city then.

    If you’ve lived here for 20 years or more you can see/feel that we’re at one of the lowest levels of gang violence in forever. Bratton’s implementation of broken windows policy has done a great deal to thwart gangs and the black migration out of the central city has severely weakened the power of the bloods/crips in south la. There’s a lot of shock these days about ms-13 because white ppl in the midwest are getting affected by them, but seriously they are not even close to how it was when 18th street was running stuff in the 90’s.

    Let’s see another 10,000 cops. That would be more than 1 billion dollars a year when we are already seeing budget cuts everywhere. Not to mention that half the city (those living on the westside/hollywood) will never have gang conflict affect their lives personally and really don’t care besides doing what you’re doing and condemning it.

    If you really did want to do something constructive you’d be calling out latino politicians for their silence on the brown/black killings going on in the past 2 years. William Bratton and every politician wants to keep saying that they are all isolated incidents and that the greenlight on blacks is all just hearsay. Ummm… what about all the blacks killed in monrovia/pasadena by latinos? What about the kids last year killed in the south bay/harbor area because they were black. You’ve got the latest athlete killed this year. But, what about the mexican kid who stood up for his black football player friend last year in highland park who was shot by the avenues. You’ve got the avenues documented hate crime trial against blacks last year. These are all isolated incidents? I suppose that the greenlight the mexican mafia declared on blacks is just a rumor on the street that apparently everyone knows about… Is it any surprise that in a city that is majority latino with majority latino politicians that no one dare say anything about it for fear of not getting reelected. We’ll just keep repeating that none of these crimes are race related and they are isolated incidents. They are about gangs and not race. I guess last years statistic that 73% of the hate crimes against blacks are done by latinos isn’t that important either.

    Does anyone who grew up here in the city remember when the mexican mafia declared a greenlight on all asians in the mid 90’s because of the beef between the longos and trg? No one called the latinos out then either when there were race riots at san gabriel valley high and asians were getting stabbed and killed in prison at such high levels they had to make wings in the jails for asians specifically that are still there today. Let’s just keep quiet and keep saying that all these incidents are isolated until everyone forgets about it.

    At least check out some real la crime blogs for a little bit more informed take on gangs

  8. when is this supposedly “la” site going to hire some actual natives? are there even 2 that work on this site?

  9. I just don’t think pouring a 1,000 or 10,000 more officers on the problem is the solution. Not that Los Angeles couldn’t use more officers on the streets, but we need proactive applications like Markland and Soledad mention — better education and job opportunities — in conjunction with increased law enforcement.

  10. OK. Its not the jobs that need to be set up for the kids, its not more money for teachers and its not going in and starting youth programs. I have kids in public school. The teachers are eh… ok. Its not their deal. Its the crappy parents that rise to the top. Its obvious when youre in it. No program is going to help the kids if the parents arent involved. And many of these parents will not be taught.

    It is showing consequences where these kids dont have any. The parents are either working all the time, not a slam, or the family they live in is already a deep gang family. So however it goes, a majority of this all is discipline.

    Anti graffiti task forces that set up the kids doing it and fine the parents a few grand and the kids go to jail for a bit.

    One strike rule for gang violence.

    Gang sweeps.

    So Im saying more cops.

    These parents arent putting consequences on the kids so the city needs to give them tough love. Move out if you dont like it. Thats what the message needs to be. Stay away from our city if youre not up to any good.

  11. In order for gangs to disappear there needs to be jobs (real jobs, like another poster stated) and zero tolerance.

    —Or we need to bring in a more organized gang to run the little gangs, so they when they need to kill someone they have a mentor to teach them to shoot properly and actually kill intended victims instead of twenty people standing around the victim.—

    But seriously, zero tolerance. Oh and teachers need to stop the touchy feely talk, kids are too young to understand the shades of gray. There needs to be definite rights and wrongs in kids lives and curriculum in character building and options for people who aren’t going to college.

    We need to accept the 70s are over, everyone isn’t going to college. Everyone isn’t smart in that way and so what if they aren’t. You can be a useful member of society and not have high SAT scores.

    Some people work well with their hands, lets let those kids who aren’t going to be rocket scientists have options.

    Set design in the movie industry, what a cool job for a kid to get an apprenticeship to or cooking at a fancy eatery or even learn how to open an eatery. Auto mechanics people who own cars always tell me about how they have to pay lots of money to fix them, that guy (or gal) didn’t go to college to do rip people off. That’s a great job!!

    A beautician, my god, if I had to do it again I would go into hair styling school or whatever that thing is called. What a great job that is and people in LA want to look great and I know African-American women salons people in general pay cash, they pay cash of at least 100 dollars to get their hair done and this is even in working class neighborhoods.

    Tax free money, but of course you’d pay taxes, but you get decide how much :)

    Look how many blondes there are in Hollywood, think how much their colorist makes…

    Why can’t that kind of thing be encouraged?

    Give kids options so that they won’t try rob the rest of us, so actually my plan is very self serving.


  12. when is this supposedly “la” site going to hire some actual natives? are there even 2 that work on this site?

    Hate to feed the off-topic troll, but…there are actually at least seven. There are a few who’s background I don’t know, and at least one that I’m not counting from Orange County.

    Not sure what that has to do with the topic, but there you go.

  13. The point is that at times this site is completely out of touch with LA from a born and raised LA person’s point of view. It comes off as a site written by transplants.

  14. Oh, the kids parents have to have jobs too.

    If dad doesn’t have a job and mom doesn’t have a job they do things like drink and beat up their kids or just leave them or worse ignore them and then you know that kind of thing creates monsters who do horrible things.

    Empathy is something that has to taught. Empathy is something that LA needs alot of. You can’t have whole communities of people with no jobs or really crappy ones and then get shocked when people from those communities do horrible things, any human from any culture in that situation would do the exact same thing.

    La Vie Rose is a good movie demonstration of what the cycle does, yes Edith got famous, but most people like her don’t end up famous like the vast majority of us most people don’t have a special talent, they are just ordinary, so the only thing they have is the nonmaterial things that the people who raise them gave them and Edith being famous didn’t stop her from being completely wretched (of course this was the movie, but I’m thinking the movie was probably very nice about the whole thing) and horrible just like her mother, just like her father, and probably just like their parents. Poverty does horrible things to you. It was never a dignified thing, no matter how people try to paint it.


  15. You tell ’em rayray. Only a true and savvy native could go off on some sort of meaningless tirade tying in where we were born to our so-called ability to write about this place.

    Didn’t you ever see “Double Indemnity?” “All native Calfornians come from Iowa.”

  16. RayRay,

    What you should actually discuss is why you think this sounds like a transplant? I do not agree with you, complaining about gangs is a very LA native thing. All of the other big cities in the US have (or had) the big organized gang, but we never had that (unless you want to count the LAPD), but LA has always had a bunch of loose unorganized gangs, which leads to the insane kind of violence that you see.

    The violence here reaches out into places it has no business being. Kids bedrooms and through elderly people’s wheelchairs at midday busstops and movie theatres in the suburbs. Gangs should only kill other gang members, of course the ideal would be not having gangs at all, but LA gangs have always been very “dirty hippie” about the whole gangster thing…

    Though in the 90s I had a friend tell me that LA was safer than New York. He said that in New York trouble found you, but in LA everyone seems to be looking for trouble as if they are bored or something. I don’t know if this is still the case, LA in it’s present form in certain neighborhoods feels alot more dangerous than New York and I’d never thought I’d say that. Alphabet City is safe now, can you believe that? It’s like Los Feliz, not Silver Lake, Los Feliz is that not insane…


  17. this site is completely out of touch with LA from a born and raised LA person’s point of view

    I’ll admit, rayray, that I am not an L.A. native. I am originally from Florida, where, believe it or not, we have gangs, too. Gangs are not an L.A. thing. They are a society thing. But the recent spate of local gang violence and the loss of innocent lives in L.A. warrants some discussion. A lot of discussion. Discussion amongst citizens that care about the place they call home. That includes me, a 3-year-old transplant.

    Is it your implication that outsiders don’t have a stake in this, or that we transplants should leave the city’s problems to those who were born here, because you are more qualified? That doesn’t seem to have been an advantage for countless elected officials who have not been able to solve this problem since the city was founded.

    No, I was not born in L.A. But, I work here, live here, pay taxes here, vote here, and will raise my family here. So, I think I am more than qualified to talk about Los Angeles, and the way I see things.

  18. As long as we are feeding trolls. None of us here are hired, we do it because we really love where we are, we care and want the best.

    If you want to discuss nativeness I have a pretty good handle. My wife is 2nd or 4th generation LA so I have a very long reference point to add to the 20+ years I have been here.

    In terms of this post, well everyone has chimed on what needs to be done. No one has answered what we can do to reach the totally disenfranchised and I honestly believe that is an area we need to focus energy. Education, parenting, jobs (the ones with real opportunity) are a start for those that want to take advantage of it, I just don’t know how far into the root those will tap into the problem to end it.

  19. “first offense should be prosecuted by military draft or outright deportation”

    Where are you going to deport gang members to? It insinuates that many gang members are undocumented immigrants when I can tell you many of them were born here in Los Angeles. And what would be considered a first offense?

  20. I can understand your anger Jason but this isn’t really a “spate” that’s particularly different than the regular body count, it’s just that they are a bit more deplorable and much more publicized. But this get tough on ’em and do a surge of another 10,000 cops on the streets wouldn’t amount to much anyways, besides the wasted city revenue that could go to meaningful programs of job training and placement, or increased social activities for youth.

    What people don’t realize is that there is a strong social need for gangs and whether you like it or not, they serve a purpose for its members, one you may not understand or agree with. And until the underlying social factors get dealt with, this surge will be yet another endless battle, like that war on drugs that doesn’t seem to be ending soon.

  21. “Gang mentality cannot be eradicated. It is deeeply embedded in the Latino and African-American culture.”

    As a *cough* Latina LA-native who writes for this site, I found the statement above puzzling. My first cultural reference to gangs were finger-snapping, jazz-handing whites… my life was certainly not a scene from Blood In, Blood Out.

    My mom and dad were illegal immigrants (gasp!) who taught my brother and myself to stay the hell away from gangs. Not being completely stupid, we listened. All the latinos in my extended family and in my neighborhood avoided this trap as well. I would say the main cause for this was strong family involvement, a good public education, and a city and (Downey) that took a very hard-line to gang activity of any kind.

    Gang activity is more prevalent among low-income, disenfranchised youth. In LA, this just so happens to correlate with the Latino and Black populations in South LA. To say that it’s a race/culture thing is to ignore that the middle and upper classes (whether white, latino or black) tend to stay out of gangs.

    Are Latinos and Blacks the majority of gang members in other cities? Or is there a correlation with the lower class as well? How do we explain the gang mentality of the aryan nation (which is practically a non-issue in LA, but is a problem in other parts of the country)? Is it a coincidence that they too tend to emerge from the working class?

    “Deporting them” would also be disastrous: look to the Mara Salvatrucha for an example of this: they are taking their violent ways to countries hardly equipped to deal with it, make more converts, and makes the gang “international.”

    “The teachers are eh… ok. Its not their deal. Its the crappy parents that rise to the top. Its obvious when youre in it. No program is going to help the kids if the parents arent involved.”

    Now I can chime in as a teacher in South LA: the students I see who stay out of gangs are students whose parents stay involved in their lives. May I add, even if it’s a single parent. Parents who shrug and say, “well, i can’t control my kid anyway, they’re practically grown and there’s nothing i can do” are the ones whose kids tend to join up with some gang.

    I can also add that with 150 kids, papers to grade, tests to write, meetings to attend, and general LAUSD bureacracy to deal with, teachers in LA can hardly be expected to act as surrogate parents as well. The dedicated ones will mentor as much as possible, but at the end of the day, we are not parents.

  22. Ms. Banneker rules. Great post. Not just cause, I think, you agree with what I said but overall the points are true.

    I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and was right in the middle of the first waves of bussing. It was awesome in so many ways as we instantly saw so many parts of LA right in front of us. We had the kids stay at our home and also went to stay where they lived. Cultural lessons right in our faces.

    On the other end we saw the bad trinkling in. A majority of the bad was due to uninvolved parents that either had to work all hours or simply werent paying attention to the details in their kids lives. Beyond the gangs, I saw many kids in the valley with the future ahead of them in a good home blow it because they didnt have consequences. They had love and got stuff but didnt have the court at home to judge actions and punish if necessary.

    Again, now being a full on parent I see it from the other angle amongst other parents. Yes the teachers, leaders, “stars”, etc are there to set examples for the youth, but it is truly a parenting thing. Why did I move from one urban area to a somewhat “cleaner” neighborhood? Not because of the hipsters, but because of the care put into the kids and the community. The school my son would have gone to had a load of parents trying to change it but there were too many incarcerated dads that taught their kids about “gats” before they got sent off. 5 year olds talking about shooting kids instead of talking things out. Fantasy gone wrong.

    Anyways. These are my observations.

  23. The point is that at times this site is completely out of touch with LA from a born and raised LA person’s point of view. It comes off as a site written by transplants.

    Except for the inconvenient fact that this site is written by a number of “born and raised LA persons.” The fact that the only point of view regarding your community that you accept as valid are those that you share says more about you than it does about us. To wit…

    As a *cough* Latina LA-native who writes for this site, I found the statement above puzzling.

    Make that eight Angelenos and counting (as if, in a community with as large of a transplant population as ours, that really matters anyway).

  24. There’s no one solution to this problem and the problem itself is complicated. On the latino side obviously you have serious immigration issues where we both turn a blind eye to illegal immigration for business purposes and then also turn a blind eye to how businesses then exploit those immigrants with unfair labor practices.

    I’m not someone who believes government is the solution to every problem, but I do think that people chronically undervalue city services and think that money is always being wasted. Of course some money is being wasted, but usually a problem like this comes up and someone proposes a big solution and then a reasonable person asks “Where are you going to get the money for 10,000 cops?” And the answer of higher taxes is unacceptable because this is a tax-revolt state so the answer of course has to be that somehow, somewhere enough money is being wasted to fix the problem.

    Invariably if the problem really is big enough, some other agency gets cut and someone somewhere else is thinking “Those bastards, cutting agency X that is important to me when there’s clearly more money to be found!”

    I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just saying that people in New York actually expect their mayor to do things. They pay a lot in taxes and they give their mayor a lot of power. Giuliani ruled things like a fascist and on some things it worked and on others he was pretty horrible. Los Angeles, like the rest of the state, is viciously anti-government and we demand all these things of the mayor and the city council and at the same time we take away any power they might have to actually do those things. There’s no accountability because we as a polity don’t want there to be.

  25. I think were all smart here right? Its not like we just simply need more patrols to “catch” people in an act. We need set ups much like they do for prostitution. They sort of do their annual roundups but if they had this going on 6 times a year with the continual patrolling it would do the trick.

    Also someone needs to set up a giant white wall and just pick off the taggers one by one. Do it in 6 parts of LA for a year and lets see how much things will change. And like I said previously, 3k fines to the parents of minors and a week in jail.

  26. The day I see that the cops shot another gang punk,
    and the neighborhood came out and CHEERED, is the day
    we begin to fix the gang problem. The city should not be
    responsible for raising these punks. The criminal
    producing parents would love to continue sitting on
    their incompetent, unfit butts while more money, public and private resources and increased police presence is heaped on them.
    Gang parents don’t give a poop about their rotten “mijos” until
    they get inevitably gunned down somewhere, then suddenly it’s
    “Waahh, my boy was going to cure cancer!” Sometimes I think these
    useless criminal punks are kept around by their parents just to be “human lottery tickets” out on the streets, the odds are that the cops might “scratch them off” one day and their family will collect
    big time bucks$$$ from the city!

  27. Crimes, gangs and violence seem to be a thread which continues to weave itself into the very fabric of our society, our world and in all corners of the universe. Any historian can note that it’s nothing new, just given different adjectives depending upon the era & the battle, economics or the war. (Barbarians in one era/“gang bangers in another) When you stop and think about it…the Bible has stories which are just as horrific as those that we read about in our daily newspaper. Isn’t it quite pathetic that as much as we’d like to believe that we’ve come so far and that our intellect is somewhat more sophisticated than that of our forefathers—-I find it hard to digest any difference other than the fact that we have high tech distractions which camouflage our inadequacies to rid our inherit need for violence

  28. Why is immigration coming into this conversation at all? Immigration has nothing to do with gangs in LA. Gangs in LA have to do with poverty and lack of opportunity it has nothing at all to do with immigration. There are some first generation American gang members, but how would that explain the crips, bloods, skinheads PEN1 and the NLR. Gangs have been in LA as long as LA has been LA. If you got rid of everyone who was “illegal” you would still have a gang problem, a pretty big one.

    Gangs are a lower class and working class thing and unfortunately lots of African-American and Latino-Americans are economically lower class and working class so yeah lots of gang members are going to belong to those two groups, but that has nothing to do with genetics, but it does have alot to do with opportunity (historic opportunity, because the opportunities your parents had and grandparents had and what they are able to pass on to you, whether it be a house or a legacy admission to a college or hooking you up with a job and how that shapes your life and future,) and members of both of those two groups didn’t have the same kind of opportunities that other people had.

    In the 1980s in some parts of Santa Monica and Culver City they wouldn’t even show my African descent Honduran father a house, he eventually got something in Hollywood, but that kind of thing really impacts your children and if you are dark or have an accent or “too many” vowels in your name AND you stack poor and uneducated on top of that (keep in mind up until the 1960s black people couldn’t go to certain colleges and didn’t have access to lots of stuff) you’re going to build an underclass and that underclass is going to do whatever it can to make a life for themselves and that’s going to involve illegal gang like activity.

    And I think economic opportunity goes across the board in regards to whoever it is, I’m going to bet you never see too many upper middle class white people with privilege in the Aryan Nation or becoming a skinhead, they are usually poor or working class. You deprive people of a way of making a living they do pretty heinous things and I think if you have a gov’t they should at the very least do that. The gov’t should at the very least make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to make a living, to build some capital…if not, then what’s the point of it. If you can’t prevent people from killing other people then lets just forget this whole thing, I’m completely tired of reading about people dying because of gangmembers. People say it’s a hard problem that’s complete bullsh+t it’s not hard. Just make sure that everyone has a job. A job that they can buy a little house and have a little family if the gov’t did that, then the problem would be solved. And that’s not hard, its not hard at all, make up some bs jobs for people that pay twenty bucks an hour with benefits and build some cheap houses in Lancaster or Riverside and build some grocery stores and some malls and some schools and just let people have a life. Most people just want a house, a nice wife or husband a couple of kids, a dog, health care and time off to watch TV, how hard is that? America can’t do that, for everyone here, why the heck not?

    I would hate that life, but most people, with that life they won’t kill or rob people with that, they’ll just be content and happy.

    No more ten dollar an hour jobs, this is America, no one should have to make less than twenty dollars an hour in America.

    I’d be willing to pay more taxes for that. If the US promised to give everyone a descent job, a twenty dollar an hour job (with raises of two percent every year for standard of living increases). I’d pay more taxes and I’d happily do that, because I know that would end the violence problem almost immediately.


  29. Very interesting take on it all Berta. Browne too. As one group of immigrants establishes itself and works for a better life they move from the lower to middle incomes. Behind them comes in the next wave of immigrants to fill in what was left. We saw it with the Irish, Polish, Italian. Each went through their rough period and their own versions of gangs.

    Good paying jobs is going to help. Parents actually being parents is another step in the right direction. Schools teaching, and I mean teaching to think again not just to be good test takers is part. But what can we do to get those so entrenched in the cycle of violence to understand there is something else and to want to earn it?

  30. Browne, you have SOME good points but I think since you grew up on that end you might be clouded with your own facts rather than the bigger picture.

    I wont go against your history, or touch on history of gangs cause I sort of agree with you. But on the flipside what jumping the border has done is flooded the city with kids that are unsupervised. The lady who helps us with our kids occasionally has a good grasp on whats going on with her kids, and theyre great. Well mannered and responsible. On the flipside there are a ton more that arent that in touch with their kids and have a jaded view of what their kids are doing. So with the numbers up on the amount of illegal immigrants it brings more troops to the gang force.

    Additionally look at the ms13 spread. Thats completely an illegal flood. The kids I grew up with in the valley arent joining that type of gang. yeah local small ones but not the ones that are rearing to go.

    I never would say that illegal immigrants are the root of all evil with the gangs and whatnot but it sure isnt helping.

  31. Why did Salvadorans flock here in the 80s? And why were they running away from a horrible Civil War? Because our country was sticking their nose in and messing around with Central American politics. We helped create the conditions that allowed these super gangs to flourish.
    And let’s be honest, most of these gang wars have to do with control of the drug trade. I imagine there are more than a few readers out there supporting this “industry.”

  32. “Browne, you have SOME good points but I think since you grew up on that end you might be clouded with your own facts rather than the bigger picture.” Yourfriend

    How are things clouded on my end?

    I’m black and latino. I spent half of my life with my mom moving from place to place in Canada owing to the fact that my Nigerian mom didn’t have proper paper work. I grew up half my life in a Jewish neighborhood with a Jewish step-mom in California and I’m engaged to a white methodist American southerner, and I’ve also lived in Hong Kong for two years, so I’m not sure how my perspective according to you is clouded.

    Seriously explain how parts of my perspectives are bias, in comparison to EVERYONE elses. Everyone is bias or has a clouded opinions right? What makes mine more bias than yours or Will’s or Frazgo’s? What makes you feel you can point out my bias as if mine is more extreme, please explain that to me yourfriend?

    I suggest you all read City of Quartz by Mike Davis. Racism, classism, and discrimination come first then violence among people, its not reverse. Along the road to violence the average person or groups people don’t first make a stop off at the gangland, they make lots of stops, most people stop off at attempting to get a legit job and that doesn’t work out.

    Stop racism and not giving certain people jobs and opportunity based on just what they look like (and who they know) and gangs will go away.

    God, morals and all of that crap isn’t going to do anything if people and their parents don’t have jobs. It’s not the kids, it’s the parents and if the parents don’t have jobs they are going to be crappy parents. Not hard to figure out, it’s not rocket science, of course if you don’t really care and don’t really want violence to end you can simply move.

    You can move to a rich neighborhood and then you can gate it and get a big car (that runs on electrity or biodiesel) and send your kids to Crossroads, because unless people have access to jobs they are going to be violent and if you don’t help them eventually people aren’t going to help anyone and this won’t just be a black problem or brown problem or an immigrant problem. It will be yellow and white and American born and race will have nothing to do with it. It will be the haves against the have nots and when your kids get shot people will say things like, “the parents in those neighborhoods don’t have any values.”

    Yeah I get the whole there are some gangs from other countries, but those gangs in general don’t touch people outside of that circle, just like most gangs stay within their own racial group, their own class. Yeah you’re going to see some cross killing when the economy gets bad (right about now) like you did among Irish and Italians, but their whole point isn’t we “hate these guys” their whole point is buy drugs from us, not them.

    Stop middle class people and up from buying drugs, stop all kinds of illegal activity among those with disposable income, because that’s the kind of thing that fuels gangs.

    Gangs do gambling, prostitution, and drugs, they don’t do big stuff like run guns or destory countries they do the above three, because those make easy money. Gangs main purposes are for people in those gangs or families to make enough money to support themselves, if gang members all got offered decent paying jobs, they would stop. I’d bet money they would stop.

    Think about this, if you’re a parent and your poor you’re telling your kid to do the right thing, but why, there are not jobs? What is doing the right thing going to do for the average working class kid with no connections? Nothing, get him or her a joke of a wage job at some crap place with no benefits. There is no future for these kids and we have to make one.

    Don’t you guys think the job market is completely brutal out there? Those of you involved in the writer’s strike, when you tried to get side gigs was it not insane out there? Don’t forget that, that’s reality for lots of people, imagine being a parent in that situation for five years, ten years, twenty years…with gun shots flying above your head.

    I mean even with a degree and friends isn’t it hard to get money now. I think it is, imagine what it’s like for someone poor with no college degree, it’s got to be an hopeless thing. If I were a poor kid I’d think I’d be a drug dealer, why not? This country has no morals, they’ll let a whole population of people starve and say things when they ask for help like, “Why dont you just pull yourself up with your own bootstraps and work harder?”

    I mean this country has pretty much gave a whole group of people who live here the bird and they pretty much in their own way have given the country the bird back.


  33. Browne, I love your energy, but If you say your piece about something, then add “but, I might be wrong, who knows?…” I will respect you for life.
    The MAJORITY of poor, colored people with crappy jobs or no jobs do not gang bang, nor commit crimes nor blame the man or the system for their trouble.
    (BTW- Stop thinking that putting money in poor people’s pockets will solve anything)
    You say give gang members jobs? That’s a laugh! Case in point: My gang-banger cousin never held down a job, the main reason:
    he had a bald head, baggy clothes, tattoos and no decent co. wants a
    walking bullet target like that around, gangsters scare everyone (customers, etc.) Anyway, may dad gives him a mercy job
    at his store for awhile, next thing you know, my cousin has his homies,”Sleepy”,”Fish” and “El Porky” hanging out outside my dad’s store all day smoking weed and antagonizing other idiots. After
    the bullet came through the store window my dad had to let him go.
    I’ve got lots more stories if you want ’em.
    I grew up side by side with my cousin but I went in another direction
    from him because I took that choice all on my own, I realized early on that a gangster’s path was fueled by cowardice, weakness, blind hate, insecurity and the laziness to take the easy,irresponsible way around life and the perogative to shoot an innocent child to reinforce that lifestyle. So, It’s not about rich or poor or laying blame, it’s
    about individuals coming up and not forging their own chains and taking responsibility for themselves. There
    is no MAN holding anyone down, the man is in the mirror sometimes.
    I’m brown and I know plenty of poor white people struggling in crap
    jobs, getting marginalized, passed over, poor education, and who are they going to blame?
    Bottom line; COURAGE. it takes more courage to stay out of a gang than to give in, and it takes more courage to face yourself than to lay blame on others. And btw- you don’t need money to buy courage.

  34. Satan,

    I feel stupid calling you Satan but that’s your handle, so Satan yeah I completely know that most people who are poor aren’t in gangs and are not doing illegal things, but I don’t understand why if you’re poor why you’re not doing something illegal. I mean I know if you believe in god and heaven and morals yeah you should think killing and drug dealing and all of those kinds of things are horrible things, but if you have a family why not do whatever option is available to you to make your family have the best life possible. If I were poor and my option was minimum wage crap job how could I not do something illegal to make extra money? I’d sacrifice myself for my family. I’d rob, kill, and do whatever for my kids. Rich people do insider trading and all kinds of white collar crimes to make ends meet, tax shelters, off shore accounts, so why is it when poor people do their version of the same thing it’s viewed as some immoral lack of values thing?

    Look athe governor of New York. Look at Bill Clinton. Look at Bush. This country doesn’t give a flying fu*k about values.

    America doesn’t care about morals. It doesn’t care about right or wrong, it seems to just care about people with cash being able to continue to make cash.

    Me personally, I always thought poor people who were just poor and just ok with that were a little stupid. People working jobs that didn’t make enough to put food on the table 40 plus hours a week, I always thought, what in god’s name is wrong with you? How can you just accept your place on the bottom of the totem pole?

    Satan while I really want to buy this line: Bottom line; COURAGE. it takes more courage to stay out of a gang than to give in, and it takes more courage to face yourself than to lay blame on others.

    I think it’s bs. I think it’s bs to keep the haves comfortable. Indians getting completely wiped out. Slavery, the Bracero Program (up until the 1970s), Jim Crow (up until the 1960s,) the Japanese Interment camp impacted lots of people’s lives and made the generations of people who followed that lives SUCK and it’s ok to say that, and America was completely wrong to do that and I don’t feel any shame at saying certain groups of people were put at a considerable disadvantage due to that. I’m way ok with saying the fact that black people in America were slaves for over 200 years and then one hundred years after that couldn’t even vote until the late 1960’s in some places (the places were 80 percent of black people live which still is the Southern portion of the United States) completely screwed up lots of people of African descents lives and no it’s not their fault and I know it’s real popular now to be like black people suck and should get over it, but I’m not of that mindset, 45 years after centuries of really crappy treatment doesn’t make that ok. Slavery was really, really bad. You take people from their country and make them work for you and breed for you for free, that’s America. It’s not your fault, but it is America’s fault that was a messed up horrible thing and gangs are directly related to that, even Latino gangs are related directly to that and the racial hierarchy and the economic hierarchy that had to do directly with American and it’s issue with race.

    It doesn’t take courage to be poor and be ok with that and not demand your fair share. It takes some real brain washing and subservience to just let your family starve and let your kids be disrespected and to get thrown out of your home and just be ok with that. I don’t think if you’re poor it takes courage to not be in a gang. How can you not be in a gang and kill people. I’m surprised more people aren’t in gangs I think in general in America poor people are some very good sports in the whole economic situation. I think it’s fear that keeps people poor. You ever see that movie the good and the bad and the ugly? The uncut version.

    Tuco who was a criminal met his brother who was a priest. His brother was disgusted with his life, because he was a sinner. Tuco set him straight and explained the reason his brother was able to be a priest and go to school was because of the bad things that Tuco did to pay for it, so how dare he judge him.

    And that’s pretty much America. America was built on amoral values. If you want to win here you can’t be moral. You start going to church and being into Jesus Christ and believing that, you’re finished. You set your future up for failure by being a decent human beings (or what Americans think a decent human being is.) What family in America that was successful was based in anything moral? Not the Kennedys or the Rockefellers or the Vanderbilts. America built its money on cotton, manufacturing, liquor, oil, steel, which was built by slavery, cheap almost slave labor, and stealing land, it almost seems UnAmerican to not be amoral, that’s what this country was built on.

    My mother would be by some people’s standards viewed as an amoral human being, but I know that I have the life that I have now, because my mother broke the law. Fu*k the law, do what you have do to make your kids life better. Lie, cheat, do whatever you have to. That’s what I tell people. Not everyone will make it, but you might be part of the ten percent that does, you have a better chance if you’re not following the rules to keep people under control.

    If you’re an immigrant and you’re poor, you’re never going to make it, but your kids, you can give them a good chance. You can give them an excellent chance by not following the rules, never met an immigrant who followed the rules and got ahead in the United States. Yeah I know the newspapers have people as propaganda, but those of us who are children of immigrants, the poor ones, not the people who came over with cushy jobs on airplanes, but those of us kids of people who came over on boats and in the trunks of cars, through Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, we know the real deal. America has no respect for honesty, it’s a country built on lies, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because everyone can make up a good lie. With all of America’s bad points, the lies are the thing that makes if fair. If you’re willing to let go of right and wrong and sell out your own mother if you have to, you can make it in America. This is why America with can be a beautiful place.


  35. This country’s amoral history is indisputable ( you left out the U.S. ‘s post-industrial age monopolies, the imperialistic exploitation of other countries within it’s hemisphere, colonialization, meddling in foreign govt’s and destroying foreign cultures with the help of religion, stealing raw resources, The Monroe Doctrine, etc., I’m way ahead of you on that topic. It’s the connection you make from that to this gang crime issue, that’s scary enough for me to just say “Yikes” and back away slowly now,…I’d love to keep this exchange going but I see my bus coming,…..bye!!!!!

  36. Satan, anecdotal evidence about your idiot cousin proves no point. For your one story (and plenty of others) there are thousands of anecdotes about the most hardcore knuckleheads straightening out after getting a job. In fact, the most successful gang intervention program, homeboy industries, runs off of the motto “nothing stops a bullet like a job”.

    The gang issue is multifaceted complicated and engrained in many comunities over half a century, and to think any oversimplified solution would work is quite naive. More police wont fix it, neither will more jobs or school investment; the difference is that school resources and jobs are at least an attempt to address the issue’s roots, which is all we can do. All we can do is try to make the situation better by implementing various strategies, for this is a complex wicked problem. The enforcement/lock them up strategy has been tried for decades with no success, I would ask to see how many ganbangers have changed their ways from a long jail sentence (and then compare that to how many changed their ways from getting a good job). Over policing or sentencing does not address hte gang problem, it merely incarcerates it, and in the process thousands of young black and brown men who were not gang members but were guilty of their looks and association.

    I actually work with gangbangers a lot. I grew up in a family of them, and have numerous childhood friends involved in gangs. More cops wont solve shit but how to arrest more young men. If we could get half the cops to work “with” the communities they patrol rather than “on” them we’d have some progress, that dont take much.

    I have gone inthe worst areas and cooled down some of the most vicious folks. You walk in, treat them with respect and reciprocity, and explain to them our collective history and how they fall into it. Oftentimes a lot of the anger in a banger is from not knowing who they are and where they stand, and you can cool it down a bit just laying that on them (and not in some victimized way, but truthfully). I have calmed down cholos pointing guns at my head in the middle of deserted SCLA schoolyards and empty Florencia streets, and I hold a lot of faith in this strategy.

    The problem is that people automatically dehumanize these kids before they analyze them. There is a lot of energy and hood resources going to this gang mess, imagine the potential of harvesting just some of that energy into a more organized positive outlet. It happened for a moment in the 1960/70s and the cops literally did all they can to squash it and destory the culprits, makes you wonder why, huh?

  37. arrt, the (alleged) thousands of bangers who straightened out after getting a job proves no point. It’s the ones who don’t give a damn
    about anything and go and shoot the ones trying to even work at HOMEBOY Industries that we have to worry about, and that’s the point here isn’t it? The contradictory nonsense of your statements makes no point either,
    quote: “the most successful gang intervention program, homeboy industries, runs off of the motto “nothing stops a bullet like a job”.
    Is followed by your quote: “…More police wont fix it, neither will more jobs.” With all your diatribe you offer no hint of an idea for solutions except to state: “…All we can do is try to make the situation better by implementing various strategies, for this is a complex wicked problem.” Yet you offer no hint of strategies, you
    only list the personal problems you have with current policies.
    Cops cannot “work” with a community as long as the long engrained “Cop Hating mentality” exists. The hood’s problems with police, the courts and the prisons can all disappear tomorrow if these maniacs stopped commiting crimes. The cops shouldn’t be raising your kids for you anyway.
    A gang infested hood/barrio is divided like this: The gangsters, their
    friends & families & associates, and the rest of the neighborhood who
    live like hostages under siege, silenced by fear, wishing this scum will just leave them alone and go away, or kill each other quickly….
    A lot of us have thoroughly analyzed these kids before we’ve dehumanized them, I’ve dealt with them all of my life and for the most
    part, the more I’ve learned about them, the more I can condemn them.
    This over-liberal attitude towards gang bangers is a cornerstone of the big problem. Were all going to meetings, marches, writing blogs, debating volumes over gangs while they’re sitting at home, right now, laughing at us, teaching their 2 year old how to make hand gang signs and not giving a shit WHAT we all do. Nevertheless, I will be the first to applaud for any gang member willing to give up the life 100%, and I wish them the courage and strength to do it.
    Oh yeah, I was there in the 60’s & 70’s and whatever hard fought progress we made back then, is getting f’d with everyday by these gang jackasses. Makes you wonder why I (and thousands of black & brown folks from my generation) feel this way, huh?
    Here’s a goal for gangs & criminals: PUT COPS, JUDGES, P.O’S,

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