As part of the ongoing effort to find the very worst of our fair city, today we examine two more elements of Los Angeles, gang violence and the lack of respect for local history, to determine which is worse. At first glance this one might seem like a slam dunk for gang violence, at least that is what I thought when I decided to post this but the more I thought it over the less it seemed like a sure thing.
On one hand we have gang violence: According to LAPD figures, during the last five years, there were over 23,000 verified violent gang crimes in the City of Los Angeles. But wait, there’s more; that number includes over 750 homicides and 12,000 felony assaults. That’s a lot of violent crime and violent crime is never a good thing.
On the other hand there is the lack of respect for local history: Many people in Los Angeles don’t know local history and this is in large part due to the huge numbers of transplants here in LA. If you don’t have roots in a city it takes some work to learn what existed before you arrived. Over time I’ve gained a good sense of local history but often times when I bring local history up in conversation it turns into a discussion about what eatery used to be where and how all the good video stores are gone. When many of us talk about local history we often talk about places that personally mean something to us, these are interesting facts but ultimately this history is just trivia.
One of the problem with regards to history is that citizens, politicians and policy makers often don’t respect or don’t pay attention to the real history of the city including the multitudes of real estate deals and developments that built up certain parts of the city and left others to languish. Many also don’t know about the history of official and unofficial segregation of housing in our city or the questionable, borderline criminal policies when it came to policing lower income areas*. The historically unaddressed divide between the haves and the have-nots leads to disenfranchisement, resentment and anger towards the prevailing social and economic power in the city. Now I can’t speak for you but if you told me that the city I lived in would ignore a history that left me feeling alienated, I’d look for a way to build a community that could exert some authority and protect me in a way that the city had historically been unable to do; one way to do this is by joining or forming a gang.
So what’s worse, gang violence or the lack of respect for history which has indirectly led to gang violence? It’s your call, please vote below.
Which is worse:Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Thursday evening…
*To be fair steps have been taken in recent years to improve these but the negative effects of past policies remain.