Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Our neighborhood isn't "hot" by any means. We have one gang, which probably causes more trouble than I care to know about. All I know of them is from the hideous tags they leave on people's houses. In the 5 years that I've lived here, we've only had one drive-by. The high school students down the street has suffered some heartbreaking off-campus shootings, but for the most part, we're lucky... it's pretty safe over here.

That's why today is such a big deal. I felt kinda weird doing this, but I went out and took some photos to share with you. This all started at about 12p today, or at least that's when I saw it. It's now 430p and the cops are still out there blocking streets.

One of the main arteries in LA, Venice Blvd, which runs from the ocean through almost downtown was shut down right outside our house, with about 10 or 15 cop cars parked across the westbound lane.

Whirlybirds circled the skies for what seemed like a couple of hours.

The sidestreets were cordoned off with police tape. After-school traffic got trapped in the maze of alleys and side streets closed to traffic.

As I approached the main road, it looked like the police had arrested a couple of boys. Who knows if they had anything to do with it though.

I looked on the wires; apparently a man was shot this afternoon, and police were after the suspects. That seems like too "mundane" of a case to warrant all the police presence here this afternoon. I know that sounds cold. I should say that I hope the shooting victim is alright, and if not that his/her family is ok. There. Now stop judging me!

The one cool thing about it all was that I ended up meeting a couple of neighbors I had never met before. One woman introduced me to her young nephew, who was excited by the choppers. She said incidents like these make her wonder what the neighborhood will look like for him; she sighed and said that they had hoped for him to go the neighborhood high school, but now they're realising he might have to go to private school. It's funny how this kind of thing draws people together; curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can also break down walls and get people talking.

This all makes me think of this great story I read today: a former gang member, forced into life in a wheelchair due to a gang-related injury, who turned his life around, got a masters in English (he loves Chaucer and likens himself to Don Quixote), and yet might be deported to Mexico for a crime he committed 10 years ago.

From the article:
"You know, you hear people say they joined gangs because they didn't have family or love around them... That wasn't me. I had love. I had family."
"Books, writing and teaching, that's all I know now," he said. "And that's all I want to know. I want to inspire the way I've been inspired. I want to bless people the way I've been blessed."



bodaat said...

Wow, I hope things settle down over there. Ex-gang members are pretty damn cool. We work with many of them and hook them up with the teenagers that are starting to get gang affiliated. It's too bad that he is being deported when people like me need him so badly to do what he is doing here in States.

Laura McLaughlin said...

i witnessed a similar display outside my office for some protestors at the israli consulate...riot squad cops putting together and handing out plastic handcuffs, ready with their pellet guns...for like 20 protestors.

i don't mean to sound ominous but we should all be ready for more of this "police presence" in the days to come.

watch yourselves and take care : )

Patty Jean Robinson said...

Aarti, I think we live about 5 minutes away from each other! Although, Tuesday I missed all of that. Holy crap.

Strange enough, I guess I'm kinda used to this neighborhood atmosphere, since I grew up in a neighborhood similar to ours. It's not so bad, but it's not the best. You can know which side of the street that is safe to walk on, and which isn't.

Funnily enough, I almost prefer this type since we know where the troublesome spots are. When I used to live near UCLA, I kept hearing about all kinds of crime happening in Brentwood. You'd think since that was the "nice" neighborhood, there wouldn't be so much crime. I even had a weird experience once walking home at night. (I'll tell you about it when I see you next).

The world is a crazy place.....

aartilla the fun said...

i agree kuv! it is a real shame, a sad catch-22 of the whole gang situation.

holy crap, patty: where do you live?! that's so funny!

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