To Live and Die in L.A.

Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 06:47 pm
Here's a portion of an important article
By Jill Serjeant of Reuters:

[CENTER]L.A., "Gang Capital of America"[/CENTER]


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They call themselves the Bounty Hunters, the Midget Locos, Project Gangster Blood and China Town Boyz and most of them don't expect to live beyond age 20.

Forty years after the Bloods and the Crips put Los Angeles on the map, the number of gangs in Los Angeles County has swelled to about 1,000 and their estimated 88,000 members are drawn from every ethnicity -- Asians, blacks, Latinos, whites.

"Los Angeles county and city is, unfortunately, the gang capital of America," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said...

Gang culture may have gone mainstream in the last 10 years, its rap music, bling, tattoos, baggy pants fashions and slang aped by middle-class white youths across the United States and beyond.


"All the stuff that was street related has become mainstream so now it's hard to tell the difference between the real and the fake," said Alex Alonso, who runs the Web site www.streetgangs.com.

But there is nothing glamorous about life in the tough neighborhoods of the second largest U.S. city.

Gangs are blamed for 56 percent of the 478 murders in Los Angeles last year. Many of the dead were victims of inter-gang warfare or drive-by shootings so commonplace and so far away from affluent Beverly Hills that they barely make the local news.


"Most gang killings involve minorities, black or brown. It is only when something special happens, or a white person is involved, that it becomes newsworthy," said Malcolm Klein, professor of sociology and a gang expert at the University of Southern California.

Klein said most kids join gangs for identity, status, reputation and a sense of excitement. Baca said 95 percent of gang members in Los Angeles were high school dropouts "who have basically given up on themselves. Some of them say they do not expect to live beyond age 20."

Public apathy is part of the problem.

"Even in Los Angeles there is a lot of denial. If you live in Beverly Hills, do you really care what goes on in Compton?" said Wes McBride, director of the California Gang Investigators Association.

Some gangs have a notoriety that stretches well beyond Los Angeles city limits.

The Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, which formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s to protect early immigrants escaping civil war in El Salvador, is now a major player in drugs and weapons smuggling in six nations, U.S. crime officials say.

Read complete article here.
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cant sit still
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2007 07:45 pm
I currently live in Van Nuys,,, at the periphery of the L.A. gang problem. Like many problems, it's difficult to discover the roots. One root of the gang problem was/is the invention of the forklift.

Before the invention of the forklift, anbody could get a job as a stevedore. It wasn't much but it gave you some measure of self-respect and income. Los Angeles spent $710,000 on a study of employment here. They came to the conclusion that the employee pool isn't bright enough for the available jobs. As the jobs get more and more technical, the high schools produce and increasingly "dumbed down" employment candidate.

I had one applicant tell me that he didn't know how to use a pair of pliers because his father hadn't shown him how.

Self-respect is very important to males. "He dissed me" is reason to kill. There are hundreds of thousands of young men walking around who don't have any carreer prospects. That limits prospects of a mate or family.
The high schools have even removed the shop classes so the guy can't even get a job as a mechanic.

Our schools seem designed to eliminate all blue collar possibilities.
In Japan, cars are generally destroyed after just a few years. Houses are torn down [on average] after 15 years. They have perfected planned obselesence. Maybe that guarantees employment, but what does it do for energy consumption?

The U.S. needs to look at the long-term cost of our current path. We've developed such a throwaway mentality that we're looking at whole classes of people as being throwaway. All those labor-saving devices have another cost to them that isn't immediately obvious.

I've been to the north coast of Alaska. All those eskimos there are all supported by the "Native Lands Settlement Act. They don't work, hunt, trap or anything else. When a man knows that he's living a useless life, he turns mean and he drinks. The natives shoot up the whole town of Barrow every now and then.

As long as the U.S. is organised so that the less mentally competent are shoved into useless lives, problems like gangs will be a permanent fixture.
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