Saturday, July 16th, 2005

Hot In Watts

Protests are erupting over police shootings in Watts, including last week’s incident in which Jose Pena and his toddler daughter were killed. Pena reportedly held his daughter up to shield himself as he fired at police.

Meanwhile, the long-standing gang peace treaty has broken down. The PJ Crips from Imperial Counts, backed by the Bounty Hunter Bloods, and the Grape Street Crips are again at war. Aqeela and Daude Sherrills, two of the architects of the treaty in 1992, say the lack of leadership has led to the breakdown. “It’s gonna be a real hot summer,” Grape Street member Dell Hester told LA Weekly reporter Michael Krikorian, who covered the treaty for the LA Times over a decade ago.

posted by @ 10:02 am | 7 Comments



7 Responses to “Hot In Watts”

  1. ronnie brown says:

    police shootings in Watts?…shocking!

    when white lives are in the balance law enforcement can (and do) exercise extraordinary levels of patience and restraint in the use of deadly force…the fact that Black and Brown lives don’t generate the same level of consideration is not new.

    Why are we stuck in the cycle of asking questions that we already have answers for?

    Why are we expressing “outrage” over issues that we are overly familiar with?

  2. Lynn says:

    “Why are we expressing “outrage” over issues that we are overly familiar with?”

    Why? I think I would because if you didn’t, you just laid down your soul to buried by the hypocrisy that has formed this country. I don’t pretend to be a know-it-all on this subjects, but if people don’t fight back, become outraged, we might as well let everyone over run us. There are too many people just sitting back, calling it another day. Be vocal, be active, keep it in their faces. They always said, the squeakiest wheel, gets the oil. All I know is I am looking for a better day for everyone.

  3. Anonymous says:

    One thing to consider is that ultimately this is a choice made by the kids. According to the article, the most volatile of these kids are in the age range of 13-16. Their homes are broken. Their friends and family are in and out of jail. They lack peer guidance. They drink and use drugs.

    The breakdown of the shot-caller system (where a gang leader approves killings) is given a lot of responsibility in the article. But is gang “mismanagement” the real culprit?

    Another view, endorsed by cooler heads, is that economic and educational revival is the answer. This is supposedly the practical, scientific, long term solution. But will it happen? A solution is not a solution if it never happens.

    There is another option that doesn’t require big budgets and decades of bloodletting. That option is community outreach, whether social, cultural, spiritual, athletic… whatever form it might take.

    These gang banger kids are socially, culturally, and spiritually sick, they medicate with alcohol and drugs, they seek a way out… they have few options… and so they choose death, for themselves and for their peers. I would liken this to a sort of slow, group suicide. In a twisted way, it might even be thought of as mercy killing.

    Sure, a billion dollars and a bulldozer might fix (aka move) this problem, but that solution will arrive too late. And this has been going on for decades.

    My view is that this is not about Watts, it’s not about a particular gang or project… it’s about getting a positive, hopeful message to individuals. We should focus on grassroots efforts to get positive, hopeful messages to these kids.

    In my opinion, the only debate is how do we get positive, hopeful messages to these kids. What is the most practical and reliable way to get positive and hopeful messages to these kids.

    _eric

  4. ronnie brown says:

    the cycle of “incident”, “outrage”, “calls for calm”, “investigation”, “quiet settlement”, “incident” have been going on in Los Angeles for over 40 years…it’s obvious that the “squeaky wheel” has yet to get the grease of justice or reform.

  5. Lynn says:

    Change is tough, it often doesn’t happen overnight. I think I can appreciate your sentiment because where I live we have a lot of poverty in the city. I spent 11 years in the projects, coming from a single parent home with two children. I dug my way out of the situation my mother is still in, always knowning I am one foot away from that place again. However, this is about me. I am tired of the diatribe of pessimism that has claimed people these days. What is that is going to take to cure the ailments of our souls? I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I certainly say that doing something rather than complaining perhaps is a start and community outreach, real connections to people, building bridges, setting positive examples, lending a hand, simple being there are some tools we have to employ as a people, as a nation, as system of strangely temporal and turbulent cells, atoms. I respect your voice, I just don’t agree. Peace!

  6. ronnie brown says:

    lynn,
    i’m not venting from a place of pessimism, i’m just sayin’ our current methods of holding the powers-that-be accountable for their actions have bogged down to the point of just treading water.

    Resistance is necessary, but it must be effective.

  7. Lynn says:

    Thanks Ronnie for clarifying your position. Very sorry I misinterpreted your views on the matter. I cannot agree more. I am just as frustrated as everyone. I am sick of people dying senseless, unnatural deaths that are totally preventable. Love is so close to us all. I just hope we can straighten things out. :)

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