First, a few quick hits from different websites.
- Gas Thieves on Rosecrans (CBS, 1/11/2014)
- The first person to be killed under the LA Sheriff's Jurisdiction in 2014 (LA Times, 1/4/2014)
I live in proximity of this group. This group has a few YouTube videos with photos of how it has been for a generation or two.
When I first moved in, and talked to a neighbor, he was saying that there had been a black/Mexican rivalry, and that federal authorities had been patrolling the area for a while, at least this part of the Westside.
The latest in the neighborhood was a hate crime committed by two young adult Latinos against a black teenager, which happened just over a year ago.
The common denominator: youth?
If I'd ever run into any of the people involved (the Latinos, the black guys), I don't think I'd make any judgment other than to listen and ask in a reflective manner...hate crime, why fellow bro people, why?!
If I ever got answers, it would be for the sake of curiosity but for the sake of a fuller, complete picture.
This where my favorite rapper's words (originally from nearby Watts) need to be heard:
The lyrics here to the Old Man Raps song.
His songs are mostly about being an older guy now, having been through the gang life and just trying to get away from it, or at least having people re-direct their energies into something else.
The Better News? Church?
I find it interesting how spirituality, specifically Christian spirituality, is seen as a source of immunity if not solution from/to gang life and violence.
This isn't Compton-specific as I'd seen it in Long Beach during the 1990s.
It is reflected in this British/Australian guy preaching at some youngsters.
The irony here is that like in Panorama City and North Hills, like in Wilmington, I do see plenty of Christian churches here, but the areas remain what they are with the same reputation, that is --- places to be ignored.
I even attend St. Albert's once in a while (whoa damn at their Sunday 9AM choir), but I do wonder, if God really cared, why was there all this substantial loss and killing in the first place?
Forgiveness: The Foil to Retaliation
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" - a saying commonly attributed to Ghandi.
I mulled over the saying for a lot of my privileged, comfortable adult life, and while it sort of made sense, it was a bit tough to swallow. Tough, because, well, why wouldn't you want to take out someone's eye if they take out yours?
However, in my more spiritually relaxed, kharma-believing, peaceful-ecological days, when I think about the world of gangs, violence, and retaliation, never has the saying made more sense though very difficult to live.
I salute the young man below.
He talks about the farming environment in Compton to losing a brother and not seeking revenge. He thanks his mom and his church for not going that route.
This idea of not seeking revenge thing is why I brought out that quote.
Which incidentally reminds me of three stories from Snap Judgment, that I believe can lend some insight to perhaps how hate can be dissipated and how forgiveness can be found.
1. About a black man and his relation with the Ku Klux Klan.
This story makes you wonder about how change in long-held beliefs can change, and would probably appeal to those Anthropologically-minded, "Study Up" people.
2. This story about a Bangladeshi man attacked after 9/11, leaving him with a dead eye and metal lumps, actively campaigning against the death penalty for his attacker. His story also as reported on the Guardian. What gets me is that this guy actually lost an eye thanks to his attacker, but is now actively campaigning on his behalf. It's really the story that will burn in the back of your head and probably burned behind mine when I was attacked on the Blue Line.
3. This story about a Rabbi and a KKK member.
The Export Report
Apparently, there will be an NWA Biopic, "Straight Outta Compton."
A new video from Kendrick Lamar, which I learned of through the site Pretty Much Amazing, which says that he is "riding through his native Compton." It actually looks more like South LA if you look close enough, seeing that the street signs are City of Los Angeles blue (as opposed to County of Los Angeles green) with Scarff Street is one of them.
Speaking of Kendrick, the Rap Quotes project. This New York-based artist Jay Shells, installing signs of rap lyrics from artists that mention various streets.
It's been a month since Curbed LA first reported on it.
Jay Shells' Rap Quotes: LA Edition from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.
The artist, Jay Shells, mentions that he had three for Kendrick. One of them was on El Segundo and Central, which I have not seen or noticed, and one of them all the way closer to the center of the city on Rosecrans and Alameda. I'm not sure of the last one.
It sort of reminds me of a Twitter picture in which teachers apparently wrote museum-like descriptions for random throw-up tags, except in this case the meaning is already written, and it's this guy making it a lot more explicit.
The Bike Report
Nothing really new other than street biking in nearby Gardena pretty much sucks, at least on Redondo Beach Blvd, one of my main East-West thoroughfares out of Compton.
My helmet camera's batteries ran out before I could video the magnitude of sucktitude.
However, digging through my computer archives, I've discovered three 7 month old videos which show Compton before we even thought of moving here.
They are on my Youtube Channel, and pasted below for your convenience.
Video is terrible and very shaky, but if you visit the pages, I post some key times to make note of.
And that's all I got for this week.