How Dangerous Is Compton - Can a Brotha (and a Motha) Get a Little Peace While Jogging?

Ignorance is bliss.

A hackneyed phrase that probably describes my way of getting by here. I really don't know anything,

I don't know who the gang members are, I don't know who the families are --- I feel reasonably OK.

But again, maybe that's all because I really don't know anyone here. I was even about to take and post videos of Christmas lights adorning the houses here. Some people really take pride in it, and you would think that we were in Torranc---well maybe Azusa. My wife and I have been getting by just fine, except yesterday, Christmas, when the action cut close.

The getting fine had been going on for a while now, probably about a good few weeks or months. It was even extending on the walk we took around the neighborhood where we were able to strike up a conversation with a guy and saw a few houses put up for sale during yesterday's Christmas morning.

The part where I stopped being fine was after our morning walk.

Me having developed an ear distinguishing between fireworks and gunshots and being a vigilant follower of the news, I heard about 5 gun shots. Then a car speeding off. It sounded a bit far away from me.

It's not the first time I've heard shots, maybe about the third.

Then I find out that the shooting and killing is in an area that covers my running route. It's really a heartening time given my co-worker's recent death, my school classmate's violent death in South LA near a Ralph's, and now the latest story near where I live. Not unexpected because hardy har har har, Compton, but it hits a little bit to know that tensions are still active at the same time that me, a person from a middle-class immigrant family completely unexposed to violence, is around as well.

I'm not scared because I think I would be an intended target but more so, because I would not want myself nor my wife nor anyone around me to be the victim of a stray bullet. It makes me think of how my next door neighbors, who speak no differently than other college-educated friends, have endured their entire 30+ years of life living here.

Previously, I know that I've blogged about being able to develop a jogging routine. I have been able to do roughly 2-3 times a week, though I've allowed work and schoolwork to interrupt any regularity in it. My jogging/running habits are nowhere near the level I would like because of not only my work but the limited amount of daylight in a day, especially during Winter. My wife generally does not want me running at night. I've seen people jogging around Greenleaf and other streets at night so jogging isn't a completely alien activity here. I occasionally see people at nearby Tragniew Park getting their jog on at twilight, but I honestly haven't been paying too much attention the past 6 months since Summer ended.

In my younger days living with my folks, I could run miles and miles. I had a routine of getting at least a mile or two in the morning. This was in Silver Lake and Panorama City. I've been wanting to re-hash that routine, which included lots of early morning and late night runs.

The most I've run in Compton at the 7 PM twilight is about 2 miles --- for reference, I used to run along Sunset Blvd from Silver Lake to West Hollywood for a distance of around 10 miles total.

Most importantly I really want my wife to be able to be active. But her biggest concern is safety. Safety. Safety. It sucks enough to be a woman in public space, but being in a city which is still considered a symbol of urban violence isn't helpful either. It's one thing for me to not care as much, but it's an entirely different thing. I want her to be able to go out by herself, but she would never do that here.

Hoping for that day when she could unconsciously start being active outside not because her personality changes but because the environment does. I'm not calling for gentrification or something to rip at demographics, but you do wonder why famous people from here and got famous out of talking about survival here probably don't want to actually live here whether it's Dr. Dre, the Williams Sisters, or even the "non-materialistic" Kendrick Lamar.

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