Saturday, February 23, 2008

LA Gang Coverage

Frontier Days hit NorthEast LA on Thursday, at least in the LA Times coverage. A local man walking with his 2-year-old granddaugher was shot by people in a passing car and later died. People who knew him shot at the car. About a half hour later, the cops stopped what seemed to be the same white Nissan. 3 guys emerged, the police say, firing automatic weapons. The cops shot back and killed Daniel Leon, above.

Today's Times backgrounder describes the Avenues as a fusion of the Mexican Mafia and a criminal clan that has been on Drew Street for generations. "Like hundreds of residents in the neighborhood, the Leons originally hailed from the village of Tlalchapa, in Guerrero, Mexico, neighbors said." Leon is one of 13 children who grew up in a house the cops called the gang's "mother ship."

What if we think of 3304 Drew St as a branch office in a multinational drug retail business?

Beyond its standard coverage, the piece cites local support for the Avenues. "I've been here 25 years and they've never disrespected me," said Modesta Hernandez. "On the contrary, they protect us. They help us."

The article has no explanation for the original shooting.

See also a much more in-depth piece from the LA Weekly on the legendary Black gang the Grape Street Crips. This one features the themes of permanent violence, occupied territory, outlaw rule, internal terrorism, and hints at civil war.

We need solutions as serious as these descriptions of the problem.