Graffiti-Related Death

What kind of a useless waste of oxygen would murder someone just so they can spray some crap on a wall?

Update on LA Times

Here's an update at LA Times.,1,2696236.story?coll=la-headlines-california

I hate to blame the victim BUT......

Why on earth did she follow and provoke the taggers?  Taggers are supposedly the "pre" hard core gang members who tag as: 1) an outlet for a life of oppression and poverty. 2) to advertise and promote their tagging crew or gang 3) to claim territory 4) tagging over in a rival's area for revenge.  It sounds like this was a revenge tagging as a warning to someone in the area, and this good samaritan neighbor (albeit naive) got in the middle of some kind of "revenge tagging".  It's a darn shame.  Remember folks, graffiti is a "symptom" of ignorance, poverty and oppression, not visa versa, and we cannot grant amenesty to over 12 million illegal immigrants (mostly from Latin America) and ignore their children (illegal or anchor kids) without a social safety net.  I don't know what the answer is, but I'm certain more people die nation wide from domestic violence than graffiti related deaths.  Well, may she rest in peace....

I hate to blame the victim BUT......

     She probably followed them because she was angry that people were messing up her neighborhood, and she didn’t think anyone would be so amorally self-absorbed as to think that it is okay to murder someone who gets in the way of your tagging. Nonetheless, this is a reminder that when you see illegal activities, it’s always a good idea to call in the professionals.

     I don’t think poverty or a person’s immigration status has that much to do with tagging. I’d wager the vast majority of poor people in this country manage to live their whole lives without resorting to tagging or murder, and that the same goes for the vast majority of illegal immigrants. If the parents failed to teach their children any sort of morality, that’s the parents’ fault, and their kids would be screwed up regardless of where they were being raised.

     BTW, the SGV Tribune posted an article on the arrests related to this shooting, here.

I hate to blame the victim BUT......

I read the graf mags occasionally, and have met a few people who do it. Most of the people aren't immigrants or even children of immigrants. Contrary to the stereotypes, many are white, and many are from suburbs, especially in California. Most are boys or men, but there are some girls and women involved too. Few are in gangs, though there's been crossover, where tag crews became gangs in response to getting into conflicts with gangs. There's little in the other direction - probably because graf is a community comprising specific skillsets and interests (drawing and painting) that don't have a lot of overlap with operating a street gang (business and power).

I think people without means should be offered options to practice their art in peace, legally, and gain some public recognition. Graf, being a popular, populist artform, can be used to divert people away from crime, especially if it is used as a medium for discussing crime, poverty, and other social problems.

Graffiti as an Art Form

As a matter-of-fact the Venice Beach Boardwalk boasts a 12 or 15 ft "Graffiti Wall", where anyone can paint on and display their so called "art work" legally, both bombers and taggers alike.  It is next to the Venice Beach Police Sub-Station with police looking on if you can believe it!  I have seen kids using spray cans and markers putting their "placa" on the wall, the sidewalks, the trunk of trees and all while visitors and police are looking on.  Then, every week the city pays to have it painted over in gray as a blank canvas, and the graffiti artists start again.  However, it is probably with the backing of Venice Beach residents like actor Dennis Hopper (of Easy Rider fame), who are wealthy, more sophisticated, more worldly, and liberal (especially as it relates to minorities and the under-privileged), who have taken a negative and, in an open minided fashion, have turned it into a positive that is now a tourist attraction, as well as their Muscle Beach side.  I would hope that some day somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley we can adopt some kind of "Gang Free, Legal, Graffiti Wall" too.  I'm sure the West Side sometimes look at us here on the East Side as provencial,  small minded. and self-loathing.  However, I did mention a type of criminal free and gang free graffiti art work display center to Supervisor Molina's field deputy  maybe 2-3 years ago, which got very little enthusiasm.  However, maybe its time to pursue it again? P.S. I didnt notice ANY white suburban men/boys at Venice Beach's Graffiti Wall.

Graffiti-related arrest in Alhambra

Only somewhat related to this main thread, there was a recent graffiti-related arrest in Alhambra.

I am curious by what they mean by "high tech." Is it possibly the same thing they’re planning to do in Montebello?

Graffiti-related arrest in Alhambra

And the answer to my question is:

I hate to blame the victim BUT....


Are you saying unequivocally that there is NO CORRELATION between poverty and gang activity???  Smarter people than you and me have done in-depth academic studies verifying this.  Gangs have been around since the beginning of the 20th Century here in the U.S. Remember the movie Gangs of New York?  How about the Irish gangs of Tammany Hall or the Italian La Costra Nostra?  They are all a consequence of dense urbanization, poor urban planning, lack of opportunity and prejudice.  FBI statistics say gangs in the US are 800,000 strong, and Los Angeles gangs have been around since the 1930's.  So, we should all just chalk it up to "poor parental skills?  Chris Rock, the African-American comedian once said a one legged white man would NEVER change places with him and he's "rich and black"?  What does that say?  I think it is always easy to blame so called "gang members" or "welfare recipients" for all our society ills.  There is a component of racism and oppression here, and I say this as a staunch Republican (or compasionate conservative) as they say. 

Free agency

     Funny, I thought I was posting about graffiti and murder.  I also thought that correlation and causality were two separate things.  And I'm no big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, so, no, I do not remember the movie, "Gangs of New York," because I've never seen it.  Finally, just because Chris Rock says something doesn't mean it's true.

     I'm not blaming "gang members" or "welfare recipients" for anything.  I'm blaming the individual(s) who pulled the trigger first and foremost, because I believe in free will, free agency or which ever term you prefer.  It's like I said before:  The vast majority of poor immigrants manage to go through their whole lives without tagging walls and shooting people who would interfere with their vandalism.

     I am also blaming the parents a bit, because it's not like these kids just woke up one night and decided to go tagging for the first time in their lives.  Two of the kids that have been arrested were on probation, so you know they've had run-ins with the law before.  And, given their ages, I would bet money that all of them are still living at home, and were living at home when they got busted the last time.  I would also bet money that these kids got in plenty of trouble at school or in the neighborhood long before they finally got hauled before a judge the first time.  In short, I'm wagering that there were plenty of warning signs long before last Friday night.

Free agency

Maybe they had lousy parents. Not to say it's the parents' fault, but, some kids just get born in bad situations.

Don't want to sound uncompassionate

Just in case my previous post comes across as too harsh, I do want to say that I'm all for recreation and educational programs aimed at providing alternatives to gangs and increasing economic opportunities.  It's just that there isn't a criminal in the world who had it worse than every other law-abiding person, and there isn't a law-abiding person who had it better than every other criminal.  Poverty, lack of opportunity, oppression, discrimination, whatever:  Some one still needed to make the choice to pull the trigger in a situation where millions of others who had it worse than these kids would not have done that.

Still think you didnt answer the question

Zeba consistently says "It's just that there isn't a criminal in the world who had it worse than every other law-abiding person, and there isn't a law-abiding person who had it better than every other criminal.  Poverty, lack of opportunity, oppression, discrimination, whatever".

But, just like Chris Rock's comments, the above is just his opinion, and you don't know if the criminal had it worse, you just dont know that. 

And, as you believe correlation and causality are two separate things, how is it that Hispanics are like 28% of the population and African Americans are 12%, YET they make up 75% of the 1 million adult prison population and 90% of the juvenile prisons?

Even Sheriff Baca says that 90% of his prison population come from poverty and have some type of mental illness.

In short, this poor lady who went after the taggers, should have been more "street smart", and she is more of a cautionary tale than a hero. 

God bless her and her family.





Still think you didnt answer the question

I'm not sure what question it is you think I didn't answer. But I've got some questions for you:

     Do you know any poor people who aren't criminals?  Do you know any minorities who aren't criminals?  I know plenty of both minorities and poor people who aren't criminals.  How is that possible, if being poor or a minority causes someone to become a criminal?

    Answer that question, and you'll be on the road to understanding the difference between cause and correlation.

Still think you didnt answer the question

Well... I know for a fact, from having talked to some lawbreakers, that being Black or Brown makes you more likely to be caught.

Being poor makes you more likely to buy stolen goods from a fence... because you care about price. This creates a healthy underground economy for stolen goods. Stealing things to sell them is like a job opportunity for those with few opportunities.

Being poor makes you more likely take lousy jobs, like selling drugs. If you've ever been to some areas near Macarthur Park, there are virtual drive-through drug dealerships. The people buying drugs aren't all local residents. In fact, I bet few are.... because...

Being poor means you have less political power. That means you can't as easily persuade the government to enforce drug laws where you live. The imbalance makes it much safer for gangs and their non-gang, non-poor customers to exploit poor neighborhoods for narco retailing.

The same applies for prostitution.

And extortion / protection rackets. Hey, the cops probably can't protect you :-)

You're also going to lack access to mental health services. The gang can use "crazy" people, to be crazy. It's a job opportunity for someone who can't get a job.

Poverty creates gangs and crime, but I think it's not just the lack of money that does it, but the relationship between money and power, and laws.

OK they're just bad, let's lock them all up


Of course, social science academics are NOT condeming an entire racial or socioeconomic group; however, as stated before, the criminal statistics speak for themselves.  There are NO winners in this sad story.  The Hicks' family just lost a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  These "suspects" will probably never see the light of day for their entire lives, and like it or not, they also have mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.  My point was, as a society, we must look at the bigger picture and at least try to find the "correlation and/or causality" of crime as it relates to opportunity.  Aren't we all part of this world? And, we do live in an "urbanized environment"--this is not rural Idaho or Wyoming.  These kids could be our next door neighbors or standing in line with us at the local grocery stores.  So, what is your answer, "the devil made them do it, and they were just born bad, so lets lock up all so called gang members and throw away the key?".  Do you know the U.S. has the highest number of incarcerations next only to Russia, China and the former Iraq, and Iran?  We can't build prisons fast enough, and crime isn't slowing down, in fact gang related crime is going up.  Like I said, there are no winners here, and we have all just lost as a society.  And, crime statistics will back me up when I say there are still more domestic violence related deaths than gang related. 

Graffiti-Related Death

     I believe this will be my last post on this thread.

     1. I didn’t say that academics are condemning a whole racial or economic group. I’m saying that’s what *you* are doing that when you say that poverty and racism *cause* criminal behavior. That’s where the distinction between causality and correlation come into play. Yeah, the poor and the minority do have more hurdles to overcome. No, it doesn’t mean that all, most, or even a significant proportion of these people will ever commit a murder. That makes poverty and race correlates of criminal behavior (and criminal victimization), not causes.

     2. "Statistics" don’t "speak for themselves." Until you understand the difference between cause and correlation, the statistics will never speak to you as they do to me.

     3. I never said there were any winners in this story.

     4. I never said that my answer was "the devil made them do it, and they were just born bad, so lets lock up all the so called gang members and throw away the key?" I never implied that, either:

     4a. Which one of us posted on the value of recreational and educational programs to provide alternatives to criminal activity and opportunities for economic advancement?

     4b. You’re the only one in this conversation who keeps talking about gangs and gang membership, so why did you put those words in my "answer"?

     4c. Free agency doesn’t mean blaming the devil; it means holding individuals accountable for their actions.

     4d. Of course the individual’s upbringing has a role in the formation of a person’s morals (or lack thereof). So what’s the biggest part of a person’s upbringing? The parents and the family! And which of us is talking about the role of parents in manufacturing these thugs, as opposed to trying to portray the parents as the co-victims in this murder?

     5. Not for nothing, but I’m pretty sure the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. I also think you’ll find that the largest portion of that growth in recent years is due to the incarceration of non-violent drug offenders. And I don’t think most folks would consider people convicted of simple possession as being "gang-related criminals."

     6. I never said that there are more "gang-related deaths" than there are domestic violence deaths. It’s common knowledge that, when there’s a murder, the first suspect is almost always the spouse or the lover. But that’s irrelevant to my outrage over the Hicks and the Netter murders (the two I have recently posted about on this blog). You are under no obligation to share my outrage.

Graffiti-Related Death

A similar murder in Hesperia:

More cowards who needed to hide behind their guns to keep from getting their butts whooped.