Sometimes the Truth Hurts

Why Los Angeles will never win the war against Latino gangs

By William Gallegos
Published on LatinoLA: March 25, 2008

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

It is another weeknight in Los Angeles as I come home to relax by turning on the tube. What is this I see on the news? Another senseless gang-related shooting which takes the life of a young innocent victim? Oh yeah, and once again, it's the same ol' sickening

Can I turn on the news just one time without hearing a story about a Latino screwing up our proud race's reputation? You would think one would not give a crap and would rather prefer to see what channel the Lakers are on instead, right? I would not blame them. When it comes to fighting the war on Latino gangs, our white flag has long been waving sky high. Let's face reality...Los Angeles will never win the war against Latino gangs. Let's see why not.....


Several decades ago when a Latino gangbanger was caught red-handed committing a crime, the book was thrown at them and the color-blind public applauded because justice was served. Today, when one is caught red-handed committing a crime, the results are different. Advocates from small organizations will come to their defense without thinking about the
victims these criminals preyed upon in the first place...the same victims who must likely live in fear for the rest of their lives whenever they leave their house or car or whenever someone is walking behind them in public.

I once had lashed out at a Latina by the name of Cassandra Gonzalez who represented a prisoner rights organization. In the radio interview she did, she was fighting not for those wrongly thrown in prison for crimes they did not commit but for those put in prison for repeat offenses that they knew would get them well-deserved time if caught!!! Simple as that! Around a week after our online war of words, I would find out on the web through a story on her that the father of her child was actually some gangbanging loser doing hard time for armed robbery. Somehow, she forgot to mention this to me or to the radio host interviewing her.

Hmmm...would she be on this quest for prisoner rights if her child's loser father was in
jail? Makes you wonder.

Then there was the moron who lashed out at me, saying that the only Latinos that succeed in life are those with both a father and mother in the household. You know how many law-abiding Latinos there are out there with university degrees and/or with homes that they own, who once grew up in gang-infested, high-crime neighborhoods, in households
where one parent was never in the picture? Very,very many!!!

How funny it is when Latinos who at times claim that Latino gangbangers come from broken
homes or have no family to look up to are the same ones who at other times praise the average, large, Latino families for always sticking together through thick and thin (this of course explains why you never see many Latinos throwing their elderly loved-ones in
an old folks home).

And of course there was the recent shootings at the Ramona Gardens projects in the Boyle
Heights neighborhood. It seems police, doing foot patrol in a gang-infested area, shot at a gangbanger who they confronted with a gun in his possession. Not hearing the facts, the Councilman who covers the area, Jose Huizar, demanded these cops be given a thorough investigation even though both he and those in the community protesting the shooting had never denied the punk had a gun. This is the same Jose Huizar who has continued to refuse listening to me and has refused responding to my emails regarding fixing a historic 31-year old mural in my old neighborhood of Highland Park which continues to get tagged with new graffiti thanks to gangbangers. He is also the same man who last August introduced a motion that would put tougher penalties towards anyone who attempts to assault an officer. So whose side is the councilman on? The cops or those protesting the actions of the cops? One must still ask where is the respect when it comes to gang violence and the victims in their crossfire? Just a little information....learning how to respect both others and the property of others has always been easy to learn and has always been free of charge. One cannot be denied learning respect due to income,race,skin
color,the neighborhood they grew up in,etc. And of course, there is no "2 parents required in the household" rule in order to learn respect!


In the days following the recent killings of several young victims, the Mayor of course was angered by what had been going on. One comment which has been made multiple times by either the mayor or police chief following some of these shootings was that "at
least overall crime is still down in L.A." Anyone who is going to tell me that after my young, innocent kid is wrongly gunned down is going to get their butt
kicked. The Mayor's children of course get round the clock security from off duty police
officers (our tax dollars protect his family). LAUSD reps had recently made similar comments following the shooting of an ex-gangbanger who was shot multiple times while holding his 2-year grandchild near a Glassell Park elementary school. Though most of their schools fall in the same vicinity as most gang territories, LAUSD reps still insist that
their schools are still the safest in the nation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! I gurantee the reps who said that probably have children currently attending private schools. On a different note, both the police chief and Councilmember Eric Garcetti were speaking at several schools recently regarding the recent shootings. I do tip my hat off for their presence and concerns but honestly, when has a city leader saying the words, "enough is enough", really helped in the decrease in gang violence? How many times do we realize that action speaks louder than words? Did local leaders make changes for the better when the
granddaughter of then police chief Bernard Parks was killed by the gun of a gangbanger? Nope!!! As for these meetings, am I not right when I say that the only ones who show up at these meetings are the parents whose kids are not associated with gangs? Since when does a parent of a hardcore gangbanger ever show up for a similar meeting? And if they accidently
do show up, what makes you think that they are going to say to themselves on the way home from the meeting, "first thing I am going to do when I get home is tell my kid to get the #### out of that gang or they're grounded for a month!" As for suggesting adopting
after school programs that could prevent one from joining a gang, those too have been talked about with little action done. Having heard stories on these meetings and solutions since my high school days, which date back to the 1980's, one thing is certain....just talking without the use of any kind of action has yet to solve the problems! Oh by
the way, whatever happened to the gangbanger caught on video tagging an MTA bus awhile back? You know, the one the Mayor wanted to become a mentor to? I suppose Mr. Villaraigosa is still mentoring him on a regular basis! Even with these recent killings, Mayor
Villaraigosa still has yet to mention anything about stepping down as Senator Hillary Clinton's campaigning aide in order to concentrate more on the gang problems. SHAME ON THE MAYOR IF HE DOES CHOOSE NOT TO!!!! There is also something wrong with L.A. when a
political leader such as Councilman and ex-cop Dennis Zine is on Fox News talking not about the string of gang violence which in case you forgot, dates back many decades, but about photographers harassing Britney Spears!!! POOR BRITNEY!!! As for a bigger police presence, that too may be just talk. As sad as its sounds....even if there were as many as 50 thousand officers in Los Angeles, only half the work may be done. This many officers may be enough to catch a gangbanger but by then the damage is already done once the bullet from the gangbanger's gun has already hit an innocent victim. Catching a killer brings somewhat relief but does not bring back the dead victim. If one sensed trouble was about to start between hardcore rival gangs on their block where children were currently playing on, anyone knows 911 dispatchers cannot relay emergencies to officers until after a crime has taken place. No disrespect to the men and women of police departments...just an honest fact.


Hmmm,let's see where I should start....

1) 4-5 million dollars paying off an L.A. fireman who ate dog food, his fellow firemen who would counter-sue due to discrimination,and legal fees to those lawyers who supposedly defended the city in this case.

2) The Mayor's expenses while campaigning for Hillary Clinton during this never-ending wave of violence. Transportation, hotels, meals,and I'm sure much more undisclosed expenses (don't do anything stupid like Governor Spitzer), not only for the Mayor himself but for his LAPD officers. Trust me....Hillary is not paying for his

3)And then there is the infamous MacArthur park melee. It seemed that blacks and Latinos weren't enough so the LAPD decided to include the media in their "groups of people we still need to brutalize" list. One LAPD Protective League rep even had the nerves of blaming the media for what happened that day. To this day, no bad cop caught on video that day has yet to be fired. The number of lawsuits from individuals injured that day continue to grow. You can bet that millions of dollars that could and should have been used to fight the war on gangs will instead be covering these legal damages. I think these 3
examples will do. Any more examples and reading them will take up your entire day.

A SUGGESTION TO ALL....take time during the day or early evening to watch a taping of an LAUSD meeting. They appear periodically on public television,which means no cable
or satellite TV necessary. The actual meetings are usually open to the public so that the public can be given the right to speak up to the board with complaints or concerns. You would be amazed how many individuals have complained about the board's wrongful spending of tax dollars!!! During a recent taping of a March 11th meeting, a retired teacher, taking legal action towards the school district after being forced to retire after 31 years of service to the ungrateful school district, explained why he was suing the board for his forced retirement and how the board is involved in both wasteful spending and the worst of the worst coverups. He then showed his anger towards a board member who was busted sleeping in front of him during his speech. NEWSFLASH, THANKS IN PART TO
WASTEFUL SPENDING.....the Mayor has announced that city workers can expect layoffs by summertime. Teachers may likely fall victim to layoffs as well. AS FOR MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2009...MORE WASTED TAX DOLLARS AND MORE LAYOFFS!!!


Although many, including myself, will agree that a good percentage of hard-working illegals do relocate to this country simply for the opportunity to work, one must
not deny the fact that some of Latin America's most dangerous gangs have successfully relocated here illegally as well. And of course, just like any American who gets caught for their crime, illegals too must spend time in our country's prisons, which thanks
somewhat in part to illegals, are overpacked. And just like prisoners here legally, we are spending somewhere in the five-figure range putting an illegal in prison each year, money that could and should have been used to fight the war on gangs. It seems that Governor
Schwarzenegger has been getting the blame for all the state's cuts that are taking place or that will be taking place in the near future. Can someone just be honest and mature enough by admitting that illegal immigration is a big reason (BUT NOT THE ONLY REASON) for our state's financial troubles and that illegals are a reason (BUT NOT THE ONLY REASON)
for our prisons being overcrowded, resulting in the early release of prisoners? Don't deny the fact that the majority of those released do go on to repeat crimes, some more deadly than before. And yes, these repeat offenders include gangbangers in this country
illegally. It seems that most people out there that lash out at the governor for not fixing the financial problems regarding prisons, health care, schools, packed freeways, etc. are the exact same ones who will be the first to say, "let the illegals use our schools, hospitals, and freeways. They have every right to!" Like my parents and their parents, they waited in line! If I were not a Latino, I would likely be called a racist for these comments. Since I am a Latino, I am likely going to be considered someone who
is ashamed of my race. Not true of course. I guarantee that if it were the Asians coming into this country illegally in the same large numbers instead, most Latinos here legally would not only cry foul towards this Asian illegal immigration problem but would also
claim racism had nothing to do with it. Last year, an article came out in Tu Ciudad magazine (an English magazine catering to Latinos in the LA area) that focused on illegal immigration. According to a poll in this article, more than 70% of Latinos voted against
giving illegals a drivers license. Does that mean that they all should be ashamed of themselves for voting against the licenses? How about prop 187, the proposition from years ago that would have denied benefits towards illegals? Most of those who voted for it were Latinos. Should they be ashamed of having voted for it? Of course not! And to those who are still lashing out at me for my comments on illegal immigration. Answer these 3 questions.....a) would you open your house and wallet to an illegal alien who came knocking on your door simply for help? Money from your wallet would help pay for their welfare check, food stamps, medical help, school books, etc. IF YOU SAID YES, READ THE NEXT QUESTION...b) would you open your house and wallet to this same illegal alien and their immediate family (you would also be paying each of those members for the same services the single illegal alien got from you)? IF YOU STILL SAID YES, READ THE NEXT
QUESTION...c) would you open your house and wallet to this same illegal alien, their immediate family and all of their uncles and aunts as well as the children of those many uncles and aunts? At least one of these members of the family has committed a serious
crime in their native country and is wanted by authorities from their native country (and will be paying each of those family members for the same services as well)? DON'T EVEN ATTEMPT TO TELL ME YOUR ANSWER STILL WOULD BE YES!!! Anyways, if you did say yes all three times, California is going through this as well, having being forced to open up their already empty wallets to those coming illegally in this country, thanks in part to Democrats and thanks maybe in part to people like you, wrongfully crying racism. And you know what is even more troubling? These helpful services are being provided to
gangbangers in this country illegally. And what does the mayor think of gangbangers in this country illegally? Last year, there was a story of a gangbanger who was kicked out of this country only to sneak back in. Within a week of his return, he shot and wounded a couple of young innocent kids who were playing in front of their apartment in East LA. Mayor Villaraigosa, who has always been a supporter of those sneaking into this country illegally, was asked at the press conference of this shooting to comment on both
his support of illegals and the suspect who came back in the country illegally. His cowardly response...."that is a state issue so you need to take that up with the state"! And to anyone else still asking what illegal immigration has to do with gangbangers....are you aware of what is going on in the streets of Tijuana? There is a war going on between Mexican Police and drug lords. Well guess what? The drug lords are winning and the police are dropping dead like flies. Children are being forced to evacuate from their schools which happen to be in the vicinity of the shootings, which are 10 times worse than that of the North Hollywood shootings of the 1990's. Do you know where these drug lords are trying
to send their drugs to? It sure isn't the poor parts of Baja California! And who do you think are going to help in the distribution of these drugs once they hit north of the border? Individuals with university degrees? The same Latino-Americans against more border
patrols and against building stronger walls along the border will not dare to comment on these drug wars which may one day continue in their neighborhoods. Once again, millions of dollars that could and should be used to fight the war against gangs will instead be
used to help illegals. NEWSFLASH..the individual responsible for the shooting death of the high school football star just happens to be an illegal. GO AHEAD, SAY SOMETHING!!!!


Every time there is a gang-related shooting among both Latinos and African-Americans, there are usually around a dozen African-American activists who we will see in front of a camera during a press conference lashing out at those responsible for the wave of violence, regardless of what race is doing the killings. My question where in the #### are all of our Latino community leaders who should be lashing out at the violence? Do we even care? A year ago when I was fighting to save a tagged 31-year old Highland Park
mural, I requested the help of Dennis Romero, a staff writer for Tu Ciudad magazine. Hoping he would help expose the story on not only this mural but all historic L.A. murals getting tagged by gangbanger graffiti, he instead chose not to respond to my
multiple requests. This was the same Dennis Romero who a year earlier did a story that glamourized the poetic talents of a gangbanging killer who took the life of a young, University-bound, high school student trying to break up a house-party fight involving this killer. This same student also left behind an infant child. What about all of the notable Latino personalities out there? Where is Edward James Olmos? Where is Oscar
De La Hoya? Where is George Lopez? Where is Dolores Huerta? Where is Carlos Santana? Where is morning Discjockey Piolin? Where is that nerdy looking guy with the glasses and the girlie voice who is always so hungry for an interview so that he can stick up for
illegals and at the same time brag about his Mexican-degrading, OC Weekly column, "Ask a Mexican"? If Bill Cosby can go on a speaking tour lashing out at African-Americans who have chosing to tarnish the image of their own race, why can't some or all of the
above names do the same? Now that ABC has canned his show, George Lopez has plenty of time to speak out to Latino communities throughout the US. He'll fill up venues easily!


Aside from the average loser gangbanger, I don't think there is someone more hated by police departments and law abiding citizens than the average heartless criminal defense lawyer whose goal is to make a fast buck defending someone even God knows is guilty.
It seems if schools try to adopt a dress code in order to do away with the gangbanger image, defense lawyers will cry foul, claiming a student's right of expression has been violated (ACLU LAWYERS HAVE IN THE PAST VOWED LEGAL ACTION TOWARDS SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHO
HAVE ATTEMPTED TO PASS SIMILAR DRESS CODES). It seems that if the law adopts curfews that would take gang members off the streets at a certain time, defense lawyers will cry foul and will do what it takes to abolish those curfews, giving back gangbangers more time on their turf. It seems that if a neighborhood proposes installing security cameras, lawyers will cry foul, claiming one's right of privacy is being violated (IN HUNTINGTON PARK A FEW YEARS BACK, A WHITE LAWYER WHO HAD NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN THIS PREDOMINATELY SPANISH-SPEAKING CITY, THREATENED LEGAL ACTION TO THE CITY BECAUSE THEY INSTALLED CAMERAS IN THE AREAS WHERE MOST SHOPPING TAKES PLACE). And it seems that if the law gives a cop, who perhaps is married with young children, the right to use a gun in order to defend themselves against a gang member reaching in for a gun as well, lawyers cry foul, saying race made the cop fire his gun, and vow to do whatever it takes to see that this cop gets hit with the so-called "murder" charges. High profile people such as lawyers and politicians who side with bad guys is what probably creates "THE BAD COP". New laws benefiting the average law-abiding citizen never seem to make lawyers happy. I have always believed that if a young punk under the age of 18 gets busted for a petty crime, then that punk and at least one parent or guardian should get their butts up at 6 am on a Sunday
morning and spend the next 6-8 hours of that day picking up trash off the freeway or painting over graffiti. Whether you are an East LA resident whose parent mows lawns or a South LA resident whose parent cleans floors and toilets in a building or a Beverly
Hills resident whose parent is a powerful CEO, all should pay the price the same way, regardless of background. But nooooooo....some lawyer out there will cry out foul towards this idea, an idea that could possibly help force a parent or parents into talking to their children about taking the right road in life. This idea would also help prevent the creation of a would-be criminal. And yes, once again, millions of dollars that could and should be used to fight the war against gangs will instead be used to cover court
costs and lawyers. The results....cities get expensive court costs, gangbangers get rights, and lawyer gets babe-magnet sportscar or a European vacation. that you have read all of these possible reasons for why Los Angeles will never win the war on Latino gangs, I can just imagine what has been coming out of your mouth during the past 5-10 minutes. Perhaps I am bitter? Maybe I am a racist? Possibly a
pure liar in what I write? No, no, and no! I know someone out there is asking, "what about the African-American gangs? Hey, don't get me wrong! They are no angels and they too are terrorizing Los Angeles neighborhoods but with me being a Latino, there is a
big difference.....African-American gangs don't tarnish the image of my race. I will leave it up to a law-abiding African-American to show their anger towards gangs of his or her race in writing. One must face the fact that this is not about being negative but about making one realize that sometimes the truth can hurt. SO ONCE AGAIN, LET US DEAL WITH REALITY WHEN I SAY THAT LOS ANGELES WILL NEVER WIN THE WAR AGAINST LATINO GANGS.

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