Skip to comments.Pasadena Gang Killings Not Due to Poverty, Racism or Unaffordable Housing
Posted on 07/29/2007 11:00:46 AM PDT by WayneLusvardi
Pasadena Gang Killings Not Due to Poverty, Racism or Unaffordable Housing
The Pasadena Pundit - July 29, 2007
"Man does not live by bread alone." -- Matthew 4:4
The recent tally by the L.A. Times that there have been 18 gang-related murders in Pasadena in the past 18 months has brought about shock, outrage, and finger pointing as to why the uptrend in such violence has come about.
To Diane Segura of the Pasadena YWCA it is because there is an income "disparty" between the rich and the poor. Community activist Shirley Smith has been often heard saying the reason for gang murders is simple - working for $7 per hour at McDonald's can't compete with $300 per day selling drugs on the streets. To Occidental College sociologist Peter Dreier it is frequently poverty and racism and lack of affordable housing that is attributed as the cause for such violence. This mantra is heard frequently as an explanation by our cultural elites for why there is crime, dropouts, poor school performance, declining school attendance etc., etc., ad nauseum. It is de rigueur and fashionable in the Pasadena Star News and the Pasadena Weekly newspapers.
But if this is so why do so many more even poorer people than are found in gangs living in gang-infested neighborhoods not join gangs or engage in gang killings? A study by U.S. Irvine professor George Tita found that of 500 homocides from 1999-2004 in a gang-plagued South Los Angeles district almost all were black-on-black and Hispanic-on-Hispanic. Ironically, the scandal plagued Heritage Square project in Pasadena is proposing to build affordable housing by removing land owned by a church - a mediating social structure. So how are poverty, racism, and unaffordable housing the source of the gang problem? The recipe explanations for gang killings given by high profile activists and so-called academic experts are only partial truths at best or, at worst, self-interested distortions with a political agenda.
Gang violence peaked in the U.S. from 1993 to 1995 when there were 1,362, 1,340 and 1,338 gang-related deaths respectively. The nation was suffering from an economic recession in the mid 1990's. As gang intervention came about and the economy turned better gang killings slowed. Gang deaths dropped to 841 in 1999. This was still two to four times higher than the 176 gang deaths in 1976 and 428 in 1988.
In Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley gang killings are typically related to gang-on-gang turf wars over drug dealings, not racial conflicts, poverty, or unaffordable housing per se. Most of these killings are based on retaliation and rivalries due to incursions into other gangs territories. On some occasions they are power struggles after gang leaders are removed due to drug stings or arrests.
Reportedly there are hundreds of gangs operating in Los Angeles County. There are perhaps 400 to 500 known "heavy players" in gangs in Pasadena, with maybe up to 5,000 associates and "wanna-be's." According to StreetGangs.com the major gangs operating in and around Pasadena are:
The "Bloods" Parke Nine Bloods (defunct since 1997) Pasadena Denver Lanes Pasadena Squiggly Lanes
The "Crips" Pasadena Raymond Avenue Crips Altadena Block Crips West Covina Neighborhood Crips Du Rocc Crips, Duarte
These gangs are typically predominantly Black or Brown but not always.
There is an old joke that sociologists need a million dollar research grant to find a house of ill repute in a city where at least every man knows its location. Similarly, every kid who goes to Muir High School reportedly knows, or knows someone who knows, where all the drug houses or drug dealing street corners are. Ground Zero is reportedly around Fair Oaks and Washington Boulevard and/or Pintoresca Street. Reportedly, the gangs are recruiting from the public schools.
Just as pot-growing has shifted from rural and seclusive locations to "urban pot farms" in the suburbs, we might see a geographic shift in gangs and drug houses. As soon as the newly proposed Inclusionary Condo law is passed we might see such gangs metastacizing to downtown locations where it would be very hard for the police to root them out once they lacked the control exerted by a landlord.
While there is no consensus definition of a gang or gang member, it is fairly well understood that a gang is a bunch of boys with weak parental supervision or authority who form what might be called enterprising "mediating structures" between the family and the large impersonal social structures of society such as schools, courts and police, and business corporations. Sociologist Peter L. Berger and Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus define mediating structures as "those institutions standing between the individual in his private life and the large institutions of public life."
The mediating structure of a gang is a substitute for the collapse of the nuclear family, the extended family, church, schools, family business apprenticeships, and other informal face-to-face institutions that buffer the individual from the harsh realities of the larger economy, the impersonality of bureaucracies, and the warehousing and parasitic non-profit social agencies which often can only treat violent boys as a case of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or a case out of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) requiring therapy. Alternatively, the only other way we have to treat delinquent boys is to throw them in jail - witness the high black male incarceration rates. The bureaucratic and nonprofit system for dealing with delinquent boys reads like parts of a Solzhenitsyn novel.
Instead we have interposed a whole host of pseudo-mediating institutions between boys and the impersonal institutions of our larger society - baby-sitting nonprofit after-school programs, contrived summer jobs programs, mental health clinics for school "bullies," tutoring for S.A.T. tests for "pie-in-the-sky" jobs, etc. Learning how to fix a car, build a house, or R.O.T.C. training is typically not on the feminized agenda.
Political liberalism has a tendency to be blind to the the importance of natural mediating structures. The main tenet of liberalism is a movement to government action toward greater social justice within the existing system. Anything "in-between" the individual and the state or para-state agencies is viewed as irrelevant, even an obstacle, to the rational egalitarian society. What lies in between --families, churches, small mom and pop businesses, family business apprenticeships, true voluntary organizations -- are dismissed as superstitious, bigoted, discriminatory, politically incorrect, and un-diverse.
Gangs are typically some of the most fearful, ethnically undiverse, bigoted, and politically incorrect social groupings. Boys like hierarchy, competitition, and excitement. Gangs form a substitute for the lack of true mediating social structures in society. Gangs live on more than "bread" or a "black market" economy alone - they feed on face-to-face relationships, loyalty, status, male macho-ness, excitement instead school boredom, and defended gang turf. Gang members typically have larger amounts of money and more cars available than their peers. And they have more self-esteem.
Is it any surprise in a community where there is a hue and cry about glaring income disparities, racism, and oddly even Bibical economic injustice, that there is not even a vocational trades program in our public schools? This is in large part due to the fact that redevelopment has siphoned the property tax base from the public schools to pay for salary benefits for current and retired city employees at City Hall. And redevelopment along with eminent domain eliminates the smallest, oldest, and thus the cheapest housing. It eradicates family-run small businesses. It inflates new housing costs by inclusionary housing. Redevelopment replaces non-union jobs with union shops and the political machines that back unions. Affordable housing projects condemn or acquire old church buildings.
And parasitical non-profits in our schools typically only serve as adult jobs programs, lucrative consulting jobs for the well-connected, or special arts and science programs for elite school kids that don't mediate the occupational transition for boys to the larger economy. Are we now reaping what we sowed?
Liberals say that this crap is caused by poverty. They know it isn’t. It’s caused by liberal policies.
“Yes, but there’s no risk of another franchise wanting that particular hamburger dealership’d turf by coming in and shooting the cashiers, cooks and customers down during a drive thru.”
But what if the local McD’s franchise decided to sell “McGangsta Burgers” or “McGangsta Nuggets w/ medium fries”....?
Oh we could handle them. The lefties just won’t let us.
Agree with you.
I actually wish that gangbangers would watch a little more Animal Planet or National Geographic TV. Their whole way of being is so very primitive mammalian. I should think even they would be pretty embarrassed to find that eye contact = dissing is NOT original for their humanoid selves. And that other animals can mark their territories with even more sophistication than their aerosol scrawlings.
That is not what I keep hearing.
Not only that but if the muslims were not so poor tthey would be loving instead of killing.
I guess it's OK to disagree with Bush as long as we don't disrespect the office itself.
>>”$300 per day selling drugs on the streets.”
Is that gross or net?<<
That’s after withholding, but befor 401(k).
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