Question of the Week
"Homegrown Terrorists ... what to do?"
. . . the community responds


The LACP Question of the Week ... the community response

The following input is related to the article "Homeland Security vs. Homegrown Terrorists" and is the community response to the LACP Question of the Week ...

"Homegrown Terrorists ... what to do?"

Brendan Breslin, Van Nuys - Aug. 13


You have struck a nerve with this question.

Our neighborhood was terrorized by a street gang. These hoods were part of the BVNS (Barrio Van Nuys gang). Space does not allow me to go into the details of how we rid ourselves of these viscous cretins. It involved the Metro CRASH Unit, Van Nuys Division Narcotics, and the implementation of a City Attorney Program called FALCON. It must be emphasized that the lynch pin for this effort was our Senior Lead Officer (SLO) who held it all together. The effort took over a year, but we prevailed. Then along came Chief of Police Parks and the Neighborhood Watch program went south.

Now with the restoration of the SLOs to Community Policing, we are trying to restore our Neighborhood Watch. Efforts have been met with some interest but little followup. However, we've recently had a few burglaries, car thefts, an armed robbery where a victim was pistol whipped, not to mention a dead body being dumped in the neighborhood. NOW interest is starting to surge for an active Neighborhood Watch program. I guess it takes a little victimization to get things rolling.

We are having a Neighborhood Watch meeting on Wednesday, August 21 at 7:30 PM at the Eagles Hall, 14047 Burbank Blvd. Van Nuys.

Thank you for your website.


Brendan Breslin


Norm Swirin, Hollywood / Wilshire - Aug. 12


"Neighborhood watch" groups used to be popular back in the days when people seemed to give a damn! What can be done to revive and revitalize this old, established system?

It also gave people a chance to get to know their neighbors!!! Not a bad idea, it seems to me!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Norm explained that he recently relocated his place of residence.

Although you might not believe this -- I only have a strong hunch that I am now living in the Wilshire Division. And I know little or nothing about it, but would be willing to learn. My old Division (Hollywood ) was one with with which I was at one time very familiar ... but I'm afraid I've lost touch.

The task, of course is to cover all Divisions, so my "predicament" could be "good news!!!" It would be a good thing to schedule a (series of?) cross-Divisional meetings. (These used to be held -- I've attended some.)

Let me know what I can do to "get the ball rolling," and I'll do my best.

Norm Swirin

From LAPD Online - Aug. 12

We received your e-mail and will forward it to our Crime Prevention Unit for further consideration.



Chief Paul M. Walters, Santa Ana Police Department - Aug. 12

Dear Bill,

I agree we have gone too far as a nation and our resources as precious as they are, are overly being directed towards the homeland security and some of the other areas that are very important to us all are being lost in the process.

Our innovative gang projects have referred to the local gangs as street terrorists long before it was in vogue and that is exactly what they are.

But because they are not capturing the news media's attention then they are not politically as important. I have told this to the media over and over again that they direct public policy and what they decide to cover can made a major difference in the priorities of elected officials and what they perceive as important.

I am sure it will be very interesting to see the results of your question.

EDITOR'S NOTE: When I first received this response I asked Chief Walters for permission to use his name saying, "If I can have your permission I think in some fashion it will encourage other commanding officers to join the dialogue. As far as I'm concerned, all the officers are "stakeholders" in Los Angeles, too ... "

You are right [in pointing out that] all of the officers are stakeholders [and] to do any less would be not recognizing their tremendous knowledge and contributions.

Chief Paul M. Walters
Santa Ana Police Department

Mike Goodman, Westside - Aug 12

There are many things that need to be done;

1) Our "justice" system is broken; Too many times the guilty go free and the innocent are punished. It's an adversarial system where both the prosecution and certainly the defense is not as much concerned with the truth as they are with winning; It's a system where foolish judges prevent important evidence from being presented in the courtroom; It's a system where sentences defy common sense. For example, why should a person who attempts murder be given a lesser sentence than a murderer who succeeds?

2) Honest citizens must not be denied their right to defend themselves, and that means the right to carry a firearm.

3) The insane war on drugs must be brought to an end.

4) Government needs to focus on it's primary responsibility which is to protect our rights, and to protect us from "enemies domestic and foreign". When government engages in activities such as building football stadiums, creating so-called "fair housing departments"; When government forces real estate developers to set aside 20% of their property for so-called "affordable housing"; When government uses precious resources to prevent smoking in bars; etc. etc. etc. It is diverting resources that should be used to protect people and their property.

5) "Petty crimes" are not petty. When we, as a society start learning to "accept" cities that are blanketed with litter and graffiti; When we "accept" that there are just certain neighborhoods that are not safe to walk in at night; When we "accept" having to put big red metal clubs on our steering wheels, then we are chipping away at the very standards that enable a civilization to function.

6) The men and women in blue must be supported by our politicians. I was outraged at the lack of public support for the officer in Inglewood; The fact that the officer's ear was bleeding should have been given at least if not more attention than the fact that the officer slammed the suspects head into the car.

Mike Goodman
President - The Alliance Media Group

Anonymous - Aug 10


I would suggest that there be encouragement from LAPD to the large community of law abiding folks in Los Angeles to get a gun and learn how to use it!!

Why should the "gang members" have access to guns while the State of California is taking the rights of the honest people who wish to own a handgun/rifle/shotgun slowly away?

Do like other states have done ... allow those that have no blemishes on their record the right to carry.

When the crook/badguy/killer/drug addict/gangmember is aware that the person they are shooting/robbing (or someone witnessing a crime), just might have a gun also, perhaps gun violence might be lowered!!

Thanks for the email,



Frank Aum - Wilshire Center / Koreatown - Aug 9

I wrote this for the Homegrown Terrorists forum:

Violence is never condoned but there is a difference between foreign terrorists and local gang terrorism: At least foreign terrorists choose violence because they feel like there is no recourse to address their concerns. Local gang "terrorists" commit crimes and violence, partly because there is nothing else to do! Maybe, crime is indirectly caused by societal marginalization but local delinquents definitely do not have political manifestos.

For example, I live in the Wilshire Center/Koreatown area of Los Angeles, and here there is extreme population density (similar to Manhattan), little public park space (less than 10 acres), no public high school, high poverty and unemployment rates, and disparate ethnic immigrant communities that can't communicate with each other.

Not surprisingly, the Wilshire and Rampart divisions of the LAPD (which services the Wilshire Center/Koreatown area) consistently witness some of the highest crime rates in Los Angeles.

I see kids on my block play ball and sports on the streets but this isn't the nostalgic stickball in the suburban cul-de-sac image that some might have. Rather, it's kids on high traffic residential streets loitering around their apartments because there is nowhere else to go.

Ending violence requires getting at the root causes and not just using stopgaps and salves. The Office of Homeland Security doesn't get at the root causes of terrorism and therefore will not eliminate violence, per se. Similarly, the LAPD can't go at this alone. City Councilmembers (Holden, LaBonge, and Garcetti in my area) and the rest of the community need to step up and address the root causes.

Frank Aum
Project Coordinator
Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

Charles Sudduth, El Sereno
- Aug. 9

Dear Bill,

If there is a Court Injunction against gangs in Hollenbeck, I do not find it enforced. The LAPD appear to know where they are, and we are warned that we must do the policing ourselves.

I have observed that the gang problems evolves because of permissive parents who have not trained their children to be come productive and law abiding.

Of course there are exceptions to that thought. Fetal alcohol syndrome must be recognized as a mental deficiency and the Courts must accept recommendation that people with that problem cannot live an unsupervised life.

I must also note that gangs are spreading to previously gang free communities such as Hillside Village. The City DOT is using the gang problem to deny bus shuttle service to Ramona Gardens because of objections from the Organizers of LA 32 Neighborhood Council. People refuse to learn about nearby communities more than three blocks from the routine activities and recognize similar problems.

Students in many areas have no access to libraries and are not challenged to by reading books that make them learn to think. Our local schools have become battlefields between gangs.

Charles Sudduth

EDITOR'S NOTE: As far as I know, Hollenbeck Division does not have a Gang Injunction in effect, although as you say there are several around the city. I've asked the City Attorney for information which will tell us which Divisions have them in effect, and describe how they work.

Steven Rapak, Los Angeles - Aug. 9

What are we going to do? OH NO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DOOOooooooOOOOOO!?

Enough pussyfooting around!

I've had thoughts on how to deal with scum for some time now but it will NEVER happen because we are TOO concerned with the RIGHTS of the people who are ruining our society.

We can no longer keep them in jails costing the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year, we can't just slap them on the wrist and say bad, bad, bad killer or bad, bad, bad drug dealer. Something more has to be done.

I suggest that we start with implementing a new law that states: If you are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of intentional malicious murder (which was NOT self defense) or of drug dealing; at least two things should happen.

1. If you are receiving any benefits of ANY KIND (food stamps, welfare, assisted housing) from the government they are IMMEDIATELY ELIMINATED and CUT OFF! PERIOD! And your drivers license is IMMEDIATELY AND PERMANENTLY REVOKED.

2. Your savings account, social security and other benefits which you might have received goes directly to the family of the person or people you just killed.

Here are other thoughts:

GUN CRIMES: The three strike rule. Commit a crime with a gun three times and you're put in prison to work (possible chain gang doing public service) UNTIL you have worked enough to pay for your plane ticket out of this country. You are not allowed to come back to this country PERIOD. Your image is kept on file, if you re-enter this country you face the death penalty for re-entry. NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

DRUG USE: If at any time you enter a hospital due to a drug related problem or resulting from a drug related incident, (car accident, being shot etc.). or if you seek any physician or emergency attention for any illegal drug related episode, it should be noted in your criminal file and in a medical file. If you have health insurance your health insurance company should be informed and your rates should increase. Same as if you are a risk on the road with auto insurance. If you enter an emergency room for an overdose, they fix you the first time and one time only, and place you into rehab. If you enter the emergency room for a drug overdose or drug related injury the second time they turn you away PERIOD. If you're stupid enough to go back and do it again you're playing with your own life and that's your choice and responsibility not the taxpayers or anyone else's.

Sure they're harsh measures but how long should we gently try to caress the cat who just sliced our nose wide open?


Steven Rapak

Alisa Smith, Glassell Park - Aug. 9th

Hi, Bill!

Some more thoughts on the youth/gang/murder issues:

First, I would like to point out that we, as a society, are to blame. Historically it's the adults who sold their children into slavery. As a country, we have our own history of using child labor, which was why we passed the laws that prevent it. Unfortunately it is still a common practice in other countries. India for one. In the AP news today is a very disturbing story about a child pornography ring.

So, I propose we stop playing the "Blame Game."

We, as parents, the education system, educators, community, voters, and especially the profiteers are responsible. Instead, lets discuss the issues that this situation is a result of, including: Economics. Pervasive Gun Industry. Racism. Self-respect (individualism). Mutual respect (or lack thereof). Intolerance. The Drug Industry. Over-population. Children having children.

The youth are also the victims of this violence ... does the LAPD have the breakdown of the age groups within the murdered total? I would like to see it.

We are not doing enough to protect our children from these industries. We do not practice tolerance of the youth and respect their need for self-empowerment and self expression. They challenge us, as they should. Please support the small programs that are working with our youth!

The Buddhists have a saying: "Anger is Love, Disappointed."

Thank you for listening!


M. Hunter, Koreatown - Aug. 8

Maybe the reason why the rate has increased is because services geared towards youth have been cut back.

The reason kids join gangs in the first place is that they have nothing to do and don't see much of a future in their lives. I think more money should be dedicated to after school programs for youth and employment training and job placement services. Lets stop kids from joining gangs by offering healthy alternatives.

Invest in more models like "A Place Called Home" in South Central.

Everett Littlefield, Silverlake
- Aug. 8th

Dear Bobbie and Bill,

In response for some feedback on your proposed article "Homeland Security vs. Homegrown Terrorists" I am curious to know if there is a Court Injunction against gangs in effect in the Hollenbeck community and if it is being enforced by the LAPD.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As far as I know, Hollenbeck Division does not have a Gang Injunction in effect, although as you say there are several around the city. I've asked the City Attorney for information which will tell us which Divisions have them in effect, and describe how they work.

According to a LA Times Article, there are supposed to be 10 Court Injunctions against gangs, two out in the Valley. If there is no Court Injunction against gangs in the Hollenbeck community, how would a community go about getting one and also getting assurance from the LAPD that they will enforce it?

Are those gangs recognized by the law enforcement community? Is there someone in that community who is a peacemaker (someone like Blinky Rodriquez of the Community in Schools Organization in Pacoima) who can diffuse rivalries and get a peace treaty between rival gangs? It has been shown, or at least suggested that in the past, peace treaties between rival gangs do reduce violence in a community. By just using subtle means of violence by force, fear, intimidation, etc. by the LAPD to diffuse violence without knowing its causes and how to prevent it, will only make it worse in the long run. The LAPD by just being present and visual in the community will help tremendously.

There is a training program at Cal State Northridge that gives training to persons who are interested in tutoring gang youth. The training program could very well be required for city agency personnel dealing with gang youth.

There has to be some way to get the law enforcement community and supporting agencies more involved in crime suppression as you say in a "pro-active way" other than by just reason alone. You would think that they would respond more effectively just on the basis of having compassion / empathy for the parents of innocent youth being killed by the senseless violence. If nothing else works, you would think that the LAPD and other agencies would at least feel shame for not doing their job. If that what it takes, perhaps a peaceful vigil march needs to organized by concerned community members that might very well hit home to the sentiments of those responsible for doing something about the Homegrown Terrorists.

Keeping the Light and Heat on,


From an officer with LAPD - Aug. 8th

Hi Bill,

You hit the nail on the head with us officer's being RE-active and not Proactive You can thank former Chief Bernard Parks for that. With all the personnel complaints we were getting and the suspensions and firings, who in their right mind would go out and look to get in trouble? All a gangster had to do was lie that you had used excessive force during an arrest. You were then under investigation. A couple more gangsters would then do the same thing ... next thing you know, that hard charging officer was a "problem officer" and a "risk management issue" and reassigned to the desk.

You wonder why crime is up? You need look no further than the five-year beat down we got from Parks. Chief Pomeroy has been swift in his correction of many of these issues and the officer's and department are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Morale is slowly rising.

Happy cops make productive cops.

Alisa Smith, Glassell Park - Aug. 8th

Hi! Let me just get these quick thoughts out fast....

The truce idea has worked in the past. I suggest using groups that are very hands on with gangs, such as la bridges and Aztec Fire Crew to mediate. And moms (there must be an anti-gang mom group?).

The gangs are a result of socio-economic situations that are too huge to deal with all at once. And suppression is a reaction, one that inspires resentment, which leads to anger.

I know from the youth that having a visible peacekeeping force is appreciated. Ever hear of the Guardian Angels in NYC? At least get out the cops on bikes in the high-activity areas.

The issues of gun control are also at core. We should be getting help from the state level on this. The police need support to execute the anti- gun laws that we have in place.

I think that we need to demand a dialog about this in small groups (with the power people) where we can really get to the heart of the issues, where everyone has a common agenda, which will reinforce the common goal.



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