Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's not a gang - it's a club man!

I’ve been so busy catching up at work lately I’ve neglected to tell you all hell is breaking lose around here. Again. Last week a young man was shot and killed inside the Valley Plaza. The very same plaza that children were allowed to run free in twenty years ago. I remember scampering down hall from Wyatt’s cafeteria to the Koi fish pond, and marveling at the giant hanging bead thing. Nowadays you’re more likely to be dodging bullets.

Naturally the shooting was gang related, and not surprisingly the culprit has not been apprehended. It’s hard to believe a 19 year old can be killed in broad day light INSIDE the plaza at Christmas time, and not be caught by someone! Shortly after the news broke it was reported that gang violence is up in Bakersfield. Who woulda thunk? Half of last year’s homicides were gang related, up a full 60% from the year before. That’s a lot of gang banging.

I remember a few years ago (okay, Paul was about 5, so I guess it was several years ago) as I approached the plaza to enter, the doors came flying open and two teenaged boys came running out, chased closely by several other teenaged boys. All them were at least dressed like gang members, whether they were for real or not, I don’t know. The boys squared off once outside and began taunting and cussing at each other. Unfortunately, Paul and I were caught right in the middle of the melee. Furious, I started yelling at the boys to take their fight somewhere else and that I should be able to take my son to the plaza without having to be confronted with such nonsense. Of course, I didn’t use those exact words, but you get the picture. Anyway, the boys were so surprised their mouths hung open in shock. Then they took their brawl out to the parking lot and Paul and I proceeded safely inside.

Gang bangers..ppffftttt!