Tuesday’s column

Chuck Hubbs, who was the night city editor at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner when I was a copy boy there, always had me running weekend casualty counts.

Every Friday and Saturday, just when I’d be getting ready to leave, he would exhort in his unmistakably deep voice. “Check those wires kid. See how many bodies have piled up.”

I’d rip pieces of printer paper from machines that spit out copy from the Metro Wire and City News services and run them back to Chuck so that he could compile a daily body count for an inside page.

Some weekends were slow with one or two slayings. Others seemed quite busy; with eight, 10, even 15 killings.

I wonder how many of those even got solved?

This past weekend undoubtedly would have qualified as a slow one. And yet, it could have been quite deadly.

Young men were injured in shootings in Whittier and Pico Rivera.

A few other teens might have taken bullets in Baldwin Park. But somehow they were luckier than Jose Perez, 16. The Baldwin Park High student was shot to death talking to a friend outside a home in the 5000 block of Maine Avenue Saturday night.

By my count, Perez is the second student from that high school to succumb to gun violence this school year. That seems awfully high.

In November, Baldwin Park High student Luis Estrada, 14, and his father Pedro were gunned down by four attackers in front of their home in the 4000 block of Downing Avenue.

Three teens, all former Baldwin Park students, have been arrested in the case, officials said. A fourth remains at large. Gang rivalry apparently motivated the incident.

As they did in the Estrada case, school administrators promised Monday to provide grief counseling to anyone who needed it at Baldwin Park High School.

“The school will of course do something for the students who need the services,” said Lynne Kennedy, associate superintendent for student achievement in the Baldwin Park district.
Although there is absolutely no indication that Perez had gang ties, it’s pretty clear his attackers used gang tactics. Witnesses said the men drove slowly north on Maine Avenue. They flipped a U-turn, drove up to Perez and opened fire.

Because Perez had only just enrolled at Baldwin Park, and was killed on a Saturday night far away from campus, Kennedy claimed the slaying reflects more on the community at large than on the high school.

“You have to expect these things,” she said. “There’s crime in the city and there’s going to be fall over to students who attend the school.”

Kennedy also claimed that there is no gang problem at Baldwin Park High School, even as she pointed to the city’s tenacious problem with three notorious groups.

This morning (as I do most mornings) I know I’ll drive along Puente Avenue past Baldwin Park High on my way to work.

I’ll watch the kids pass and wonder who is going to college? Who is going to Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Who is going to get married, settle down in town and raise another generation of students?

I’ll have another question on my mind this morning though: Who will be the next name in my casualty count?

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email
  • us

    Any word on whether the SGV Editors will continue to allow their message boards to be filled with all forms of racism and vitriol?

    Granted, it allows the observer to recognize the deep seated racist sentiments brewing in his community, but when is enough enough? While I can count on your blog for some reasoned commentary, the general news board, while busier, is garbage.

  • Local Boy

    What racisim is us talking about? What vitriol exactly? I’d like to be able to figure out why Lynne Kennedy thinks “you have to expect these things”. I guess she’s talking about gang killings. Has the school officials just thrown their collective hands up in the air in surrender? No gang problem at BPHS? I know people who would tell a different story. When people won’t even look at certain students out of fear they could be a target later, that is a problem. Worthless administrators like Kennedy just don’t get it.

    The last thing we all should do is put the blame where it actually belongs. That would be on useless, lazy, criminal and incompetent parents, racist attitudes that minority groups have for one another (much of that brought from south of the border north, thanks a lot for that) and the main culprits, the gang members themselves.

    If we do that we are of course continuing to fill message boards with racisim and vitriol. Truth is a hard pill to swallow for some so they scream racisim. Of course more kids die and cops and innocent bystanders are shot but “you have to expect these things”.

    Good to be back.

    Local Boy

  • us

    This is what I’m talking about:
    “These people sure enjoy killing each other. Please take this crap back to Mexico where it won’t even matter.
    Bald headed idiots.”

    “Baldwin Park is full of hoodrats and ghetto thugs. Go back and leave the hard working people in peace”


    “Pradeep, I wouldn’t trust anyone with a name like that…”

  • fx

    “Bald headed idiots”

    This sounds more a statement of fact, than racism or vitriol. The bald headed gang members have proven over and over to be low life idiots.

    Should we be praising the bald headed idiots?

  • us

    uh, fx…i’m guessing you’d also defend…Afro-wearing idiots, corn-row wearing idiots….so, go ahead, entertain us.

  • Local Boy

    So you’re talking abut this as well us?


    This is what happens when the offspring of violent prone, European immigrants get their hands on weapons.

    All you have to do is look at their war-torn mother countries to realize some people have blood-thirst in their family histories.

    We should’ve handled this immigration problem 400 years ago. Now look at us.

    Posted by: usagain | January 21, 2008 10:19 AM

  • us

    While I’m not above explaining my jokes (more than once, even) I’ll have to pass this time around. Although, I’m not surprised at Lboy’s selective quote mining…authoritarians of all stripes are masterful manipulators.

  • Local Boy

    I didn’t find it funny and if I had written the same about the racism of Latinos you would have stayed silent? Tell the truth now us.

    There’s plenty of other quotes on here that shows what you’re all about. I don’t need to be selective, that one just fit best. There are others.

    Now go out and have a drink with MH, you two can giggle while swapping “bad cop” stories.