Tuesday’s column — Law enforcement, Northcott and La Eme

Sure, there’s an election today and change is in the air.

But some things will never change.

I get a sense of that every time I pick up an old newspaper story or leaf through old photos on the Internet.

Take the tale of Gordon Stewart Northcott, a serial killer who preyed on young boys in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley during the 1920s.

Northcott and his mother participated in the murders of four kids at their ranch in Wineville. Ultimately, the state hanged Northcott in 1930.

He had been convicted of killing Lewis and Nelson Winslow of Pomona and an unidentified Latino youth, whose body was dumped on the grounds of a

La Puente farm just off of Valley Boulevard.

Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, served a 12-year prison sentence for her role in killing Walter Collins of Los Angeles.

In the aftermath of the case, California politicians in 1939 backed a tough new law targeting “sexual psychopaths.”

As written, the law allowed the state to lock up anybody who was predisposed to committing a sex crime against a child – whether or not that person was convicted of a crime.

Doubtless those who backed the law thought they were promoting change. And, the act has been significantly watered down for legitimate concerns about civil rights.

Seventy years down the road, we have a new name for psychopaths – predators. Beyond that very little has changed. And there are still no easyanswers for eradicating child molesters and serial killers.

If you check out the state’s Megan’s Law Web site, you’ll see right away there are plenty out there.

The same can be said of gangs.

On Monday I received a copy of “The Black Hand: The bloody rise and redemption of `Boxer’ Enriquez, a Mexican mob killer.”

The first chapter describes the rise of La Eme from humble beginnings at the Duell Vocational Institute in Tracy through recent times as the controlling force in California prisons and on many of our streets.

In case you didn’t know, the San Gabriel Valley is La Eme’s backyard. Many of the exploits detailed in the book took place in Montebello, Alhambra and

El Monte.

Among the incidents described are the 1998 Maxon Road killings that left an El Monte mother and three of her young children dead following a brutal Eme hit at their home.

In a September interview with Glenn Beck, Enriquez said he saw the killings as the turning point in his relationship with his carnales in the gang.

You might think that the political shot-callers in Sacramento would have a similar reaction. At the very least, you’d think they’d call for cleaning up the state prison system.

They haven’t.

There is no war on the terror that rules our streets. It’s not likely to happen, no matter how much change comes to Washington or our country in the next several months.

That’s about all you can count on come Wednesday morning.

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