Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Very Bad Idea - It Could Get You Killed

Many US cities have tours - historical buildings, old churches, botanical gardens. Few of them could be considered in any way dangerous. Cemetery #1, just outside the Old Quarter, New Orleans, is perfectly do-able -- in broad daylight with an established guide.

But now, a former gang member - one Alfred Tomas - is promoting "LA Gang Tours!" For $65 per person (presumably round trip) one can take a small tour bus past the LA County jail, Skid Row, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party, the Jordan Downs Housing projects, a graffiti lab 9?) and (shudder) South Central among others. Purpose? Ticket profits (if any) are set aside for gang improvement.

Tomas says he has set up a cease fire agreement among three of the most powerful gangs. "This agreement will allow young people and children safe passage through gun fire-free safety zones." You'll note that nothing was said about adults.

Tomas, formerly a South Central gangster himself, is now the director of the mobile food truck ministry with districts in both Blood and Crips housing developments. His mission statement (a phrase I hate, by the way) is to give hope to drug addicts, alcoholics and he said, "For every single mother struggling to pay her bills, don't give up!" How about "Make the worthless father get off his hind end and pay you money every week"? Nothing mentioned about that.

I did some research and found that: The Crips number 93 gangs in Los Angeles, 22 in Compton and another 11 in Long Beach. For a good explanation of the Bloods, go to

Since gang membership depends mainly on respect as a key ingredient -- and to dis someone is an instant death (not threat;) since many of them are not in full possession of their faculties (to say the least,) don't you think it has occurred to gangsters that tour buses, full of gawking strangers, are anything BUT respectful? To a gang member, finding a defenseless bus full of whales (i.e. people with money) has got to be a blessing from above!

This ran in Sunday's LA Times letters:

"I am going to get in touch with LA Gang Tours to get them to do a "drive by" on the house where two of my setp-children died due to gang activities. One son is left. Perhaps, if they get there in time, he can stand on the porch and wave.

"My late husband was in the same gang as his deceased sons. I bet he would turn over in his grave if he knew there was a possibility they could be exploited by this tour."

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