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LOCAL VOICES: Compton gang summit; an observation

When you seek to have a Compton gang summit, you've already lost the war By OMAR BRADLEY Regarding a recent letter published in the Compton Herald ("LOCAL VOICES: Will the hard-core gang elements show up?"- July 13,

When you seek to have a Compton gang summit, you’ve already lost the war

By OMAR BRADLEY

Regarding a recent letter published in the Compton Herald (“LOCAL VOICES: Will the hard-core gang elements show up?”- July 13, 2016), this is not a criticism, however, it is an observation that might provide some informative data that, when applied to the problem, could lead to a palatable solution.

Omar Bradley

Omar Bradley

When you seek to have a gang summit, you’ve already lost the war. For in a very real since, the problem is that these young men see themselves as gang members. Perhaps a more intellectual approach would be to study the pathology of gang development and growth in South Los Angeles and Compton, and as a response to that data, determine what the needs of these young men truly are.

For the notion that one can bring hundreds or thousands of people committed to killing one another together, for peace, without accessing the elements that created their obtuse view of life, is like inviting a cancer cell to a leukemia conference and asking, “How can we cure leukemia?” Indeed and in fact, these young men don’t actually know why they bang! And, since this epidemic is now 40 years old, many of them are simply carrying out traditions that were a part of their community’s milieu long before most of them were born.

So, speaking from the perspective of one who actually put a major dent in gang violence and murder in Compton, I would suggest that you invite researchers, sociologist and psychologist to do a specialized and historical observation of the pathology of gang development and operations in our community, and then create a 10-point plan to address those issues.

After all, when scientists determine a course of treatment for a particular malady is proper and safe, they’ve usually undergone a substantial amount of research and testing. If you fail to follow this process, what you might see occur before, during and, after this event, are the side effects of when a media mongering mayor, seeks simplistic solutions that are only propagated to create her next sound bite for the press.

Omar Bradley is a former two-term mayor of Compton.

https://comptonherald.org/local-voices-will-real-key-street-gang-elements-show/

 

 

 

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.

3 COMMENTS
  • AMEN, AMEN AND AMEN!

  • Fr. Gary Leon Daniels, PhD July 21, 2016

    As I read former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley’s response to the call for a gang summit, I contemplated if I should or should not respond. I am a bit too old to get caught up in the politics of being perceived as taking sides. Compton simply deserves much better than that. Having had the opportunity to work for both the Bradley and Perrodin administrations, in several capacities, I saw directly the challenges Compton faced and currently faces. I headed the Juvenile Behavioral Health Services program – a program the mayor fought to implement through the then Compton Police Department, as well as served as the administrator for the joint US Department of Justice/City of Compton Weed and Seed initiative.

    As a bi-vocational Anglican priest and mental health therapist/researcher, I have to concur with what the former mayor writes. We have to put an end to the perpetual merry-go round of gang summits and talks. No amount of marches, summits, candlelight vigils, and law enforcement saturation is going to have an impact. Stay out of the newspapers and get into the community. Much of the city’s violence isn’t even related to gang violence.

    This isn’t supposed to be a “feel good” story about Omar Bradley. It is what very few people have heard. I did not know it then, but I would find myself spending many hours with the former mayor. No matter the time of day Mayor Bradley, former Chief of Police Ramon Allen and I would be at every homicide and critical incident that occurred in the city. Whether it was on Willowbrook Avenue when a young infant was killed by gang gunfire; or the taxi cab that attempted to outrun the Blue Line train that resulted in the deaths of the six occupants as the train plowed into the cab or the victims of the trailer park fire on Atlantic Boulevard.

    For every victim’s family the mayor always made it clear that whatever they needed to please leave their requests with me. I would literally sit outside of the mayor’s office door to get a personal check or take the last of the money in his wallet to buy groceries for the families, clothes for a funeral, or a motel room since a fire gutted their home.

    I would see the anguish on Mr. Bradley’s face as he sought to make sense out of the senseless community, family, and gang violence. The mayor called it like it was. He never backed down from discussing black-on-black crime. Further, he refused to just do ‘things” to appease the residents. He wanted real solutions and answers to difficult entrenched and seemingly intractable problems. That is why he employed the under- and uneducated, as well as the unskilled and put them in construction and street maintenance jobs. He wasn’t undervaluing them. He knew how important it was for the young men to feel a sense of worth by taking care of their families. And that went for the young women also.

    Mr. Bradley had a grasp of social pathology. What he knew instinctively, I recognized and understood academically and from working years with families and children as a former social worker for the City of Long Beach and as a therapist for Long Beach Child Guidance Center. The reality is you don’t treat gangs, you treat individuals.

    Compton has to make a significant investment in human capital development. We are leaving far too many people behind. All of the jobs in the world aren’t going to help anyone, if they don’t have the skill-sets to perform them.

    One thing that very few people knew is that the former mayor struggled with the education of Compton’s young people. He didn’t want to start a turf war between the city and school district, but he continually expressed his frustration with this issue. He recognized that Compton’s renaissance couldn’t happen unless the schools improved. One of his last proposals was to appoint an assistant city manager to head an Office of Community Resource Development to find ways the city could promote vocational and academic achievement. He was concerned about the lack of 21st century skills.

    These are difficult issues, but unless you have the expertise to address these ongoing problems, the most you’ll ever have is a city always going to the trough of the federal government seeking funds for violence prevention and additional law enforcement.

    Let me leave these words I read every every morning from my Holy Orders. It states: I have come to serve and not to be served.

  • FORMER ADMIRABLE MAYOR….WHAT WISDOM! WHERE AND WHEN DID THE GANG EVOLVEMENT BEGIN? 1933? 1965? WHEN WOMEN BECAME LIBERATED? WHEN FATHERS SAID I AM OUT OF HERE? HMMMMM GOOD QUESTIONS! PLEASE BE OUR GUEST JULY 27TH AND SEE/HEAR/COMMENT ON THE PRESENT SATE OF DERAILMENTS TO PEACE AND I AM SURE ALL PRESENT WILL LEARN ON HOW TO REACH THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO DESERVE OUR ATTENTION AND UNDERSTANDING. AFTER ALL, DEATH IS BUT A WORD! http://WWW.IPFPEACE.ORG. WE WILL PROVIDE 2 COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TICKETS!

    DR MARCIA ANN MIMS COPPERTINO, mothernature7@gmail.com

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