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LOCAL VOICES: Will the hard-core gang elements show up?

Usually, only the OGs appear and commit to change; but often, they don't speak for the real hard-core gang soldiers By MICHAEL HILL Responding to the Compton Herald’s story (Compton empowerment peace summit set, July 12, 2016),

Usually, only the OGs appear and commit to change; but often, they don’t speak for the real hard-core gang soldiers


Responding to the Compton Herald’s story (Compton empowerment peace summit set, July 12, 2016), Compton resident Michael Hill expressed doubts about a peace summit, which the hardest core elements of the gangs typically avoid – the editor

The Summit could gain ground if only the real key gang elements show up. Not the gang activists talking about the core members who contribute to the reality on the streets. Often, only the OG’s show up and commit to change. But often, they don’t speak for the real hard-core street soldiers who don’t usually appear at summits like this.

I don’t think it’s going to really bring about change because here on the West coast — Compton, especially, word seldom reaches the core group. It’s complicated to try to explain, really, though it is a good idea. The question is, will the attendees really be able to make an impact on the tough “real” streets? Something an intelligent individual might ask.

Most educated types don’t associate with the low life, and that’s who we have to reach. Not at the Dollarhide Center, but somewhere else, in neutral territory where there’s  a sense of trust. Ask any experienced gang unit LEO about this, not our [law enforcement], where there still seems a bit of a division between City Hall and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

With all due respect to [good] intentions, we’ve got to get to the core group to see any change and to hear what life is really like at ground zero. Like I said, it’s complicated, but maybe achievable if we can go through the right channels, back channels, if that’s even possible. I don’t know anymore. Good luck anyway. Something beats nothing.

Michael Hill has been a resident of Compton for more than 60 years.

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.

  • Omar Bradley 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. 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 Central 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 forty 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 ten point plan to address those issues. After all, when scientist 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 affects of when a media mongering mayor, seeks simplistic solutions that are only propagated to create her next sound bite for the press.

  • They need to show up because they are no punks. They mean business on and off the streets. They call the shots from the east, west, north and south. They cannot be bought or persuaded because they make the payroll, they make the bullets. Yes, they need to show up but if they show up…what is in it for them? No foolishness or wasting of their time. If a call to an end of violence will be of any benefit to their employment base, yes, they need and they will show up. Even in the darkness, they will show up! Just be ready for what they need to express, after they hear what needs to be expressed!

  • Robert Ray July 13, 2016

    When you talk about “gangs” in Compton, you have to realize that there are 10,000 known, named “gang members” belonging to 59 known “gangs”. Some are big “gangs” and some are small “gangs”, but they all have to be considered “gangs” and dealt with accordingly. Several years ago the city issued an injunction on a “gang” (possibly more than one), and on the day that injunction went into effect you could hear a pin drop in Compton. “Gang” members were hiding under their beds for fear of being arrested. Compton stayed quiet for quite a while, proving that the injunction was very effective. I would suggest that more injunctions are in order.

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