Thursday, November 05, 2009

Diversity is Strength: It’s also Getting Shot in the Head and Stabbed, While Trick-or-Treating

By Nicholas Stix

I grew up in a neighborhood in the Long Island suburb of Long Beach (pop.: app. 30,000), that was an early experiment in “diversity.” My neighborhood—on prime real estate by the beach, mind you—was so diverse, in fact, that by 1980, every single residential building had either been demolished or condemned and evacuated. (Every building was under rent control.)

During my late teens, I recall four murders: A couple of apparent drug dealers were shot and found in an incinerator room a few blocks away, at “310” Riverside Blvd. (a building was a part of the netherworld, when it was known on the street by just a number), which has since been converted into condos; a kid named Vinnie DeBari gave a middle-aged man with a Polish name 25 whacks with a hammer, and got one year per whack; and on July 3, 1975, down the hall from my family’s apartment, the porter in my building, “170” East Broadway, who was about 18 years old (his brother-in-law was the super), got run through with a shiv, by a guy he’d caught dumping garbage all over the stairs.

For all the diversity I experienced growing up, however, like Hillary Clinton, I was deprived of certain experiences for which my neighborhood, for all of its black, Hispanic, and white cut-throats, was still insufficiently diverse. For one thing, neither my neighborhood nor my town experienced children getting shot and stabbed on Halloween by gang-bangers.

Today’s San Jose, California, may not meet the standard set by California’s murder and gang-rape capitol, Richmond, but not for lack of effort.

A 12-year-old boy was shot in the head and his 13-year-old friend was stabbed while they were trick or treating in East San Jose on Halloween night. San Jose police believe the attack was committed by members of a street gang.

"The motive appears to be gang-related," police spokesman Sgt. Ronnie Lopez, a spokesman for the department, said this afternoon. "But there's nothing to indicate the two victims were members of any gang."

Lopez said the 12-year-old remains in "grave condition'' at a local hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The 13-year-old was sent home after treatment for his wounds, which were not life-threatening.

"San Jose boy shot in head, another stabbed while trick or treating Halloween night," by Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News, November 2, 2009.

The claim that the attack was “gang-related” is the tip-off that: 1. The attackers were not white and, based on location, were likely Hispanic; and 2. The attack may have been a racial attack.

While sometimes “gang-related” means just what it says, it has also become a popular law enforcement euphemism for racial attacks on whites, such as in the racial murder, by blacks, of white 14-year-old Christopher Jones, in Crofton, Maryland.

(“Jones, 14, was killed while riding his bicycle in his neighborhood. Police say it was gang-related, though Jones was not in a gang himself.”)

Why would one feel the need to emphasize that 12-and-13-year-old trick-or-treaters were not gang-members? Do we live in a world in which that may no longer be taken for granted? And why would a reporter emphasize crime victims’ lack of any gang affiliation, while refusing to identify the respective races/ethnicities of assailants and victims?

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