Steve Lopez went looking for some gang members but couldn’t find any:
I went off on my own after a while, trying to find gang members. Call me naive, but I wanted to see what they had to say about race relations, what sucked them into gang life, what might get them out and why they thought it was OK to cordon off sections of the city for their exclusive use.
I had no luck in the end . . .
This isn’t where I all you naive, Steve. This is where I make fun of you.
First of all, it’s tough finding gang members in Los Angeles, to be sure. L.A. has only 39,000 or so, and they’re tough to spot.
Second, I’m sure that gang members would love to have a nice little polite chat with Steve Lopez — if only he could find one.
I’ve never met Lopez and have no idea what he sounds like, but it amuses me to picture him talking to the gang members in a voice resembling that of Professor Frink from the Simpsons:
Excuse me, Mr. Gang Member, sir. Mhey. I’m Mr. Steve Lopez, don’t you know. Could you, uh, please explain to me why you believe it’s OK to, ahhh, cordon off sections of the city for your exclusive use, mhey? [Slight pause.] Why, yes, I see. Well, that is a good reason, why, you could even call it a .38 caliber reason. Please do carry on, then, Mr. Gang Member, sir.
Lopez says the solution to the gang problem is more jobs:
“If you don’t have a job for them, it’s over,” [Connie] Rice said about what happens if you’re lucky enough to talk a kid out of a gang. “[Father] Greg Boyle is right. The only factor that has ever substantially reduced crime by gangs is jobs.”
She had a thought too on how to create them.
“You need a Manhattan Project to create violence-reduction jobs like the public works jobs from World War II,” she said, telling me Los Angeles has arrested 450,000 minors in the last 10 years and sent many of them off to prisons at tremendous public expense. “You create jobs because it’s a whole lot cheaper than what we’re doing now.”
And then all you have to do is get them to the jobs every day, on time, and make sure they do some work while they’re there.
Why, nothing could be easier, mhey.
This is where I call you naive, Steve.