Another tragic night in L.A.
has, once again, revealed tensions between Angelenos in high-crime neighborhoods and city officials: a peace vigil for the victim of a fatal shooting in Hyde Park led to a scuffle with police when enraged residents allegedly began throwing bottles at officers.
I won't pretend to understand what it is like to live in a neighborhood where you cannot even walk down the street without worrying about being senselessly gunned down. It must be a profoundly dehumanizing experience. Frustration, anger, and fear must overshadow even the most banal daily activities. Every errand must involve a dispiriting existential calculus: "I need laundry detergent. If I walk to store to buy some Tide, will I make it? Or will I end up bleeding on the sidewalk, a bullet in my brain?"
You need the Tide, or milk for the baby, so you go. Sometimes you don't come back.
Of course, murder victims are not always innocent bystanders. They can be gang members, or crack dealers, or even murderers themselves, possessors of an insurmountable kharmic burden. But they still don't deserve to die in the street, like a dog.
So if you live in a neighborhood like that, you become angry. It's unjust that you can't live your life in peace. You are a victim, of that there is no doubt.
But a victim of who? Many of the people interviewed by the TV press expressed their anger that the paramedics who responded to the shooting ignored what they viewed as signs of life in the victim, Nahun Beiard. They expressed anger that the paramedics covered his head as his neurons randomly fired and his body twitched
in it's death throes. They expressed anger at the situation itself, the senseless death that stalks their lives.
But the paramedics did not kill this man. And though some citizens may understandably feel persecuted by the LAPD, this time the police were completely uninvolved.
Perhaps their anger is, in this case, misdirected. The person who pulled the trigger on Nahun Beiard is the villain here. He is the one deserving of anger, and retribution. In this case, and so many others, the investigation is frustrated by a lack of witnesses willing to come forward and cooperate with police. The LAPD should work harder to assuage resident's very reasonable fear of retaliation, and these neighborhoods of victims should turn their anger on the killers who prey upon them.