Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gang Stupidity Causes Depression

I promised Tiffany King that I'd write a brilliantly funny, insightful and absolutely true pieces about Farmville (actually pronounced Fahm-vuhl, say it with me Fahm-vuhl, it's almost musical!). But, in actuality, I was very depressed until just a little while ago.

Directly below is the neighbor who lives to the right of us if you face my house from the street. He and his family are from El Salvador. He's 17 years old, and he is always working on his car. He goes to high school, gets good grades, and works after school at Toys are Us. He is soft spoken, always polite, speaks excellent English, and Spanish. He is the only one in his house who is multi-lingual.

At about 12:30 AM Saturday morning, the Police Department came knocking at the door, wanting to know if we had heard anything. We had been watching TV and talking, being old married people, it wasn't time yet for the wild sex. It was a good thing we had waited as it turns out. There was a pole on the front lawn. They wanted to know if it belonged to us. We had never seen it before.

We naturally asked what was going on. It turns out, our next door neighbor the quiet spoken teenager is also a local gang member. The Police believe there was a 'misunderstanding' with another rival gang member and the difference was settled in a knife fight ending with our next door neighbor being stabbed in the stomach

Upon being taken to the hospital, the same hospital that saved my life last year around the same time, my neighbor decided not to cooperate with the police. So the Police were knocking on my door at 12:30 AM to collect evidence from my front year to see if it was a crime scene. I offered them coffee, I offered the officer with the K9 dog water or the dog, and told the Officer in charge that I/we would cooperate completely and that we were on their side, just so they were absolutely clear on the matter. The Police told us that we had nothing to worry about, the gangs kept the violence to themselves as they knew that the public would turn on them otherwise. What bothered me was the length of time I had talked to this kid about getting an education and succeeding in America. I had absolutely no idea he even had the time to be involved in a gang. Talk about feeling out of it.

Things got worse over the weekend. Judy took a bad fall. She's OK, a little bruised, and a skinned elbow, but shook up. We are having difficulty adjusting to the fact that we moved into a farm town of 6000 people that is now a city of 100,000 with big city crime. I had told the Police that we weren't moving, we have lived in this house since August 1, 1973. This is the first time we have paused to question that decision.

Late Sunday we found out that the neighbor to the left of us, a Chinese couple, had a baby on Friday after a long labor period. Probably about the same time as the knife fight. I am looking forward to seeing the baby. Pictures are below, and where I am trying to focus at the moment, for reasons of mental health! Have a good week, I'll get to Farmville soon.


Glamourpuss said...

What a cute little munchkin.


cmhl said...

oh ceo, so sad about your young friend next door. maybe this is the wake-up call he needs to change his life?

and what a squishy little baby!!! sweet.

The CEO said...

Puss, her name is Isabelle! She's gorgeous!

CMHL, I tried to end on a high note. When I was his age, we didn't have knife fights. And our parents could talk to each other in the same language. His parents have lived here for over 20 years and cannot speak English. We told her that we would take her to the hospital, and she said 'yes'. She called someone on her cell phone, went upstairs, I got the car, and watched as she stood upstairs in the window, and waited. Then someone else drove up, and got out of the car, and went inside. It was her cousin, who took her to the hospital. There was a general failure to communicate.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I am sorry for your next door neighbor. What a shame to leave El Salvador and find the same violence here in America.

I've lived around gangs most of my adult life. And I know that feeling - as one day I lived with my parents in suburbia bliss and the very next I had to negotiate with a gang to run at night. Still, I've never had any trouble with gangs. Even in the LA riots.

The CEO said...

Claudia, I am really glad to hear that, because I'm not moving. I have this beautiful baby on the other side to play with now and I don't give up so easily. It's karma, I think.

Allan said...

There have been very obvious signs of gang activity here in Lex Vegas for at least 20 years, but only in the last two years or so have the city government and police shaken off their fog of denial.

I hope it's not too late to get it under control.

Odat said...

I believe that things like this happen around us so we can appreciate the flowers at our own feet. You're not "out of it"...who would know?? I wouldn't. And I'm sure the kid is sincere about getting an education and stuff, it's just that gangs are just part of his life. I hope he's ok and I'm happy you offered your hand to his parents.

Then you turn to your left and what a wonderful thing is happening!
See? The pendulum swings!

Also, I'm so sorry about Judy's fall!!! I hope she's ok...Give her my well wishes.


WNG said...

First of all, much mental vodka to Judy!!!
Also, I agree with Odat. Being from El Salvador, the gang activity may be an understood way of life - especially if they're from an urban area - he may have been in an affiliated gang down there. I don't think it means that he isn't serious about his education or making life better for his family. Also, why would he have any reason to trust the police. (sorry - I was a little obsessed with El Salvador in high school though I don't know why) He might just need you more than ever now. Maybe if you could see him with the same open heart you see beautiful Isabelle through...

The CEO said...

Allan, I hope it's not too late too. I'm not leaving. My former neighbors did.

Odat, I worry that he was looking for help and I missed it. As I write, his father is back in El Salvador. I don't think I missed anything. I also don't want to give up either.

Wng, would you believe that the other l Salvadorian neighbor from across the street came over and asked us what had happened. The two El Salvadorian families don't get along for some reason, and both call Judy and I the "good neighbor" which makes me laugh I haven't done anything to deserve the title except act like a grown up. I am as open to Manuel as I am to Isabelle (both of her parents are very Chinese, there are only two white families on my block, the other one is two gays, and two black families, and a yellow submarine!)

Lee said...

Give Judy my warm thoughts. I'm sorry to hear that a kid who is obviously trying to stabilize with good grades and talking to the neighbors still can't escape from the gangs. Thanks for ending on dat cute baby!

Mel said...

G'morning---and I'm here via SLB's lovely award that was gifted you.

What a gorgeous kiddo.
And what sad circumstances. We can hope this serves as an 'awakening' for him.

But what a beautiful wee one! beginnings.....hope.

Always, always hope!

WNG said...

Your neighborhood sounds pretty great, CEO, a lot like mine when I was growing up in NYC. You're all in my thoughts and prayers.
Tell Judy that sushi is good for pain :)

PhoenixHearse said...

Hope Judy feels better. Did she trip over a big dog too?

PhoenixHearse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The CEO said...

Lee, Judy wants to know when we're getting together.

Mel, thanks for your thoughts! You're always welcome here. And thank you for reminding me about hope!

Wng, I need diversity in my life. I have never lived in a homogeneous neighborhood, and I don't want to start now. You need to visit and spread a little G here.

Heather, I was taking her to see "Ironman" and she got out of the car and promptly fell. She couldn't even hang onto the door. She's bruised and banged up, but she didn't want to miss the movie. The woman has priorities. The door is open to you too, you know.

James Burnett said...

Beautiful baby, fresh innocent life on one side and a surprising link to violent knuckleheads on the other side.

I feel for you. Tough decision over whether to stay put or leave what was once your dream location.

I can't remember my TypeKey password, so I have to sign this comment w/my old Blog's info.

The CEO said...

James, you're always welcome here regardless of which blog you use. I really just don't allow anonymous posters. I'm not ready to leave, unless my wife informs me otherwise. As an old married man, I might get a blog entry in if she didn't pack the computer first. The real fight would be over where we would move to, not over the moving.

WanderingGirl said...

Hugs to Judy. I hope she's well on the mend!

The baby is beautiful... always a blessing in an otherwise crazy world.

skinnylittleblonde said...

OMG...that baby is absolutely gorgeous!!!
Sorry to hear about Judy's fall and the full of potential, it's a shame.
I hate to say this, but I live in a small town ghetto(one of the friendliest ghettos's in the Atlanta vicinity, imho ;) but over the past 8 years I have watched countless young kids turn towards gangs, drugs and/or violence in my neighborhood. Not only does is seem socially acceptable among their peers, but actually expected. I know that I have found myself looking at an 8, 10, 11 year old boy and thinking 'Your parents need to move you out of this circle ASAP'as experience has shown me what will happen if they don't. It's sad, but it is the circles they keep.

skinnylittleblonde said...

BTW, I have also noticed that these kids are actually very nice kids, like your neighbor. Many come to visit me, sit on my porch swing & vent. One thing they all say when I talk to them about their life choices is that they feel like they can't escape it, once they are into it and that they got into it not really knowing what all they were onto. Very sad.
Oh and I left you a little something in my sidebar. ;)

Echomouse said...

Monty, I'm so sorry for the shocks you both have had to endure. I hope things get better. {{Hug}}

I'm keeping you both in my thoughts. Give Judy a Hug from me too if she doesn't have too much body pain.

Those baby photos are so cute. What a little darling. I love it when they wrap them up like peas in a pod :)

The CEO said...

Tiff, thanks for the good wishes. I hope to be seeing you soon, your bedroom is ready.

SLB, you and your stories are a great source of comfort and hope to me. There has to be a way to get these kids to see a better future. The path they take leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm just not smart enough to kno what to do next.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The baby is beautiful and so is the young man from El Salvador. Do you know if he survived the stabbing?

Some kids are forced to join gangs against their will, and that may well be the case with him. It's really sad.

I hope Judy is over her trauma now, and that you both have a lovely weekend.

GrizzBabe said...

That baby is A-DOR-A-BLE! And what a lovely tree-lined street you live on. I wonder why your neighbor decided to join a gang? I hope he gets his life on the straight-and-narrow before it's too late.