Monday, October 13, 2003

Reports of Their Deaths Should Be Greatly Exagerrated



After two neighborhood boys, brothers Tim and Michael Bosh, 20 and 21, were shot dead gangland-style in the park 200 yards from my home, I sent a letter saying so to the LA Times. The great gray Times must have thought I was greatly exaggerating reports of the boys' deaths, because the great gray Times didn't deign to publish my letter nor did it report their deaths in any way, shape, fashion, or form. But neither did any other newspaper or TV or radio station in LA. . It leaves me wondering: If two Latino boys are murdered in a park and nobody reports or hears the news, were they really murdered? Did they even exist? And did the innocent blood I saw pouring out of holes in the boys' heads and torsos ever stain the grass of the children's park at the end of my street?

I sympathize with the media. Several hundred brown and black people are murdered every year in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. If each death was duly and properly reported, why, there'd hardly be any room for auto ads or real estate gossip or fitness tips or…. And anyway, one young brown or black man's death is pretty much like another, right? So why bore the readers with the sordid details? Conscientious reporting of these boys' deaths would only cause newspaper subscriptions to decrease and TV ratings to drop.

Still, these murders ARE happening in our fair town. And we ought to keep track of them so we know what neighborhoods to avoid, even if those neighborhoods are our own. So what is to be done?

I've thought long and hard about the matter, and here is my solution: Don't deny it, make it pay. For example, newspapers could set up a Daily Drive By Section, sort of like the sports page, designed to keep track of black on black and brown on black and black on brown and brown on brown homicides & maimings. This is a natural. Think of all the statistics readers could revel in!

You could, for example, have league standings between the various gangs. Maybe the Crips have scored 154 KIA's as of World Series time, and they lead the Bloods, who are breathing down their necks with 149 KIA's with a twi-night drive-by doubleheader scheduled for this coming Saturday. And individual star statistics could be kept and reported as well. Maybe Darryl of Oakwood is batting .457, with nearly half of his drive-bys resulting in KIA's. And maybe Pepe of the Culver City Boys is leading the league in doubles---that is, shots which paralyze two limbs (paraplegia), as opposed to homers, which are shots severing the spine closer to the neck and resulting in quadriplegia.

And you could have leagues---An Eastside League, which could hypothetically include the 18th Street Gang near Silverlake, the Boyle Heights Hardies, the Lincoln Heights Hoods, and the East L.A. Yahoos. The Valley League would boast teams from Pacoima, the Canyon Country Caballeros, the Panorama City Mojados, gangs of unemployed middleaged UAW workers downsized from the old GM plants, and maybe even gangs of rich white boys from Calabasas or Woodland Hills or gangs of cops' sons from Simi Valley. The Westside League could probably field a Brentwood gang of wouldbe assassins composed entirely of the drugdealing children of TV staff writers, and the South Bay could easily raise a team of Surf-thugs representin' the shoreline locals. Down in Orange County, the league could muster a team or two of bloodthirsty Young Republicans, complete with Britt Hume-style parts in their hair and George Will-like bowties. And don't forget the Young Mormon Missionaries, in cheap Sears suits and ties, beating their foes to death with the Book of Mormon.

As drive-by traditions grow venerable, a Drive-By Hall of Fame could be established in Santa Ana, or Inglewood, or Watts, or maybe a half dozen locations----wherever gangland executioners regularly hit their high notes. You could even have several franchised BRANCHES of the Drive-By Hall of Fame, Drive-In Branches where fans could get a brief, simulated, taste of the drive-by experience without ever leaving their cars.

A family could drive in, roll up their windows, order a simulated paintball slaughter from a battery of AK-47-like assault rifles wielded by cholos in a black bathtub Packard, be "massacred" rapidissimo, and then drive through a car wash which immediately sprayed away the washable paintball rounds which gave the "murdered" patrons such a thrill only moments before. Appropriate background music, such as murderous hiphop from Snoop Dogg or homicidal melodrama from Los Lobos, could play in the background to lend the experience a cinematic ambiance. Here would be entertainment suitable for the entire family, from great grandpappy to bugeyed little Sweetpea sweating in her safety seat.

If the visitors should care to actually disembark from their cars (Admittedly an unlikely event if the fans are Californians, but tourists from all over the world, including people accustomed to walking, will patronize these Drive-By Branch Hall of Fames), they can step inside and view exhibits such as gory snuff-video footage of actual gangland executions, including caps being popped upside homeys' heads, as well as huge Kodachrome blow-up stills of the gory aftermaths with blood flowing like cataracts in the gutters and body parts scattered from Monterey Park to Oxnard to Oceanside and back again to Riverside.

What the media has not yet fully realized is that sensationalized reporting of the murder of all brown and black boys is a huge economic opportunity that is not being properly exploited. What is called for is canny marketing.

Once the fans get involved with the fate and statistics of local teams and local stars, the success of major and minor league drive-by gangs, or teams, will be guaranteed. Critical to fostering fanatical fans will be the live radio & video broadcasts of ongoing drive-bys and other assorted executions. This will require closer collaboration between reporters, cameramen, and the killers themselves. But we are almost there already with reality bad boy shows. All that is required is moving the digicams from patrolcars to drive-by lowriders. This must, as I have already advised, be followed by the establishment of branch Hall of Fames which dispense simulated violence conveniently, quickly, and relatively cheaply. These branches can memorialize greatest past hits and hitmen, will sharpen the public's appetite for future killings, and will help revive the Southern California amusement park industry, which has become hopelessly retro and tame and seems to have fallen irretrievably out of the loop of the young demographic it most hopes and needs to attract if it is to survive in the brutally competitive global Xtreme-sports-entertainment market.

And competition between gangs is not seasonal like football or hoops but will prove to be a year around attraction. Nonetheless, the killing can be punctuated on an annual or semi-annual basis with both championship series and all-star massacres. These can be staged on surface streets, freeways, and gladiator style in stadiums. Once again, just as in the bad ol' Raider days, the LA Colisseum will thunder with the shrieks of victims and the cries of frenzied spectators. In all probability, during the first few years of organized league competition black and brown gangs will go head to head for the championship. Certainly it's difficult to imagine a team of rich whiteboy faggots from Bel Aire or Palos Verdes successfully navigating the play-offs all the way to the finals. But in time, with America's changing demographics, we shouldn't be surprised to find a team of bloodthirsty Hindu-American computer geeks going up against battle tested immigrant Eritreans or Cambodians.

This is, after all, America, an equal opportunity purveyor of mayhem. All that we ask is that this great ethnic rainbow of bloodletting be given its proper due in the print and broadcast media. Redblooded American youth and bloodthirsty American fans will do the rest.

And consider the advertising opportunities in a print media Drive-By Section: Arms manufacturers will pay a premium to peddle their latest assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades, SAM's, and laser-sighted handguns. Arms lobbyists such as the NRA, the NRA, and the NRA, will buy great chunks of printspace to hawk their philosophies. And funeral parlors, cemeteries, florists, manufacturers of prosthetic devices, and emergency wards will all pay to sell their wares & services to those in need, as well.

Sure it's a crime that the major print and broadcast media have turned their backs on the deaths of hundreds of young men. But in this burgeoning, enterprising, capitalist paradise, it's an even BIGGER crime that the victims' deaths are not being properly, economically, exploited. Here is the opportunity to provide jobs and income to a strata of society, the thug-and-drugocracy, which has heretofore seemed desperately unemployable. Here at last is the way to welcome these boys into mainstream society and even to canonize them. Or at least cannonize them. But most importantly, here is the opportunity to revive Southern California's languishing tourist industry.

Once upon a time the owners of the Los Angeles Times had the vision to see the parched desert of the San Fernando Valley as a mindblowing real estate opportunity. All that was required was the theft of the Owens Valley water. Now the Times and its sister media have turned a blind eye to what may well be SoCal's greatest economic opportunity of the 21st Century----boy-on-boy urban warfare. It's a vision thing. All that is required is the courage to see and report the slaughter all around us and then to organize, institutionalize, incorporate, cultivate, and market that mayhem. And if the local media won't do it, somebody else will. This is a vacuum which inevitably will and must be filled. American newsmen and women: You're skilled enough, you're amoral enough, you're ambitious enough, you're whorish enough, you're desperate enough, and you've already got the marketing apparatus in place. The next step is up to you. Don't deny and decry it. Commercialize, organize, advertise, and merchandise it. Peddle death bigtime. These brave boys are our TRUE All-Americans, their gangs are the REAL America's Teams, their combat and sacrifice America's most exciting and characteristic bloodsport. You newshounds OWE it to your fellow Americans to report and support what these young gladiators are trying to do.



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