YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

'The World of Fear' : A 12-year-old is accused of killing a Monrovia store owner over a bicycle. : A 14-year-old allegedly pushes an elderly woman out of a moving car he's trying to steal. : Two students have been shot and killed at Los Angeles high schools this winter. How has so much violence affected the way young people view life and death? Times Staff Writer Gary Libman queried students at Foshay Junior High School near the Coliseum and at Beckford Avenue School in Northridge. Times Staff Writer Michael Quintanilla talked with two teens, Anthony and Tina, who say they have tried to kill others.

March 18, 1993|Gary Libman | Times Staff Writer

Students from Beckford Avenue School included third-graders Amy Morgenstern and Jeffrey Sperling, and fourth-graders Kyle Clayton, Michael Lichtman, Rudy Clemens and Sonny Kohli. Q: How do you feel about the recent violence?

Jeffrey Sperling, 8: It's scary. . . . Because I think that maybe someday I'll get killed or maybe some of my friends.

Michael Lichtman, 9: I want to get an education, but in high school, people are getting killed, so it's hard to go. I'm afraid.

Q: Have you known anyone who has been shot or killed?

Rudy Clemens, 10: My cousin got shot three times and his friend got killed. They were on his friend's front porch on 57th Street in Los Angeles. I was kind of mad because my cousin was someone I used to play with.

Q: Have you ever seen guns?

Kyle Clayton, 9: A friend who lives next door to us . . . let my dad borrow a little pistol for protection. I saw it, but I didn't let my sister see it because she was only 5. My dad hid it so no one could find it.

Michael: My grandpa has a motor home. He takes us camping. He keeps a gun so in case a bear attacks, he can shoot it.

Q: Have any of you ever shot a gun?

All: No.

Q: Do you think the shows you watch make young people violent?

Sonny Kohli, 10: They should not have that much violence. If you get shot in cartoons, it doesn't hurt. Little kids may think if you shoot someone in real life it doesn't hurt either.

Rudy: They showed Bart Simpson and the cartoons he watches. It's Itchy and Scratchy. Scratchy's head gets cut off and tons of blood are coming out and he doesn't die. He screws his head back on and starts chasing Itchy.

Q: This is in cartoons. Do you think killing is ever OK in real life?

Kyle: If someone does a bad crime, kills somebody and serves time, and gets back out and keeps on killing, he should be put in the gas chamber.

Sonny: Can't he be put in jail for life? They don't have weapons in jail, so he couldn't hurt anyone. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Q: Where do you think young people get guns?

Jeffrey: Why would someone want to sell a gun to a kid?

Michael: They sell it because they want the money.

Q: Why do you think people kill other people?

Kyle: People mainly get shot and killed because of gang members. If one gang shoots, the other gang gets mad and wants to shoot back. A gang will try to shoot somebody and hit someone else.

Jeffrey: The drugs are controlling their bodies. Drunkenness will make you want to kill somebody.

Q: How do you feel about the future in school?

Amy Morgenstern, 8: At some schools, they need metal detectors. I think that's scary. I wouldn't want to go to a school if there was a chance there would be guns and knives. I want to go to a high school that never has fights.

Michael: We're going to move where there's a better high school and not as many fights, but by the time I get to high school, they might have fights there too.

Q: Did you hear about the bicycle shop owner who was allegedly shot by the 12-year-old boy?

Sonny: I just read about it in the newspaper a couple of days ago. I felt sad because an innocent man was killed just over a bike. He died and he seemed like a real nice guy.

Los Angeles Times Articles