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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Essay

A Senseless Crime We Live With

September 16, 2000|DARREL W. REDICK | Darrel W. Redick lives in Venice

This week, a friend of mine was killed. The reason: He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It sounds like something so distant and removed, but it happened here, near my beloved beach.

My friend was an innocent victim of a battle that has been going on for years between Culver City and Venice gangs. He belonged to neither.

He was a Santa Monican; a former Venetian, bringing his kids "home" for a family visit. A car drove down the street, its occupants--members of one "group" firing gunshots at any person of the enemy "group." Now my friend, caught in the crossfire, is dead. Now his wife, his widow, knows the meaning of "till death do us part." Now, his three children are forever without their father, and Grandpa's favorite boy will not be bringing the kids by next week.

Five minutes before it happened, I was driving down that same street with my daughter to pick up maple syrup and orange juice for Sunday breakfast.

When I attempted to get back home after the market stop, the streets were blocked by police cars and emergency vehicles. About 45 minutes later, my family received a phone call from friends telling us that the traffic delay was because of the death of our friend.

One of my first reactions was anger. When something like this happened in the old days, my "boys" and I would have sought revenge immediately. Swift and severe was our approach. We never really considered the consequences, beyond our being able to boast that we had "straightened things out." Now I am a 44-year-old husband and father, a Marine who learned the hard way that the screams and tears of a suffering parent are the same in any language.

I don't know what I, as an individual, can do about this. Frankly, I don't know what you can do either. Maybe just think about it.

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