Sunday, July 31, 2005

Something's not right here.

A buddy of mine mentioned to me last week that my blog was getting a bit heavy lately. I'm have to agree with him, but really, it's not like I'm making this stuff up. There have just happened to be lots of shootings recently in the LA area and I just happen to be the lucky photog picked to cover a fair amount of them.

It gets to be a downer at times, but it helps me a lot that I manage to keep it all in perspective. I've got a good life and I'm determined to enjoy as much of it as I can.

Friday I covered the shooting death of Loli Castaneda. He was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Ralph's market at the corner of Vermont and Adams. This wasn't the first shooting I've covered recently. It wasn't the second or third either.

It's like there's two different worlds. There's the one that I live in. It's the one where people play by the rules and there's peace and happiness as long as you're willing to work for it.

Then there's the world I see when I go to work. I don't live in that world. I'm more like a ghost, just bearing witness to events that I don't have any control over.

There's probably a lot of people who feel exactly like that when they're watching these things on the news. We see the events of the day and we aren't affected by them. We simply go on about the business of our lives, because there's nothing we can do to change the way things are in the world.

I don't know if that's absolutely true.

While doing the live shots on Friday from the street in front of the 77th Division Station, we met a group of teens and young adults from the Victory Outreach ministry. Keep in mind when most people speak of South Central Los Angeles, they're talking about a large chunk of the area that the 77th Division covers.

The intersection of Florence and Normandie, considered to be the starting point of the 1992 Los Angles riots, is less than a mile from where we were going live.

Right after our last liveshot (after 11:00pm), this group walks past our van. From looking at them, you could tell they weren't exactly from that neighborhood.

Sorry, but I was thinking, okay, we're gonna be sending a crew back down here tomorrow.

They stopped and we talked with them a bit. Found out a little about why they were out there at that time of night in an area that I'd think twice or more about walking in after dark (or during the day for that matter).

Well, they simply wanted to help people. They were willing to take action and they were out on the streets because this is what they believe in.

Do I think they're crazy?

Well, there's no simple answer. I really feel that-- Hellooooooo? Okay, yeah, I think they're nuts for walking around that neighborhood!

It's probably nothing they haven't heard before. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe I'm being a little too quick to judge. After all, I've often questioned my own sanity for being in places like that.

Lots of arguments could be made for why either us media types or their group should or shouldn't do what we do. I just admit I respect them for their bravery and for following their faith. I wouldn't tell them not to do this, but I don't believe everyone should dedicate their life to helping the world in this way. I tend to feel that open hands have made as many victims as they've helped.

With all that's going on in the world, I guess I'd rather have more people who are willing to try. It's pretty obvious that we have enough people who aren't.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that there aren't really two separate worlds. There's only just the one and we all live in it.

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