Random Hero

Standard issued street soldiers. That’s how I refer to cops after I heard Henry Rollings use those very words to describe them and at times that’s what they are. My first post on here was about a check point and me talking trash and putting the cops in bad light. Fellow bloggers and readers have also expressed their dislike of authority figures whether it’s from personal experience of just hearing about they’re oppression from other’s who have gone through it. However recent events have changed my view of officers. It only takes one bad apple to ruin the rest and leave a bad taste in your mouth. Over the weekend I was threatened with a knife over my stupid phone. You can read the whole story on my personal blog. During the whole incident I was dumb founded by the help that came my way. A person actually took a stand and did something about what happened to me. A random stranger became my Random Hero and went out of his way to make sure that the mocoso who threatened me with a knife was caught by the MTA sheriffs. That’s another thing, the sheriffs actually showed up on time and caught the mocoso as he tried to make a run for it. To me, it feels like too much of a big deal was made for a stupid phone. None the less, what happened to me that Friday night at the railway station will stay with me. I myself have helped other’s in need when no one else would help them. Maybe it was karma returning the favor, La Virgen looking out for me like she always does or something completely different. What ever it was, I’m grateful and appreciative for those who helped me, even though I may have lost my faith in them and talked trash about them. It’s easy to condemn other’s and just go about living your life not caring about anyone else. that’s why it does my heart good to know that THERE ARE people out there who actually give a rat ass about their fellow human beings. That being said, that’s the last time I bad mouth the jura. And remember, there will come a day when we will be in need of a Random Hero, because even a Hero needs saving sometimes.

13 thoughts on “Random Hero

  1. same person can be a hero or a villain depending on the circumstances of the particular moment. can’t really tell beforehand based on their blue (or khaki/green) uniform. glad to hear it all worked out this time.

  2. Sorry to hear about your experience. It’s so hard to make a judgment in those circumstances. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint and have been mugged and both times I chose not to involve the police. I just couldn’t see how in my particular circumstance it would help anything.
    However, when I was mugged and had my purse stolen, I did fight back which I guess was kinda stupid but something came over me. It was weird. The guy tripped as he tried to run away and I was over him, trying to hit him! LOL! I didn’t even have one dollar in my purse. Just a Rius book my friend had brought me from Mexico. I was hoping someone would come help me but there was no one around.
    I’m glad *you* had a couple of heroes on your side!

  3. Sorry to hear about your experiences… I’d be more afraid of a knife (I just think it would hurt more) although I have been threatened with a gun before.

    I’ve had bad experiences with a couple of cops, but overall, I have a positive view of them.

    Years ago, I was driving by Macarthur Park (side street off 7th and lake) and saw 3 guys (the type that solicit papers) getting into it with one guy. As I was driving, I maneuvered quickly towards the sidewalk as if I were going to stop and get off — well, the bluff worked, and all took off running. I remained there for a few seconds until the victim was also out of sight running in the opposite direction as the other 3 guys, then I took off. The key is not to get off your car if you don’t have to. You can use your car as a shield and as a weapon (that’s what my dad engrained in me growing up – hey it was a tough pueblito where I was raised).

    CCW anyone?

  4. hijole. good thing you didn’t get hurt especially over a phone
    and you know, congrats on sharing your story and having the balls to let peeps know your opinion on the coppers has changed.

    that random hero of the night that stood up for you has some good karma coming.

  5. I think this is great Random Hero and I don’t want to be the voice of the negative nelly, but that’s my job.

    You were in Universal City and that to me points to the problem. In Universal City the cops make an effort (on the rails cops make an effort) to catch people doing bad things, but what if you had been in East LA or South Central, where are the cops then? If you were at the bus stop on the 40 going to Compton and someone robbed you I would bet my life savings the cops would never show up.

    Why does their sense of urgency decrease depending on the neighborhood? Or mode of transport. You think a robbery on the Metrolink would happen with no consequences, the rails they are making an effort, car jacking that was a big deal in the 90s with lots of jail time attached to it, but the bus? You can kill and jack someone at the bus stop and nothing. No news coverage, no increased jail time no cops, no politicians crying outrage, no sympathy, no nothing.

    I want to like cops, I really do. I want them to be fair and just and decent, but in general they are not, but it is not their fault they are working for other people, rich business people, politicians who want to be elected and that’s why some sections of the city are war zones and others they fight to keep that from happening.

    And many people will say, “Well someone helped.” And I say to that the reason someone helped is because it was in Universal City and that may not happen in South LA or East LA because helping and holding the guy do the cops comes would mean the cops wouldn’t come and maybe a whole set of other problems like your death may happen later and that’s because of a systematic no response from the police in certain sections of town and people act accordingly to their prior experience.

    If I were in Santa Monica, West LA or Universal City I would be a hero too if I could, because I would know that the cops would come back me up and recognize me as a hero, but in South LA or on the Eastside, well I may think twice, because I know nothing would come up it but my name being possibly added to the homicide report on the LA Times (black female 30 dead, possibly gang or drug related, we aren’t sure and don’t really care) and if they did come they would probably question me and ask me if I were part of it. Maybe I’m old and jaded, but hey…what can I say.

  6. When I was writing this up I had you in mind Browne and I though to myself, “What would Browne say ?” I totally agree with and everything you just wrote as sad as that is to say. Things do work out differently for better and worse depending on what part of town your in. Apathy is prevalent anywhere and the fact that at least someone stepped up reminded me not to be like everyone else. People have gone and seen much worse and to me loosing my phone wasn’t a big deal. Things come and go but I can’t die, least not yet. Like you wrote, I too would be just another blurb on the homicide blog or on the evening news. Despite you valid and just point, things happen for a reason and I’m grateful for what the helped I recieved.

  7. ‘Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.’
    — Oliver Wendell Homes

    Browne,

    santa monica pd is not that quick in responding. I can compare it East LA SD and it is about the same response time. In santa monica I was calling from a business which you would think would have a higher priority.

    Do you think heroes act because they know that they can count on the cops saving their skin in case something goes wrong??? I doubt that!

    Services that we receive in our community are directly related to the amount of taxes that are collected. Pretty much we get what we pay.

    In a recent example the republicans supported the bailout, but they are against higher taxes. Que pendejos. Let’s work and pay our taxes and then demand.

  8. Urbanista,

    What’s that quote mean? Are you saying people on the Eastside and South LA are barbarians?

    I get that across the board response time might not always be quicker, but in general statistically it is quicker in the more economically wealthy (not necessarily the most tax paying, most contributors to policians, most likely to illegally grease the wheels…) sides of town. I would bet even in Santa Monica that has its own police department I could guess with relative ease which sections the cops take their time in and what sections they don’t. I would bet north of Wilshie in Santa Monica the response times are much quicker than south of Wilshire where traditionally less economically wealthy people have lived. Your business is south of Wilshire correct?

    Are you saying that people in poorer sections of town don’t pay taxes (which is untrue) and owing to that they deserve to be terrorized? Are you saying your business south of Wilshire deserves to get robbed, because the people around you or you yourself don’t pay enough taxes?

    I would bet that the working class and middle class people of the Eastside and the South LA pay a higher percentage of their income to the gov’t than the very rich of LA who are able to move their moneey around and get tax breaks owing to clever accountants.

    And owing to prop 13 many people who got their houses years ago and though their homes are worth more (less now) they aren’t paying anything and income, well as I said a good accountant can easily get around that.

    I’m not rich and I owe money every year and I have friends that are making considerably more than me who never pay a dime in taxes. I want the same treatment by the police in downtown as everyone else, because I know that I pay my taxes and really that’s not that point. I (and many others) can disprove your logic if this conversation continues. Two people can be treated vastly different living in the same city, paying the same taxes.

    Their is a systematic non-response by the police owing not only to class, but owing to race and immigration status and that’s a problem.

    Browne

  9. El Random Hero,

    I think when good things happen to us we should celebrate them, nothing wrong with that.

    I was thinking when you wrote this post about the incident in South LA where a 16 year old girl was beat by a grown man at McDonalds and thinking of the responses of “why didn’t anyone step in?” or the “Why don’t people PoC ever call the police or report people?” And I just want to give people who might care to go beyond the black people and latinos are barbarians an answer as to why this happens. It happens owing to fear, fear because the police doesn’t do their job or over does their job. There is a very harsh relationship between the LAPD and communities of colors and that has been on purpose. They purposely brought Parker (that’s the guy who the LAPD headquarters is named after look him up) here in 1950 because they wanted him to deal with the people of color “problem” in Los Angeles. He purposely filled the rank and file of the LAPD with good old boys from the South and encouraged an all on attack on people of color and all the techniques still used today the thin blue line to the military like demeanor and breaking heads comes directly from that history.

    When William H Parker came in to the LAPD in 1950 he ushered in a rein of terror on the black and brown communities of Los Angeles, one that even today our communities are still recovering from.

    Again as I said I do not just blame the LAPD, but they are a moderate part of a larger problem.

    Browne

  10. browne,

    Look, no one deserves to be robbed – the biggest crime is when you threaten someones life. You threaten me with my life, I have the right to defend myself and kill you.

    I feel like I’m in the spin zone the way you are twisting things here. Are you saying that people in the Eastside don’t pay taxes? I do! Are you saying that there aren’t any heroes in the Eastside?

    The business (not my business – I’m just a “goy” working for the man) is on Wilshire. So now, you are breaking down by sector of santa monica when you first made a blanket statement about santa monica. Ok, then I am sure that the response time in East LA is much better around 3rd street than it is in my neighborhood which is in the border of commerce and montebello. Two people being treated differently living in the same neighborhood doesn’t surprise me either – look, cops will profile and if you look like you are up to no good then what do you expect? Also, if you look like a crazy homeless person, cops are going to think that they dropped you off the hospital and are not going to believe you… If you disrespect the police, then what type of response or attitude will you get back from the police?

    Look, the mother’s milk of a city is the property tax – 1% of the assessed value plus other assessments – PERIOD! Then you have your sales tax, business license, parking fines etc… Then this money gets allocated to schools, police, library, parks & recreation, public works etc…

    Can you explain to me about the accountant tricks because my boss would be really interested in saving all this money — over $600k in property taxes – we received the bills this week. Maybe you’ll get a piece of the savings. Hasn’t prop 13 benefited every homeowner whether in the Eastside, South or Westside? Even if you buy a house in today’s market, you’ll be protected from huge assessments.

    “I’m not rich and I owe money every year and I have friends that are making considerably more than me who never pay a dime in taxes. I want the same treatment by the police in downtown as everyone else, because I know that I pay my taxes and really that’s not that point. I (and many others) can disprove your logic if this conversation continues. Two people can be treated vastly different living in the same city, paying the same taxes.”

    This is probably because you get a 1099 since you’ve mentioned before that you don’t have a regular job and that means that there were no withholdings from your checks. On the other hand, your friends who earned more had more money withheld and had either some of their own money coming back or just had to pay a small amount.

    Suerte Browne…

  11. In the City of LA, the LAPD BASIC Cars assigned to neighborhoods have way too much to cover. The urban form just sprawls across and I would presume makes it more difficult to get to every single item in addition to the understaffing in some municipal departments.

    In a meeting I had w/ a police chief from another small city (on quality of life issues)..he pretty much summed it up as, “if there’s a call for a domestic violence in progress, that will be the immediate priority.” FYI, this crime has shot through the roof as of recent.

    Overall, I do believe community relations with the police in the areas that I work/live/play have improved from the wild 80’s experiences immortalized in NWA lyrics. Some of the many kids I grew up going to grade school with (e.g. African-American and Latina/o) are now officers serving their neighborhoods, and this has definitely made a difference.

    Bus stops beyond the apparent lack of police attention, are just flat out poorly (e.g. ugly/blightful)designed, as well as poorly placed/situated…more so in working-class suburban type settings (e.g. Pacoima, Sun Valley, etc).

    Brown, I do agree with you in that sense that our best hope for a more livable city is how we treat our bus users and the amenities that they use. The most used stops are sometimes the most shitty ones.

  12. Urbanista,

    My prior post said that response times are slower for the Eastside and South side of LA than they are in all of Santa Monica, I stand by that.

    Your response.

    ‘Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.’
    – Oliver Wendell Homes your quote

    “santa monica pd is not that quick in responding. I can compare it East LA SD and it is about the same response time.”

    My response to your quote and your implication that all of the facts that are readily available about the slow response on the Eastside and South LA was for me to state that your tax argument was flawed.

    And to quote myself:

    I would bet that the working class and middle class people of the Eastside and the South LA pay a higher percentage of their income to the gov’t than the very rich of LA….

    Then you respond and say this:

    “Are you saying that people in the Eastside don’t pay taxes?”

    My points were pretty clear. How did you get that from my statement when that was your implication, with that Homes quote, which I’m really confused as to what you were trying to say with that? Maybe I misunderstood.

    On one hand your using that quote, you are bringing up Republicans not paying their fair share, but on the same hand you pooh-pooh the working man and woman for not working hard enough. How much harder can people work? Americans are working harder than they ever have for less. Look it up.

    And the eastside comment, you can’t just make up stuff to make what you say right. I mean you can, but I debate facts. Facts and statistics, not personal anecdotes about mom or grandma or a guy I work for.

    If I used my personal story in regards to my accomplishments me being what I am ethnically this is a great country, but I’m in touch with reality and I know my eyes can lie. You can’t be objective with your story, but you can be objective with facts.

    You can make any truth out of a personal anecdote. That’s how people are able to justify racism, sexism and homophobia.

    If you want to discuss this for real, cool if you want to “win” I’m ok with that I don’t care. You can make up whatever you like, but your opinions don’t match the facts. Even from our little interaction, anyone can read my comment and any of my prior posts and figure out exactly what I’m saying and no where have I ever implied that people on the Eastside or South LA don’t pay taxes. That is what you implied, maybe I am misinterpreting this:

    “Services that we receive in our community are directly related to the amount of taxes that are collected. Pretty much we get what we pay.” You.

    Then you go on to talk about disrespecting the police, who disrespects the police? Are you referring to me? I mean really 🙂 What do you think I’m doing going around giving the cops the middle finger and yelling pig? That’s not me…lol…seriously…my personality is not confrontational. On this forum, drinking coffee at a place where that is expected, yeah I can engage in discourse, but I try very hard to stay out of trouble.

    Expecting to be treated like an adult is not disrespecting the police. Informing the police of the law is not disrespecting the police. Not wanting to be assumed to be a criminal is not disrespecting the police. Pointing out their many flaws in policy is not disrespecting the police. They work for me, I don’t work for them. If the police do not like the service industry they can go to Wall Street.
    ______________________________________________________
    “The poorest fifth of California households, those with an average income of $11,100 pay 11.7% of their income on state and local taxes whereas the highest earning 1% of earners pay 7.1%. What is not recognized is the disproportionate share of paying the sales tax. An example given in a press conference call with the CBP is that if one with the means can hire someone to cut one’s lawn, no taxes are paid on that service. But if a person with less means purchases a lawn mower to cut their own lawn, that person has to pay sales tax on the purchase.

    In fact, over 1300 California households with over $200,000 of income paid no state personal income taxes at all! This is due to the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit, miscellaneous deductions, and the Research and Development credit.” Frank Russo

    http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/04/who_pays_taxes_1.html

    Here are the sections of they city you can open up a business that has absolutely nothing do with the community and get a big thank-you from the taxman (the sections with stars to the left represent even more goodies for you):

    * Antelope Valley (Palmdale, Lancaster)
    * Compton
    * Gardena
    * Hollywood
    * Huntington Park
    * Long Beach
    * Los Angeles – Central Downtown*
    * Los Angeles – East Side*
    * Los Angeles – Harbor Area
    * Los Angeles – Mid Alameda Corridor
    * Los Angeles – Northeast Valley
    * Lynwood
    * Pasadena / Altadena
    * Santa Clarita
    * Southgate
    * Wilmington

    Then you can go back to your house in West LA and get the police to show up if you sneeze while in Compton you have to mop up the blood of a person murdered outside of your house. That’s not ok and the answer in my opinion is not work harder.

    Browne

  13. Ok, I don’t know if the universe is messing with me or not.

    I have a good cop story. It just happened today.

    I was walking around Compton. I was a bit lost. This cop person was driving by in his car. And he asked me if I needed help. I told him the street I was looking for and he said, “Where’s your car?” As in where’s my car so he could tell me where to go and I said, “I don’t have one, I take the bus.”

    Anyways he told me to hop in, because he’d drop me off, because my calculations of where I was supposed to be were WAY OFF.

    In the car he’s like, you really stand out around here (I seem to stand out everywhere and I’ve recently in the past year have made a real effort to look non stand outish).

    “You have a sign that says, please rob me. You are not from around here are you?” he continues.

    I told him that he was being negative. That I am from the world and that we can all walk around wherever we want with a positive attitude. I told him that I walk around Compton all of the time. I walk around all type of places. I explained to him that it’s important that we walk around South LA and Compton, because that will encourage more pedestrian friendly streets and blah, blah, blah, hippie shit, blah, blah and then finished with he should walk around too…and he smiles and he says, “Well that’s a very nice idea, but I would hate to see you dead,” because he’s a cop and all negative, because everybody hates him and his job is to catch bad guys, so that has probably got to mess up your perspective.

    I told him that nothing bad has ever happened to me in Compton and that everyone in general has been very nice, which is true. In Compton people go out of their way to say hi to me, even if I do look weird.

    As I stated earlier I was way off and he dropped me off pretty far and I thought that was super nice. I think that was my first nice interaction with a cop ever. He was also pretty cute and I’m pro cute guys with guns that I could potentially have loads of discussions with.

    I’d like to add he was completely professional and cop like. He was just trying to help and I thought that was very nice.

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