100 days, 100 nights

By: Phil Shuman

It was a vocal, angry, hurt, and frustrated group that gathered outside the Sentinel Newspaper offices on Crenshaw Blvd this morning. They were there to talk about ''restoring'' their neighborhoods, going into ''hot zones'' and talking ''eyeball to eyeball'' with the people victimized by and perpetrating this violence, trying to reverse the alarming spike in gang shootings that claimed at least one life and sent others to the hospital on the very day of this gathering.

Among them speaking out today were mothers who've lost sons, like Betty Hammond, who's only son Ricco was shot and killed for no apparent reason this past June outside a market near their home in the "Vermont Knolls "' area of South LA .

"We live in fear, we have domestic terrorists running around in our neighborhoods and nothing is being done." Well that's not exactly true but her frustration is understandable when she says what she hears from overburdened homicide detectives that ''we're working on it.''

The ''solutions'' if you will to stopping the insanity of gang members shooting at each other and often at innocent victims is a complex one that involves parenting, schooling, jobs, opportunities, education, community involvement, all of that. It's complex and not easily defined, because if it was easy to simply 'stop'' gang violence it would've been gone long ago. I talked to one man at the scene today who said when he was growing up, there were 18 people living in his household and every one of them was a gang member. He said if that's all you know, that' what you do.

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