I once handled a phone call from a customer who expressed to me the utter amazement that our store was open. He called during the summer of 2006 when a half dozen major wildfires were burning up So. Cal. "I can't believer your open right now" he said, "with all the fires and earthquakes and gang shootings..." he went on to list a few other things. I laughed inside because this is the impression I'm think a lot of people have of living in Southern California. On a recent trip to New Zealand I was confronted by kind but inquisitive hosts by the fact that only 24 people last year in New Zealand died as a result of gun violence. An hour spent studying with the police scanner providing background noise of the LAPD Valley division reported 4 shooting incidents, one a possible fatality, in just ONE hour! "How do you live with such violence?" my Kiwi friends asked me, "Do you own a gun?" I replied with a jovial "Yes I do, and so does my wife and now that my 18 month old is walking we're thinking it might be time for him to get one as well!"
The perceived my joke and I went on to explain that LA is well honestly a lot of things. There are some pretty mean streets here where even cops tread lightly. But there are also far more places to visit and live that provide an almost unparalleled standard of living. I a new, occasional series of posts I want to reinterpret the LA persona for my readers. Granted I am a white guy with a young children which means I probably won't be pounding the pavement at midnight in some quarters but neither do most folks either. But I hope to show that LA is a vibrant place, even one where you could raise kids without them getting too screwed up along the way.
This is going to be tough though because I know that gunfire and violence are part of living in LA but at least we've grown so accustomed to it that if the officials know there's going to be trouble, they at least have the decency to put a road sign warning that it might mess up our commutes home!