I took a bicycle and a camera over to the neighborhood where baby Andrew Garcia was murdered in his mother’s arms this past weekend.
There were cops parked in front of a frame house and a satellite truck crew from Univision hanging around. A helicopter had just circled the area, and women and children were walking home or back from school or errands.
A curbside shrine with balloons and burning religious candles marked the spot of the atrocity.
I expected some sort of a “slum” with garbage, graffiti, loud music, prostitutes and thugs. But what I found here was a decent place, of fairly well kept apartments, bordering an old and diligently tended street of small pre-war homes with green lawns, picket fences, front porches and flowers.
Maybe it was my projection, but parents seemed to guard their children more closely, and there was an air of mourning on the block, written on the faces of the living.
We want, so fervently, to believe that whomever died, was somehow the victim of gangs or bad parents, because this frees us from the moral responsibility of correcting or helping to change the ghastly culture of gun violence which makes urban life in America uniquely barbaric. No knife or rope could have shattered through the windshield glass and robbed a four-month old infant of 85 or 90 years of life.
All the official, educational and religious cornerstones of what we believe make up a civic and moral neighborhood are present in this district. Up the street are several churches, and a bible bookstore. The LAPD, the Municipal Building, the Superior Court, the Library are just blocks away.
Just yesterday, some of us observed a Day of Atonement, and accounted for our sins. Today, I came and recorded, on camera and in my heart, and later wrote about, the ultimate sin.