Inside (and in site) the mind of a former heroin addict and gang member… What are these muggers M.O. and motivation?

Not a gang… just a group….

I am sure that you (San Francisco) have heard about the rash of muggings going on in Bernal Heights.  We held our first Bernal Safety neighborhood meeting tonight at Bernal Community Center to get together and exchange information and discuss ideas to help us all stay safe.  The meeting was filled with a lot of information and ideas/suggestions most of which i am sure will be well outlined on http://www.bernalwood.wordpress.com by morning (if not, i will write a post in the morning with the update, because tonight, i want to give you this inside scoop).

After the meeting, i went home and got a call from a friend.  We began talking about what was going on and i gave him the basic low down.  This friend of mine did not used to be the way he is today and he tells me matter of fact that i would NOT have liked him at ALL if i would have met him back then.  Not many people did.

Back then, my friend was a bad heroin addict and was a legitimate gang member.  He had a bad habit and was not unfamiliar with violence and crime.  This is some of the things he says he feels about these perps.  Mind you, these are just his insights and opinions not the iron truth about the perpetrators.  However knowing him, he is probably pretty close to right on target….  Let the information begin….

  • The first thing that he told me was that they are probably taking the money to flip it to buy drugs to flip that to make bigger money.  Most likely there is a drug connection.
  • He is really insistant on this one… they are most likely NOT affiliated with a gang.  In the gangs, blacks and hispanics do not inter-mingle.  In fact, there is a lot of bad blood between the two races in the gangs. So he thinks that they are NOT gang affiliated but just 3 guys that most likely are….
  • Living here and are probably NATIVE San Francisco-ers.  They know this city and the neighborhood too well.  The nooks and crannies.  That tells that they have spent a lot of years tooling around the city streets and feel right at home here on main OR small streets.
  • They probably live near Bernal… possibly in the lower lying lands.  Most likely in a rougher neighborhood where illegal activity and violence are an every day thing for them to see since they were small.  This is their world and their lifestyle.  Crime is what pays when getting a job out there is virtually impossible (especially if you dropped out of high school or come from an impoverished neighborhood that does not show opportunities to its youth the way wealthy and affluent neighborhoods seem to.. (and even those neighborhoods kids are having a hard time not to mention the adults).
  • He said that he really doubts that they want to shoot and kill anyone.  They dont want to increase the incarceration time involved with a murder if caught.  The violence or threat of violence does enough.  They still accomplish their goal.  If they wanted to kill somebody they would have by now.   I questioned this since they most likely are the same ones that shot the guy in the hand at 30th and mission last week and pistol whipped a victim.  But he remains very insistant on this not being the case.  He says not because they have feelings about taking a life but because the consequences involved if caught.  (that makes more sense).
  • My friend said that his options to come up if he was dope sick and needed drugs was either to steal it or to sell his body.  He chose the first but he said

    “I did what i needed to do when i was dope sick on heroine.  Robbing people was an easy way for me to do that. “

  • They are probably living in a very poor native neighborhood where crime is an every day happening.  It is a way of life.  Poverty and drug abuse and violence is a way of life.  They are probably living in or near the projects and most likely have an (at least one) abusive parent(s). 

There you have it folks.  From the mouth of someone who (seriously regrets his actions as a youth) has lived it first hand.

It is also something to think about… People can change.  People can make better lives and choices for themselves.  People are often just a product of their environment and until we have walked a day in someone else’s shoes, we really could not know what it is like to have to live their life.  Anyone can make a change for the better in their lives.  I personally know someone who managed the impossible and did so. He corrects me and says he is still IN the process of DOING so.

I say… good for him!

By the way.  I am so glad that i still live in a true old school mentality of neighborhoods.  It feels like it used to.  I love the fact that we are all working together.  Strength in numbers and knowledge is power.  You are AWESOME BERNAL!!

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At 38 years old and One fish can still create One Thousand tears! (this can’t be normal is it? Who cares! I loved my damn fish!)

He was a part of my family… Me, my kitty Arthur and Tyrone.  Now i guess Arthur and I must go on alone.  At least Tyrone had a much better end of his life but i also fear that i may have killed him because i just cleaned his home yesterday and he was ok.  When i received Tyrone, he had been living in a Dixie cup and had been being fed oatmeal!  After getting him into a proper fish apartment, with proper food, he almost doubled in size!  Tyrone was a TOUGH FISH and a survivor big time!  At least i know that i made the last half a year of his life a much better existence with clean water and food and play.  I would talk to Tyrone every day to say hello and i think he knew we were his new family. (Arthur sure did!  Whenever he heard me talking to Tyrone, he would come out into the kitchen and give me this look like.. “you better not be talking sweet to some other animal!”  But i think he got used to Tyrone being part of our family too. Anyway, I just dont know and will never know if it was something in my doing with the cleaning of his water yesterday, and can not go back in time if it was my fault.  All i can do is mourn the loss of a little fish spirit that brought me and so many others a little bit of joy.

 

I will you miss you my tough guy Tyrone!  Thank you for allowing another cross species interaction/ friendship to take place and may you go to a better place… (maybe next time coming back a little higher up on the food chain?).  May you rest with the fishes and in peace!

RIP TYRONE!

i will miss you!

You must wait another year before you can FEAR THE BEARD again! :(

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Giants pitcher Brian Wilson undergoes Tommy John surgery today on his pitching elbow.  The good news… There is about a 90% success rate with this surgery.  This # may be a little bit lower for 30 year old Wilson, due to the fact that this will be his 2nd time having this surgery.  The first time being in college at LSU which evidently was successful!  Hopefully he will still have success after having it done twice. 

…The bad news, We will have to wait at least a year in order to (hopefully!) be able to watch this superstar pitcher throw that ball with attitude!  

This does not by any way mean that us Giants fans will not be threatening our opponents with Fear the Beard while we wait. …And we are willing to wait because it is not every day that one acquires a pitcher with so much style that falls outside of the norm which in turn gives him ULTIMATE STYLE!  

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It will probably be more painful for him to have to sit on the sidelines the whole season wanting to grab a piece of the action but unable to than it will be for us to wait.  Our hearts goes out to our Dear Beard!  And our wishes of a successful and speedy recovery.  

Although not on field this 2012 season, I would bet my lifesaver on the fact that he influences his teammates to pulling out some of their best work by being such a personality force and team player.  I tell you, me personally,  would not mind having Brian Wilson in my dugout this year! 😉

Regardless of our temporary loss, i still feel really strong about our team this season, especially with our recent addition of dear Milky!  So lets keep up the talent and try and take the world championships again this year!Image

(these are a few of the beard going up in my dear bernalwood neighborhood.  We love having the beard here keeping us company in Bernal Heights. Stencil work thanks to local street artist Get Up!)

I have noticed since my own Grandma’s passing just how many of us use WordPress to express mourning.

I started my blog, i think around last November.  I was inspired by our AWESOME local Bernalwood.Wordpress.com blog (which is one of the cleverest blog and communities that i have ever come across!) to start my own.  They were on WordPress so i signed up in turn.

It was incredibly easy to get stared.  It was however, a little bit harder to create a cohesive blog.  I did not even think about that when i started it.  I guess i just thought it would be about any and everything that interested me or that I found amusing or outrageous.  This lead to a lot of re-blogging.  I really felt a little like I was cheating by doing more of this than actual writing myself but i did not know in what direction to start these writings.

Then came December 23, 2011

My roommate had a cat named Tiki.  She was the runt, that was not breathing, from the litter from her mother, who was brought in as an alley cat and died shortly after giving birth.  Tiki may not have come into this world without a helping breath from Jason, but once she got here, she was a toughie!

When i moved into the house, Jason was not home very much (like i mean ever!) and the other roommate ended up mostly feeding her .  As soon as i got there, I was it.  I was adopted new mommy. She picked me as her mom and was by my side from that day forward.  She slept with me, she was fed by me, she even went on a short  walk around the block with me.  She was basically mine by then.  But she was also Jason’s because he raised her. We both loved her very very much.

On December 23, 2011, she died.  It was one of them most awful, violent, horrendous experiences I have ever had to witness.  I think i will always be a little bit traumatized from watching her writhe in pain and howl, with blood coming out of her mouth, over about 20 LONG minutes until she finally died.

I was NOT prepared!  I knew she was 19 years old, but to go out in such a painful way….  It was just awful to every sense of the word.

That moment was when it all came together for me.  That was the time that i decided to do my 10 day homage to Tiki, ending on Dec. 31, 2011.  I thought i would be able to grieve and honor her and also start my new year with some closure.  (It also helped that the next day after she died, i rescued Arthur from being put to death by about 2 hours on Christmas Eve.

Since then, i have had 2 friends pass as well as my Grandma.  Maybe i am extra aware of it because it is so fresh, but i really have been noticing how a lot of people use WordPress as a vehicle to pay homage to those that we love, that we lose.

I know for me personally, it has been EXTREMELY cathardic to the point of almost therapy to have had this outlet to use to express all the emotions tied up in that kind of loss.  From what i keep seeing on people’s blogs, I think others have found this too.

It is really cool because not only can you alert people that you have had a loss, but, you can do a tribute to that person so that their death becomes less about you and your greif, and more about the person you lost and their life.

So for this amongst a lot of other things, I thank you WordPress. for creating a forum for all of us to honor those we have loved and lost!

I miss you Grandma, Tiki, Big Ben and Lentle (this is the dec-april 2012 list).  I hope you are in a place with no stress and pain and only positive energy that surounds your spirit!  I am looking up or out or around at you and i hope you are looking down or over or through or however it might work, to see how much the people in your life love and appreciate you.

(I could not do a piece on loss without saying ‘love you little guy’ to my kitty Sasha who passed away in 2007.  Still feels like yesterday

(above: Tiki about 3 months before her death.)

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(Above: Sasha and Me circa. 2003.)

(above: Family (dad taking picture) circa 1978 with Grandma leading us to our departure gate)

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A clarification of my blog. What it is about, and where it is headed in 2012.


I have been doing some 2012 new thinking lately.  A few things are creating this need to reflect upon my life and what it is all about not to mention this blog.

I started this blog as a neighborhood blog and posted on relavent things that i was interested in (Art and design and craft and clever things.)  It quickly became an outlet for an extreem and sudden loss of my roommates kitty  (who was mine by this time because she had adopted me almost immediately upon moving in 2 years prior and my roommate rarely came home).  She was 19 so it was her time, but it was an incredibly sudden and violent death.  VERY traumatizing.  It all happened over about 20 minutes of horrific body spasms and drooling a lot of blood.  The most heart wrenching yeowling in body writhing pain right on my bed in front of me.  My roommate happened to be home at the time (OH THANK GOD!!) and we were all crying and screaming and telling her it was ok to let go and that we loved her.)  She died in my roommates arms.  Just where she should have because she was born not breathing and he breathed for her and she came to life and so i guess one could say it was full circle.  Regardless, it was HORRIBLE to have had to watch.  I was devastated as was everyone who witnessed it.

My blog now had turned into a healing and honoring device that helped me create closure with the loss.  I also got my new little kitty Arthur 2 days after Tiki died.  The loss of her life allowed me to save little Arthur who was slated to be put to death the following day at 3pm.  I picked him up at 1pm.  He was so terrified but has really come so far in just 3 short months.  He now sleeps and hangs out on not under the bed and now has even let several people other than myself pet him.  Every day or two i have a new breakthrough with him it seems.  It is really rewarding.  And as he becomes more comfortable he shows more and more of his personality.  He is hilarious.  A true character.  More to come on this in the future, but i must get back to my original point.

I went to a great little store opening tonight down the street so i could check it out and do a posting on it (watch for it.  I am going to go back and do some photographing without all of the people there to showcase this cool shop that sells electric bycicles)  I asked someone who the owner was to get permission to take a few photos.  I explained to him that i wrote a little blog.  I may have even said neighborhood blog, but i realize that i have moved from writing and posting really relavent things to me, i had begun using it in a similar way to facebook.  It was a depository of reposted blogs that i thought were interesting with a few personally written blogs intermixed.  I think i needed to do this because not only was i mourning the death of our kitty but also two friends and an ended relationship of a year.  I was really stressed out, scattered and depressed.  The blog although was not my own writings as much, kept me still looking for things that impacted me in a profound enough way to believe it worthy of rebloging or posting.

There is nothing wrong with doing this.  It creates a depository of relavent entertainment to the times pertaining to my life.  A snapshot of culture from my perspective so to say.  But when i started to think about it, i realized that there was no real common thread to my blog.  I hadnt been writing as much about my city and neighborhood.  It was and is kinda all over the place.

I may not correct this 100% but i think it is time for me to really figure out what this blog of mine is all about.  Is it a sort of therapy?  Is it a modern culture statement?  Is it a design and art/craft showcase?  Is it a way to have a voice in this ever failing time?  I dont know, but i promise this to all of you sweet people who have followed the hodge podge of interests posted here so far, that I am going to start really writing again here.  In a sense it is going to also be part online journal.  A way for me to think aloud.

This works well in two ways.  First, i will not ever have to worry about another house fire putting my journals at risk or a move losing them, and second, i can write a lot more before my hands begin going numb while typing than writing.  I will still keep journals.  That will never leave me, but i am going to trust in the readers that they will accept my writing as a thank you to them listening to my thoughts.

It will also continue to be a neighborhood blog as well as a city blog.  However,  i havent wanted to start getting too upset and angry in my observations, and lately, that has been the thoughts associated with things that i see happening in this (once) GREAT! and now Good city of San Francisco (see posting on Sherif Ross Mirkirimi’s political witch hunt).  So i am going to write what i am pondering and what i feel and what i see around me and what i discover, and who i am.

I just thought that of this leap year with the Mayan calendar ending and all, i would begin to clarify my direction hopefully to both you all and to myself.

I look forward to seeing whats in store for us!  I hope you are too.

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The sky was on fire tonight.

When I went outside tonight this is what I saw. I think this is the closest thing to what I would consider to look like the sky being on fire.

It was really beautiful!

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To dream of the produce isle… Now this is the Good Life!!

That’s right folks.  The Good Life is right here in Bernalwood!  And you too can go to their produce isle to dream like i do!  It just amazes me every time i get to the end of the frozen food isle, stop, look forward and left….  Perfect PERFECT isle and end caps! The most beautiful and might I say amazing foods!  ( The Good Life supports a lot of local organic foods to stock their lovely store with!) …and they always are in the most picture perfect stacks.  I could spend a good chunk of minutes observing the beautiful vegetables and fruits.  It is a great escape!

Once you get closer, you can really see what they have stocked up there.  They don’t have a huge space to display their goodies but the space they have is used so well, i have actually found amongst the staples, some really wild and exotic produce.

So without further ado… I present you, some of the latest things that caught my eye at…

THE GOOD LIFE’S PRODUCE ISLE!

…This one in the center above is a broc0lli!  It sure would impress my friends at my next dinner party!

At our favorite healthy market on Cortland & Andover, the Good Life, I have become somewhat obsessed with their produce/veggy isle/section.   “APPLAUSE”  for you produce meistro!  You keep your section so perfect at any time at all, that i can come and sly like snap these photos of your beautiful and unusual bounty of earth’s goodness….

You should go and see how beautiful it is to eat so healthy.

Now you can say that you know where TO GO to get your faux mustaches!

Hello there San Francisco!  More specifically Bernalwood!  I have to show you the most incredible fake mustache collection i have ever found in the city.  You can find the wall of stash at our lovely neighborhood gift store Heartfelt.  Stop in and be wow’d by the extent of faux stashes!  Maybe it will move you to have a Mustache Themed party!!

mustaches cont.