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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 1999 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Returned yesterday from work related trip in LA LA Land. A strange place. No body walks, except the poor, homeless and predators. Made sense given the urban sprawl and after watching the nightly news which was dominated by Oscar hype, rapes, car chases and murder.

In the time I was there, one or two rapes reported per night. A serial rapist was on the loose, attacking two women by knife point in their homes. Little details except both women escaped somehow with "minor cuts and injuries." Does sexual assault fall under "minor injury?" Two separate incidents involving 11 year old girls getting raped. One woman raped in mall parking lot in broad daylight. One woman raped in her car, escaped, ran into a convenient store, and followed by the attacker. Video camera caught the attacker coming into the store without shirt and zipping his pants. Attacker ran back out, came back in fully dressed and proceeded to beat the woman he had raped earlier. The store clerk can be seen standing off to the side (doing nothing). Attacker then took off.

Just the nightly news and disquieting...

The highlight of the trip was meeting up with an email friend of three years. We went to an aikido dojo neither one of us are affiliated with. She's in an unaffiliated dojo and I'm with USAF. Great workout. Last day, we met for YOGA class (I no longer underestimate the physical/mental demands of Yoga), lunch and worked out for three hours on own doing a mish mash of weapons, boxing, and karate based techniques, none of which she tried before. She was game.

At the end of the evening, we talked about working out, crime and self protection. She showed me her (cheap) folding knife that she carries with her always. I asked her whether she would use it if she had to. She said yes. But, she quickly added that she didn't think a weapon is the solution for every woman. For example, she didn't think her mother or sister-in-law could ever use a weapon, be it stick, knife or gun. It's just not in them. She opined, however, that she could. Having just worked out with her, I believe she can. She has a certain spirit in her.

Fitting that this was my last night in LA. I felt better. I am sending her a good reliable tactical knife from my collection and hoping she never has to use it.

david


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 1999 1:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
David:

There really are places to walk in Los Angeles. BUT, I fear Jackson Browne has captured the feel of the city when he says, "just eight blocks from City Hall, where the rats run free and the whinos crawl..." A visit to the Ronald Reagan state building confirms Mr. Browne's observation, but in defense of L.A. it's not all bad.

I hope next time you have a chance to see the nicer side of L.A., or better yet, come to Northern California, but be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Oh, and if you find a perfectly safe city anywhere, let me know. (Brigadoon does not count.)

Peace.
Robb in Sacramento.


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 1999 10:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Hi Robb,

Actually, I get to the Bay Area about once a year. Love SF. It's a walkable city or public transportation is quick and easy. Last year, I walked from a dojo in Nob Hill to the Mission up to the Castro where I was staying with friends. Absolutely delightful to see the transition of neighborhoods (though Nob Hill is, well.. not the typical neighborhood with the high rises).

Sacremento, well... I passed through getting to the Sierras. Can't say much about it except that I just didn't expect to see so much cattle land heading there.

I stayed at the LAX Hilton. First day there I went out for a walk down the Century Blvd. It was practically a highway. Practically no body was walking except several homeless people, poor people, and again predators. I got "interviewed" by the latter. I stopped at at intersection. Couldn't jaywalk unless I wanted to be road kill when this guy with mashed up face came up to me. He asked a lot of questions about where I was from which I ignored. He then clearly spotted the knife in my pocket because several times he looked from my face to my pocket and back again. He kept his distance. Finally, he gave a sob story. I gave him $1.50 in change and went on my way when the light changed. No big deal.

Second day there, I figured out I was not in LA per se. I was a good 15-20 miles away. Rented a car and learned to drive 80 miles a hour on the freeways, cutting in and out of lanes without signaling. I tried signaling but no one seemed to care. You just have to make your move...

You're right that no city is absolutely safe, though crime statistics show that Boston and NYC have really dropped in violent crimes in the last five years. Still, I recognize that the statistics don't capture all that goes on. Still need to maintain awareness. I probably got to LA at a weird time. One, I'm not used to hearing about so much rapes, never mind two incidents within days of each other, involving 11 year old victims. Secondly, the rapes were reported with very serious faced newscasters but largely sandwiched between jovial, excited and overly hyped up reports about the upcoming event -- THE OSCARS. Heck, it's TV in the land of celluloid.

david


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 1999 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 148
Location: Boca Raton, FL
David,

That buck and a half may have saved you a lot of unnecessary aggravation or worse!

I wonder how many of us would have been willing to part with some minor pocket change in order to prevent a possible escalation or instead would have opted for the "macho" option in order to show "the bum" who "da man" is?

Moe Mensale



[This message has been edited by Moe Mensale (edited 03-25-99).]


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 2:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
David:

80 miles per hour? Hope you stayed in the slow lane. Of course, every region has its own unique driving habits. In New England there appears to be a rule that if the light was ever green it is OK to proceed through the intersection.

Next time you are in L.A., try a taxi ride from downtown to LAX. For extra fun, tell the driver you are in a hurry and need to catch a flight that is leaving soon. You might want to load up on motion sickness pills and life insurance, however, before taking this trip.

Passing through on your way to the Sierras...that's what we're here for, only lately, too darn many people stop and decide to live here. The cow count has gone way down because of this, and some idiot even brought an NBA team to town (well, the team is in the NBA, as to whether it's a real NBA team or not is still open for debate, though the rookie point guard and new front line are definately NBA players). We also make a nice spot to rest when travelling between L.A. and Oregon, unless of course you are travelling in August and hit here in the afternoon.

As to safety in a city, I also fear the recent tragedy of the female travelers to Yosemite brings home the point that there really is no such thing as a safe place. We will all just have to work on making this a better world so we can all feel safer.

Peace.
Robb in Sacramento


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 10:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Robb, yes, the Yosemite story broke when I was out there too. When they first found the car in an "out of the way" place, couldn't help but get that "uh oh" feeling...

Moe, unfortunately, how I react is probably as affected by the time of day and the mood I am in. A number of years ago, Jerry Gross, his brother Paul and I went for dinner after a workout in Park Square. Afterwards, we were confronted by different panhandlers whom we ignored. We just went on talking and walking. We went by one and when we wouldn't honor his request for a handout, he started on the racial crap (Why he singled me out I don't understand). Anyway, I immediately turned and looked at him while Jerry and Paul kept walking. The bum was walking towards me still egging me -- "Yeah. You're a F^^king Chink Gook! What are you going to do? Some Gung fooey sh^T?" At which point, my leg seemed on automatic. I hit him with a sidekick sending him on his back on the rain soaked pavement. I stood over him, one hand on my briefcase still, looking down at him, filled with rage and ready to kill if he had gotten up. Instead, he looked at me and started screaming for the cops. Woke me out of my trance. I turned around to catch up with Jerry and Paul.

I realized right then I reacted to displaced anger. Earlier in the day, I had caught several 5th graders running wildly through the halls of the school where I worked. When I confronted them, these fifth graders started calling me the same racial crap. 5th Graders, in a school in Chinatown no less! I couldn't do anything but dragged the ringleader to the Principal's Office where he got a verbal slap on the wrist...

Anyway, when I caught up with my buddies, Jerry (those who know him will recognize a "Jerry classic") said to me with a grin, "GEEZE, dave... All you had to do was blow on him. He would have fallen down." Leave it to Jerry to put me in my place. I would like to think I know better and could do better these days...

Sorry, for the digression, but the LA and Yosemite stories, GEM's post in Self Defense forum and some that just broke in Boston are really disturbing. Yes. Robb, we should try to make it a safer and more peaceful world. First, I should start with controlling myself. But I am just not sure how to control the predators out there. I worry about my wife and kids, my friends... Ultimately, the individual has to prepare him or herself and do so in a way that doesn't instill total paranoia and fear. It's a fine line.

Personally, I woke up this morning from dreams of mayhem and murder. Think I need to decompress...

david


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 1999 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
Hello David-san,

Sorry it's taken so long for me to respond to your initial post - I've been pretty busy this week, and I still have a stack on my desk about to fall over and bury me - but I was struck by how you ended your last post and wanted to post something in reply.

Your emotional sensitivity to the more disgusting aspects of our society speaks of depth and a true citizen of the world - these horrors are everywhere - yet their prevalence in some areas of this great country of ours certainly demeans some of the better things our society has to offer. It is only when we become immune to these aspects around us that we are truly lost! As long as there are people like you who can still be offended by these atrocities - I like to think there may be some hope left at the bottom of Pandora's box!

There is much beauty in the world - and as artists (martial and otherwise) we cultivate an appreciation for the finer illusions - brief as they are - they round out the harsher realities which are affecting you of late. I share your consternation in the apparent degeneration of humanity - and the media fuels our facination with the worst of mankind by propagating the most sensational stories as "news" - who are we to decide what constitutes "news" - the only power we have is to change the channel or turn off the machine - but when these things happen so close to home (wherever it is at the moment) it often serves as a stronger wake up call so to speak - and we take an emotional trip strengthened by our concern and love for our family and friends - thankful that it didn't happen within our circle this time, but knowing that every revolution of the wheel turns ever closer to our own family. Some of us have even already been affected directly or indirectly and the constant reminders that surround us prove yet again that we are living in a dangerous world.

We do the best we can. We train, we practice mindset, we protect ourselves and our family the best that we can - and wonder if it will be enough. The murder, rape and other violence that fills the streets is an uglier part of life - and certainly the more emotionally sensitive and mature of us will be concerned and somewhat depressed by it. This cycle you are in seems natural - the worst of the despair will certainly pass, but may what you feel be imparted to others who have developed a "shield of indifference" and perhaps - if enough people feel enough outrage - a small difference can be made in each of our respective corners of the world - to quote an old proverb:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

I like to ammend that with and nothing will change unless one person decides to make one!

Thank you for your posts - we all need that type of "smack on the head" to wake us up sometimes!

Peace,
Lori


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 1999 8:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 343
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Dave,

I have lived in L.A., just behind LAX for the past five years. My wife and I moved up from San Diego, due to job related actvities. During all of those five years I have travelled to and from Compton for my job and my wife has travelled to and from HOllywood. For those of you who don't know L.A., both of our work locations have a very mean and nasty reputation for gangs, drive-by shootings and such. We both have managerial positions, dress professionally and drive middle classs automobiles. Neither of us have had any fear or any problems travelling to and from our jobs or anywhere within the city. We have never once come even close to being preyed upon in any way, shape or form while living in L.A.

The crime rate in L.A. is at its lowest point in 30 years and the economy is one of the best in the US and you just can't beat So. Cal. weather.

BTW, Dave the next time you are in town send me an email at mjdcgb@artnet.net and I'll take you to a Uechi workout.

The serial rapist you had mentioned was shot and killed by police this very day after he had attacked another woman. The rapes of the two 11 year olds were tragic but were very uncommon. We have had no other such incidents this year.

Your comment about Century Blvd. being like a freeway is quite true. But remember Century Blvd. is the main drag for access to LAX.

There are other sections of L.A. that are very pleasant to walk around. Did you go to Koreatown, Japantown, or the Music Center?
Did you spend any time on Montana Ave. or the 3rd. St. Promenade in Santa Monica? Did you go over to the famous Venice Pier for some amusement or walk the byways of the Venice canals? Did you walk the Venice beach blvd.?

My own neighborhood is right by the beach with stately homes overlooking the ocean. My wife and I sometimes take the time to meander over the hills to gawk at the homes and enjoy the ocean view.

Your comments about the hype over the Oscars is right on target but remember that all of the major studios are located in our city limits. L.A. was built on Hollywood money and movie production still brings in huge amounts of revenue for the city. New York City has the Metropolitan Opera and the ballet. L.A. does have cultural activities but its movie reputation brings in tourist dollars. BTW, did you go over to the Walk of Fame or Mann's Chinese theater? Did you find yourself wandering Griffith Park or take time to go over to the LA Zoo?

I would also like to remind everyone that L.A. is a basin that is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. These mountain ranges allow for a variety of hiking, camping, fishing, skiing and other outdoor actvities. I can travel from beach to mountain top within an hour.

I love Boston, New York, Philly and all the other east coast cities but their streets and buldings all look grimy and dingy compared to West Coast cities.

If you don't believe me just come out and see for yourself and don't forget to bring a gi!

All the best,

Mike


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 1999 10:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Mike,

I suspect my timing was off when I visited. I should say that I have two young kids and tend to go a little crazy whenever I hear about evil done to children. I am not saying others don't. I always feel a powerful urge to go hug my children whenever I hear of something like that but they were here in Boston. I'm really glad they got the serial rapist.

No place is immuned from crime. Since being back in Boston, there has been some grisly stuff going on here too. Some stories make the big outlets and most do not. One story that didn't make the outlets but was briefly mentioned in the local paper made me feel good. A female parking attendant in hotel garage was approached by an armed man. He ordered her out of the booth. She got out and rushed him, knocking down his gun. He managed to knock her aside, got in the booth and took an unspecified amount of cash before running off. Now, if she had shot him... Of course, that would be homicide since he no longer posed deadly threat.

Yes, I did manage to get around a little bit. After renting a car, I gott to Venice Beach. SInce it was middle of the week, there wasn't much of a "happening scene". I saw several famlies strolling the beach walkway, some bikers and rollerbladers. I was amazed that a couple of people were actually surfing. I walked down to the end of the pier and watched people fish. I asked one old guy what they catch there. He looked at me deadpan and said, "fish." Doh! Had to explain I was from Boston and that it was still way too early to catch fish. Went afterwards for a supersized burrito lunch. Drove towards LA but stopped at Culver City instead and walked around.

I did get to an aikido dojo in Little Tokyo. Cool place. On the weekend, I got around to Chinatown where I walked pretty much the whole area. Nice. Saw little Tokyo again and had lunch at Koreatown. What I saw was nice wide streets, low buildings and lots of sun. Pretty nice but things are spread wide, making walking not feasible if one really had to get from one place to another. I noticed some buses. But there weren't nearly as many or as frequent as San Francisco. Too bad because I really don't like driving.

I'm sure LA is nice city though it is not what I am used to.

I really appreciate your offer. There is another conference there in July. I haven't decided whether I will attend since I forsee a lot of travelling this year. Also, my wife travels to the BAY area four times a year by herself. Summer Camp is also in July. Seems like too much time apart as a family. But who knows. If the conference seems really worthwhile, I'll be there. In which case, I'll surely take you up on your kind offer.

david

[This message has been edited by david (edited 04-03-99).]


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 1999 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 148
Location: Boca Raton, FL
"I would also like to remind everyone that L.A. is a basin that is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides."

Several years ago I was visiting friends east of LA in what they referred to as the "high desert" area. Very nice! As we were driving west towards LA, I asked what the large brownish clouds on the horizon were. Turns out it was the smog in the LA basin!

I guess as long as you can still breathe, it's a very nice place to live in.

Moe Mensale


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 1999 7:44 pm 
miked,

Just about any city in the Northeast looks "grimy and dingy" once one has lived outside of the Northeast. Northeast in this context is defined as noth of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi.


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 1999 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 343
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Moe,

I don't know if you heard but through the efforts of the Air Quality management Board Board in So. Califronia the air in Los Angeles is better than it has been in the past 30 or 40 years. A report came out last year that compared urban air quality throghout the U.S. and Houston was rated as having the worst air quality in the U.S. while L.A. dropped to 3rd. or 4th. The number of smog alerts have decreeased to just a couple during the summer time when just a decade ago there were smog alerts a few times a month.

If you want to talk about pollution, let's discus the sewage pond known as Boston Harbor!!

I still can't stand to watch L.A. sports teams and due to my Mass. So. Shore upbringing have an abhorrence for the Lakers, Kings and Dodgers.

Lori, sorry to take up bandwith on your forum. I'll be more than happy to take this discussion off line.

If any Uechi/Shohei practitioners come out to L.A. send me an email and we'll get together for a great workout at Sensei Ahti Kaend's dojo in Orange County, CA.

Best regards,

Mike


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 Post subject: Disquiet in LA
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 84
Location: Albuquerque NM USA
Mike,

My brother in law lives in LA and we've been thinking of visiting. I'd like to introduce him to Uechi, but am unfamiliar with any of the dojos. Can you email me your email so we could converse outside the forum?

Thanks,

MFH - Mktg/Biz Administrator


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