MacArthur 2010
04 November, 2010
MacArthur 2010

Last weekend was Halloween and more importantly a rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. It was hosted by two comedians, Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart and it was held in Washington D.C.
Here in Los Angeles, we had our own rally in MacArthur Park.  A park where drug-dealing, shoot-outs and the occasional rumored drowning became commonplace, with as many as 30 murders in 1990. But we don’t have to go so far back into history to draw a picture of

MacArthur park.
In 1997, a member of MS 13 was found dead in the MacArthur Park Lake. Police found his body two days after he died. Apparently, members of two small time gangs called the Crazy Riders and Drifters shot the victim in the chest and head after they found out he was selling crack on their turf.
In 2001, a couple of members of notorious 18 Street gang had a shootout with their rivals, the MS 13. A 18th Street clique known as MacArthur Park clique got into an argument with members of MS 13, which eventually led to a shootout. There were three deaths and two injuries.


In 2002, members of the 18 Street saw a member of another rival gang and beat the victim until he went into a critical condition. A day later, members of the victim’s gang approached members of the 18th Street gang and started firing with semi-auto pistols. This event led to the death of two 18th Street members and a injury to an innocent bystander.
In 2005, three bodies in a trash bag were found in the lake. They were tied together and thrown into the lake after they had been stabbed and beat. One of the bodies was identified as a man that belonged to MS 13.
On May Day May 1st 2007, a rally calling for U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants took place in MacArthur Park. The incident has been dubbed the May Day Melee. Police used brutal and unnecessary force to beat up not only protestors but camera crews and reporters.  I filmed parts of it from the window of my apartment overlooking the park.
So this Park, which was a place used by gangsters to drop dead bodies, and where  no sane person would ever got to after five pm,  was turned into Levitt Pavilion for The Performing Arts At MacArthur Park.


Going against my better judgment and following my instincts on October 30th  2010, at 10 in the morning I went to MacArthur Park to see the rally. If I was expecting to see drunks and hooligans and illegal activities (and believe me I was expecting all of that) I was pleasantly surprised. The only activity I wish I hadn’t been subjected to was that of a woman in her sixties breastfeeding a baby. But as unsettling as I found that image to be, I was completely blown away by the sea of white people all around me. It took me a minute to look around and realize I was standing in a crowd of people who looked like me!
For the first time in a long time, I really felt I was actually in America and not in Mexico or Guatemala or Korea. There were white people at the rally! There were families sitting in lawn chairs and relaxing with their children and pets under the sunny skies of Los Angeles. And they were peaceful white people, not the crack heads on Hollywood Boulevard.  Neon Tommy reporter Olga Khazan likening the experience to being in one big outdoor living room where everybody’s watching television.
It didn’t last long. In few hours after the rally was done the families were gone and so were their lawn chairs. And I was back to facing reality and notoriety of MacArthur Park.


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