Saturday, September 04, 2004

IT'S NOT A HATE CRIME UNTIL THE BIG MEDIA SAYS IT IS
Regular readers of INTHEHAT probably already know about the racially motivated homicide of Kenneth Wilson. It happened in Highland Park in April of 1999. The shooters all claimed Avenues, 43 to be specific. I first mentioned the Wilson killing in a February '03 post even though it's been in the files for longer than that. I sat on the story until '03 for a couple of reasons. For one, I was putting that killing together with the killing of Christopher Bowser and Robert Hightower. All three black victims were targeted because of their race. They had absolutely no gang affiliation whatsoever. They were civilians. As it turned out, I dug up quite a few more racially motivated murders and assaults against other blacks in other parts of LA County. And there are at least three more I'm aware of that might go that way if and when the investigations bear fruit. These victims, like Wilson, were also civilians with no gang affiliation. All of the verified assaults and murders were committed by neighborhoods with strong ties to the Brothers.

I also sat on it because I was trying to bring the work of INTHEHAT to a different audience. I wanted to get the Wilson, Bowser and Hightower murders into the print media. Those killings, unlike the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas, never got a single mention in the Los Angeles big media. This situation struck me as odd. The Byrd murder was an isolated act carried out by individuals out of personal racial hatred. Once the evil people who killed Byrd were in jail, the threat to other blacks in that town was basically over.

The Wilson et al murders, on the other hand, were committed as part of a larger ongoing criminal enterprise. The fact is, the Brothers have issued orders to keep blacks out of neighborhoods they control. And we're not talking just black gangsters. We're talking black citizens who are doing nothing more nefarious than breathing while black. By any standard you care to use, this declared war on blacks by the Eme fulfills every definition of ethnic cleansing. There's no other term for it. Unlike the Byrd killing, when the people guilty of killing Wilson, Bowser and Hightower are put away, there will be others, many others to carry on the work. Other blacks will be harassed, intimidated, assaulted and probably killed.

What amazed me, was the total lack of interest in this story by the big media. The LA Times, LA Weekly, Citybeat, Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Sacramento News and Review, The Atlantic, New York Times, you name it, they all turned down my proposal to do a story bout these killings. Frankly, I didn't get it. But then there are a lot of things I don't get about the media. So the story stayed in the files until someone, somewhere might show some interest in it. That was two years ago. I posted the Wilson incident and pursued other stories for INTHEHAT.

Occasionally, new information would emerge on the Wilson case. Last year I learned, for instance, that the US Attorney in LA was putting together a Federal hate crime case against Wilson's killers. That was interesting to me because of the complicated and unbelievable back story that culminated in the Federal prosecution. I won't go into that because it took me months of effort and interviews to put the whole sequence of events in place. And I'm not giving it away for free anymore. Frankly, I'm tired of having stories poached. I won't name the dude, but a local TV guy has poached at least two stories that I broke on INTHEHAT. So, no more soup for you.

Unfortunately, that means you readers aren't getting all the "deep" stuff. I'm willing to share information with other writers and journalists, but I'll draw the line at getting robbed by lazy assholes who are paid to dig up this stuff but prefer to boost it without payment or even attribution. I got more respect for a homeboy who pulls a cuete and tells you to give it up than this dude. At least it's a stand-up robbery and you know you're getting boosted. But on with the Wilson case.

Five years after the fact, the LA Times finally got around to mentioning the Wilson homicide. It was in the August 20, 2004 issue. I guess the Times was forced to acknowledge Wilson's killing because that was the day after the US Attorney's office unsealed the indictment against the shooters and accomplices. And as the paper of record in LA, they can't ignore a Federal indictment involving racial hate crimes that happened just a few miles from Spring Street. The most interesting thing about the Times piece was all the stuff that Times readers were not told. Sometime in the future, I'll share it with all of you. It's a tale that's stranger than fiction. A week later, the Times ran another brief item regarding the Wilson case. This one announcing a $20,000 reward by the FBI for information about one of Wilson's alleged shooters, Merced "Shadow" Cambero. He's been on the loose since the chilly morning of Wilson's execution on Avenue 52. We'll wait and see how the LA media will cover the Federal trial, if at all, and how much of it gets told correctly. It will be amusing.

Few need to be told this, but the media in this country needs a major cojones transplant. The next time you pick up your favorite paper or tune in to TV or radio news, be aware that the media have gatekeepers. There's a person at a desk that will decide what you see and what you hear. And if this person doesn't think you need to know, in the days before the internet, you'd never know. In terms of this little part of the world that I know a little something about, I can tell you straight up that you are being under-served and under-informed. And as far as the average LA citizen is concerned, the Wilson, Bowser and Hightower killings never happened until the big media says they happened. Practice safe news reading. Use www.

6 comments:

Cletus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cletus said...

Hi Wally,

I share your frustration with regards to how the mainstream press "shape" the coverge of these types of offenses.

It seems like even the most minor skinhead skirmish in Antelope Valley will receive front page coverage. Meanwhile, other crimes of a far more serious nature go unreported.

While researching an essay on a related topic, I conducted an unofficial poll of a few local reporters and an editor friend in Portland as to why minority offenders are given such a free pass by the press when it comes to "hate crimes."

The majority said it's merely a "man-bites-dog" issue meaning that crime among minority groups is so prevalent that it's no longer newsworthy. The remainder argued that giving too much exposure to ethnic feuding will incite a race war.

The first response was so self-serving and cynical it doesn't even merit a reply. The second, I find even more disturbing because this lack of attention merely emboldens and empowers the perpetrators.

You said it---be glad we have the web.

Best,

Cletus

http://www.pointsofdeparture.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Wally:

I'm a writer at CityBeat. Neither I nor my editor recalls getting a pitch from you. It sounds good though. Email us again.

Anonymous said...

I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY ARE BLACKS ARE GETTING ALL THIS HEAT? IVE BEEN MORE OF A CHLOA ALL MY LIFE AND WOULDNT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. NOW I DO SEE THAT MY RACE COMES UP ALOT. I CANT GO VISIT MY HOMEIES,AND NOW MY WORD IS NOTHING TO PEOPLE THAT KNOW ME MORE THAN MY FAMILY. IT ONLY COMES FROM THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE RECENTLY GOT OUT. I GUESS I DONT KNOW HOW IT IS IN JAIL SO I CANT TALK AND I KNOW SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS STILL LOVE ME AND DONT HATE BLACKS BUT HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO GO ALONG WITH THE RULE. I RESPECT THAT BUT IN THE END BLACKS AND LATINOS KILLING EACHOTHER IS ONLY HELPING WHO? LATINOS WITH TO MUCH POWER AND BLACKS WITH TO MUCH POWER ALWAYS END UP DEAD MISSING OR IN A HOTEL WITH A HOOKER AND A POUND OF COKE FOR SOME REASON IN THIS COUNTRY. IN THE END WE ARE THE SAME DAMN THING AND WE WILL NEVER GET ALONG 100% BUT WHY MAKE THINGS HARD ,AND HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO JUST LIVE LIFE AND WALK DOWN THE STREET JUST BECOUSE SOMEONE MADE SOMEONE ELSE MAD GOD KNOW WHERE GOD KNOWS WHEN OR SIMPLY JUST HAS A GRUDGE ABOUT? WE WILL ALWAYS BE RIGHT WHERE WE ARE BECOUSE WE CANT GET ALONG WITH OTHER AND CANT STOP SHOOTING LONG ENOUGH TO GET AHEAD (NOT JUST IN JAIL, OR BY DOING SOMETHING THATS GOING TO LAND US THERE) IN A RESPECTABLE PLACE.

Rodney King said...

Can't we all jjjjust get along?

Anonymous said...

The worrior spirit dwells in all of us who have mexica blood,the varrios are all the tribes we have,but when you consider its mexican on mexican violence,you have to ask your self why?all this 13 and 14 crap and this vato or that vatos a green lighter,im glad you have pride in your street gangs,but there are things that your not telling your lil homies,the only future for them is being locked up,strung out on dope,or dead,come togther as mexia.be one people.thank you for considering it..mexica forword!