I know that we are in a recession, and that we have to do what we can to get our hustle on. But charging tourist to tour gang infested neighborhoods? Look, I am all for making an honest living, but seriously, couldn't tourist visiting L.A. just settle for the home of the stars and the Hollywood walk of fame?
"Passengers paying $65 a head Saturday signed waivers acknowledging they could be crime victims and put their fate in the hands of tattooed ex-gang members who say they have negotiated a cease-fire among rivals in the most violent gangland in America. If that sounds daunting, consider the challenge facing organizers of LA Gang Tours: trying to build a thriving venture that provides a glimpse into gang life while also trying to convince people that gang-plagued communities are not as hopeless as movies depict.... 'There's a fascination with gangs'" said founder Alfred Lomas, a former member of the Florencia 13 gang. 'We can either address the issue head-on, create awareness and discuss the positive things that go on in these communities, or we can try to sweep it under the carpet."'
Yes, but Alfred, who drops $65 to get shot? I know white folks are adventurous but isn't this a bit much? "Look honey, it's a Crip. See, he is wearing blue. He looks just like that guy in the Snoop Dogg video. And look at all the pretty graffiti, aren't you glad you came?"
Yes, one more check-off on the old "Bucket List": actually visit a gang infested neighborhood.
I might be missing out on something here. Los Angeles isn't the only city with urban violence and crime. Maybe I could do the same thing here in Philly. I am sure that folks from middle A-merry-ca would just love to see where the Lex Street Murders took place. And that's where crack addict number six got shot to death, and that's where crack addict number seven got shot to death. Or I could take my friends from Kansas and Iowa where the JBM used to roam and execute folks on the regular to control their turf. And, if that didn't get them excited enough, I could take them to where the aptly named Kaboni Savage had seven people murdered by having their home fire bombed. The tour guide would have a field day with that one. And, to top off my tour, I would take them where my man Gary Heidnik was getting his "Jungle Fever" on by eating his victims. That would be a nice touch. I could sell salt and pepper souvenirs shakers with Gary's name and some of the victims on it.
Of course, just like my man Alfred Lomas did, I will have to have my customers sign a waiver. I don't need any of them catching a stray bullet if you know what I mean. That could be bad for business.
"There's a fascination with gangs," said founder Alfred Lomas, a former member of the Florencia 13 gang. "We can either address the issue head-on, create awareness and discuss the positive things that go on in these communities, or we can try to sweep it under the carpet."
Sure Alfred, and if you can make a buck exploiting the poor people of "these communities" along the way, why not?
*Pic courtesy of Gangstyle.com
On a ligher note, good luck to "Who Dat Nation", tonight. Your city deserves a Super Bowl.