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Victims and Oppressors

December 9, 2004

Dear Editor,

With a "leader" like Oscar de la Torre reinforcing the perception of Pico youth that they are only powerless victims of the .....always unnamed "oppressors" it any wonder that they have such low self esteem? (“PART III: Youth and Street Violence,” December 7, 2004)

The pseudo-Ruiz that you quoted as being angry about the police needs to be made to understand that his ire is neither an achievement, nor an excuse to misbehave. One would hope that impulse control is included in the curriculum of Oscar's organization.

We are all oppressed by the violence in the Pico neighborhood regardless of our race or economic status and I have little doubt that, were the police able operate without SMRR operatives breathing down their necks, we'd all be a lot safer.

Apparently Oscar knows some of the bad actors in the 'hood" and is, for whatever reason, not talking. What kind of example does protecting known criminals set? But of course Oscar sees them as victims and the community at large as "oppressors."

Given this skewed leadership is it any wonder that some of our troubled youth resort to violence?

Steve Keats
Santa Monica

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