Thursday, January 19, 2012
You can now tour LA’s slums. That’s right. See the street gangs, crime, squalor, graffiti, and violence that marks tropical South Central. I’m not making this up!
An enterprising company is now offering bus tours of the inner city. Driver Alfred Lomas, who is a former gang member, takes you through a guided tour of his crib. Other former gang members are on board with you. You can get your picture taken with one, but he probably charges more if you want to hold his AK47.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t vicious street gangs somewhat particular about who enters their territory? So the Crips and Bloods will literally kill each other if they should enter their neighborhood, but it’s okay for tourists from Iowa to swing by?
“Hey motherfuckers, please check out our visitors center/gift shop, next to the roped off crime scene.”
Among the stops are the Los Angeles River, which contains more graffiti than water, and the Los Angeles County Jail, where 120,000 gang members have visited at the state’s request. I’m not sure if the home where Marvin Gaye was shot by his father is on the tour but it should be. And what about the house where Patty Hearst’s captives were sprayed with bullets? If I’m paying good money for a tour it’s not enough to see some graffiti and a drive-by murder.
And you're not allowed off the bus. You can't shoot hoops with members of the Florencia 13 gang.
Again, true fact: Passengers must sign a release form stating that the tour is inherently dangerous. This eliminates the possibility of any Jews ever signing up, and it cuts in half the number of Girl Scout troops who would do this as a field trip.
But this is just one more reason why I love this town. I think Frank Lloyd Wright put it best:
Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
I land today in Australia. Okay,Sydney, I challenge you -- I hope your ferries and beaches and opera house and world-class attractions can stack up to Compton.
By Ken Levine at 5:55 AM