This one hits close to home, since, well, its close to home.
Apparently, some sort of ‘flash mob’ was arranged via Twitter yesterday for the Venice Beach basketball courts.
For those of you not in the know, flash mobs are groups of people who arrange via social networks or other websites to come together, sometimes to promote a product, a business, or to pull off a prank.
It is unknown what the original intent of the flash mob was, but apparently things went horribly awry. At some point during the scheduled gathering, which occurred only a few blocks from our offices, some gang members showed up and began firing, seriously wounding one individual who was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital with a gun shot wound to the head.
Scary thing is, this is where Joel, our company founder, often takes lunch for a quick game of basketball. Were it not for an extended trip to San Francisco to visit our web design and SEO clients, he could’ve been out there playing a pick up game.
I know from my time in Los Angeles that Venice Beach can be both fun, amusing, and scary, with little time in between.
There are a number of problems that the LA PD and the Los Angeles City Council need to address for the place to be fun and amusing, without the scariness or the danger. First, there is the large numbers of transient people with insufficient food, shelter, and monitoring. Many of them suffer from mental illness that is not being properly treated, or they have very easy access to a number of hard drugs in Venice. There is also an extensive problem with various gangs, petty crimes, and alcohol abuse on the drag. And police presence is almost non-existent. Despite the large number of tourists who crawl Venice Beach while in LA, the police seem to ignore the major issues that will keep them from coming back.