Poll: If Another Gang War Has Started, Can Anything Be Done to Stop It?

In light of this month's shootings, do you worry about rising gang problems in Santa Clara County?


It's the story tv news directors love to lead their show with, the story often on the front page of the local paper.

It's also the story we're comfortable ignoring. Yet the story, and the result, is probably already in many neighborhoods near us.

Murders in San Jose of young men, often attributed to gang violence, have increased dramatically in August.

According to the San Jose Police Department, 33 people have been murdered this year; at least 13 of them appear to be gang-related.

This week, that detailed how the San Jose violence is moving very close to the Campbell city limits. Said the police chief of Campbell, "Criminals obviously do not respect or care about jurisdictional boundaries or city borders."

In Santa Cruz, August 8 as he was apparently walking home from football practice.

In Watsonville, on August 18 when he was jumped by a group of five men; four chased him down as he fled and stabbed him multiple times. The group shouted gang slurs at the man as he ran.

The uptick in gang violence prompted a of our Los Gatos Patch.

Writer Enrique Flores describes himself as the founder of the nonprofit mentoring program Eastside Heroes, the director of the Corazon Project in East San Jose, and a policy aide for Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.

Flores says we're not seeing a spike in gang violence. He says we're seeing "the start of the second war." "Once a war begins," says Flores, "it is almost impossible to stop."

The causes of gangs and gang violence are often debated. Flores mentions three specific ideas:

  • Our younger generation has been desensitized to violence by the time they're in the second grade.
  • Guns are now utilized more often as weapons of choice, thanks in part to the sale of toy guns that teach kids it's okay to play with guns.
  • Our society's failure to create sufficient job opportunities and livable wages have created the conditions for self-destructive despair.

"Sadly, it is too late for prevention talk," says Flores. "Now is the time for relentless intervention efforts."

"Now, more than ever," says Flores, "is the time to restore hope. Now is the time to fight for more funding. Now is the time to declare war on poverty and despair. Now is the time to embrace all in kinship, and realize that those who we believe deserve love the least, are actually the ones that need it the most."

What do you think? Have you been touched by gang violence? Are there other solutions beyond what Flores suggests, perhaps more tangible solutions?

We've given you some ideas to vote for in our poll. But it's a tough issue, so let us know if you've got some other ideas in your comments.

Enrique Flores August 26, 2012 at 03:20 PM
http://vimeo.com/m/41127763 Here is the video link which depicts the efforts being done by The Corazon Project in East San Jose.
Dan Manassau August 26, 2012 at 04:50 PM
We need to be alert in our neighborhoods and give kids good examples of what responsible behavior can do to improve all our lives.
Jim August 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Long prisonterms because of their gang affiliaions.
Don August 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Why should we try to stop it? The gang wars will eventually die off after they all kill each other. We will save a TON of money on cops/courts/jail time, and the ones who could REALLY have changed things (the parents/families) are the ones who will suffer. Go for it low lifes and scumbags.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte August 26, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Thanks for sharing this, Enrique!
Mayra Flores de Marcotte August 26, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Great point, Dan. This echoes the old adage: "It takes a village ..."
Mayra Flores de Marcotte August 26, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I understand where you're coming from, Dan, and thank you for keeping the conversation going but what of the innocent lives that are lost/altered in the process? The kids and teachers that are impacted by having these individuals at their schools? What about quality of life for those living in communities (or near those communities like some Campbell residents do) that are plagued by this issue? And not to make light of the human life issues that gangs affect but what about the impact gangs and gang violence have on property values? Do you have any suggestions for those individuals/communities? Let's keep the conversation going.
Enrique Flores August 26, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Please take a few minutes to view this short documentary, before we make a final verdict. http://vimeo.com/m/41127763. =)
Mia August 26, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I believe as lOng as peOple r as clOsed minded as the last 2 pOst there is NO stOpping it. LOnger prisOn terms?? Letting them kill Off each Other? is the answers u cOme up with. 2 me ur statements just prOve ur an Outsider lOoking n2 sOmething u will never and have never been apart of. I believe that the start 2 a solution 2 stOp gang activity is as simple as a chance, sOme hOpe and a lil' understanding. If yOu've been there yOu'll get what I'm saying. And if u dOnt understand believe it or nOt ur part Of the prOblem
Mia August 26, 2012 at 09:38 PM
By last 2 post I mean jim and dOn
Susan August 26, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I'd like to see public safety become a shared county resource instead of each little town budgeting for their own. It's a duplication of effort from the police chiefs on down the line, and not very cost effective. Ever read the crime report for some of the more affluent communities in the valley? Example, "Homeowner heard a knock at their front door, looked out the window, and didn't see anyone. The police investigated and found a package on the front porch." Or, "Person seen sitting on curb. When the police arrived, person was gone." I'm not joking. Meanwhile, in the next city over, a city we all visit, people are getting shot left and right. In the long run, we can either, 1) Create more opportunity for the young people so they don't turn to gangs, or 2) turn our backs on our neighbors and order another latte.
Mark Burns August 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Some cities contract with the Sheriff's office (Cupertino, Saratoga, LAH) and some have their own police department. Sunnyvale combines Fire and Police as Public Safety. The Sheriff's department offers a cost effective alternative for Cupertino. Do you really want to put the Sheriff's Office together with every other local police department? I don't. I voted for Parents. The premise that toy gun play by children leads to violence and gang activity is like saying the use of silverware contributes directly to obesity.
Dan Manassau August 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Mayra gangs have been a bad problem world wide since I was young. If govt programs where the answer there would be no problem by now. I don't have an answer. I have been fortunate enough to avoid the gang violence in my life so don't know much about it. Crime has criminals and victims. Criminals need to be stopped. I have simpathy for the victims only.
Don August 27, 2012 at 04:09 AM
You're obviously a young person, probably younger than 25, because of the way you write in "text-speak". That probalby means you've never been the subject of gang violence, or any other serous crime (I don't mean getting your cell phone ripped off) or most definately aren't having to pay taxes for it. So, until you do, you might consider sitting back and getting some real-world experience before you speak, and "Call of Duty" ain't it.
Don August 27, 2012 at 04:18 AM
I don't mind if people want use their own time and money to try and change things. More power to them. They may be having some success, but it is like the proverbial drop of clean water in the salty ocean. Let'em tear each other apart. They're going to no matter how much money and time you throw at the issue. If they injure innocents, then it is harsh jail time, and anyone who gets greater than 10 years, gets the chair. That'd eliminate prison overcrouding and cut jail costs at the same time. (pardon the spelling)
Chris Zhang August 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Nations have engaged in much more orchestrated warfare for thousands of years. How does that correlate with human population?
Susan August 28, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Don, you're obviously a really self-centered and mean person because of the way you punch down. You were also so busy criticizing the way someone creatively expresses themselves that you forgot to use spellcheck (probalby? definately?). It also obvious you've never experienced the amazing feeling of holding out your hand to lift someone else up; it's all about you and only you. So, until grow a soul you might consider just sitting back and keeping your rotten mouth shut.
Don August 28, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Susan, yes, it's all about me and the other American citizens tired of paying for miscreants. If’s about me and the unfortunate people who deserve my help and my money to get ahead, but they can't get it because I have to pay for a serial child molester's cushy life in jail. During my 6 decades here, I've helped plenty of people up, but I help those willing to work at it and stay away from illegal substances/activities. Face it. Some humans are a waste of skin and can contribute most to society by being fertilizer for crops sent to feed hungry people. You sound like a typical liberal hand-wringer insisting on spending MY money on the incorrigible through the PC concept of "social consciousness". Once we vote Obummer out of office we can start dealing with the illegal and criminal elements. And talk about calling the kettle black! You are the one criticizing my spelling, prob bec your argument is specious! No, I don't have spell check, that's why I apologized for the spelling. (BTW, that's a red herring on your part. Look it up.)
Don August 28, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Mayra, the gangs are like an infection. Untreated, they spread and affect healthy tissues and it hurts. But kill the infection with some antiseptic, and the wound eventually stops hurting, then heals. Those people/groups/neighborhoods are gonna hurt, and hurt some more unless we do something about those causing the problems. Eliminate them from society and the pain will heal. Those entities are resilient and will get over it. When scum misbehaves, it hurts, but no one is promised a pain free existence. All we can do is help eliminate the cause of future pain and comfort those in pain. And I mean eliminate. Then there is no recidivism. Done deal.
TZ August 28, 2012 at 07:43 AM
We were actually making head way on gangs, with years of police interaction, and cracking down on them, but due to our current white house and congress, and the cutbacks from their failures, with the letting loose from prisons of thousands of thugs early, due to more cuts, we are now in danger of growing violence, proof that jobs and business is more important than our current leaders with a cush life admit ... lets change our leaders, and get this economy going, we have a lot of ground to make up now !!
Gangs have been here for a long time and this White house isn't to blame, it's the parents, absentee parents, it's the gangs coming from other countries, it's the younger gang members following the older generations lead. Steel hand in the velvet glove is needed here, everyone needs boundaries especially the younger gang members. Gang members need to go jail, they are killing innocent people, instilling fear in communities, destroying neighborhoods, have displayed no redeeming qualities. Close all the borders, get OUR gangs under control, and stiffen prison sentences, stiffer for those caught running their business from prison/jail.
TZ August 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Ya Patricia.. Like I said, when the tit runs dry, there's no more milk ( no more money in the till) .. They criminals are doing half their time.. You are totally right .. Our society is breaking down... That's why we have to change our path QUICK.. I promise you that if obomba gets reelected it will get worse... Not every kid is worthless,
TZ Do you mean President Obama? Gang education starts with teaching them respect and self respect!
kd August 28, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Yes, parents have to take responsibility, but how can you not put some of the blame on the US government? Let's look at the drug trade which is big business for gangs. The Attorney General was involved in sending weapons to drug cartels in Mexico (look up "Fast and Furious." ) This resulted in hundreds if not thousands of deaths including several Americans. Yet he has not even been fired, yet alone arrested. Why does this govenment make our troops in Afganistan grow opium poppies? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj-b3pB6M7s Why has no one from Wachovia been arrested for laundering 375 Billion dollars of drug money? http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-29/banks-financing-mexico-s-drug-cartels-admitted-in-wells-fargo-s-u-s-deal.html This is not a new problem that Obama can take full credit for, our government has been involved in shady deals for quite a while. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm 'The Kerry Committee report concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems." ' Laws should be applied uniformly, not just to kids out on the streets.
Doris Bonilla August 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Parents need to do a better job of stepping up in their role of supervising their kids. Yes, I agree. We love our children and they are our life. Now, they can not understand why they do not have the best toys or best games. We, the parents need to control the way we spend our money on our children, the programs they watch, the movies they need to see, more often with values, self esteem, corage, ect. If we can not teach them, let the see something that inspared them. One example: go to the hospital and visit children, go to the museums, go camping in the nearest park for a day, play some games together. I know that they get bored but explained them that life can have ups and down, Teach them to have positive thought, that only them can make a change on their life. But we have to make our part too.
TZ August 28, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Yes Patricia obomba ... His total inability to get the economy rolling has resulted in the los of the major gains that were making huge progress.. Coupled with the letting loose of criminals, and the early release programs we have wasted all the gain .. Yes I totally agree about the parenting issue, but sad to say, that is something we cannot fix unless there is drug testing, or some sort of accountability for receiving welfare, which again . Won't happen !!! We have to regain our tax base and have jobs to regain any progress and also have a road these kids can get on.. Hell, I'm thinking of selling drugs... I'm losing my house , I don't even do them , or no where to sell em.. I'm half joking there, but .. This prez for 4 years has done nothing to get the economy going, so that we have the resources to fight this major social problem !!!
I disagree, I started my business 2 years ago and my business is doing well, I have hired many people who really needed jobs. I sold 3 properties all within a matter of days, somebody is buying real estate. Budget cuts and criminals getting released early are Jerry Brown's fault. We need help for the ill with stem cell research which Obama has funded, we got the stimulus package from PRESIDENT OBAMA which is paying for the expansion of 880 which is greatly needed for those working and not sniveling! As for the gangs maybe when the 49ers move to their new stadium we can round up all the gang members and let'em fight it out at Candlestick Park.
TZ August 29, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Some business thrive on a down economy, towing biz for repos, storage companies for foreclosures, repo guys, pawn shops, stress management , or certain medical entities... I'm not sure of your new biz, but overall, it's been dismal.. You selected only what you wanted out of my comment.. Brown is forced to make that call because of the economy as well... Glad your doing well, but a couple road improvements is a far cry from helping get out of this hole America is in !! It's gonna take business and jobs to build the base back up to have the support to fight gangs, unless as you put it we just give up on them and let them kill each other, surprisiing to hear an obomba fan not care about the social tragedy .. Of course look at his home base of chi town !!


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