The city of Richmond plans to honor the woman who called 911 to report a brutal gang rape outside a high school homecoming dance.
Many have been struggling - though not very mightily and with not much outrage - to make sense of the event. Apparently the gang-rape of young white girls just doesn't stir up much emotion in Richmond - or the rest of the Bay Area for that matter.
And articles like this next one - a remarkable bit of journalistic tap-dancing - don't help. See if you can guess the issue these two AP writers are trying so desperately to avoid (if you haven't already guessed it, I'll be highlighting in bold as is my usual fashion...)
Not far from the pulsating music and dancing of the high school homecoming, young men were drinking in a dimly-lit courtyard out of sight of chaperones.
... and, she is presumably still in Richmond.
Meanwhile, the apologists for the crime - and the criminals - continue to mount.
Shortly after the crime came the famous piece "Richmond gang-rape seen as nearly inevitable" by Kevin Fagan.
Last weekend's gang rape at Richmond High School was almost bound to happen. All it needed was a spark - the elements were already there.
The courtyard where the attack erupted was the most infamous spot on campus, an out-of-the-way, poorly lit venue for gang initiations (?) and dopers lighting up joints.
The 15-year-old victim was a vulnerable girl who attended church and wanted to be a police scout, but also worried counselors by trying too hard to please the school's bad boys (nice bit of blaming the victim here).
As for the suspects: They were a mix of the bad boys, the wannabe bad boys, and the hardened, grown-up bad boys who had aged out (more like dropped out) of school.
All it took for things to lurch out of control, investigators, students and community leaders say, was opportunity (lesson: never give them the opportunity!) - and that came when the girl left the school dance Saturday night, walked by a group of bad boys boozing hard in the unlit courtyard, and accepted their invitation to hang out.
Fueled by street-macho bravado and inspired by sexual initiations required to get into some local gangs, they began the attack, investigators say.
On the other side of the campus, more than 400 students partied at the homecoming dance.
And now it is those 400 students and the rest of the 1,600-strong student body, along with their teachers and community leaders, who are wrestling to make sense of what happened. It doesn't take much to trace the cause, they say.
Take the poverty-driven frustration of inner-city Richmond (oh please...), a (minority) youth street culture that glorifies thugs and applauds degradation of (particularly white) women, and the desensitization of young men through violent video games, music and language, and you have a template for trouble.
"This is like a lot of schools, where most of the kids are good kids - and then, we know which ones are going wrong," said Charles Johnson, one of Richmond High's security specialists.
"You wouldn't believe the stuff we have to put up with those few who go wrong - guns, dope busts, fighting, (and yet... you put up with it...)" Johnson said. "We know that courtyard, and we've been waiting for something to happen there.
"I'm sorry it had to be this terrible."
Boy... with this guy as your "security specialist" perhaps it was inevitable. What a putz.
Johnson, teachers and students at least partially blame the attack on the lack of lighting, sturdy fencing or security cameras on the courtyard, which abuts a rough neighborhood on the northern end of the campus on 23rd Street (the rough neighborhood had apparently nothing to do with it). Signs for the Norteño and Crips gangs are scrawled in huge letters on a wall near the driveway leading into the courtyard.
On Saturday, district officials confirmed plans to install higher fences around the entire school before next summer, and to firm up security in general - but the challenges will still be steep. Johnson also blames the attack and much of the school's troubles on nonstudent "outsiders" - as several of the attack suspects are - who regularly trespass on campus, and they are much less respectful of authority than the students themselves (and yet... you put up with it...).
But as much as anything, the attack stems from the way the roughest young men treat women, Johnson and the others say. And this is a problem that extends far beyond the East Bay campus' borders (or so they'd desperately like you to believe).
"This attack was about street culture, and the need to change that mind-set," said Jay Leonhardy, a nationally recognized community organizer who heads Richmond's Youth Works, which steers at-risk kids into work and education programs. "It's not something you change overnight, and it is not unique to Richmond, Oakland, Portland or Los Angeles. It's everywhere (there are large packs of minority thugs).
"As awful as this attack was," Leonhardy said, "just maybe it can represent a teachable moment. If people pay attention (that depends on the lesson, of course)."
Few could feel the urgency as much as 14-year-old Rhonnie Schwartz, a Richmond High freshman.
Her cousin is Cody Ray Smith of San Pablo, who at 15 is the youngest of the four defendants charged in the gang rape so far (and, incidentally, the only white defendant). Investigators believe Smith, a student at the school, may have been the boy who enticed the victim into the courtyard.
Ever since his arrest, Rhonnie has struggled with what to say to the boy she has grown up with.
She poured her heart into a two-page letter last week as part of a class exercise, and plans to mail it to Smith in juvenile hall.
"Staying out of trouble can have a dramatic effect on your life, and give your family some stress relief," she wrote. "Cody, paying attention in school or at least going to class can help you so much ... Cody I care about you ... I've seen you have some hard times."
The arguments will have a way to go to counteract peer influence, judging by Smith's MySpace page.
"Freee mah nigga ... F- dem snitches," reads one of the more prominent comments posted by a friend (no comment necessary here).
"This stuff (the rape) is just not like Cody," said Rhonnie, who wore a button reading, "Hands and words are not for hurting." ("C'mon Cody... rape... that's just not like you!")
As for the rest of the student body, she said: "We are all shocked at how horrible this was (not the fact that it happened apparently - just how horrible it was). I mean, bad things happen, but this?
"Please tell people we're not animals, like the media say we are," Rhonnie said, eyes moist with pain. "We are not bad people."
Hmmm... y'know, I'd like to say that, but here's the thing... you really don't seem to get that rape is a bad thing. And if this was "inevitable" it is for the simple reason that the people of Richmond have been conditioned to believe that it was. The people of Richmond, the school staff, the bumfuck security guard, the writer, all of these people have become WAY TOO COMFORTABLE with the unacceptable, disgusting reality of the shithole known as Richmond, CA. If you aren't animals, then it is time to stop acting like them, whether those "animals" are wolves or sheep.
Teachers, who asked not be named because of district confidentiality rules, said Smith and the other two juvenile defendants charged as adults have had tough times academically (awwwww...).
Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, of San Pablo and Marcelles James Peter, 17, of Pinole were transferred out of Richmond High to continuation high schools. Although Peter has a shelf of city league soccer trophies, he and the others are mediocre pupils at best, sources said.
The fourth suspect arraigned in the case, 19-year-old Manuel Ortega, ran away from home and dropped out of school after his junior year, sources said. He was a disruptive student who once threw a flaming ball of paper at a teacher.
One other young man arrested in the case - Jose Carlos Montano, 18, of San Pablo - is in Contra Costa County Jail but has not been charged.
"The younger ones - they mostly just watched, and they are the ones talking and giving up names," said one source familiar with the investigation who asked not to be named, because the Police Department has ordered its investigators to keep a tight lid on information. "This was not a gang thing. It was just a mob that got out of control. It was the older ones who led it all."
There were a lot of people to lead.
On the night of the attack, the victim left the homecoming dance at about 9:30 p.m., before it ended, and walked to the back of campus to call her father to pick her up, detectives say.
That's when someone invited her into the notorious courtyard (and now... back to our regularly scheduled gang-rape... is it just me or is this article maybe a tad prurient?).
The group of about a dozen boys and young men was already well into 2 gallons of vodka. After they liquored up the girl with brandy, they proposed sex, according to several accounts by friends of those who were there but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation (just a side note here... as long as "fear of retaliation" from the rapists is the worst thing they have to fear, this will never change. Ever.).
The girl said no. Some of the men placed her on one of the two red cement benches set alongside the main brick building of the school and said they were going to have sex anyway, according to the accounts.
"They had her down on the bench and the bitch (that's "rape victim" in human) tried to kick 'Tweak' (one of the men) in the nuts," said one young man, who said he had a first-hand account of the attack from Smith but was afraid of being named. "He went off on her, started hitting her, and then it was on. They pulled a train (a gang initiation-style rape, one after the other) on her." (Oh no... they're not animals...)
What ensued was 2 1/2 hours of beatings and raping, at times with a foreign object. The scene attracted onlookers, some calling others over by cell phone, and eventually there were as many as 10 men or boys sexually assaulting the girl while another 20 looked on, laughing and snapping pictures. Teachers and students were searching last week for at least one video that many said was filmed of the attack.
The rape finally stopped, around midnight, after students at a house down the block heard of what was going on and called police. The girl was found, semiconscious, beneath a picnic table.
"Her face was purple and blue and she wasn't moving when they finished and ran," said Eraclio Lopez, 23, who lives nearby and ran over when the police cars rolled up. "I guess those kids thought what they did was tight, was cool. But it was terrible."
The girl was released from a hospital Wednesday, but her recovery has only begun, police Lt. Mark Gagan said.
"This was a barbaric crime, and I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that so many watched and didn't report it (and you say you live in Richmond? Oh wait... maybe... you ... don't...)," Gagan said. "That poor girl will have a lot of healing to do."
This was not the first time the churchgoing sophomore had hung out with the wrong crowd, said one (victim blaming) educator who asked not to be named for fear of offending school district sensitivities (nice bit of PC there). That has caused anguish for not just her but the advisers who helped her over the past couple of years,
"She really is a smart girl, but it's not always easy to fit in," the educator said. "I think she can be a little naive, and she's been harassed by guys in the past who took advantage of her when she tried a little too hard.
English teacher Jessica Price, who knows the victim and most of the arrested suspects, said the girl has helped in conflict-mediation groups. She told Price she wanted to join the Police Explorers, a Boy Scouts group that lets boys and girls learn law enforcement with local police.
"She's an emotional, deeply caring girl, the type who would care so much if this happened to another girl," Price said.
The girl and her family have not spoken publicly, but her parents issued a statement read at a community meeting Saturday, urging everyone moved by the attack to "please channel your anger into positive action."
You gotta wonder about these parents. Who would send their kid into this hell knowingly?
That such a girl could be so brutalized speaks more to a pack mentality, stoked by booze and street machismo, than it does to the general character of Richmond High's youths, Price said (youths who live for pack mentality, booze, and street machismo).
"Those boys who did what they did weren't picturing that girl as a human," she said. "I think you see these kinds of boys at a lot of high schools - so desensitized it was like they saw her as a toy. Boys like that - there aren't many like them, but they can be so hard. All they needed was something to set them off."
She told a school district safety panel last week that some girls trying to find out who had watched the rape were being threatened in the hallways - and that, too, she blames on a desensitized mentality (my guess is it's her go-to explanation for everything).
Price has been helping lead counseling sessions on campus, and to support the hundreds of students who staged rallies and gatherings to denounce violence. Their hope is to tell people in the Bay Area and everyone else who has seen national coverage of the case that the attack does not define Richmond High (I'm sure her job depends on it).
It's not an easy message to get out in a city where 18 percent of families live below poverty level and the always-struggling school district became in 1991 the first in the state to declare bankruptcy. The CQ Press crime index last year rated 102,000-population Richmond the ninth-most-dangerous city in America, based on crimes including homicide and rape (hmmm... maybe we should look at why? Nah...).
There are hopeful aspects. Richmond High, which is 76 percent Latino, had the highest increase in its district last year in its state Adequate Yearly Progress scores. It was only a decade ago that the school drew international acclaim when basketball coach Ken Carter forced members of his undefeated team to sit on the bench until they raised their grades (well, that certainly cancels out the gang-rape...).
"I have friends who go to school in Concord and say, 'Aren't you scared to go to Richmond High?' And I say, no - you can do very well academically here," said junior Vanessa Bejarano. "I take two AP classes. I am headed for college. I feel safe, and it makes me mad that people only see the bad side of us now."
Even the neighborhood ex-cons who lounge against their cars all afternoon at the back end of campus are outraged. For all the (bullshit, PC, and obviously-not-working-very-well) sensitivity training going on, this is still a rough city - and there is rough justice.
"If we'd gone over there earlier, before it was over, those mother- would have been shot. For real," said 24-year-old Chuckie Pelayo, leader of a pack that hangs out at the corner of Hayes Street and Emeric Avenue, one block from the rape scene. "We've all been to prison, and we know the code of how you're supposed to behave. These younger guys, they don't know the code.
"Some of us know a few guys who were there, and we're out looking for them," Pelayo added, the others nodding. "They better hope the cops find them first, because when we find them the same thing that happened to that girl is gonna happen to them."
And just today, a sly bit of pimping from Bob Egelko - from the SF Chronicle's stable of far left yellow journalists - trying to tie the events to the famous Central Park gang-rape of a white jogger (which introduced the term "wilding" to America) with the events in Richmond.
The subject of the article "Central Park jogger a lesson for gang rape case" is the documentary movie about the NY case, made by the two daughters of "civil rights attorney" William Kunstler - an absolutely despicable anti-American Communist lawyer scumbag whose client list included the Chicago 7, Black Panther murderers, Attica rioters, and blind sheik/1993 WTC bomber mastermind Omar Abdel-Rahman - and which just so happens to be opening in the Bay Area this weekend.
The fact that these two cunts are using a gang-rape case to push their movie shows that the nuts don't fall far from the tree. And Egelko giving them a forum shows what a piece of shit he is.
To those who are ready to lock up the Richmond gang rape defendants and throw away the key, Sarah Kunstler has a few words of caution: the Central Park Jogger.
There are differences between the notorious 1989 New York case, in which an imprisoned murderer confessed to the rape 13 years after five teenagers were convicted and sent to prison, and the Richmond case, in which six defendants ages 15 to 21 are charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old high school student after an Oct. 24 homecoming dance.
But the 33-year-old daughter of the late civil rights attorney William Kunstler, co-director of a documentary film about her father that opened Friday in the Bay Area, says one lesson everyone should have learned from Central Park is not to rush to judgment.
William Kunstler, who represented one of the defendants, "would caution us not to let our horror at the crime blind us to the rights of the people charged," Sarah Kunstler said. "That's when mistakes happen. That's how innocent people end up spending their childhoods in prison."
Sarah Kunstler said she doesn't know the details of the Richmond case, but added, "I know that my father would have been concerned that the young men arrested would have been convicted in the court of public opinion before they ever made it into the courtroom.
Social justice. Fuck. I have seen your vision of social justice. It was in Central Park and in Richmond. For people like this, the rape of white women by minorities IS social justice! Unlike leftist trash like Egelko, Eldridge Cleaver at least had the stones to admit it.