We love our neighborhood in Alhambra, a city in the middle of Los Angeles County (just East of L.A., North of East L.A., and South of Pasadena). Since we have moved into our house 6 years ago, we have really enjoyed developing friendships with our neighbors.
As a parent I may be more aware of some of the bad things that have happened around us – two homicides within walking distance of our house, drug dealing arrests, carjackings (broken glass from a car window just two days ago), graffiti every once in a while, a homeless person or two staying on our street (one guy was living in a van parked right outside our side door), at least 4 traffic fatalities right around us, an occasional police presence (seemed like a stakeout a copy of weeks ago across the street from us), and now we found out about a house with 6 sexual offenders living there. This house is within 1/4 mile of our house.
Last night, I went with a friend of mine to the public hearing about this situation. There were hundreds of people – so many that there were dozens of us unable to get into the hearing. In the end, we signed petitions and the police seemed to indicate they would move towards evicting these guys.
I did feel a bit like I was part of an angry mob – like the townspeople chasing after Shrek or shouting “kill the beast!” in Beauty and the Beast, but everyone remained calm and made our point in a civil way. Some have taken to the street to protest the presence of these sexual offenders (see video here).
I hope these guys get the help they need, and I am grateful for those who are helping them. I am all about forgiving people and giving people a second chance, but for now, our neighborhood isn’t ready to be a part of their recovery.
Erwin mentioned something at the 5pm Mosaic gathering at the Mayan during the Q&A that seems to be where I keep landing on this issue. You can forgive someone, but that doesn’t mean you have to trust them.