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Man mugged at downtown Caltrain station

Original post made on Aug 21, 2008

A 19-year-old man was mugged early Thursday as he was leaving the University Avenue Caltrain station, Palo Alto Police Agent Dan Ryan said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 21, 2008, 3:12 PM

Comments (43)

Posted by Ted, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Our city council does not have crime as its priority. It is concerned about what is in our garbage and how much we can recycle. We need to get this garbage scum off of our streets NOW. Doesn't matter what time of the day they are crawling out of their holes. When is the PAPD and the City going to take action? We've already had one murder this year, a hold up at Stanford Shopping center at 6:300 last Saturday night and two men held up on Colorado this week about 10:30 p.m. Menlo Park is seeing this hold up pattern too. Something has to be done now. It is not just seniors who are afraid to walk on our city streets.

Posted by free, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2008 at 7:09 pm

free money and housing food,just be responsible and dont reproduce,and dont spend money on wars,there will be less crime.and dont hate on someone cause they have a different hair color

Posted by DreamT, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Ted, maybe it's time to move to a safe neighborhood with low crime rate, closer to 280. Palo Alto East of El Camino isn't what it's hyped to be...

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 21, 2008 at 10:02 pm

If anybody from the city council or police department is reading these comments, PLEASE let's take some drastic action here without trying to be politically correct. Let's beef up the police presence where necessary, and let's not be afraid to question individuals regardless of their ethnic/social backgrounds. Let's face it, we don't live in a color-blind world, and there's enough statistical evidence to suggest that crimes rates are higher or lower, depending on ethnic/social backgrounds.

Posted by Rajiv, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 21, 2008 at 10:36 pm

This is ridiculous. A wealthy city like Palo Alto should either have police in these high traffic areas or some cameras there. Have them monitored at headquarters. Criminals should not feel comfortable in Palo Alto.

Posted by Mad, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by KT, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:25 pm

These are probably the same guys from the other day on Colorado Ave....and honestly they are probably getting quite a laugh out of scaring the people of Palo Alto....laughing as they read the paper in the morning. Mad, I understand that you are (obviously white) and worried, but just be smart....while this rash of robberies is going on, don't walk alone at night, and make sure that you stay around well lite and public areas! You don't have to be afraid of black people, or yellow people, or orange people either.....just men in a dark tunnel at midnight or headed straight toward you in the middle of the night on a dark street!!!

Posted by Jeremy Loski, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Mad says "You'll probably attack this posting for being racist. I believe I'm saying outloud what people of many ethnicities and ages are thinking."

Now WAIT a minute!! You DO have a CHOICE about whether or not to feel universally afraid of black men, or latino men, or Asian men, or white men. Please do not tell me that you have no choice in your categorization of people in a way that is beyond your control. That's just LAZY, and inappropriate, and the road to small thinking and social fascism.

btw, I don't think you're a racist, but you are letting fear rule personal cognition, thus keeping you from considering other possibilities, and perceptions. If you let that continue to happen, voila!, you will have passed through the portal of ugly racism, and be diminished. Don't let that happen. You DO have a choice.

Frankly, our police department works very hard, but I'm afraid that the police department is still operating under the assumption that Palo Alto is mostly a safe place.

Word spreads FAST among miscreants about where the "easy" hits are. Every time one of these thugs scores a hit without apprehension, it gets noticed by others who would do harm to person and property.

Palo Alto and the Peninsula is going to continue to grow, We cannot place a moat around this region. Thus, we're going to have to adapt to some of the downsides that urban growth creates. One of those downsides is an increase in the number of persons who have bad intentions.

We must learn to adapt to the natural increase in potential crimes that accompanies population increases (and hard times) by urging a far more aggressive police presence (this does NOT mean ethnic profiling).

We need more beat cops, more cops on bicycles _in the neighborhoods_ at night. We need surveillance cameras _accompanied by_ an increase in smart policing that reinforces the presence of cameras. (failures of cameras in many places is due to a concomitant decrease in police on the street, due to the mistaken notion that criminals are stopped cold by cameras - not true)

Neighborhood watch. LIGHTS! EVERY front porch should have a light on, starting at dusk. Carry a whistle. Attend a self defense class for a few hours to create a body memory of what to do (and not do) if attacked.

Yes, we're facing new, unfortunate realities that exist for many complicated reasons. We either adapt to those conditions, or we lose out. Along with adaptation, we need to understand what elements in our (American) culture cause so many young people to take a wrong path. Once we have identified some of those causes, we need to aggressively act, and take action to root them out (no compromise), and intervene in the lives of young children before their fertile minds are polluted with a tendency to do harm, as a response to their own pain.

Posted by DreamT, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Seriously, most of you guys are really overreacting. I can only imagine you strolling in East San Jose or Hayward. Get a grip please, you don't live in an island. Better cooperation between PA and the poorer neighborhoos around would go a longer way than installing security cameras. As for race and crime, the comments categorizing people are part of the problem as they are divisive and antagonistic. You really should know better.

Posted by Dream T's mama, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2008 at 1:45 am

"Seriously, most of you guys are really overreacting. "

You need to get a grip, and realize that many people have lived here for years, rarely hearing about a local mugging. Suddenly, it's a very frequent thing. That IS cause for alarm. If you're so unafraid, why not test the waters? How about a solo, personal late evening tour of some of the places where crime has occurred recently. Try is out, Let's put a blood pressure cuff on you and see whether there's any "macho" running through your veins, or it's all bluster. I'm betting the latter.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2008 at 5:37 am

Remember the FAMOUS works. "Good people do bad things."

Right Joe?

I think Joe found Palo Alto's new tag line.

And the whole thing should read.

Good people do bad things,however, in Palo Alto it is alright. Bad people do terrible things in Palo Alto in is a matter of pride. And Palo Alto has more than its share of terrible people in power.

Posted by laura, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2008 at 8:23 am

A man is murdered in downtown Palo Alto in July, two muggings on Colorado Avenue and now a man is mugged near the Caltrain station. If this is the direction things are taking in our sleepy, affluent, well educated town we better get a plan in place soon. Where are the police? Citizens better get organized, involved and wake up.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

Jermy. I would have to say that the City of Palo Alto is the most corrupt city in the USA.
It is a weapon of mass destruction to anything that it comes in contact with. And spreads all the things that are consitered cruel and abusive throught out the world.
The smoke has blown away and people are seeing Palo Alto for what it is. They do not like it, do not like the people from there. The sad part is the good people,good firefighters the good city employee's suffer from guilt by association. Or do not want to be attacked trying to make any chances for the better of the whole.

Also when you are on a big boat the captain and the members of the bridge steer where that whole ship goes, all its cargo goes.
No choice.

Posted by wake up, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

is this vigilantism? i happen to have parents from both races,and youre profiling has messed up all my relations,as the american indians say

Posted by chris, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2008 at 8:18 am

Graffiti. A slightly different topic but worth noting here:

I've noticed more and more graffiti downtown, on our newspaper boxes, street signs, and especially along Alma street just south of the new Pampas restaurant in the vacant lot. Take a look at the south side wall of our PA Caltrain station - graffiti. Shame on me for not calling and asking that it be removed.

My point is this: it would seem persons who come to our town to cause harm (assault, vandalism/graffiti) are comfortable doing it and with increasing regularity. It saddens me. And I feel like we're letting them win.

Posted by Saleaha, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 24, 2008 at 1:19 am

Crime has always spilled over to Palo Alto. I ought to know. My parents immigrated from England to Palo Alto when I was 12. One day I went to the library to take back some books...and when I came out on my bike a person asked me to give him a ride because his car broke, being the innocent person I was, I did, and when I allowed that person to get on the seat of my bike, he asked me "how old are you"...I said "13" although I was 12, I was dragged to East Palo Alto. So long story short, it ended up in a rape and it changed my life forever. This area is getting way worse now...I can see it. Don't think this area is safe. It is not.

Posted by francis, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm

First, I think at least one of the recent crime was perpetrated by a white guy (the robbery at Stanford shopping center). So not all cirminals are African-Americans.
Second, the economy of California is going down (see the rise in unemployment rate?). Bad economy means more people desperate who resort to crime to make ends meet.
As usual, the people most hit by the bad economy are not the WASP, but the recent immigrants and the African-Americans.
Instead of overreacting and spending more money on the police, maybe the good and rich people of Palo Alto (with their houses worth an indecent amount of money) should work to jump-start the economy (you know, by being a good Christian and helping the poor...).
Of course, the usual cow-boy tactics (fund more police officers, put cameras, transform California into a police state) is easier and appealing (it does not require a time-consuming understanding of social issues, and blame can be put on a specific group of people with little consequences for the others). However, the problem with this type of tactics is that unless you put a policeman behind each and every citizen of Palo Alto, you will never guarantee that crime will be stopped.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Some security cameras in those tunnels should be part of the design. If you use any underground Muni or BART station, there are prominent security cameras.

The second measure is to restrict the use of the juvenile legal system to much younger ages, say 12 or less. It's been gamed pretty thoroughly.

Posted by Jon, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

Wow...I'm sure many other forum readers are mildly horrified at some of the ideas in the comments.

It's saddening how so many people system justify and racially profile (stop saying you aren't trying to be racist when you are?). Good grief and try 13-18 year olds as adults? Preposterous, shameful, and undignified.

We cannot let fear and hate drive discourse, because it doesn't translate to good policymaking (8 years, hasn't anyone learned anything yet?)

Jeremy proposed positive measures, all save CCTV's which the fine citizens of this affluent and distinguished city will certainly object to.

And go make a friend with a minority before you start characterizing liklihood of illicit behavior of someone with a different color skin.

We can all stop pretending to be politically correct and recognize our weaknesses and improve.

Posted by Abe, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm

> You DO have a CHOICE about whether or not to feel
> universally afraid of ...

Statistics on every governmental crime web-site show that Blacks and Hispanics are involved in crime 8x and 4x more than Whites, respectively.

How does one ignore these statistics, rationally?

Posted by Roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 11:49 am

Dear Abe,

Statistics show that white people are responsible for million of deaths when they invaded South America from Europe, million of deaths during the first and second world wars, and currently hundred of thousands of deaths in Irak.
How does one ignore these statistics rationally?


Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Roger, since you expanded to the mega-view, it is only fair to point out that non-whites owe whites a huge "thank you" for introducing conditions that allowed the non-whites to expand their populations, and to prosper. Colonialism/conquest turned stone-age cultures to the modern world, both in Africa and the Americas.

Infrastructure, public health, legal systems, resource exploration/exploitation...mostly all due to the white man. Even the most egregious example of white exploitation, slavery, was a benefit to those future black generations who ended up in the New World, compared to those that remained in Africa. You should also understand that white slavers bought their slaves from black slavers.

Don't forget that major tribes in the Americas went down long before the white man arrived (Mayans, Anasazi, Plains Indians). In fact, the whites introduced legal systems that had made significant inroads against tribal law (they had gone through their own tribal stuggles in Europe, and had, slowly, learned about their deficits).

So, how is any of this related to the current crime statistics in the USA? Answer: It isn't. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by we, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 26, 2008 at 12:57 pm

you just indulted those who are both white and say we owe you like because we dont have 2 white parents we owe white people for what we already are,youre in serious need of a talking to by forces on the lookout for you

Posted by Roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Dear Kirk,

Thanks for your advice. I have one for you: how about you read a history book?
When the Spaniards invaded South America, they did not bring much "civilisation". They did baptized a few Indians (if you can call that an act of civilization), but they mainly used the natives as slaves for the gold mines. When the American Southerners imported slaves from Africa, they did not civilize them much either. The fact that other Africans helped in the slave trade does not lessen the crimes of the American importers. Your reasoning is seriously flawed. Other thing, the British colonists who landed in America did wipe out some Indian tribes. Whether or not these tribes were already shrinking does not excuse the crime. Maybe the British did bring cilization to India (railroads, educational system...) but, again, that does not justify the numerous crimes they committed there. Try to find a law book that supports your reasoning.
If African-Americans and recent immigrants have a higher crime rate, it's partly because of the context in which they live: African-Americans have been victimized for a long time. First they were slaves, then they were lynched and robbed of their civil rights in the South (remember the KKK?), and now they are still victims of discrimination (recent studies show that everything being equal, employers prefer to hire whites than blacks). That is why smart people decided to introduce affirmative actions in the US. Recent immigrants are also victimized: they are often treated with suspicion and as criminals. Increasing the number of police officers in Palo Alto might help reduce the crime rate, but it won't solve the deeper problem of inequality in this country. Only solving the deeper problem will bring a permanent reduction of the crime rate. But, of course, it takes longer and it is more difficult to sell to the US taxpayers than pretending being tough on crime and trying to solve every problem by putting people behind bars.
FYI I'm 100% white.

Posted by Joel, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm

6 million Jews were killed in WW2, 1/3 or the Irish were killed in the famine, 1/2of the Armenians were killed by the Turks.50 million Chinese were killed by Mao.

You are not likely to be mugged by members of any of these ethnic groups in Palo Alto at the train station or anywhere else, why is that?

Posted by Roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Joel: maybe because when members of these ethnic groups came to the US they were not as strongly discriminated against as African-Americans.
Jews, Irish, and Armenians were not used as slaves in the US (Chinese were used as indentured servants for the railroad construction), they were not systematically prevented from voting, they were not lynched by the KKK, they were not prohibited from marrying white people, they were not put in segregated units in the military, they were not refused access to white people schools, they were not depicted as racially inferior by eugenists, and they are not currently discriminated against by some employers.

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 4:50 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Most people, poor or rich, black or white or brown, etc., do not rob banks, or jack cars or strong-arm innocents or commit fraud or gangbang. Those who do, are individually responsible, and no historical narrative can excuse their acts. Just arrest them, and punish them. But don't make excuses.

For your information, not that it really matters, I am (as best I can tell) 5/8 black. I was born and raised in what you guilty whites call a ghetto, single mom. I studied hard, listened to my mom and uncles, refused to get in with the punks, went to community college, then a four-year, then into the corporate world. You won't hear such crazy nonsense as you spew, from me, because it has no basis in reality, and it only provides excuses that work to debilitate people.

I don't sit around thanking white folk for my prosperity, but I do think it is necessary for non-white folks, and guilty whites, to thank the big boogeyman (whites) for the opportunities provided to us/them. The main point is that "blame-whitey" is no excuse, it is just victimization. Time to get beyond this craziness, Roger.

By the way, the Spaniards found it so easy to conquer the Americas, becasue the dominant tribes had so many enemies, and the Spaniards exploited the differences. One historical view is that the Mayans were eliminated by a combination of internal warfare, and attacks by the Aztecs. This Mayan collapse all happened before the Europeans arrived on the continent.

Posted by roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm


Glad to know you are a decent guy who followed mom's advice.
Unfortunately, not every African American is as lucky as you are.
It's well known that a lot of black children did not have the luxury to be raised by (a) devoted parent(s).
I believe part of the problem with parenthood in the African-American community comes from slavery: slave masters were breaking families on purpose.
I don't say the predicament of African-Americans should excuse every crime some of them committ, I just say crime rates do not arise from a vacuum: there is a context, a background, that PARTLY explain the actions of some members of an ethnic group.
It seems to me that punishing criminal is an important thing to do, but it is equally important to try to solve the background problems that favor criminality (like discrimination against black people).

I'm happy to know you have never been discriminated against by white people. I'm sure such a fact will surprise my African-American friends who were not as lucky as you.

In the meantime, while I grow up (which might take some time), I suggest you read history books written by scholars instead of racist apologists of colonization.

And talk to so Native Americans about the "gift of civilisation" they received from the whites. You'll see if they agree with you...

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 5:23 pm


You continue to miss the main point. I felt discrimination from both blacks and whites, for different reasons, but I didn't let it get to me. I had my own agenda, and it didn't involve crime. I have a brother and a sister, and we all did well in life. We took advantage of the amazing opportunities that this country offers. Our mother loved us, and she gave good advice, but she was no saint (she never married, and all three of us had different fathers).

You are making excuses, Roger. I have heard these rationales my entire life. They are completely bogus.

Posted by Bob Richardson, a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Dear Everyone,

Did you know that in this region of the world called "America," the population used to be 100% Native American? Did you know that now, after White colonization, the population is less than 1%?

And Dear Kirk,

Did you not know that wiping out other cultures and changing them is a form of cultural genocide? Your logic that slavery and the like were beneficial is just ridiculous.

Posted by roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm


What I say is that not everyone is as lucky and hard working as you. I mean, that's the same thing among white people: not everyone becomes billionaire. Your reaction is the same as Donald Trump saying: "I succeeded in life. People who don't should not make excuse. If I succeeded, everyone should be able to succeed too".
Well, no. Because 1% of white people are extra rich does not mean that the 99% who are not are idiots who deserve it.
In the US, if you work hard you can always make it. OK, but it seems to me that African Americans have to work much harder than whites to reach the same results because of wrongdoings they were victims of in the past. The same way not every white guy can become Donald Trump, I think not every African American can find the strength to succeed. And I don't think you can entirely blame it on them, the same way you cannot entirely blame a white guy for not being rich. Of course I believe in personal responsibility, but the forces of society and your environment also affect you and your chances of success.
I mean, if you grow up in the ghetto, you are more likely to end badly than if you grow up in Beverly Hills. Of course, if you are smart and strong, it makes less impact on you whether you are in Beverly Hills or in the ghetto. But for most people, if you are in the ghetto it will take more strength and hard work to succeed than in you were raised in berverly Hills. If you don't succeed, it's partly because you did not work hard enough, but also partly because you started with a handicap. That's all I say.

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 6:36 pm


I am not hard working because I am lucky. I work hard, despite some bad luck.

The main point here is crime, not wealth. Poverty does not confer crime, despite your best efforts to make such excuses. During the Great Depression, crime rates were lower than they are today.

Donald Trump has nothing to do with this discussion, except that he might be making whites and non-whites jealous of his wealth. Such jealousy does not provide an excuse to become criminals.

Posted by roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm


OK, just a last comment (obviously we are both opinionated and we won't change our mind). What I say is that society impacts on your chances to succeed or not. If you are African-American, it's harder to succeed than if you are white because of discrimination and past wrongdoings. Some people who can't make it in life and are desperate sometimes resort to crime. It's a fact, I don't condone it. If African-Americans had the same chances than white people to succeed, the crime rate would be lowered. I don't say they are all saints: there are some rotten apples, like among every ethnic groups, and some African-Americans would still committ crimes even if there was no discrimination against them and they were offered the same opportunities as whites. You can say whatever you want, I do believe
the crime rate would be lower though.
A story for you: I have a white friend who had to file for bankruptcy because of medical bills (like 1.8 million Americans a year. God Bless the US). He got desperate, needed to pay the bills, and did a stupid thing (he stole some money). He went to jail (2 years). My point: if the US had a decent and universal health care system in the first place like in Europe, he would not have committed a crime. Does that mean my friend is not responsible and should not be punished? Of course no. That just means that criminality is more complex than the usual "some people are good. Some are evil. period" point of view. Good night.

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 7:12 pm


[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The vaunted socialist health care system in Britain does not prevent a much higher property crime rate there, caompared to the USA.

It is my experience that blacks in this country, who truly apply themselves, are at at advantage compared to their white or Asian peers. There are so many opportunities. Your victimization narrative helps to destroy these oppotunities.

Posted by frank, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm

you comment that Blacks that apply themselves have an advantage is ridiculous. Most company executies are white males and hire white males in all upper management positions. every now and then they hire a black or other minority for a semi top position for political correctness and to make it appear as if no racism exists within the company.

Posted by Nina, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 26, 2008 at 7:47 pm

A young man was mugged, and it is unfortunate, wherever that happens, whether in Palo Alto or Brooklyn.

Just reading these reader comments confirmed my beliefs that the more "educated" and "leftist" a region like the Bay Area is, the more underlying racism--especially the anonymous kind--exists. I am a college-educated black female, I have lived here 7 years, and I have experienced far more racism here than anywhere else in the country. People actually told me they didn't want to live with me (as roommates), people constantly lock their car doors when I walk by, and having to look for a job or an apartment has become so stressful that I feel constricted to just stay where I am, in any job or in any apartment, instead of face more blatant discrimination. I'm not talking about discreet discrimination, it has almost all been said out loud, and of course, always privately. God forbid anybody knows what they said! This is the Bay Area!

"Abe"-- Statistics also show that the poorest people are also African Americans and Latinos. So why put the blame on race? Why not poverty? I'm sure if you researched each criminal in the prison system, you'd find that the common thread (for most) is poverty, whether they are white, black, asian, latino, male or female. Wanting to make it a race issue just reveals YOUR own personal feelings about those races.

As for "Kirk," -- I'm having a hard time believing "Kirk" is any part African American. If he is, he sure doesn't seem to like himself for it. To say that European colonization "helped" its victims, and that African Americans are "lucky" to be here is just an unbelievable level of stupidity and selective reasoning. Do you read, Kirk? You're "successful" so I guess you must read at least a little. Do you know how many countries/kingdoms had peaceful self-rule before colonialization, only to be toppled and restructured by colonialists to make sure natural resources (and human resources, such as slavery) would remain in guaranteed supply to the colonialists? Now, if colonialists had never shown up in the first place, maybe African Americans wouldn't be so "lucky" to be here, maybe Africa wouldn't be such a hard place to live, not that America or Europe aren't, too.

I agree with Francis, this has to do with a bad economy and people not seeing a way out of their situations. Many poor parents don't have the luxury of raising their kids with as much attention as they need, and kids are constantly seeing only bad examples, so rarely any good ones. Saying that parenting has nothing to do with it is just disrespecting your own parents for the hard work they put into raising you.

I'm not saying I know what made these guys rob the young man, it probably was just wanton greed and violence. I'm just saying the overall crime rate is up because poverty is up. And I'm saying race doesn't have much to do with it, it's just a convenient excuse for lazy--and yes, racist-- people to not work to fix a broken system.

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Nina, I neither like nor dislike myself because of my race. That is your hangup.

You seem be be getting beyond race as an excuse for crime. Good for you. You are ahead of "Roger". However, you have bought into the poverty paradigm. It is almost as bad.

As for your idealizations about Africa (" countries/kingdoms had peaceful self-rule before colonialization"), where do you think the black slaves came from in the first place? Before the white slavers showed up and provided a cash market, most of those black slaves were prisioners of war, and just slaughted by their black owners, once they were no longer useful.

Posted by sue mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 26, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Most African Americans are thankfull for their free immigration to the USA if you contrast their likely fate in Africa, they were sold into slavery by Arabs and other tribes, when they contemplate the current life in Liberia for example they are lucky to be here.
As for the native Americans, a clash between a stone age culture and an industrial culture has always lead to the end, Darwin rules.

Posted by roger, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2008 at 8:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Kirk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Gerald, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm

I don't get how the effects of slavery can cause a person to commit robbery or other crimes. To have been a slave they have to be almost 150 years old, and not likely very successful at committing crimes anymore.

Posted by sue mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 26, 2008 at 11:12 pm

slavery was a mistake and made no economic sense,btw native American owned slaves, indentured service for the many immigrants was common too

I do not know why crime is so common with the Africa Americans but they have to deal with this problem by informing the police about gangsters etc.

Palo Altans need to be more vigilant and report strangers who look like a threat.

Posted by Kathy, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 10, 2008 at 12:20 am

Your first words grabbed my attention, an attempt to get the audience back on point. "A young man was mugged, and it is unfortunate, wherever that happens, whether in Palo Alto or Brooklyn." Brilliant. What followed made me very, very sad.

I'm so sorry that your experiences here in Palo Alto have been so negative. Please don't blame it on all white, liberal-ish, well-educated, Palo Altans. Some of us are enlightened, despite our circumstances and upbringing.

When I pass people on the street, whoever they are, whatever their appearance, I make eye contact and greet them. Unless you were coming at me with a gun, knife, or in some manner that was overtly threatening (in which case it wouldn't matter if you were black, white, brown, yellow, or polka-dotted), I wouldn't lock my door, roll up my windows, cross the street, or otherwise avoid you.

Unless you smoked, used drugs, were a fall-down drunk, or had really offensive behavior, I wouldn't rule you out as a friend or roommate (no twangy country or loud rock allowed), a tenant, or an employee. As an employer/manager (which I no longer am), I hired and promoted solely based upon education, qualifications, performance, merit, and desire. Now that I'm happily self-employed, and I'm my entire staff, so I can't be much help.
However, if an apartment ever opens up in the building in which I live, I'd be happy to let you know. The owner is a friend, and he does not discriminate. He does own a local business nearby, and would give first dibs on the rare vacancy to one of his employees, but if he had no takers, I'd be happy to let you know.

As for me, yes, I'm about a white as they come, 100% blonde-haired, green-eyed, German-American, raised by in a Lutheran family of (dare I day it) Republicans. By the time I was about 11 or 12, I realized they had 2 qualities I didn't want to emulate — bigotry (covert) and hypocracy (overt). I'm still a white German-American, my hair's still blonde (gets a little assist now), and my eyes are still green, but I'm more of a Buddhist now (peace, loving kindness, belief in all faiths), and non-partisan in my politics (I vote my conscience).

I was taught the Golden Rule every Sunday, but witnessed different behavior during the week. It wasn't aggressive, or hateful, or even deliberate. My earliest awareness was in the mid-60s, when I was about 8-years-old. We lived in a Southern California working-class neighborhood. I was too young at the time to understand the reasons or the underlying emotions, but I remember when the riots broke out in Watts. The TV news kept showing angry young "Negroes" ("Black" was still a few years off) breaking windows and setting stores on fire. They were shown throwing anything they could find at police — rocks, bricks, glass. Everything was on fire. The air was black during the day. The sky was glowing orange at night. This was happening about 20 minutes from our house. It was a scary time, especially for an 8-year-old.

I forget how long the fires burned. It seems like it was months. It probably was days. When things returned to "normal", I just remember that "Watts" had become something bigger than life. It was in the history books now. Something I was able to comprehend, even though I was only 8, was that there was something wrong in Watts that wasn't wrong in the cities next door. After the riots, an invisible equivalent of the Berlin wall was erected by my parents around Watts, Compton, East L.A., etc. ... the gettos, the barrios. I began to notice my parents acted differently around people that didn't "look" like them. Curious, I thought, but I didn't really yet understand it.

As I grew older and wiser, by this time I was all of 11, I came to realize that these "God-fearing, church-going, love your neighbor as you love yourself" Christians were talking the talk but walking a different direction. A blended family moved next door to us. My parents were distraught. I sensed their fear whenever the neighbors' black sons and I were talking. These young men were polite, intelligent, motivated, and interesting. My folks were relieved when I talked with the white son (who was a juvenile delinquent, drug addict, all-round jerk).

I really don't think my parents were purposefully and maliciously bigoted or racist (I don't even think they were aware of it), but they were, I saw it, and it bothered me ... and their friends were, and their churchmates were, and their political affiliates were. I'm sorry, but I don't think you can call yourself a "good Christian" if your behavior is qualified by the color of the skin of the person standing opposite you.

Heart matters. Soul matters. Kindness matters. Behavior matters. Intent matters. Honesty matters. Wisdom matters. Color doesn't matter.

I wish I could remove the seven years of stress and angst that living here has brought you. As I said, some of us ARE enlightened. I realize I'm writing 6-7 weeks after the previous posts, but hopefully this will somehow get to you.

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