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Strongarm robbery of iPod leads to six arrests

Original post made on Jan 3, 2009

The strongarm robbery of an iPod Touch from a youth who was knocked off his skateboard in the 200 block of Everett Avenue in north Palo Alto Friday evening led to the arrest of six males on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, January 3, 2009, 8:48 AM

Comments (95)

Posted by Frank, a resident of University South
on Jan 3, 2009 at 10:54 am

Lucky the boy was not hurt. All over a ipod, real smart.
I can see it now in jail: "What are you guys in for? "We try to rob a kid of his ipod, while he was riding his skateboard".

Posted by qq, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

It was amazing that these guys got caught because this went down the same time as the big chase over by Southwood and Edgewood.

Web Link

The poor 15yo kid sure had an interesting evening in downtown Palo Alto.

The kid that actually stole the 8GB iPod Touch with silver back and Air Hockey application was on parole for burglary in San Mateo County.

Posted by oh boy, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I am just waiting for the comments that point out that four of the six arrested individuals were from East Palo Alto.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm

In an ideal world we would be safe walking down darkened alleys with $100 bills hanging out of our pockets. No one would bother us. In the real world, it is not such a bright idea.

The iPod that poor kid was wearing represents real cash to anyone who steals it. He was, in effect, skating around with a $100 bill hanging out of his pocket, probably put there by his parents. Perhaps we should think harder about the gifts we give our kids and where they use them. Yes, they have a right to own those things, but it is not really a good idea to advertise it. iPod earphones are a great advertisment of something of value.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm

To JustMe,

Are you kidding me?! So you not suppose to use YOUR ipod in public because it might be stolen. Don't ride a expensive bike because
someone might take it.
Give me a break. How about: you steal, you go to jail!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm


Since you and I are discussing what constitutes being a victim in another thread, I can see that here you seem to be agreeing with me entirely whereas on the other thread you are playing devil's advocate.

This 15 year old was going about his business on his skateboard and apart from the time of the action and the venue, the only difference was the Ipod. Yes I do agree that wearing an Ipod with distinctive headphones are similar to going round with a $100 bill hanging out of his pocket. If I were his parent, I would tell him to either buy some cheap headphones for public use, or quit using Ipods on a skateboard altogether since he would be unable to hear traffic approaching etc. as he would without the Ipod. But, this young man in my opinion was not doing anything else wrong. Unless, of course, he was in EPA at 2.30 am.

I am very glad that he was unhurt, had the quick thinking to call the police, that the police were able to catch the bad guys and that everything happened so well in the end. Hopefully, there will be more occasions for this type of thing ending well and that the bad guys get the message to leave Palo Alto alone.

Posted by Much Appreciated, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I think we have to thank a very alert Officer Pecoraro. He is one of our younger and very sharp new Officers. He must've got backup really quickly to have apprehended six guys. Very sharp of the juvenile to call the police so quickly; I suppose these guys weren't smart enough to take his cell phone. I'm glad you got your iPod back.

Posted by qq, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Considering an iPod touch looks just like an iPhone, they probably thought they got his phone.

Also, the headphones he was using were not the standard white iPod headphones. They were grey and blue, so all you folks saying that white headphones will get you robbed are barking up the wrong tree.


Posted by guess, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by TipAndRing, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm

"Posted by oh boy, a resident of the Esther Clark Park neighborhood, 6 hours ago

I am just waiting for the comments that point out that four of the six arrested individuals were from East Palo Alto."

Thank you for pointing that out.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I am certainly not saying that you should not use your favorite toys, or that you don't have a right to. What I am saying is that there are things you can do to invite problems.

1) You have a right to leave your car and house unlocked if you want.
2) You have a right to install your nice new Garmin in a good spot in your car and never move it.
3) You also have a right to leave a wad of cash on the center console of your car in plain sight where it is handy when you want it.
4) You should be able to park your bicycle in your front yard every night.

I really do NOT suggest you try any of these things, though you have the right.

Hanging an expensive and easily sold toy on your young kid is an invitation to thieves. Heck, look at all the older women who had their purses snatched in PA, and they could fight back better than an 11-year-old kid.

Far more important than the value of the toy is the health of the child. Thank God he was not hurt, he could have been.

I am not saying you don't have the right to do these things, and in theory you should be safe doing them. But please think about what you might be inviting on your kids when you allow them to flash such fancy do-dads in front of less scrupulous people desperate for money.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

"This 15 year old was going about his business on his skateboard and apart from the time of the action and the venue, the only difference was the Ipod."

I think that,gee, maybe, ugh just maybe, another difference might be that....

one person got a small piece of technology stolen....

and the other person got shot in both legs.

But I guess the equation is "white PA teenager getting toy stolen equals minority in EPA getting both legs shot".

Buy hey that guy was skateboarding in EPA at 2:30AM!! (the nerve!) and so probably it was gang related-----some want to believe.

Posted by Decline to state, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2009 at 10:38 pm

It is reading about stories like this that make me sick and angry about the lawlessness of thugs living in EPA and East MP drifting to neighboring towns to rob honest-hard working people. It is so sad that we have to live in fear.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

One of the biggest drain on the State of California's finances is its prison system - huge to accommodate the creeps like these six who will not end up sleeping outside homeless in the cold but rather in a warm cell out of the rain and get free medical care that millions can't afford and on and on and on. Will they be deported? Or will they be part of the 'revolving door' prison system? They'll be back in a few years - or less.

Posted by anon, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 3, 2009 at 11:29 pm

They will get probation from a plea bargain. They will serve a few months in jail and then get out. They won't even make it to prison. Sad but true.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 4, 2009 at 12:22 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

JustMe: Just curious. Say a woman is raped because she is wearing provocative attire. I assume you would argue that her dress would justify the rape?

Let's hope these thugs are thrown in jail for awhile. Good work, officers!

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

Nora, don't be absurd. I never said this kid deserved to be robbed. I am merely pointing out that there are things we can to to invite or discourage crimes being perpetrated on us. I would hesitate to let my child wear a $200 or $300 iPod and go unattended just for fear of this sort of thing. It would not be the iPod I would be worrying about, it would be fear for my child getting hurt when a criminal might try to take it.

Posted by More importantly, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2009 at 12:10 pm

What is up with the bad guy they used the chopper for the other night? There was a chopper once again last night, but no news updates. Is the guy armed? DO they think he's hiding outdoors in this weather? An update for those of use who live in the area would be useful.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Nora Charles, You use the word Justify?

Nothing justifies that. Silly to even say that?

When you talk real world cause and action. To have a real open,honesty dialog. To make real changes.

I think you might say, Did that play a part in the event. And how big a part?
Does that justify rape. LETS BE REAL, is it that simple....NO<NO<NO, understand NO
Still nothing makes wrong, RIGHT.

Would you waer a steak neck tie into a lions cage? How would you justify that?

No matter what the leaders of this City tell you. Having to pay out settlements also does not make wrongs O.K? well here it does.

Posted by Football Parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Vaughan Smith - wasn't he the starting running back for the MA HS Football team that won the CCS this season? And the Mataele kid - I think he was a defensive lineman. Too bad if in fact these are kids that had a decent future in sports, all to have it end because of a stupid trick to pick up some quick cash.

Posted by friends of robbers, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2009 at 12:09 am

free my bruhs

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 7:14 am

friends of robbers,

Are you truly a friend of the six people who stole that iPod? If so, can you please tell us why they did it? Was it kicks or did they need money? (I suspect kicks.) Did they truly think that it was okay to do that? What was going through their minds?

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2009 at 7:47 am

There is a huge problem with Samoan and Tongan gangs here, in Australia and NZ.

Each country deports the thugs back and a few years ago they rioted and pretty much burned down the capital of Tonga.

The main Tongan populations are in LA and EPA and they have not thrived which is a shame as back home in Tonga there used to be a very strong Mormon influence which encouraged family, community and the values of Western Civilization.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2009 at 8:48 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"He was, in effect, skating around with a $100 bill hanging out of his pocket" And women are walking around with...
I believe anyone convicted of a crime of violence should be surgically weakened so they lack the strength to impose their will by force on anyone ever again.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

In some places with Shiara (sp) law they cut off your hand for theft. I don't know if I would refer to the amputation as "surgical", and I don't think I would be willing to go along with that as a punishment.

In fact, I do not like the concept of "punishment", or "revenge", or "justice" when the word is used as another term for "revenge". I believe Jesus was speaking against these concepts when he preached forgiveness, he was trying to help people break the cycle of revenge and counter-revenge that tends to spiral out of control. However, I also believe that society has a right to defend itself from criminals, and a duty to defend the weak. I am interested in whatever it takes to remove preditors from society, not as "revenge", but merely as a matter of prevention of additional crimes. Unfortunately, this can easily lead to 'punishing" people for crimes they have not yet committed but that they might, and this would be worse than "revenge".

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

"I believe anyone convicted of a crime of violence should be surgically weakened so they lack the strength to impose their will by force on anyone ever again."

No they go to prison for a long time and work out like mad.

So does that mean frontal lobotomy's for white collar crime? Oh wait, only violence.

This is ridiculous. Do you really think this will ever come to pass? What type of society do you envision this being accepted in?

Posted by Neal, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

To the friend of the robber from EPA, I guess you said it all when you acknowledged their crime in your screen name. Not the friend of the "alleged" robber, or the "innocent" robbers. But to the point, sounds like they could have kept their freedom by not committing a crime in the first place. If you really want to help your bruhs, bruh, then how about getting to them before they do something stupid and encourage them to respect other people and their property.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

A Noun Ea Mus,

Maybe it is just me, but I tend to think that anyone who would cripple their entire lives for an iPod has already HAD the lobotomy. When you think of the costs they will suffer, financial, time lost, police record, recriminations from friends and family, all for the sake of a relatively cheap electronic do-dad, it REALLY does not seem that bright a thing to do. I actually feel sorry for them, because they have lost so much in an attempt to gain so little. It is true that they have brought it on themselves, bot no one wins in this situation, them least of all.

Posted by John Wayne, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm

You pilgrims are overanalyzing. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by friends of robbers, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

friends of robbers, may I ask you to be a little more careful about what and how you post your messages? I would really like to hear what you have to say, but getting deleted does not help.

Posted by disappointed in EVERYONE., a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm

People need to remove themselves from their own up-bringings and from the neighborhoods/realities they live in now and realize that they don't live in the same world as other people. Palo Alto and East Palo Alto are very different places. The only thing they share are boundaries.

If you have never truly been in another person's position, how can you judge them for their actions? I'm not trying to justify what these boys/men did. It just scares me how quick people are to call them East Palo Alto and East Menlo "thugs." For one, I doubt any of you know these guys personally. I do, and I can honestly say they are not bad guys. Good people make bad choices sometimes. Second, the fact that it is basically being said that people from EPA and East Menlo are thugs. Complete stereotyping and generalizing. It's no better than that Palo Alto Chief of Police who said that the cops were just going to be looking for any black people who dorags.

O, and no one mention how the first people to be affected by a bad economy are the poorest. So yes, this must have been done for "kicks"and "thrills." That makes the most sense right? NOt the fact that these kids are walking around and seeing people with ipod touches and other material things that they can't afford. Can people please try to look at things in another person's perspective?

And lastly, can we look at the bigger picture? Rather than talking about these boys as if they are the only ones doing this, take into account that they are being raised in an environment where taking something you want even if its not yours is not out of the question. These boys were most likely raised around more crime than any one who grew up in Palo Alto has been. People are products of their environments. And in addition to that, the "correction" system is anything but corrective. So everyone who is happy that these guys are getting locked up are very wrong. Instead of correcting and rehabilitating people who have committed crimes, they are just taught to be better criminals, if anything.

And let me say again, none of this is to justify what the boys/men did. And it is not to take away from what happened to the victim.

It scares and disgusts me how hateful and judgmental people are.

Posted by Adult Friend of Boys, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I have known one of the boys since the first grade. He has spent countless nights at my house with sleepovers with my son. I know the other two boys as well. I am saddened by their actions, it really hurts me. They are not thugs, gangsters or "bad" boys. Yes, their actions were on that night, but those are not the boys I know. I agree with "Disappointed in Menlo".

Yes are prisons are full, let's try to work to keep OUR LOCAL children out of jail. There is no reason to send your children to Africa to help child there receive a computer or shoes. Our own LOCAL children have neither. There is no reason to build homes in Mexico, help those in our own community. Medical and Dental care is nonexistant for many of these kids. We have so much we can offer to our less fortunate neighbors. Reach out and show some love.
Don't judge--- be a part of the answer, the solution. Let empower our children to be better people.

While riding in my car one of the "accused" said about a 20,000 Sq ft home in Atherton, "Mrs., How many families live in that house?"
I said "Honey, only one". He said to the other boys, "guy's maybe we get jobs mowing their lawn someday." What kind of self esteem does that child have? Did YOU try to help..... No, just throw stones and hope he or his brothers will mow your lawn someday for a real low price.

Together we can make this world a better place. Charity starts at home. Empowerment starts at home.

Living Large in Menlo

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Disappointed and Adult Friend, thank you for posting. Please tell me that these kids do not have prior police records, then I can hope for them to be treated lightly.

We all made stupid mistakes when we were young, I know I made mine. Thankfully I never made thiskind of mistake or got into this much trouble over anything.

I agree that these kids may have been raised differently than I was, that can help with understanding them, but their behavior was still wrong. We certaily cannot have multiple sets of laws for people depending on how they were raised, theft is still theft, regardless. My hope is that these kids may re-examine their priorities and attitudes and decide that they need to get off the path they are on, and that they may be permitted to do so.

I know Palo Alto and East Palo Alto are different, but we share more than boundaries. We share many people who liveinone city and work in another. We share friendships over those boundaries. We share shopping and public facilities. I have lived on both sides of the creek, and many years ago I could not envision living on the side I live on now.

What those kids and adults did, assaulting an 11-year-old boy for his iPod, is pretty unforgivable on the surface. A repeat of that kind of offense would be much more unforgivable. Forgivness is hard to get when people fear you. If these guys show, with time, that they are not to be feared, then forgivness will be easier to attain.

Posted by oh boy, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:34 pm

To respond to the last two posts:

I don't care if they're 4.0 students at Menlo Atherton (even though I'm pretty sure they're not).

They STOLE with FORCE an item from a high school student. This has nothing to do with crowded prisons or the economy.

It has to do with a lack of moral character, and they deserve whatever consequences that come out of this incident. I doubt it was their first evil deed and I suspect it won't be their last.

And I do not care if they're from EPA or Menlo Park or PA or MT View or Canada. They knew what they were doing. They chose to do it. Action - Crime - Responsibility - Consequence.

To blame the economy or where they live or how full the prisons are or anything but the thieves themselves is a crock. And yes, they're thieves. They stole. Thieves steal.

Posted by Interested Neighbor, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Interested, that is a very personal attack that adds nothing to the discussion. Please calm down a bit.

oh boy, the kid was 11, that's 6th grade,not high school. On the plus side they did not hurt him physically, which they could have easily done. I am thankful for that. It was a stupid thing to do and they must be so informed, one way or another. We know nothing about prior records and we don't convict based on our fears of future crimes. If there is any chance of turning their lives around I hope it gets taken.

I just now heard two quick shots over in EPA. Yikes.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2009 at 8:16 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

It is easier to take an i-pod from a little kid than to earn the price with honest work. Society requires the voluntary compliance with those rules of conduct that include respect for the bodies and properties of others. For those few who lack an understanding, we owe them a reminder of the consequences.
As for white collar criminals, the appropriate punishment is restitution and the loss of the trustworthiness that gave him the opportunity to steal.

Posted by Ironic, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2009 at 9:25 am

A local restaurant was robbed on Sun. night and the employee assaulted, but PA residents go on and on and on about this stupid iPod incident. Oh, but the restaurant robbery didn't happen in *your* town, so it doesn't get noticed.

Posted by epa resident, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2009 at 9:33 am

Omg do any of u kno the system??.... they will be out less then a year if that... lol... so all yall who talking bout yall glad what time they finna get I am to because they finna get right I can see if they beat the lil boy to death but no therfore give a 2nd chance which they will get...way more stuff goin on epa that don't even post on here if yall don't kno wats goin on yall can't feel the hustle that's because yall don't kno our struggle....

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:26 am

Do YOU understand the system? Do you understand that the penalties do not end when they open your cell door for you? Do you understand that the police record will follow you the rest of your life, limiting jobs and opprotunities? Do you understand that by working with the system rather than fighting against it you could buy all the stinking iPods you could ever want with one paycheck instead of feeling you have to steal them from kids? Do you understan that you life could and should be long and comfortable instead of being a short and painful struggle? Do you realize that your "struggle" looks to me like you are surviving only by causing loss to others who EARNED what they have?

You are too limited in your definition of "your struggle". There is a bigger world out there which you could and should play a productive part in. The gang stuff is just baby-games played with deadly weapons. They deny the bulk of the real world, thinking they can define their own limited and cliquish mini-world. Then, with the "us" and "them" defined, they seek to pillage a living from the "them". Then they act confused and angry when the "them" reacts with laws, police, and jails that the gangs wanted to rule out.

Your "struggle" is a matter of trying to define your own little reality the way you want it to be and enforce it against the rest of the world. When you attempt to victimize 99.99% of the rest of the world, how do you expect the rest of the world to react?

And don't tell me that I don't understand the problems of minorities. Obama is soon to be our new president.

Posted by Maynard, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2009 at 11:37 am

Resident of EPA, your only struggle should be to take advantage of the opportunities afforded you and reject all that is negative. Instead of asking for second chances once the damage is done, try promoting education, respecting other people, rejecting gangs, don't abuse drugs or alcohol, and don't commit crimes. This is how people succeed in the real world. Act like adults and try it.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

Ahh Walter Wallis....

"As for white collar criminals, the appropriate punishment is restitution and the loss of the trustworthiness that gave him the opportunity to steal."

So you urge dismemberment or physical alteration for violent crimes, --ones committed more by poor people. But when one of your peers commits a white collar crime they just cough it back up and suffer a "loss of trustworthiness".

Come on and be fair. If you urge the physical act of preventing a violent or forceful crime from ever being committed, why not then follow through with your beliefs and urge the same for white collar or intellectual crime? If the hand is needed to strongarm and you urge it's removal, paralysis, or limiting...then if the brain is needed for white collar crime why not advocate for a lobotomy?

At least be fair in your morbid "Mad Max" fantasies!

Posted by HUH?, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Coach Brown says, "In the wrong place at the wrong time." Who??? The kid who got beat? He's surely not talking about Smith, right? What does time and place have to do with what he did?

Posted by Clarification, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Brown was talking about Smith, who may have just been along for a ride with his buddies. Thus, he got caught in something he hadn't planned and maybe didn't want to be a part of......being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite what Brown had been telling him, Smith got caught up in the wrong crowd.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm

While what these kids did is obviously deplorable and deserves punishment and sanctions....I think we all should not be so arrogant as to assume our perceived high moral standing is based on much more than luck, circumstance, and convenience. It's perhaps comforting to think there is some iron divide between "us" with strong moral compasses and those "thugs", riff-raff, "low-lifes"......all it would take is for the situation to be reversed a bit and many would themselves be either doing or condoning unspeakable acts.

I mean look, one iPod stolen and someone is calling for permanent physical injury. Or peaceful marchers from EPA "descend" on our sacred little city and people are resenting tax money paying for constitutional rights, threatening to bring guns and cameras out to meet the criminals.

When Katrina hit New Orleans it's just now coming out how "upstanding" white citizens in Algier Point basically went on a vigilante mayhem and murder spree---one celebrated in some media as the Ultimate Neighborhood Watch.

Or we lose a 3,000 citizens to a horrific terrorist attack and the whole nation pretty much rips up the Bill of Rights, celebrates a culture of torture, tolerates "Free Speech Zones", etc. Untold thousands have died in wars supposedly to protect those very freedoms and rights, yet we--in our freaked out state, are ready to make a mockery of those past sacrifices.

If only we'd just let Bush go out and steal a few iPods from some Muslims.....

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm


Underneith the thin veneer of civilization, man has been the same going back for thousands of years. I agree that when scratched away a bit, that civilization can become unraveled pretty quickly. It can happen fairly easily. Your level of civilization, strength, moral fiber, or whatever, will be determined by how well you resist that unraveling.

Often, the criminals pretty much start out unraveled or look for excuses to unravel, even though the civilization they dislike is the only thing keeping their victims from killing them. Funny how that works.

Katrina was a horrific case in point, but not everyone in New Orleans went came unglued. Some stood their moral ground very well, and there will always be those who desire to do evil.

As a result of 911, yes, the bill of rights was subverted, and again, it was only a few that wanted that. Unfortunately some of them happened to hold power, and they misused it.

Have you been following what is happening in Mexico over the past couple years? The murders, shootouts, kidnappings, drug abuse growth, and all those horrors? That is what happens when you don't keep a firm handle on civilization. Too many people in too many levels of life let civilization slip a little for the sake of their own profit, and now that the police are trying to straighten things (and themselves) out, it turns out the criminals have gotten too ingrained and too strong to be easily stopped. We can't let that happen here, we must remain civilized.

Posted by TiredOfBeingPC, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Excuse me, but I should put myself in the shoes of some little thug who covets the property of another, then forcibly takes it? It isn't like he/they stole food because they were starving, or money for utilities because they had no power. They stole a toy, a pleasure item, something they could use for their personal enjoyment, or sell for profit or trade for drugs.

"If I can't 'feel' the hustle I can't know the struggle?" EXCUSE ME? Some of us are struggling right along with you EPA resident. Such a mentality, justifying wrong because it affects you or a friend of yours. Let someone remove something of value from YOU and you'd be screaming from the highest rooftops.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I think in Mexico there has been some "tipping point" which was long ago crossed.

The basic economy is in shambles. The corruption and profit which arises from moving, growing, trafficking drugs to us up north creates such an imbalance. Even a police officer or politician who fervently desires to to not be a part of the drug crime would have to risk their (and their families) lives to stand up to it. This is different than corruption in USA where a police officer might be tempted by a quick buck. Or Police Dept.s' in USA who have themselves become addicted to asset forfeiture for funding (and perks).

I doubt many of us could be police or politicians in Mexico and actually stay squeaky clean. Especially when one realizes that the country putting the most pressure to clean up your act is the very one whose citizen's drug appetite is fueling the mess.

Why we need to stop "The War on Drugs".

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm

This is nothing to do with skin color, or ethnicity, or even where someone lives, but much more to do with the way people are being brought up. In a culture - regardless of where it is geographically situated or the mean income of the average family - it is family morals and values that make the difference. If a young man is being raised in a family where both parents are involved in teaching values of hard work, law abiding morality, living within your income, self-sufficiency and clean living, valuing education and the rights of one's neighbor, as well as the difference between right and wrong, then the likelihood is that this young man is going to grow up becoming like minded. On the other hand, if these values are not taught at home, if the father is out of the picture or having problems himself with living a clean, upright life, then the young man is going to grow up with no idea of how to live properly. Many young mothers are thrown into parenthood without any help from the father and no idea of how to raise a son. The only men she knows are poor role models and she struggles to raise her children with one failed relationship after another. Her children are likely to become adults with the same problems as the adult males who have been part of their lives.

The solution must be in getting men to play a part in these young boys lives before they get into trouble. By the time they are in their mid teens it is usually too late - even if they are stars on the football teams. They need to have male role models before they reach the age of puberty and before the bad influences in their lives get a foothold.

Anyone who is trying to do any type of mentoring should be encouraged and helped in any way possible. The more types of mentoring programs in the guise of sport or recreational activities run by men the better.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 6, 2009 at 4:16 pm


Don't be so hard on fathers. Today's society seems to glorify single motherhood, with celebrities choosing to have children without marrying, or divorcing and forcing the fathers out of the picture. Being a single mother is a badge of honor, being a single father is a mark of shame. The courts are very good at enabling and encouraging the removal of the fathers. The less time the father spends with the kids, the more of his paycheck can be claimed. Did you know that about 75% of the prison population is people raised without a father?

Some fathers run, some are pushed out, some are never informed that they are fathers. Some mothers have no idea how to figure out who the father is.

You want to know how to find absent fathers? The next time you aee a group of men talking, and the subject turns to kids, watch them all. Some guys will talk about their kids, some will look forward to having them, some will talk about their fathers. Watch for the ones who become silent and withdraw from the conversation. They are the ones in pain.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm


I agree with you completely. Only, I am talking about the sons not the fathers. I agree that some fathers have a hard time of it, I know some myself and they are doing their best even though the system is working against them. I am talking though about the sons. If the sons had fathers in their lives who cared about them, if they had fathers who were living upright moral lives, even if they only saw their fathers a couple of times a week, they would be in a much better place. I am sure that there are disadvantaged kids who see their Dads and are doing well because of it.

What I am concerned about are those youth who don't have their Dads in their lives. It may or may not be the Dads faults, but it certainly is not the sons faults. These youth need to have male role models and if they can't get their own Dads, then they need someone else. Those are the ones that need to be reached, and reached before they get to the stage where they turn to crime. It may be a family member, or it may be someone from a "Big Brother" type of scheme. But, I commend those who are involved in the lives of disadvantaged youth, because I think that it is a good thing three ways. Good for those that do it, good for those that receive it, and good for society that benefits from it.

Posted by TiredOfBeingPC, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Walter E. Wallis? What is that yahoo group address again? I am really tired of the petty tyranny I see exhibited on this forum. They are quite random in their choices of what to keep and what to delete. They allow the comments of people like 'friends of the robbers' but a comment is made after doing some research (more than the paper has done) and most of THAT is deleted. To know what is going on and perhaps what is behind it, is to be empowered. I didn't write anything that you can't find through personal interviews and Google. Give me a freakin' break. I hope some entity comes along and puts the brakes on this paper the way they do the people who read and comment. Let them see what it feels like. Freedom of speech my butt! Apparently only for some.

Posted by GINA, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Let the punishment fit the crime, this is small potatoes,but it does involve threats of violence.
The drug issue will not be resolved by legalization, but prohibition clearly does not work.
If we legalize these poisons then
Gangs will just move to other means of income.
Gangs will move when the community " snitches " the EPA community will not do this so the opera continues.
The EPA community could stop this by standing up and speaking up but they do not.
The PADP needs to profile gang member cars and individuals until the EPA community lives up to its responsibility in this matter.

Posted by To Sharon, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Once again, you're wrong. Much of EPA stands up to crime, at community meetings, with community groups, their churches, the schools, The Boys/Girls Club, meetings with the cops. You really have no idea what we do to combat violent and street crime. Why don't you check out a community meeting so you're at least a bit more informed?

You also keep posting about people standing up to gangs and "snitching" on them. Do you have any clue how dangerous that is? Have you ever done that? When I've asked the police to address some particular crime issues, I've had to be increasingly careful - and I live in a fairly safe neighborhood. But you never really know who's observing you observe, who knows who - and even scarier, how they'll interpret your behavior. Not all the cops can be trusted, and it's a whole other world that most of EPA doesn't fully understand because we don't live that life. For those involved or cowed, they have their own reasons for not doing more. It sucks, but it's the reality.

I suggest you get better informed so that your opinions reflect better information.

Posted by To GINA, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:55 pm

The cops always arrest as many as possible, for as many as possible violations, then the DA's office decides on what will mostly likely win a conviction. It's a filtering system of sorts. Since they're legally presumed innocent until proven guilty, if one of them can prove that they didn't agree to steal anything and were just in the vehicle, they may get off. If only 1 person was truly involved, that'll come out - but it sure doesn't sound like just 1 person committed the robbery.

Posted by To HUH, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

I was wondering the same thing. It *could* be the coach has a bit more info than we do, eg that Smith was not the robber, but was along for the ride. Not that it's an excuse, but we'll have to wait to find out what he's actually charged with. Some of the bad timing sounds like he may have had a chance to get away from his thuggy friends, but may have blow his opportunity. Even w/the charge of conspiracy to commit, it still have to be proven that the other 5 (incl the driver) were really conspirators (not hard to believe, imo!).

Posted by Football Hater, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 7, 2009 at 12:04 am

The fact that the robbers were football stars means nothing. They committed a crime and should be charged for it. What about the poor kid who despite being robbed, managed to call the police in a timely fashion and positively identify the thieves? He has to live with the trauma of being knocked off his skateboard by a big thug. Downtown North has been having its share of muggings and I'm glad the police were able to move fast to apprehend these guys.

Posted by katie, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 7, 2009 at 1:57 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Yvonne, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2009 at 9:24 am

It amazes me that when there is something negative associated with East Palo, people start talking about the lack of parenting, fathers and morals. My daughter graduated from Sacred Heart Prep High School with honors, Pomona College with honors, and attended Stanford University Gruaduate School and graduated with honors. She is a Rockerfeller and Harry S Truman scholar and a Fulbright Fellow. She played basketball for the YMCA in East Palo Alto, was part of the Leadership Training Academy,worked for the EPA Mural Arts program etc. There are alot of good things happening in East Palo Alto. But I wonder if these young men would receive so much attention if they were from Palo Alto or Atherton. Of course not, but that is the state of thinking. Negative things that happen in surrounding communities willnot reach the paper because that isn't what people enjoy seeing. How much discussion is about the Eastside College Prep or the young Ethiopian student who has a 4.0 and couldn't speak English just four years ago ?

Posted by Samuel, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

Because sadly Yvonne, although there are many triumphant stories of young people doing well under these difficult circumstances, there is still a remarkably high level of crime, gangs, and drug trafficking stemming from EPA. That is still the most compelling and troubling issue.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 7, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Also note that when you see a "triumphant stories of young people doing well under these difficult circumstances" story, the end of the story is that they moved from EPA to PA, or some metaphorical equivilant.

Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Ironic? I saw comments under the restaurant robbery yesterday. The bored perhaps under educated minimum wage content slasher did away with them. I saw nothing profane there. Nothing earth shaking or inspiring either, but nothing bad enough to delete. Maybe he/she has a bad 'delete button' finger twitch. I need a job, give it to me. I would know how to monitor without making it total Big Brother situation. Did anyone see the article on the highly educated population of Palo Alto? You'd think one would realize that and largely leave us be. It's called community interaction, and there are all types in our diverse community. Let them FREELY interact!

As to those boys/thugs? Football heros? So what? Anyone read lately all the trouble many NFL players are in lately? Though I am a football fan, let's get real. It's a game where the players are coached to remove the ball from the other team with skill and, let's be honest here, controlled violence.

You know, you can conjecture all day long the provenance of these boys behavior, but some are missing the basic point. Most people after the age of ONE know it's WRONG to take something that does not belong to them. Also that it's wrong to commit battery on another. In toddler terms, hit another. Maybe if the criminal justice system came down on them harder the first time they're caught, they'd think before offending again.

I don't mean locking them away and throwing out the key, but some HUGE amount of onerous community service. Clean the creek. Pick up garbage. Weed our medians. Clean up dog crap and kitty litter boxes at the animal shelter. Earn money to go toward a charitable cause, like what they stole. 6 iTouches, one per kid (would equal roughly $1200 plus tax restitution) to purchase and donate to the Family Giving Tree for Christmas next year. Plus, some house arrest, with time out of the house for only school, sports and community service. THAT would be a serious lesson. What do teens hate most? Think about it!

Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Besides, getting locked up a few days or 'beating the rap' with probation only gives junior criminals bragging rights.

When was the last time you heard an aspiring thug bragging about cleaning crap out of dog kennels?

Posted by wow, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

If this crime happened in EPA, this article wouldnt be here and no one would be saying anything.

Posted by vailalabby, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2009 at 10:39 am


Posted by Samuel, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Mr. Vailalabby,

First of all, taking something from a school locker is far less a crime than mugging another person on the street. You can't compare the two. Secondly, if you really want to help your brother, assuming he is held responsible for this robbery, then you should encourage him to respect other people and their property. Sounds like this is a situation that he created, and you don't serve or honor him by making excuses for his behavior.

Posted by wrong, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm

they should have only arrested the man who did the mugging, u shoudnt be blaming the kid though, for ur brother being arrested, what is a [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] going to do to a 18 year old. and how do u know the kid just wanted his ipod back, and for the men not to be arrested?

Posted by !!!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2009 at 1:19 am

I am so damn tired of the brown being kept down mentality. It's an excuse. Why don't you go give Obama a call and ask him about that...but wait 'til after his inauguration, he's kinda busy becoming President right now...Taking something from an open locker is stealing, no matter what color person is taking it. Physically taking something from someone else is called robbery. Again, not right no matter what color you are. Any attempt to justify that kind of thug behavior is just b.s.

Also sounds like you have issues with people who have more money than you do. Grow up kid and get over it. No matter what you do in your life, someone is always going to have more material goods than you. It's not the job of the kids 'rich parents' to buy him another iPod just because your brother decided to steal his. Your brother, at his age, should know right from wrong. So should you. You want a better life? Get an education, I can see from your post you aren't paying much attention in English/Writing class. Get a job. Play a sport. Make some friends who are working toward a common goal that doesn't involve CRIME. Be grateful you have a family. Make a pact with your brother when he comes home to something more positive in your life. Those are the things that make you 'rich', give you a good life.

You yell in your post about all of us having something to say about an increasing crime problem. Get over it. We are angry. YOU seem angry too, but for all the wrong reasons. You are angry your brother got caught. We are angry he did something wrong to get caught in the first place. He did this to himself. No one made him take that kids iPod. It's easy to avois going to jail. Don't commit crimes! Want an iPod, money? GET A JOB!

Posted by nuff said, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

Family and friends should be glad it was PAPD and not a BART cop.

Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

That whole Bart thing, I just don't know. Why did the fight start in the first place?

If you take away the ending, and just look at what led up to it, perhaps you can see things with a better understanding of how, right or wrong, the tragic ending occurred.

Imagine you were on that Bart train. Maybe with your kids. A fight begins, as it did that day. My family and I rode Bart on New Years eve, the day before this incident. There were some pretty obnoxious kids acting out on that train too. Fortunately they passed on through our car into another. You are in an enclosed space, catapaulting down those tracks. Absolutely nowhere to take cover, and if a brawl is happening in the aisle, maybe you can't exit the car. Anything can go wrong, and you don't know if anyone is armed. Now, the train has to be stopped at an unscheduled stop because the fight is still raging on, spills over out onto the station. From there, well it's all up to the various video's and eyewitness accounts. You and your family were now, through no fault of your own, not only witness to, but exposed to and put at risk by, the violence of others.

Bottom line as to the brawlers is: if you engage in risky behavior that is also causing a possible risk to others, you are now assuming the possibility that you may get hurt or killed. Anyone of those people fighting assumed that risk the second the fight began. Someone could have been hit too hard, or fallen back and hit their head on a seat.

Sometimes it's just smarter just to back away and call for help. Maybe then you will live to see another day.

The last part of this is, the quiet peaceful protest is a way to draw attention to the matter. To make sure justice, whatever the outcome, is served. The rioting and vandalism that occurred is part of the overall problem of what may have indirectly contributed to the death of this kid. It's the thug mentality that is so prevalent these days, and that so many fear, and which may have contributed to an overreaction in this Bart cops state of mind when he pulled the trigger. I'm not saying what he did was right or wrong, regardless it's horribly sad; but there are a whole lot of factors that lead up to something like this. People only seem to want one person to blame after the fact, instead of also wanting to understand what leads up to an event like this, how everyone involved may have been culpable; thus taking steps to address the problem of violence as a whole. Also there is the matter of personal responsibility, thinking about the consequences and stopping your own stupidity before it goes too far!!!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm


Your post makes more sense to me than anything else I have seen or read about that BART incident. The media has put the videos through a magnifying glass, but hardly a mention has been made of the fight on the train which in my mind is crucial information as to what happened later. All those who vandalized Oakland as a matter of protest should be made to realise that innocent people do not get pulled off trains by police. Those BART police were involved in a volatile situation and no one seems to understand that the story started on a train with people fighting.

The mentality of people who rob from a child on a skateboard is the same as people who start fighting on a train. It is just something that is wrong. As soon as those protesting either event realise that crime and disturbing the peace is wrong, never right, we might actually get somewhere. Unfortunately, there will always be those who make excuses for those who can't behave lawfully and feel that the lawbreakers are the innocent parties of life.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

If people did not riot they would not risk being shot by those we empower to keep the peace.
The follow up riots in Oakland are more of the same.

The shakedown artist lawyers are piling on. It is time to put a stop to this extortion.

Posted by One Ring, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2009 at 8:59 am


Ah, so if you fight (or fight back when attacked), it is reasonable for someone to shoot you. Course, to be fully up-front, you'd have to add: If you're black. (The police don't shoot unarmed white men lying prone.)

Well, that's one way to see it. Another: It is wrong to shoot people--even minorities--for no reason. It seems clear the Bart officer shot the guy out of nervousness, almost by accident. But he should never have had his gun out of the holster. Bottom line, you draw the gun, you assume the possibility you may murder someone.

Posted by fed up, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

A 2 year old child was accidentally shot in EPA and people wonder why the childen were awake at that time. Why was this kid skateboarding at night with earphones on???Lets face it there are 2 rules in America one for whites and one for others. White people dont see it because it doesnt affect them. As far as Obama is concerned, he didn't grow up in EPA, his mother was white, so we can't compare a young black man from EPA or East Menlo to Obama. Lastly, in the EPA there are alot of programs for the Latino community, a few for African Americans and I only know of one program for Polynesians in EPA. The youth here don't have the same resources as the young kid on a skateboard. I know I combined several posts but geez why don't people go to EPA and see what the youth deal with everyday? Don't they deserve the same things as the kid on the skateboard??Oh yeah their parents should work hard( some parents work 2 jobs in EPA) they should go to college ( what about the undocumented students that are accepted into college but dont qualify for financial aid)Don't be saddened by my rambling I am a guinea pig of the STEP program from Stanford University School of Education. PUNISH THESE BOYS LIKE YOU WOULD PUNISH THE KID ON THE SKATEBOARD. GIVE THEM COMMUNITY SERVICE, HOUSE ARREST, COUNSELING AND A MENTOR. AFRICAN AMERICAN AND POLYNESIAN YOUNG MEN ARE IMPORTANT TOO. IF THEY ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO WORK IN YOUR STORES, CLEAN YOUR HOMES, FIX YOUR ROOFS ETC, TAKE ARE OF YOUR MOST PRECIOUS THINGS, THEN TREAT THEM AS PRECIOUS.

Posted by yvonne, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm


My daughter and her triumphant story resides in EPA and works here. She is giving to the community that gave to her. Yes, sometimes the stigma of coming from EPA is a cross some choose not to bear. She could afford to be your neighbor, but she doesnt want to,

Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Are you really comparing a 16 year old at 9 pm riding a skateboard outside their house to a 2 year old awake at 11 pm and hanging around guns?

Stop fooling yourself, Fed Up.

And the man arrested in relation to the shooting was violating his probation. Surprise, surprise.

Posted by Ewwww, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2009 at 2:01 am

One Ring, Thank you for reaffirming my confidence that I have a good handle on the magical thinking of many in this area. So quick to take your comment to an extreme and make it about race.

I just read and reread YouShouldKnow's comment over and over again, not anywhere did that person state that if you fight it's ok for someone to shoot you. In fact, the comment left that open to individual interpretation. No comment was made about being black. Does EVERYTHING have to be about color??? I guess for you, it does. Most cops know that if you draw your gun, you may wind up using it. What the point I read above is, if you act a fool, you may wind up dead. Same thing applies to BOTH. Black, white, smart, stupid.

What do you have to say about the rioting? Tell me ONE INSTANCE where it is ok to destroy the property of innocent business owners because of something that happened at another business?

Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2009 at 3:36 am

Excuse me, but why would the boy on the skateboard be punished? What did HE do? He was skateboarding, listening to his music and minding his own business. I guess you want him punished because he is not from a background that, apparently according to the gist of your post, would have him out thugging are discriminating against him for having an iPod and unspoken but certainly alluded, for being white. Even Obama must now be discounted, because his mother was white. Do you know how ridiculous that is? Great message to kids of color. Give it up kids, if you don't have a speck of white in ya, all you have is a PROGRAM or a life of crime before you.

You know, there was a time in my life where my dad lost his eyesight and we lost everything. Lived hand to mouth in a bad neighborhood, and had only social security for a family of five to live on. Even in that neighborhood, kids were getting stuff I dreamed about having, but couldn't. It happens. It was reality then, may be reality again these days for many. I didn't hold it against the other kids that they had what I didn't. That was their life, this was mine. I went out and found a job weeding, so I could have a few things too!

During that time, there were no PROGRAMS for me to go to, and I sure as hell didn't need someone to babysit my ass to keep me out of trouble. Those were the days of self reliance and accountability. Not expecting some social program to step in and keep me entertained and out of trouble. We had a ball, a street, a street light. When it got too dangerous late at nite, we went inside. My parents continued parenting and had raised us with good core values, that was enough for us. Eventually my dad trained and worked his way out of that into a profession, then so did my mom, and life went did we without ever causing harm to another human being. All these excuses are just that, excuses. Justifications for bad anti social behavior. Envy. Entitlement. Greed. Lack of morality. Laziness. Takes work to live life with integrity. To be good parents, or if you don't have good parenting, find your role models elsewhere and rise above. More so, it was the same with most of the families on our block back then, and we were of all races and ethnicity. If you keep giving people excuses, they will take them!

Posted by JEEZ LOUISE, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2009 at 9:16 am


Let us be honest here. A poor white boy vs a poor boy of color. the white boy has some entitlement, whereas the boy of color, well he is still down on the totem pole based on his color. If a Latino man with 2 years experience applied for job A and a ohh young white man a recent college graduate applied for job A. ummm who would be hired??I am sorry Mr Martinez, but you have great experience, but we are looking for something else(Someone else) Now Mr. Ross, thank you so much for applying. We would like to offer you the position, although you have no experience, we are willing to train you.
We all need to overcome our bad experiences in life with patience and perseverance. Don't try to sugar coat things. Hpw do you feel about the young African American man, who was restrained and shot in the back??Nothing is going to happen to the white police officer. No one is going to talk about his background, his lack of parenting jeez louise he shot an African American in the back, and there is a video. You will say why was he on the BART at that time, why were they fighting??But a young white boy riding his skateboard at night is ok. Where where his parents,he should have been in the house. OOPS he is white he can be anywhere at any time and its ok.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2009 at 10:34 am


A 2 year old, of any color or creed, should be safely tucked up in bed at 11.00 p.m. A 12 year old, of any color or creed should not be able to find a firearm in his home. If there is one in the home it should be locked away and if he is being taught how to use it for hunting, then he should only have it when fully supervised and afterward it should be locked away until next time. A 16 year old of any color or creed can be out skateboarding on his own and provided he has lights he can be out at 9.00 pm, but not 2.00 am. A 22 year old of any color or creed should not be fighting on a train. If someone has decided to taunt him, the wise guy would leave it alone and not defend himself, regardless of color or creed.

This is nothing to do with color. This is to do with safety issues and morality.

If you can't get this, then you need to get older and wiser and perhaps you will get it.

Posted by TwoSides, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Louise, as long as you keep pointing out color, people keep SEEING and THINKING color. Plenty of white people have bad things happen to them at the hands of law enforcement around the country too. We just don't hear about it because they are WHITE. Nobody fusses when the victims are WHITE.

I was watching tv this week and saw on three different shows with participants of all races, black contestants/participants state that they are strong 'black' men, women, etc. I would LOVE to hear the outcry is some white woman/man came on and said I am a strong WHITE woman/man. The very first reaction would be, from people like you who apparently only see race instead of PEOPLE....WHAT DID SHE/HE MEAN BY THAT? It would be taken as racist.

Just stop it with the color crap and make it about being a person. If everyone started doing that, there would be a lot less racism in this world. There are two ways to legitimately differentiate between people, male, and female.

YouShouldKnow wrote about the Bart incident, try scrolling up. Nothing is ever as BLACK AND WHITE as you all want to make it out to be.

Posted by TwoSides, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Three actually, if you really want to go there. I don't. Not my business.

Posted by One Ring, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm


[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

You need to reread YSK's comment. His/her point is that if you fight (or fight back when attacked), it is reasonable for someone to shoot you. You are right that YSK was clever enough not to mention that these are the rules for black people. But we all know the context, we can read between the lines.

Be straightforward: admit that the gun would never have been drawn if fighters had been white boys.

The officer had no business drawing his weapon, and he did so only because he was dealing with minorities.

"Same thing applies to BOTH. Black, white, smart, stupid."

Posted by YouShouldKnow, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

What I said is, the minute you embark on a path that is at all legally questionable, you have just assumed risk.

Same as walking out of a bar and driving home drunk or even tipsy. You may make it home, no problem. You may get pulled over, arrested for DUI. Big problem. You may wind up in an accident, hurting/killing another or yourself. HUGE PROBLEM.

This criminal vs. merely stupid chain was set into motion the moment you turned the key in that ignition and put the gear into Drive. Sure, you could have had nothing to drink and have gotten into an accident on the way home, but when you added the criminally negligent behavior of being impaired behind the wheel your chances, RISKS just tripled.

THAT'S what I am saying. And let me take it one step farther. If young black men are to go about under the heavy mantle that the entire world, or cops in particular, are racist, then unfair or not shouldn't they then be on guard and back away from trouble? This remember, is going off YOUR premise.

I would liken it to a young woman scantily clad in clubbing clothing walking home late at night through a questionable neighborhood. Sure, she should have the RIGHT to safe passage, and she's sure as hell not 'asking for it', but the sad reality is, her chances of being assaulted have just risen exponentially.

That's reality vs. magical thinking. It's also called personal responsibility. We all have to deal with unfairness in our lives and it's our personal responsibility to minimize those risks in any way we can. The risks we take can wind up harming more than just ourselves.

Posted by Ew, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Racism exists, but not in the way you are attempting to portray. Not every authority figure is racist. Some are just stupid, inexperienced or the victims themselves of human error. Not saying that is the situation with the Bart cop. I don't KNOW his frame of mind. You don't either. The point is if each individual stopped pointing out color, eventually color would not be an issue.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

It DOES happen to everyone, blacks, whites, Asians, native Americans, Hispanics...have I left anybody out?

I don't know if the gun would have been drawn on white boys or not. Depends on the white boys I guess. If you saw some black men/boys in yuppie gear or business suits fighting, maybe a gun would not have been drawn on them either. I don't know, and YOU don't know. Since you are going on appearances, then that's all I've got. I have seen plenty of white boys that would make ME worry and cross the street.

It's kind of funny actually, because the other day a young black kid with iPod plugs in his ears skateboarded by my house. I never saw him before, didn't give it a second thought until now. Only noticed him because I waited for him to clear my driveway before pulling out. The person I DO remember is the creepy looking white kid who seemed a bit off riding past our house several times. At the time, as with now until someone like you carry's on about race, it wasn't about their color, it was about how they acted.

Posted by enough, a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I was asked by my teacher to read this thread. It saddens me to read how this has turned into a personnal vent area for people. A young boy allegedly was shoved off of his skateboard and his iPod was taken. He wasn't hurt and the iPod was returned. oK. Several young men were out and commited a stupid act, that will affect their lives forever. Hopefully, the young boy isn't traumatized and will go on with his life as usual. I never knew by shoving someone and taking something is considered armed robbery ( I have never had a fight or engaged in any illegl activity so this is new territory)They young me should be punished, including house arrest and some counseling. I don't think anything too harsh is the solution, because recidivism is very high. But, they need a wake up all. I wonder what the victim wants to happen. I'm sure he just wants to move on and people on this vent mission should too.

Posted by TwoSides, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hey kid, glad you are reading. But what do you mean saddened by a 'personal' vent area? What do you think blogging is all about? People are exchanging their points of view and relating their experiences, opinions, thoughts. Communicating! It's a GOOD thing and only something you can do in a free country.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 12, 2009 at 2:29 am

Has everyone forgotten about the young man (a resident of Palo Alto and father of young twins) who was brutally murdered in downtown Palo Alto a mere 2 blocks from the Palo Alto Police Department as he was out for a jog in the evening and was mugged by a roving gang of 5 or 6 Pacific Islanders from EPA? As I recall they were bored, started drinking, then drove into downtown Palo Alto looking for someone to mug. The poor jogger got his head kicked in and his life snuffed for a wallet that had something like $27.00 in it. Id say that the local boy who got mugged for his Ipod was lucky his group of muggers chose not to beat him up. Im sure that if the PAPD's reaction to this mugging might have seemed a bit strong to some, there are plenty of us, including the PAPD who will never forget about the outcome of that earlier mugging perpetrated by a roving gang of angry young Pacific Islanders. You'd think the youth of the Pacific Islander community might have learned something from that earlier incident. Ya think? How in God's name could these kids be so stupid? I know they weren't raised that way.

It would be an injustice to the memory of the young father who died in the earlier incident if the Palo Alto Police had not reacted so swiftly and strongly to this latest roving group of muggers. Whatever it takes to make them understand that such conduct won't be tolerated here in the future seems ok to me. Im just glad this latest incident didn't end up with anyone dead. Hopefully at least some of these kids will be able to avoid becoming permanent residents of our penal system as a result of their involvement in this stupid act, which when you think about, didn't really amount to a huge crime. But it certainly could have as experience tells us. If it were up to me, Id offer them some kind of a minimal sentence that would require them to put on some kind of semi-annual youth outreach programs at the local high schools for the next 10 years where they talk about their involvement in such a stupid act, as well as discussing the earlier mugging and murder, and how those 5 or 6 kids are all still in prison (with some on death row.) All of us on both sides of 101 evidently need reminding.

Posted by gosh, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 12, 2009 at 6:42 am

Why do the residents in Palo Alto keep saying "over here or here". You sound as if you live in magical off limit area. Do the residents of EPA not deserve better? Is it ok to have crime in EPA because its over there? You won't or don't live in EPA, but you dash over to Ikea, Best Buy, wherever, then speed the short distance back to over there. I work over here, but live in Menlo Park and the residents in EPA want and deserve the same things others have over there. No city deserves to have the crime and violence EPA suffers. Maybe the innocent should sell their homes and move over there.

Posted by nuff said, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2009 at 8:37 am

Is anyone in favor of muggings anywhere? I think not. It's in all our best interests to prevent a recurrence of this kind of incident on both sides of the freeway.

It would be nice to open this thread and see EPA residents saying "we don't want this in our community -- let's work together" [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Mike, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

The fact of the matter is that no matter how you slice it Palo Alto and East Palo Alto ARE NOT one and the same. They are completely separate entities. Separate cities; separate counties; different school districts. I have lived in Palo Alto all my life...52 years, and the "here" and "there" that exists between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto is a reality not something I dreamed up. There is nothing wrong or made up about the differences between the 2 long as we are free to live in either place and we most certainly are free to do so.

Posted by TwoSides, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Trust me, no one has forgotten Mr. Kay. We simply cannot write at lenght about it or the perpetrators, because PALO ALTO ON LINE deletes it.

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