It's getting dangerous out there.

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by spanky, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Just read this article on FB posted by a fellow LA street shooter friend of mine. What a tragic loss. While she probably wasn't a street shooter in the sense like most of us here are, it still hits home as this is an area where I've photographed off and on for years; most recently a week or so ago. I've done some night shooting there as well and always felt relatively safe (but I do watch my back more at night.) Hollywood and Highland is a spot that the city has done a lot to in order to bring in the tourists and it's worked. Still, there have been a number of violent incidents in recent times but these usually involve "turf disputes" between some of the people dressed up as movie characters that hang out and pose for pictures in front of Manns Chinese Theatre and some of the rap singers selling their CD's. This is the first time I think I can recall that a passer by was assaulted. This two or three block stretch between Highland and La Brea is the touristy section but veer off in any of the four directions beyond these two streets and your are in Hollywood proper where most tourists would probably rather not see.,0,7409712.story
  2. That's very tragic and quite chilling. But that can happen. I've shot near Graumann's many times and don't mess around with the characters at all, I go a couple of blocks down. That's really too bad.
  3. Been there more times than I can count, but usually stay East of Cherokee to avoid the tourist areas.
    Just to be clear, though, this wasn't those one of those Chinese Theater characters. These guys were, apparently, very aggressive panhandlers with signs. I've seen a couple of guys who fit that description who hang out on the North East corner of Hollywood and Highland. I've seen them take "shifts" there, where there will be one guy holding the sign, and another guy later with the same sign. These guys don't seem violent, though. No pics, mostly because photos of jerk-offs with 'funny' signs (like, "Give me some *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* money!" or some crap) spanging on H&H are pretty boring.
  4. 'probably needed their FB/instagram update. Some younger folks are very mindlessly agressive when it comes to their camera phones. And, of course, some transients are equally agressive of no pictures. Not difficult to imagine what could happen...
  5. getting dangerous out there [emphasis mine]​
    Well, it's always been kind of dangerous out there, or not very, depending how you look at it. But the murder rate has been dropping for years, and is down substantially since its recent-era peak several decades ago. This particular murder isn't a sign of a new trend, other than just another indication of how bad some people's radar is when all they can think about is 5 nanoseconds of Facebook likes from their friends. Not that being clueless and taunting aggressively thuggish panhandlers should be a capital offense. But it is a lot like poking a hornet's nest with a stick.
  6. Matt is right, crime is down in LA but try telling that to this girls family. I think it serves as just a reminder to us here that we need to be alert when we are out there. I have noticed though that some of the panhandlers around LA can get pretty aggressive. I don't photograph them or the dressed up characters either, but I have been around when other people have and it's gotten ugly when this person chose not to give any money. They will follow the photographer for a minute or so calling them names and cussing at them loudly.
  7. About a year ago, maybe a bit more, Cedar Rapids Iowa began seeing more than a few beggars on certain street corners. One guy has a guitar, one guy smiles and dances. An apparently-married couple sits and looks pathetic, moping. They haven't become aggressive but it's going to happen. There was an incident a while ago where one bum was mad at another bum for being on his corner and chased him off.
    I've considered taking pictures of these guys, but ya know, I never have. Not out of fear, although I am pretty chicken about photographing strangers anywhere, but just because I don't need to. I'm not a journalist nor city historian. I'm just a guy who shoots film and has some fun. I didn't take any pics when my city flooded in 2008. It just wasn't something I wanted to record. Plenty of pics on the news.
    I'm not excusing these bums in LA, but was there really a need to shoot them? Some people become enraged at the slightest provocation.
  8. Tragic and senseless.
    The sad thing is that many lack basic situational awareness: be aware of your surroundings and those near you at all times. Pay attention to that feeling in your gut, because it is most likely right.
    No photo opp is worth your life.
  9. More information about these guys. There's a photo of the sign in question at the link. You can see that it's more or less an invitation to photograph the holder, as it's supposed to be funny. The sign actually said, "*X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* yourself. Have a nice day" so I was close-- I'm sure these are the guys I've seen there before.

    This is an extremely busy, lit-up corner with a metro station, constant vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and security/cops/sheriffs everywhere-- it's not some dark, back alley. Situational awareness, etc, doesn't really apply here, because nobody would expect to be attacked there.
  10. This is absolutely nuts! Just because they want money gives them no right to stake out public property and demand it. With the taxes that Californians pay, the police ought to be herding these guys. This is what happens to societies that create dependencies for the neer do wells.
  11. 'probably needed their FB/instagram update.​
    Yeah, lets dismiss the victims..
    This is what happens to societies that create dependencies for the neer do wells.​
    So these guys are products of society? Not their own choices? Show me some kind of fact that this is so?
  12. "So these guys are products of society? Not their own choices? Show me some kind of fact that this is so?"

    Of course it's their own choice, I never said otherwise. That they are products of their society is a given.
  13. Well I'm trying to understand what you meant? Explain how society created dependencies that has anything to do with this incident. I'm wondering what the implications of such a statement is? We should throw all panhandlers in the pokey? Is that the permissiveness? In other words what do you mean, or do you just flip glib statements around.
  14. Of course it's their own choice, I never said otherwise. That they are products of their society is a given.​
    These two concepts are directly at odds with each other. Which is it? Are they (and thus their action, in killing this woman) the result of "society," or is their decision to pick up a knife and kill her a choice made by the guys who did it? I'm just fairly surprised that nobody has said the knife made it happen.
  15. Marc -- That is very sad. I can't, and won't, pass judgement on why this young woman took the photos she took. It doesn't really matter.
    It's also sad to me in regard to how things have changed. My parents moved from Chicago to LA in 1963. I lived there from 1963 until moving to San Diego after graduating college in 1976. I attended Laurel elementary, Bancroft JHS, and Fairfax High...all a bit south of where this took place. Even while in elementary school, my friends and I would wander around on weekends sometimes. It wasn't unusual for us to walk up from Santa Monica to Hollywood, including the sidestreets in the area. You'd occasionally see the odd character, but the type of people we now refer to as "homeless" were not a common sight.
    A bit OT, but I often wished I had been into photography in those days and taken photos of LA in the mid-60's. When we first moved there we lived on Hayworth, just south of Santa Monica. On the northeast corner of Fairfax and Santa Monica there was an old brick drugstore. It had an old fashioned soda counter with a marble counter and dispensing spigots with wooden handles. In less than a year, it was torn down and I recall playing with my friends in the construction rubble. A strip mall with a Boys Market went in there. Not sure what the market is today, but I checked the spot on Google street view a year or so ago to see what the area looked like. On the southwest corner there was a brick building that housed a rug store. It had a clock jutting out from the building on the Fairfax side. Last I looked, that clock was still there. At that corner there was an older black man and his wife who would sell newspapers on Sundays. They had a boxer (dog) that hung out with them. I remember going out on Sunday with my folks and they would always drive by that corner to pick up a newspaper. They got to know the couple, who knew us.

    When I was 13-15, on summer days, a friend and I would often go to Santa Monica beach and hang out at a popular tower south of the Santa Monica pier. We would keep the bus money our parents had given us and hitch a ride. Usually we stood at the corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights to start out. Hitched. Kids. Can you imagine? When was the last time any of us saw someone hitching a ride? The hours I spent bodysurfing at Santa Monica led to me getting a surfboard at 16. I continued surfing or bodyboarding for many many years, right up until moving from San Diego to Chicago in 2008. I remember surfing the north side of Venice Pier in the "Dogtown" era, when I was in my early 20's.
    LA was such a different world then. At least the part of it that I grew up in.
    Sorry for the digression. The article about that poor woman, and that area, just brought a lot of memories back. I don't feel or think of myself as "old", but reading what I just wrote, it sure sounds like the irrelevant ramblings of someone who wandered off into memoryville.
  16. Of course it's their own choice, I never said otherwise. That they are products of their society is a given.​
    We are all products of our own society (or societies) and we can and do make own choices. Those thinking otherwise aren't very thoughtful...
  17. I also grew up in LA until I was around 9 years old and I moved back in the mid 1990's. So I don't recall very much but my father who just visited me has mentioned how unsafe the areas he grew up in now look with all the graffiti and the bars on all the windows. He just shakes his head sadly.
    The article Damon posted (thanks Damon) didn't mention if these three guys had any prior run ins with the law or if they were on probation or anything of that sort. However, people who work and hang out there mentioned their drunkenness.
    I was listening to the radio on my to work yesterday when a news blurb about this incident came on. It was mentioned that a bill AB 5 called The Homeless Bill of Rights was recently approved. Further research by myself reviled that this may not be true, that it may not be until next year that it goes for a vote. This bill will among other things related to social services give homeless "or those appearing to be homeless" the right to panhandle wherever they wish without fear of being run off by nearby business owners or the police. So basically, a homeless person who may be mentally ill and/or drunk or on drugs are free to harass other people passing by. Loitering laws will be tossed out apparently. So at what point does the rights of a homeless person trump the rights of someone walking by who may not wish to be aggressively approached for money? Are the rights of these three thugs more important the the rights of this 23 year old woman who simply was out to enjoy a day with her friend?
    I have a long time friend who is a practicing psychologist. We meet for lunch together occasionally. We were talking about this very thing once. He mentioned to me there used to be a state hospital for mentally ill people in Camarillo that closed in 1997. It was his belief that the hospital was closed due to pressure from activist groups who felt that keeping the folks locked away in there was "cruel and unusual" and a violation of their rights. My friend works closely with the LAPD and so he knows first hand how violent mentally hill people can get. He was obviously opposed to it being closed down and the patients being sent back into society. Needless to say, I can't see how this decision was made without any consideration of how it might affect everyone else in the communities where homeless mentally ill people may drift into.
  18. A public sidewalk is a public sidewalk. We and the panhandlers rely on that in our own way to do what we do.
    And, there's a pretty bright line between panhandling and what could only be described as robbery.
    None of us would want to be lumped in with "up-skirt" photographers, or accused of god knows what for taking a photo of a child.
  19. I usually photograph in downtown and have gotten used to taking my German Shepherd with me. It's an
    outing for her and makes me at least feel a bit more secure. She's just a good companion anyway. Thing is, recently I had a street person who seemed
    off the deep end mentally- yelling at me, I guess thinking I was some kind of undercover cop because I
    had a Shepherd in tow. I think this woman would have been yelling at me or whoever was nearest in any
    case though. Some of these people have gotten to the point of desperation and ruin.

    I find the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* you signs and the idea that some people even think they're funny to be absurd, and an indication
    that western society is either on its last legs or limping very badly.
  20. Anything can happen to anybody at almost any time. I was shot in my 20s en route to the curfewed Washington, D.C. because of riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King after two guys got into a seemingly irrelevant fight over a seat on a train Washington (D.C.)-bound. It wasn't quite so simple -- one guy, the shooter, had a concealed gun, and was on his way on a train where he did the shooting to participate in the riots and was a mental patient, though no one could tell at the time. His pistol was concealed in a bag which he left on a seat and the second guy laid down on inadvertently in the predawn cold (the train coach was freezing, literally).
    In this L.A. instance, there are two glaring clues that the decedent was simply using bad judgment, not that it's her fault for being stabbed to death -- it isn't at all.
    One she was using a cameraphone, and that suggests she was getting rather close. That would be of little import except these guys were displaying signs with obscenities, and the story doesn't tell us more, but it is easy to surmise the woman was told 'don't take photos' by some guys literally 'flipping off' passing motorists and others and may have gotten into a verbal tangle or who knows what events transpired.
    That 'attitude' suggests danger, and if the woman had been experienced (the story suggests she was not, she might have understood the danger into which she was approaching. Timidity in shooting sometimes is well rewarded, though now always known. Sadly, her ghost and her friends can only guess 'what if?'
    The rules as I construe them for shooting street are generally that it's ALMOST NEVER the person who you photograph who's going to attack the aware photographer (that's my experience); it's the OFFICIOUS DO-GOODER nearby who really has no horse in the race, but who is a self-styled enforcer who may suddenly jump in from the sidelines and try to enforce that person's own self-styled version of what they imagine 'the law' or their concept of 'public order as it relates to photographing' is.
    That self-styled enforcer, being unplanned for an unseen, is usually a far greater danger than the person you're photographing, if experienced, because you can judge the reactions of your subject, but have no idea of who might jump out of the crowd or the bushes with a grudge about paparazzi and Britney Spears and fixate on YOU.
    These second individuals generally are the most dangerous persons on the street.
    With a subject an experienced photographer is usually hyperaware, can 'take cues', and knows when to back off. See prison tattoos on a subject and the subject is hostile: take heed if he/she says 'no photographs: he she may face parole revocation if found in the area you're photographing and return to prison if your photographs are known to their parole officer. That's a good time to stop your photographic efforts if within range of retaliation.
    Those are photographs not to be seen taking (at least within their range of retaliation -- meaning not within range of their knifing you or shooting you with a gun, and your having a quick way outta there, say with a nearby parked car or firing from a car.
    I've been in such situations many times, and the bare facts suggest that the woman had few street sense or she would have restrained. That is NOT HER FAULT but is greatly unfortunate; street photographers with experience might have known how to approach this guy/two guys and get the photo and/or drive by with a means to get the photo (and get away without retaliation, sensing that there would be a chance for retaliation by the tenor of things, or they would have withheld at least for the moment or shot from afar, keeping a 'safe distance'. People with signs and such usually are too involved to give chase, so distance often is a good aid when photographing, and most cameraphones doe not allow for good quality telephoto shooting at night.
    I suggest that this instance is not instructive of what may happen to an experienced shooter of street on, but then again, anything can happen to anyone at any time, and I've got the entry wound from a thirty-eight caliber police special to prove it. (If I had film from that incident and the events and days that followed, I'd probably have been published in LIFE and have been a Pulitzer candidate, but alas, no film. (Truthfully!)
    And a lost two years of schooling at Columbia as a result which I had to make up, as I had to break my schooling, students took over the school, I lost my graduation, my courses for a year, my grades, and had to return 'part-time' then full time to graduate.
    I wish the LA Times story had been more complete and in depth rather than being what appears to be a rewrite from police reports.

    John (Crosley)
  21. thanks for that, john.
  22. I can't imagine why young women would want to get anywhere near a guy looking like the dude in the victim's friend's cell
    phone picture, but then, we don't know the specific circumstances. I do know, that as a 6'1" 180 lb male,
    I would tend to veer at an angle away from that guy with his moronic cardboard sign telling me to *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* off. Very little positive energy there. Not much good can come out of it.
  23. One thing that I would think separates us from this young woman is that fact that we have much more experience shooting in public and therefore we may be more attentive. I know when I go out to shoot I may turn a corner and get a bad vibe about something. It may be completely irrational but I always listen to my gut so I move on if something doesn't feel right about where I'm at or who is around me. I think this comes with being out in public and being in the necessary state of being hyper aware for street shooting. Then again, like John mentioned sometimes things just come out of nowhere without you seeing it. I once took a quick grab shot of a guy on a bicycle at Venice Beach, one of the most touristy spots in LA. He had green paper mary jane leafs glued or taped all over his bike. He saw me take the picture and he damn near almost had a heart attack as he came over to me to cuss me out. He called me an "art thief" so I can only guess he thought I took the picture to copy his bike decorations.
    Anyway, yesterday a local news talk station host spent some time at Hollywood and Highland talking to the local business owners and some of the dressed up characters about what happened. For the most part people said that there are more and more homeless people hanging out there which puts everyone at risk. Now that the state of CA wants law enforcement to allow drunk and disorderly conduct from the homeless I guess it's only after one of them commits a violent crime that they are allowed to arrest one of them. Apparently, the mother of the guy who stabbed this women even came out and made a statement where she described her son as nutty as a fruitcake.
  24. Imagine, say, if he had a gun instead of a knife...
  25. "Imagine, say, if he had a gun instead of a knife..."

    Why do we need to imagine that? What difference does the manner of death make to the victim? If you say "well, a gun can kill more people at a greater distance", then so can a bomb. Focusing on the weapon used to commit the crime does nothing to solve the issue. Evil exists, and some people have an inordinate amount. Some folks are just whacky, but hardly whackier then the public that tolerates them. I can remember when they didn't.
  26. If you say "well, a gun can kill more people at a greater distance", then so can a bomb.​
    Sure, but how many of us can buy and use a gun vs. how many of us can get access to a decent bomb? Any stupid layman can calculate the difference...that a gun is much easier to get a hold of, than any bomb, except maybe a crude self made pipe bomb. And even then, how many accidental bomb have you seen on the news vs. accidental gun death, Carl?
    Focusing on the weapon used to commit the crime does nothing to solve the issue.​
    Maybe, but it could have saved numerous injuries and lives...
  27. Getting off topic. This is the street forum.

    Post it in the Off Topic forum.
  28. Agreed, Ray. I also agree that it's getting more dangerous out there, and not just for photographers. It has become a public menace even for the enlightened, much more so for the unaware.
  29. Society wants to let the Homeless destroy the quality of life everywhere! Downtown LA is very similar in some areas, skid row spills over. Santa Monica is getting better after the entire area along along Ocean was all but taken over by the homeless a few years ago. But the liberal world would sacrifice the very fabric of civilization before allowing something to be done. I spend a lot of time in and around downtown LA and would never set foot in that area with out pepper spray combined with a constant vigilance. Anyone that makes eye contact with these people, anyone that does not keep as much distance from these people as possible is inviting trouble, or tragedy in this case.
  30. So who is this "society" and what is it. Why don't you show it photographically so we can all know who to blame the next time two street punk borrachos kill someone on the street.
  31. I have to agree with some of the sentiments expressed earlier. It is most certainly not getting dangerous out there. It is getting safer in general. Different parts of cities change. Some get better some get worse, but the overall trend is towards better.
    Also judgment matters. I don't want to spit on anyone's grave but I give a wide berth to belligerent or mental unstable characters. I walk around with a Rollei 6000 series SLR. Even if I am not killed or injured I don't want to take a $1,000 hit to the wallet if my equipment is damaged. There are some derelict factories near where I live and I like to take pictures of them but I am constantly looking over my shoulder and I leave my wallet locked in my glove box. Sometimes I leave my phone locked in my glove box as well. At least if I get mugged they won't get everything.
    Society wants to let the Homeless destroy the quality of life everywhere!​
    Let me guess, Glenn Beck fan. A huge percentage of the homeless are mentally ill. No one likes seeing a guy covered in filth getting drunk under an overpass but for many of them it's not their fault. Blaming them isn't going to solve the problem.
  32. To put this in context, here's the last time Ms. Calderon made the news:
    Beyond Ms. Calderon's past, I can't help feel that something is missing from this story. Was Ms. Calderon responding to a perceived slight? Was she trying to get a rise out of the homeless men? Was there a case of mistaken identity?
    I've worked in less than safe neighborhoods in San Francisco for a while now. *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* happens, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been threatened. In fact one abandoned train station I was at was mostly populated with photographers and graffiti artists.
    As far as walking around with expensive equipment: that's what insurance is for. No sense in trying to hang on to gear at the expense of your well-being.
  33. "Society wants to let the Homeless destroy the quality of life everywhere!"
    Folks with pockets full of gold want to destroy the quality of life everywhere...they are so busy filling their pockets full of gold...taking from everyone...full of their own *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*...materialism/power, and gold is this the name of their game.
    Poverty, mental illness...send them to the.....
  34. Guess, and so true.
  35. As a long.
    Head up our arses....
    A little fragile planet.
    Goodbye, never made it.
    Too full of your own *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*.
    The end.
  36. Just a thought..
  37. More information about our murderer in the Sacramento Bee. Apparently, he was released early from prison through a cost-saving program.
  38. Thanks for the above link Damon. Is anyone surprised at this? I'm certainly not. Not only did I have a hunch he had a previous rap sheet but it even crossed my mind that he might be one of the "non-violent" criminals that got sprung from joint early to ease over-crowding. He's not the first one either I might add to commit a crime after his release.
  39. Been out of town. It is late but for the record, Glen Beck, no; and well we all know what he is... Related to safe streets, I would lean towards Ayn Rand. Her wisdom could greatly improve the aforementioned situation. Yes, a bit harsh. Possibly a muted version.
    Allen, four posts in less than an hour, wow. Your comments support my position. Society is not able to accept reality. We are lost in platitudes.
    These people need help; but the liberal world will not allow it to be required. They need to free. But on the other hand we as a society will gladly incarcerate honest and productive illegal aliens that have been here for decades. Curious, we want to arrest the productive and let the homeless degrade the overall quality of our public space, while blocking any help for them. This dichotomy highlights how hyper-emotion blocks an objective approach.
    Barry, try Wikipedia. Should get you up to speed on what society is. And it is not a "who" it would be more accurate to call it a "they" because it requires a group. And when it comes to who to blame: we are all to blame. The fact that the situation even exist points to a systemic problem; our process is in decline due to a lack of participation and absence of practicality.
  40. What the heck is "the liberal world"?
  41. Well that is an interesting question. I would say the Left, as they are commonly portrayed in the media. Now that we are in bifurcated society with no middle. Another explanation would be the 10% of the "left" that have 90% of the voice and propose contradicting position. In this case, the homeless are mentally ill, not capable of making decisions. But they also block any sort of mandatory help.
  42. That's funny. Just from anecdotal evidence admittedly, but I recall an avowed libertarian co-worker telling
    me that people living under bridges deserve to live there and he didn't care one bit that they did- it was
    their choice. Every man for himself- isn't that the conservative philosophy?
  43. Yes. It is. I don't confess to be conservative or liberal. As long as they stay under the bridge, I have no problems. Frankly I don't have any concern if they are at an intersection working cars weighting for the light. It in the cities where they are aggressive, where they are taking up the street makeshift tents, where they are harnessing the public. This is where the application of a practical approach would make sense. But we don't. They are clearly dangerous but nothing is.
  44. "It in the cities where they are aggressive, where they are taking up the street makeshift tents, where they are harnessing the public." R. Hunt.
    Best to avoid the cities and stick to your secure private security complex.
    Or, perhaps take a secure vehicle with the appropriate security guards dependent on the area you will pass through.
    You really don't want piss your you.
  45. Allen, why do these observation seem to get you so bothered?
  46. Just find your thoughts entertaining.
  47. Sorry, but should we have special places for a island somewhere...'Homeless Island" we could call it... somewhere in South America.
    Wonder why they are homeless perhaps just lazy and looking for hand-outs.
    What do you think R. Hunt Rose?

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