Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Barrio Abides

Abelardo wrote an interesting essay about the barrio. I interpreted his essay as being about space. This is possibly because my background is mainly in literature, and we tend to read into texts and apply a whole bunch of "-isms." It's been some time since I read that essay, but it's in Here Lies Lalo.

But Abelardo's essay is just a way for me to segue into this post about the barrio and what an interesting and sad place it can be. Interesting in that it tends to right the wrongs committed against the people who live in it. Sad because sometimes those who live in it suffer unjust punishment, and they go without any comeuppance.

For example, in my hometown, the barrio rectified a situation. A young man associating himeself with a gang came into my barrio, running his mouth about a rival. The young man who was in my barrio running his mouth got shot. He survived and apparently told the police who shot him. The police arrest the suspect. The young man who surived the gunshot kept coming back into my neighborhood. You would think after running your mouth in rival territory you would think twice about coming back to run your mouth. Apparently the huevos on this young man were huge, or he just couldn't stay out of our neighborhood for whatever reason. I think he had family there which gave him another reason to keep coming back. Regardless, he made no bones about flaunting his gang affilitaion. One other time he came back and he was with a friend, looking at  some cars that were up for sale. These cars usually get parked at a corner, across the street from a local market. As he was there looking at the cars a few guys from the neighborhood and rival gang walked up on him, and assaulted him. As far as I know he managed to walk away from the assault. I'm not sure if the other young men were friends of the person he accused of having shot him or if they just saw a guy who they recall running his mouth and decided in typical gang fashion to rectify the situation. Anyhow, barrio karma caught up with him, and the end result was that he was assaulted. I don't know if he still comes to the neighborhood, but if he still does after that, it's no longer about huevos, it's about gran pendejismo.

Another example is of a cop driving through a neighborhood in Salinas. If you weren't in the know, last year a couple of cops killed a Mexicano with hedge clippers. According to the officers involved the man was being "erratic." When they told him to put down the hedge clippers he kept walking away from them, and they blew him away. They claimed self-defense. Gun versus hedge clippers. Why they didn't try to use a taser first, I don't know. Trigger happy? A working class Mexican life means nothing? I don't know. This has been endemic of Salinas PD and Monterey County Sheriffs for some time though. And they have gotten away with it for many years. Anyhow, this time around the people of Salinas didn't stand for it they protested and as usual the police department responded in riot gear, dogs, and shotguns, threatening to shoot people as they pushed them back. I have a friend whose mother still lives in neighbhorhood in Salinas. He recounted how an officer in a cop car was patrolling their street, when suddenly his cruiser started getting pelted with objects. The officer was scared as fuck according to my friend. The barrio was apparently still upset about the unjust killing of the man with hedge clippers, and a couple of others who had been gunned down, before him. The barrio didn't let this go. The cop survived the encounter with the barrio, but it came to show the barrio doesn't forget.

And the barrio is cruel to its own. As I heard about a man pushing a cart selling paletas, but was threatened by some adolesecents. The man ran away, and the young men took some of their spoils, by taking a bunch of the paletas for themselves. I don't know if a police report was ever filed or if the man got to keep his job as a paletero after the incident. Or if maybe he started protecting himself by carrying a weapon with him. What happened to him is fucked up, it shouldn't have happened and it just shouldn't happen.

I get nostalgic about the barrio. But then I shake my head at it for some of the mamadas that happen to it's own residents. It protects, it gives, but it also takes.



  1. Mijo, u r too funny.
    Going to try to share to my Facebook page.
    God bless you,

    1. Hello, sorry for the late reply, but I wasn't updating my blog and I didn't notice your comments. Thank you for reading. God bless you as well.