The Menace of Gang Violence

Recently you published an editorial, "Getting at Heart of Violence" (Nov. 29), which discussed the recent gang violence and gang-related homicides in Santa Ana. I absolutely agree that this war in the streets is "senseless." Unfortunately, innocent people in this county live in fear of passing cars filled with these terrorists--not just the citizenry in Santa Ana.

Gang activity touches many cities in Orange County and many more families' lives than is immediately reported after a shooting death. Gang homicides are conspiracies, and those conspiracies involve many other gang members and their families. "The current flare-up of violence has subsided for now," due in part to the Santa Ana Police Department's quick response.

However, as with any conspiracy, the motives, preparation for the killing and the alibis for the suspects run deep within a gang and its support groups. The Santa Ana Police Department's recent success at quieting that violence was not accomplished alone. Other components of the justice system also moved into action immediately.

For example, the Orange County Probation Department's Gang Violence Suppression Unit also played an integral role in the identification and apprehension of the suspects. Our unit arrested nine gang members who were part of these gangs' support group and removed them from the community, which reduced the likelihood that they would become the next victims or "shooters."

I am afraid the echoing words of Enrique Arceos spoken by the priest at his funeral--"What you are, I was. What I am, you will be"--fall on too many deaf ears. Gang violence is a menace to all citizens. Parents must not only love and support their children, but they must teach them to respect life and be responsible enough to ensure that they do. The Probation Gang Unit will help support those lessons and will, when necessary, remove these young men from the area in order to avoid other senseless deaths.

TOM WRIGHT,

Supervisor

Gang Violence Suppression Unit

Orange County

Probation Department

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