Outrage Where It’s Due


Local, national and international news over the long holiday weekend offered plenty of reasons to be furious about society’s failings. Consider:

* When his watchful parents allowed Gregory Gabriel, 12, to sleep over with friends for the first time ever, the gregarious youngster with the name of an angel sneaked out to go to a party -- and died in indiscriminate gunfire. That an adolescent caper could turn into a death sentence is a terribly real fear for parents in South Los Angeles, which consistently leads the city in homicides.

* The decapitated body of Glenda Vittimberga, a 37-year-old associate professor at Cal State Los Angeles, was found in her Pasadena home early Monday after what police understatedly called a “domestic dispute.” Her ex-boyfriend later killed himself by stepping in front of a big rig on Interstate 15. These unusually horrific details mask an all-too-usual deed: According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, an act of domestic violence occurs every 18 seconds in the United States.


* Cardinal Roger M. Mahony released the names of 244 priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians who have been accused of molesting 656 minors in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1931. His report comes weeks before the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to release a study of sexual abuse nationwide, which is expected to report that more than 11,000 people accused 4,450 priests of sexual abuse from 1950 through 2002.

* The California Youth Authority is running a graduate school for criminals, according to reports on the state’s youth penal system, housing young offenders in barbaric steel cages and releasing them in worse shape than when they came in. More than half of those paroled return to jail.

* The bitter California supermarket strike dragged into a fifth month, leaving striking and locked-out workers facing evictions from their homes, even the prospect of giving up children to relatives or former spouses. Dismayed shoppers suffer in lesser ways.

* California’s economy is not rebounding as hoped, more bad news for an already dismal state budget.

And we haven’t even gotten to Iraq, North Korea or Haiti.

Does San Francisco’s gay marriage-fest belong on this list? Oh, please. Practically speaking, it’s hard to say how much Mayor Gavin Newsom’s provocative decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples will advance the rights of gays and lesbians. But clearly those who claim that it signals the end of civilization need to get their outrage odometers adjusted.