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calendar   Monday - July 28, 2008

MOONBAT ALERT, HIGH PRIORTY.  FROM CALIFORNIA THIS TIME.  WHERE ELSE?

bat bat bat bat

Good Morning BMEWS posters and lurkers and those passing thru.

This story was originally found in London’s Telegraph .  Of course, the Telegraph being the Telegraph, I had to go to the source (USA) for this story. Which is why the link takes you to the Herald.

The thing is, I can see Brits reading this and saying, hold on a minute.  And we’re crazy?  Well no. But you might have an awful lot of Californians living here who call themselves Brits. Get confusing. 

While this story is a few days old, it only just appeared here this morning. I think the whole idea is typically California STUPID. But ya know, Ca. isn’t the only place.  These folks are surely delusional. 

FAST DRAWS ATTENTION TO VIOLENCE

Salinas residents battle gang troubles in their own way

By CLAUDIA MELÉNDEZ SALINAS
Herald Salinas Bureau
Article Last Updated: 07/25/2008 09:35:16 AM PDT

They’ve preached to their congregations against gang violence. They’ve knocked on doors and described to school groups the grief of losing their children to the streets. They’ve lobbied politicians for more money for law enforcement and after-school programs.

And this week they’re fasting for peace. The weeklong, citywide fast started Sunday.

Heeding a call from Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue, hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Salinas residents are abstaining from food and praying in an effort to cure the city of one of its greatest ills. Many are community activists who have been long involved in the city’s fight against crime.

People are participating in different ways. Josie Camarena is giving up junk food and other snacks that she craves, but that are not healthful to eat. The Rev. Gary Dean Gallegos of Victory Mission is giving up food from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the latest effort to contain gang violence in Salinas, the faithful are facing the skepticism of people who don’t believe abstaining from earthly needs will prevent gang members from killing each other on the city’s streets.

But, for the most part, those committed to their weeklong fast remain unmoved.

“I had a lot of negative calls yesterday,” said Deborah Aguilar, a peace activist and advisory member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program. “Some people just want to mock and laugh and see if I’ll defend our leaders, and I

don’t need to do that. That’s the purpose of our fast: to promote peace, to pray. There’s too much negativity already.”

Armed with Bibles, “Fasting for Peace” buttons and an unflinching faith in their intentions, the activists believe theirs is a worthy cause and are encouraging each other in meetings.

Some say they have the power to touch the hearts of hardened criminals, people who would stop at nothing to eliminate a gang rival. Others are praying to keep their children out of harm’s way. Most are gathering strength to continue on their daily struggles without giving up.

“I’ve lived here all my life, and I’ve seen how (the violence) is affecting me personally,” Camarena said. “Even though we’re not involved in gangs, it affects us. If my children are playing in the front of the house, I don’t feel safe.”

With 17 homicides this year in Salinas, the city is on a record-breaking pace. The number is the highest in Salinas since 2004, when there were 20. The worst annual record was 24 slayings in 1994.

The latest homicide occurred July 13, when Maria De la Torre was killed by two police officers who believed she was threatening them with a sharp object.

City officials and community activists are trying every trick in the book to tackle the problem. Police presence doubled in the streets after a rash of shootings, community meetings erupted after a particularly bloody weekend, and the reinvigorated library system distributed library cards to all elementary school students, with the idea that literacy prevents crime.

But the street violence isn’t confined by city boundaries. Ray Torres lost his 20-year-old child to a stabbing in Castroville nearly two years ago, and now he and his wife make school presentations to tell their story.

“I really believe that, with prayer and fasting, the Lord will see how sincere we are, and he’s going to give these guys out there doing violence a second thought about it,” Torres said. “Prayer is very powerful, but you don’t hear people praying until something bad happens to them.”

The idea of a fast was born during a meeting of the Monterey County Pastors Prayer Partners, a religious group that preaches on the streets on Saturday nights, when gang warfare intensifies.

During Thursday’s meeting, the clergy called the fast successful and decided to extend it for another week.

“We can’t just let it die,” The Rev. Frank Gomez of the United Methodist Church told the group. “We can’t just say, ‘We did it,’ and that’s it. There has to be some tangible, and it has to be the bringing of the community together.”

Donohue, who visited the group, agreed to end the first week of fasting at 4 p.m. Sunday in front of the First United Methodist Church on Lincoln Avenue. He told the group he received calls from other communities interested in duplicating the fast. He will pitch the idea of a statewide fast to the California Cities Gang Prevention Network at the group’s meeting in August.

For all the naysayers, there are hundreds of others taking up the cause and fasting to strengthen their peace movement, participants said.

The publicity has shone a light on a problem that usually only gets attention when a shooting takes place.

“Clearly, the idea of fasting struck a chord,” Donohue said.

http://tinyurl.com/6ry4gk


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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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