Dead Kids

Just a stain now...

A few posts ago I semi-joked about the occasional shootings we hear about in LH and though that may hint at my becoming a bit callous, I can say with confidence that I am still well aware about what that means. Tuesday night at about 10:30 pm Romen Cabral, a resident of Highland Park, was gunned down in a walk-up shooting, he was 14 years old. KABC is saying it may be gang related but more important than that, this was a person.

I heard the round of gunshots, they didn’t make the usual pop-pop sound but were more of a thud-thud, and like any angeleno, I dropped down for cover. When I managed the courage to check things out, expecting to find nothing as is usually the case, I witnessed the wrenching sight of a woman crouched over a body, at first looking confused then frantically screaming for someone to call 911, while another lady and her child hurried to get some help. The body, lying face down on the cement, showed no sign of movement and it was clear that this guy, whom I had assumed was older, would not be seeing another day.

I’ve seen many dead people (I used to work around corpses, more on that some other time) but something about this incident had more of an impact on me. Maybe it was the fact that there was no scrambling to get away, that there was no immediate flurry of activity and no instant screams, it almost seemed as if the woman was unsure of how to respond. The overwhelming stillness at the center of her attention just exuded permanence and tragedy. What struck me most about the scene under the dim street light were the clean white soles of his tennis shoes: almost ghostly, they stood there, toes pointed down, flopping sideways, immobile, now of no use. After a few minutes when a sister of the boy showed up, wailing and cursing the circumstances with screams of “Motherfuckers! I fucking told you!” that’s when it really set in: this dude is really dead. And all I could think was que lastima.

After awhile, all the neighbors got back to doing their thing, one more tragedy in the city, luckily its somebody elses. I don’t know him, just like I didn’t know the last casualty or (hopefully) the next one, so we move on. Just as we do everyday with the news from Iraq, dead American soldiers or Iraqi civilians, it’s somebody elses tragic problem. Be it the racket of the neighborhood gang or the really big gangs of Nation-States, it’s all a numbers game: eventually, if you play long enough, yours will come up. Cholos and Soldiers are alike, they both play up their bravado, join a dedicated “family”, and commit to a cause that is often meaningless, the consequences of which are usually felt by others. Romen may have been a budding cholo and for many, that’s going to take him off their sympathy list. But no matter what the circumstances, to someone he was a son, a brother, and a friend. The deep pain that his people now feel is real. I’ve yet to know that sort of pain and don’t pretend to understand, but the sight of it on another human being, that alone is a pretty fucked up feeling. And i’ll place my bet that we’ve yet to see the last of it.

Later Homie Romen.

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20 Responses to Dead Kids

  1. FUCK YOU says:

    WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH U POSTING THINGS UP LIKE THIS ON THE INTERNET… THAT SHIT AINT TO FUCKEN GAME… WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THAT.. TAKE THIS PICTURE OFF..

  2. EL CHAVO! says:

    Did you even read the text? Do that before you assume that I think it’s a “game” because you obviously missed the point.

  3. FUCK YOU says:

    YEAH I READ THE TEXT… BUT IM FUCKEN SAYING TAKE THIS PICTURE OFF … WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ALL BOUT..!! JUST TAKE THE FUCKEN PICTURE OFF THE WEBSITE!! IT AINT NO FUCKEN GAME BUT DONT GO FUCKEN PUTTIN PICTURES OF MY HOMEBOY LIKE THAT..!

  4. EL CHAVO! says:

    Dear FUCK YOU,
    First off, this is a picture of a sidewalk, not a picture of your homeboy. I find this pic disturbing as well, it’s a grim reminder of an unnecessary civil war going on in our cities but I doubt that removing the picture will have an effect on the actions happening on the street. You can’t just make random demands on people and expect them to comply, that’s not how it works. If you really do know Romen and are truly offended by this picture, give me a good reason why I should take it off the site and I will.

  5. WHAT THE FUCK says:

    WHAT THE FUCK.. TRUE IS NOT A PICTURE OF MY HOMEBOY MAY HE REST IN PEACE. BUT ITS A PICTURE OF HIS BLOOD. I STILL FINDING VERY FUCKEN DISTURBING EVEN DO. HE IS NOT SHOWN ON THIS PICTURE. THE THING IS THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE FUCKEN HATERS AND LOVE FUCKEN TALKING SHIT. AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION I DO KNOW ROMEN (RIP) HES MY EX-BOYFRIEND. AND IT HURTS ME SEEING THIS FUCKEN PICTURE OF HIS BLOOD ..!! SO JUST FUCKEN TAKE IT OFF!!! DID YOU KNEW ROMEN? WHAT IF THEY WERE TO KILL YOUR BROTHER OR SOMEONE THAT U KNOW AND THEY POSTED A PICTURE LIKE THIS ON THE NEWSPAPER OR ADVERTISING IT ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!

  6. WHAT THE FUCK says:

    OHH YEAH AND GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT!!

  7. EL CHAVO! says:

    Hey WHAT THE FUCK,
    I am sorry for your loss. I apologize that this picture offends you. And though “people are fucken haters and love fucken talking shit”, which I do agree is totally true, I am not convinced that taking this picture off will do anything to change that, nor have you given me a good reason why I should take the picture off, other than your own personal dislike. I should remind you that we get worse pictures every single day from the situation in Iraq, not just blood stains but pictures of actual human beings dead and dying in a battle zone. By those standards, this picture is very, very mild.

  8. WHAT THE FUCK!! says:

    WHAT THE FUCK….!!!! THIS AINT FUCKEN IRAQ ITS LOS ANGELES LINCOLN HEIGHTS..!! LIKE I SAID GET YOUR FUCKEN STORY STRAIGHT!!! AND ORIGHT ILL SAY SOMETHING… AND LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS!!

  9. EL CHAVO! says:

    Is that your attempt at a threat? Young lady, you are sadly either dumb or just naive. In any case, I’ve had enough of your bullshit. You get one last chance at a decent post, one more try at making a coherent case for why the pic should be removed, after that I’ll not let any of your innanities through. And just so you know, since you seem to be quite unaware of many things, every post you make on the internet is traceable, yours included, and the number to your verizon dsl account is already logged. Pa’ que sepas.

  10. Gil says:

    Dude relax its only blood its not like his blood created a picture of his face or something and how do you know it is your homeboy.

  11. Aleks says:

    I think it’s a good idea to keep this picture up so that other people can see how real all this is. Everyone reads about it or hears about it on the news, but not everyone sees it happen in front of their own eyes. A picture as mild as this one is just a hint of what’s happening around our communities. Some people need to see this to really get the picture and maybe see things for what they really are. Even for me, seeing this picture and reading the original post (which was very well written) took me to that place and time and I almost found myself standing there watching it all take place. It has now stamped itself in me and had affected me more than it did when I first read about it in the papers. The way you wrote this was in a way that the people who live where this happens, can relate and feel your words. It makes a bigger impact and I think more people need to feel this so that maybe things can start to change around here in a more positive way. If it means offending a single person in order to affect so many more positively, and to maybe prevent this from happening to someone else, then I think it’s well worth posting.

  12. FUCK YOU says:

    … WHAT THE FUCK.. FUCK YOU.. HOW DO I KNOW ITS MY HOMEBOY MOTHAFUCKERS CAUSE OBVIOUSLY.. HES NAME IS ROMEN.. AND NOT ONLY MY HOMIE BUT A VERY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE U FUCKEN IGNORANT PEOPLE… SO BEFORE YOU MOTHAFUCKERS START PUTTING UP SHIT LIKE THIS… GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT AND DONT BE FUCKEN MAKING COMMENTS OF SHIT U PEOPLE DONT EVEN KNOW ABOUT..

  13. mad mexican says:

    Wow, what can I say about F.U. comments, oh wait I have plenty to say. Let’s place some blame on an innocent blogger for using this forum to speak of another gang killing.

    The anger and outrage should be directed to the people involved in gangs and those who commit, support and accept these types of murders. I wonder if the family or friends of young murder victims are ever angry at the older fellow gang members. The anger should be directed to older gang members who recruit and encourage young kids to join a gang. If you want to blame those responsible start with your own gang members that who is getting the young kids killed.

  14. Art says:

    Poor Chavo, caught in the middle of LA’s stupid/intelligent chicano dichotomy. Unfortunately, many ignorant brown folks are too angry or attention starved to understand the complexity of analysis, especially when it involves crime or a lifestyle they are emotionally attached to.

    Little FU whines and talks shit, but I would put down some fedia that she is a 11 year old wannabe chola whose cousin or cousin’s BF took one and passed away. It happens, deal with it, it is once again the sad result of uneducated aggression internalizing itself in one’s community. If you knew homeboy than it’s your bad for not checking him about his gang involvement, and although I am sad for his death nobody should have any remorse for some little attention starved wannabe chola talking smack about a poignant commentary on a blog that involved someone she knows.

    Brown people are so sad and attention starved that they do this shit for some recognition, worse part is that little FU probably thinks it is so cool to be living out some bullshit Latino menace to society life that does not exist. There is no “daddy I’m in love with a gangster” theme music to your life. If you are so committed to the respect of your dead homeboy than go out to all the heads from Aves, HV, Clover, HP13, NELA13 and wherever the fuck else to stop killing folks identical to themselves and start using their energy in amore productive manner. I have for the past 5 years, after having lost WAY too many homeboys, and there is no shortage of attention starved brown kids willing to act a fool to get attention ona blog, pathetic.

    BTW, rest in peace Romen and the homeboy who got capped in retaliation.

  15. Diana says:

    ….. R.I.P To My Homie… Romen Flapps Cabral……
    Love You And Miss You……

  16. Rolo says:

    My cousin was shoot, unfortunately my family had nothing to say. He was a gang member and we told him many times, its hurts, but what to do.

    Juega con fuego y te vas a quemar!!!

  17. Patrisha says:

    I agree with everyone except F.U…Romen was my friend,homie, and I guess he would of considered me an EX too..We went to school together and had the biggest crush on me..after a month i said “orale lil homie,fine ill go around with you”but i was a few years older and i just couldnt get myself to be with him cause i loved him too much as a friend.Since Romen has passed so has about 10 more of my friends including this past Monday that claimed the life of two more.I was dwelling on it and Romen came to mind.I remember when my friend called me and told me and the days i spent crying without control of the tears and el pinche llanto que me salia,hasta me ponia a gritos.I asked God every day,every hour and any chance “WHY??” ..Well today all those feelings came back..so i googled him up and this was one of the pages that came up.When i saw that picture my first instinct was to get mad till i started reading and then i got a sense of calmness and understanding.It hurt so much to see that blood on the floor and on that brick wall, knowing that was the only thing left,well other than his ashes but it’s real.This is what we all face regardless of living in LA or anywhere.Everyone loses,even the people that aren’t related to the victim cause everyone gets impacted one way or another.It stays with you.
    CHAVO:I appreciate how you put this page up.The details really hurt to know but you gave me something i never had since this happened..peace.i don’t know why put its how i feel right now.
    My friend Romen,told me about a month before his passing that he felt he was going to die and how it was going to happen.Deatailed and everything.I would tell him “shut the fuck up!don’t say that!and he would say “its ok,everyone dies im just going to be the lucky one that gets all shot up laying dead on the floor”Man that would always get me sad and angry and i’d always end up hanging up the phone on him and he’d always call me back and say”alright,i’ll stop but when it happens you’ll know i wasn’t making this up”.I used to tell myself that maybe he would say that because when you live in the lifestyle well what are the chances?A lot of gang members get those cards dealt so maybe he thinks that’s his fate too..whatever it was,it happened and his wish came true that was to be with his grandma again in paradise.Rest in Peace Lil Homie.I hope you’re happy with your grandma and I hope to be with you on the other side too someday.I’m really really missing you.everyday.

  18. EL CHAVO! says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful words Patrisha and for sharing your story with us. I’m glad you could see the purpose of this post and that it was of some use to you.
    Hope you are well, EL CHAVO!

  19. Nombre ta Loca says:

    Wow! This post hurt. It brought back a memory of loosing the man that I loved. We are not talking about no young puppy love either. I mean real, compassion, make you tortillas a mano kind of love. I lost this great love due to gang violence. Even now I still think about him. I have felt that anger, that rage inside but now I use that same energy to try and mentor the kids/teens that I work with to stay out of trouble. Even if it means talking to them when your off the clock or taking the time to hear em out when you run into them on the street. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear or two.

    My heart goes out to the familes of those lost through all this. Reading Patrisha’s comment took me back to that dark day. But I’d like to think that I will see my great love again. If not, then maybe in my dreams. Gracias Chavo for this blog and thank you Patrisha for sharing. This has been by far the most deep impacting post that I’ve read.

  20. Patrisha says:

    Ta Loca,you know exactly what i’m talking about.When you said “make you tortillas a mano”man,it reminded me of walking to Romens house one hot summer day and I was all red and instead of saying “u want some water”he said “i got some ice”i don’t know it just made me go back to that cause i was thinking “thats all you can think of?”lol.I feel on CHAVO’s blog things are different..on that PATCH.COM there’s just all these people that don’t know what its like to be RAZA.They act like we all come from an All American High class Family.

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