Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chip Johnson on Street Shrines

By Chris Thompson
Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 9:08 AM

For the second week in a row, we're all gushy for Chip Johnson! Last week, Johnson acknowledged the important work of the Chauncey Bailey Project in investigating the Yusuf Bey story, a strange rarity among journos. This time, he's given us something other than the goddamn election to read! Seems Berkeley is increasingly worried about the potentially violent nature of impromptu street shrines erected to honor people gunned down on the street. Sometimes they're shrines to memorialize the tragic death of an innocent bystander. But sometimes, as city leaders are beginning to realize, they're a way for violent street gangs to honor a fallen soldier and implicitly challenge the rival gang to come back for another taste. This has lead to gunplay, including the wounding of (you guessed it!) an innocent bystander. Not only will the city only allow the shrines to stand for 48 hours, but officials will come by and review each shrine to see if it's really propaganda in a war we're barely aware of.

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