A couple of months ago someone on this board mentioned the Jewish weapons shop in Leimert Park in the past tense. Check this article out from this week's Wave newspaper.
Watson lashes out at gang violence hearing
By GENE C. JOHNSON JR., Staff Writer
Testimony before congressional subcommittee focuses on availability of weapons in areas of L.A. plagued by street crime.
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles, is vowing to “go after” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. Police Chief William Bratton, the L.A. City Council and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for allowing a firearms dealer to operate in Leimert Park.
At issue: Botach Tactical, a state-licensed bulk supply business at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Place. The owner is Bartochba Botach, whom officials say has owned other businesses in the community for at least 20 years, and the weapons business since 1994.
Watson, who opposes the business’ presence in South L.A., made her angry comments Tuesday morning at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, during a special hearing of the House Subcommitee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.
“I’m going after the mayor on this one. I’m going after the city council on this. And I’m going after the [ATF],” said Watson, who said she had been frustrated in her attempts to gather information about Botach Tactical. “Every time I call the ATF I get a different story … I do not know why the ATF renewed their license. I was told by the owner that they sell to LAPD, to foreign nations … the Army. They sell ammunition. I called the chief of police. No feedback. What is going on?”
Special Agent John Torres, who heads the ATF’s Los Angeles field division office, later testified: “We pursued a [license] inspection vigorously. If the city had found that they were out of ordinance, we could have pulled their license. And that didn’t happen.”
Watson countered that local residents were never properly notified of the business’ presence. The city “never had a public hearing to let the community know that what was once a bank and then a pawnshop is now a gun shop,” she said. “They never had that. So I don’t know what kind of investigation the ATF did.”
The easy availability of weapons was the focal point of discussion for most of the panelists giving sworn testimony to Watson and Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana, chairman of the subcommittee. Most suggested that gang violence could be dramatically decreased by stemming the proliferation of guns on the street.
“How can our police departments, how can our Sheriff’s Department keep getting AK-47s off the streets? They keep coming,” said actor and ex-gang member Danny Trejo, a committee panelist. “I’ve never seen a gun show run by an African-American or a Mexican-American.”
Chief Ronnie Williams of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said authorities have confiscated 170 firearms in Compton as of Aug. 6. “And these are the type of guns that my son uses in the U.S. Army,” said Williams, who testified that he has lost two nephews to gang violence.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a late-arriving panelist, said: “I don’t know of a gunshop in America owned by blacks. So where do the guns come from? Most cities have banned selling guns. It’s a bigger policy issue. Someone is profiting from our misery.”
Other panelists included Eddie Jones, president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association; Dan Issacs, chief operating officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District; the Rev. Clyde Oden, senior pastor at Bryant Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church; Los Angeles police Capt. Regina Scott; community activist Charlotte Jordan, CEO of Mothers on the March; and former gang member Jerald Cavitt.
Most of the testimony by government officials centered on policies and procedures already in place to deter gang violence.
“We need to work together. Federal, state and local agencies — law enforcement and communities groups together,” said Robert B. Loosle, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles.
Notice what was said. Rep. Watson said Botach sells to the army, and they do. Sheriff Dept. Chief Ronnie Williams said 170 army firearms have been confiscated in Compton. As far as we know, there is only one business in the proximity selling army weapons--Botach. Now how difficult could it be for the ATF to run a trace that would confirm or disprove that the weapons are from Botach? It couldn't be that hard if they really wanted to. So why does Rep. Watson have to 'go after' the mayor, city council, the ATF, and the police chief to get them to remove Botach? Do yall smell something real wicked? I do. Like U.S. Government backing amongst other supports. Also, our young men killing people is a symptom. The cause is deeper. It is right that people keep taking about we got to stop all the killing in the community, but targeting the young men that do the killing isn't the solution no more than putting a bandage on a sore caused by diabetes is a solution. Got to get to the root cause.
Rep. Watson is not going to be able to get rid of Botach unless the whole community rallies behind her and sticks with it for a long haul.
Oh, one other thing. Do you find it interesting that Jesse Jackson was late? Sure, it could be that he was simply late, but... well isn't he and Sharpton known for leading protest, demonstrations and picketing? Well, why didn't they do that over a year ago when Botach became an issue, and are they going to organization against Botach now to support Rep. Watson? If asked, they might "participate", but lead and organize against it? Hmm.