Miguel "Silent" Machuca, dead at the age of 15
The call came at 9;42 PM from my friend Arturo, as I was talking to Former World Champion Boxer Joey Olivo.
Olivo had been contracted by the Soledad Enrichment Action Gang Prevention and Intervention Program (SEA), to conduct boxing clinics as part of the Summer Night Lights Program at Ramona Gardens Recreation Center. We were revisiting childhood memories and discussing Olivo's post boxing life away from the ring, when the call came...........
Arturo had received a call from a mutual friend about a shooting, just northeast of Lincoln Park. Two were shot, they had possible ties to the Ramona Gardens. Nearby gang intervention workers confirm the report of the shooting but the identifications were unknown..........
Sunday dawns and the residents of Ramona Gardens awaken to walls spray painted with the tribute to another young man fallen, "Silent RIP" and other painted tributes are glowing in the early morning sun. The rays of the sun highlight the fact that another "youngster" will join hundreds of other Hazard homies who life's ended much too young. But while being memorialize by his moniker "Silent", fifteen year old Miguel Machuca became the 183rd murder victim within Los Angeles County in 2010. From Christine Pelisek at the LA Weekly
A 15-year-old boy was fatally shot in Lincoln Heights August 28. Miguel Machuca was struck in his upper torso. A stray bullet hit an 11-year-old girl in the back. According to police, Miguel Machuca and another male were on bicycles when they were confronted by two other males around 7:30 p.m. Saturday near North Broadway and North Mission Road. Machuca was shot even though he gave up his bicycle.
As Sunday progresses, Silent's homies gather by the Ramona Gardens Recreation Center, for the traditional car wash fundraiser. Rumors fly about what exactly transpire near the Broadway and Mission Rd. intersection. Who and what if you knew, and if your lips are loose, are a combination one does not want in this crowd. A young girl stands in the street with the donation box as Silent's fellow youngsters wash cars in his honor.
As Silent lays within the cold, sterile vaults of the County Morgue, dozens of his homies and other members of the extended Hazard Family, gather for the ritual consumption of beer and other excesses which will go unmentioned. If these young men were in uniform and fighting for their country, then this scene would be easier to understand. But for one who grew up in the same hood but never stray into gangster lifestyle, this spectacle never loses its repugnant taste. As Silent's family mourns the loss of Miguel, other's take time to partake from the donation box to indulge or attempt to "dip away" the pains of past deaths.
Black and whites drive by to monitor what is all too familiar to the veterans of LAPD. A supposed "intervention worker", who may at one time been part of the crowd in past deaths, work the audience to keep the peace. Some as they consume alcohol or numb their grief in ways left best unstated, think about the past homies who gave their life's for the hood. Some just don't care and take advantage of the free booze and other enticements, but hey, "I can party with my carnal".
In the days ahead, fliers will be posted in the neighborhood announcing the Wake and Burial details. While Miguel's family grieves and plans for his last viewing, Silent's clique will continue to mourn and plan actions to avenge their homie, as taught to them by the previous "OG's".
When the time comes to bid farewell to Miguel/Silent, his two families will gather to say goodbye son/ so long carnal. They will travel together to the burial spot of choice, where his family will display their anguish and the clique will stand together as one. As a parting gift, once in the ground, Silent's clique may pour beer on his final resting place as a tribute to their teenage friend.
Once the services are done, life will return to its usual circular pattern. Police will find witnesses lacking or non-existent. High school students at Lincoln will spend their on-campus time, pondering more thoughts of surviving the latest gang war between Hazard and Lincoln Heights, than the tools that can provide them with the ticket out of this turf war. But as in all past gang killings, some peace will return, at least until the next murder.
In time, people will forget about the shooting on August 28, 2010. A young girl will grow older with the physical and mental scars of her chance encounter with a gang bullet. The grieving of Miguel's family will become muted from us in time, but real to his family for the rest of their living days. The walls that bare Silent's tributes will be painted over, but the rage within his clique, will lead to more senseless trauma. After all, someone must pay for Silent's death.
....... and we all wonder when this senseless slaughter of young life's will ever end.
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Labels: gang intervention programs, GRYD, Miguel Machuca