I probably should have been more careful, stuck to the turf I knew. I guess I’m naive but all I was doing was trying to explore my new neighborhood in Southern California.
Today, I wandered too far. I found myself the only white man I could see in a boisterous crowd of almost exclusively brown folks. There were hundreds.
Our new president’s recent warnings echoed as I tried to keep my head down and remain calm. If Trump is right, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with at least some “bad hombres.”
I appeared to have stumbled into a gathering of illegal immigrants, probably some sort of mass meeting of gang members.
There were tattoos, earrings and heads of slick, coal-black hair. They used hand symbols I couldn’t quite understand. They wore some bling, with the leaders on a raised platform handling lots of gold. They forced the acolytes and disciples in the crowd to pay some sort of offering in cash.
They chanted. They sang. On a raised platform in the center of the building, they celebrated a bloody execution of one of their leaders.
If I heard right, the leader talked of drinking blood.
That leader spoke quickly in rough English so I missed some words. But I know for sure he was urging the gangsters to stay together, not let anxiety overtake them, to basically stay cool under fire. He seemed to be trying to keep them calm in the face of threats from our courageous new president.
One of their chants had this refrain: “We will not be moved.”
I joined in the sing-songy ritual. To be honest, it was catchy.
But, getting claustrophobic in the press of people so different than me, I had to take off my jacket to keep from sweating. Taller than many of them, I tried to appear shorter by bending my legs.
I found myself hoping for the best, praying even.
I have to confess I even participated in the special, secret handshake that went around the room.
The ritual took about an hour but I finally escaped. Thank God.
But I might have been followed. One of the gang’s lieutenants — he wore a special badge and kept the hordes moving through rituals with hand symbols — saw me grab a piece of their literature on the way out.
I’m sharing that pamphlet and writing this in case these “bad hombres” come for me.
Please, circulate this so white America knows what is going on in California.
If you can, please, get it to the attention of President Trump. He above anyone, needs to know the truth about these brown people.