Coming Together in Watts

Can gang violence somehow not beget more violence? Michael Krikorian's story about the deaths of rapper Kevin “Flipside” White and Markice “Chiccen” Brider reported on the ways in which former gang members are working to prevent retaliatory killings in their old neighborhood — so far, with success (“Triple O.G. Wisdom Reigns in Watts,” Oct. 25).

James Dolanko writes, “Powerful story. I'm glad the Weekly did it. Those older 'Triple O.G.s' are to be commended, as is the LAPD for changing its tactics in Watts. I know in the old days there would have been 10 people dead already over something like this.

Henry Rollins: The Dissenter!

Perhaps the most difficult part about being the person behind this mailbag is reading all the Henry Rollins fan mail. We know you love Henry. We know he's changed your life. But the idolatry can get a little boring.

Which is why we were intrigued by a recent missive from Paolo Giampietro, who wrote to let us know he just doesn't get it. He says, “I've been putting off writing this letter for months, but it just can't wait any longer. What's the deal with Henry Rollins' column, and how does it continue to get printed every single week?

“It's a column with no direction, no point, no build-up, no story, no crescendo, no humor, no anything. It's just something he happened to be thinking about that day that only relates to him and his life. [Recent] weeks have given us such riveting topics as: I like to go to shows and be alone, I like to listen to records and reflect, I like New York because I have a lot of memories here, I have anger issues, etc. OK, great. Now what?

Mr. Rollins gets a weekly column for the city paper in the second largest city in the U.S. That fact alone is jaw-dropping. But the fact his column sounds like diary entries only meant for the person writing is unforgivable.

“I admire a lot of what Henry Rollins has done in his storied life; it's just a shame that his audience never gets a taste of any of the real adventures through his column, which would be the perfect vehicle for them. Instead, we're left with ultra-simplified thoughts and observations that aren't revealing or even that interesting. They have a great potential to be. You used to see Martin Rev in New York? Cool, tell us about it. No one needs all of your years in New York condensed, and then glossed over, in a few paragraphs.

Listen, I'm not trying to get in a fight with Henry Rollins. I'll probably lose in every possible way. But the punishment-loving part of me keeps reading his column every week, getting more puzzled and angered by every failed opportunity.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know. We promise not to kick your ass — although we can't make any promises on behalf of Henry.

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