Simply Red (Part 1)

Here’s the deal in California.  Wearing the wrong color – red – can get you killed.  Which just goes to show you the sad state of affairs that exist in the once-Golden state.  Not only is California teetering on bankruptcy, but making the wrong fashion statement is a lethal mistake. 

On July 23, 2010, a jury convicted Jose Martinez of second-degree murder with gang and gun enhancements, along with conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit street terrorism.  Martinez, who is 25 years old, is a gangbanger.  He belongs to the Surneno gang, which is a Mexican street gang.  He and eleven of his homies – who are also Surenos – shot and killed five people.  The five people were killed simply for wearing the color red.

It seems the Sureno gang had recently suffered some setbacks.  Translation:  they weren’t getting the ‘respect’ they thought they deserved.  In other words, other gangs didn’t think the Surenos were baaaad.  And the reason the other gangs didn’t think the Surenos were bad was because the Surenos were snitching on each other to the cops.  This led to lots of internal strife among the Surenos.  They were at each other’s throats. 

So to bolster their reputation, the Surenos came up with a simple plan.  They would killmembers of a rival gang, who identified themselves by wearing the color red.  The Surenos figured that killing people would enhance their reputations for being tough.  People, especially other gangs, would be impressed.  Most importantly, the Surenos would be impressed with themselves. 

So that’s what they did.  Between December 2007 and April 2008 – a period of 5 months – the Surenos ambushed and killed five people.  They assumed the five people were rival gang members because they wore the color red.

Only they made a mistake.  Because of the five people they killed, only one was a rival gang member.  The other four were not gang members.  They just happened to like the color red. 

Deputy District Attorney DeFerrari summed it up nicely when he said, “Five people died for wearing red … because of the war the (gang was) waging.”   According to DeFerrari, all 12 Surenos were charged with all five murders.  “The law says, ‘The act of one conspirator is the act of all conspirators.’”

Law enforcement officials throughout California do constant battle with gangs.  California is gang-central.  Most of the gangs run guns and sell drugs to make money.  And they wage war on other gangs for territory.  The more territory a gang controls the more money they can make selling drugs.  It’s a simple supply and demand equation called market share.  The bigger one’s market share, the bigger the profit.