Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Dead Man Standing
When returning from the dropbox at the Pomona library this morning, I happened upon today's photos, which are of the 400 block of West Second Street. These are some of the buildings that have already been gated, boarded up and tagged for demolition to make way for the Great Wall of Pomona. These buildings practically begged for me to post them on the blog. The first thought to come to my mind is the title of today's post: Dead Man Standing.
I suppose the buildings two blocks down on the 200 block of Second Street could be referred to as Dead Man Walking, as those are, for the most part, still in business with execution dates looming (and posted on their windows).
As a former appellate investigator, I have visited death row at San Quentin many times for the purpose of gathering information about my clients' always screwed up backgrounds. Contrary to the sad vibe I got on Second Street this morning, the visiting room at San Quentin is an ironically happy place. I respect that there are all sorts of reasons for being either pro or con the death penalty, but the one that always swayed me most was the sheer joy I have seen in that visiting room on the faces of the children of death row inmates. In the end, the children are the ones most affected by their parent being killed by the state, as opposed to at least existing by letter or ocassional prison visit. When you're a kid, it DOES matter.
The condemned buildings on Second Street have been guilty of never rejuvenating that area, and for that they have received a lethal sentence. While they are probably guilty as charged (I mean a Starbucks probably does bring more street traffic than the Samoan church in the photo), it still feels like Pomona is about to lose some of our soul. It bothers me, what can I say.