by Bill Watkins, Land Thief, 8/22/2019
We are victims of our own fundamental sins in “Los Angeles” and other modern cities across this land mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller called America in 1507. The real name for where I live is the native Otsungna, or “place of the Roses,” and mustn’t that have been nice? There was a river running through it, instead of graffiti on concrete surrounding a weak stream. There was a lake in the area we now call San Marino, but white farmers came in and sucked out its water so much that it is now a nice grass-lined park… but no more lake.
There were no sirens, no airplanes, and no helicopters robbing the earth of peace simultaneous to burning her blood to go faster and higher.
Speaking of robbery, there was a people, mostly naked and brown-skinned, who lived on and with the land. They had no books, modern weapons or guns—so fell easy prey to aggressive, land-grabbing white people, who threatened and committed violence under a painted cross. We stole land and butted out peaceful inhabitants here so that we could erect our New Europe.
We brought guns, alcohol, cursing and disease—but oh man did we have a book! “This book will save you from all your sins!” we bragged to the native tribes living at peace with the real God in nature. We did not want to hear their myths and stories, took some tips on planting and living in this land, then kicked them out in the name of the god of words on pages, revved up our industrial revolution and “progress”—progressing and advancing our weaponry, noise, cursing and alcohol consumption, while the native people were pushed out of sight and mind.
Today LAPD helicopters claim to patrol this land, claim to “safeguard the lives and property” of us citizens of a city, county, state and government based in land theft. Crimes are committed everyday, the most evident to me while I still live on this stolen land by police helicopters killing peace with their war tools. The LAPD mission statement, quoted above, also says that its officers work “with the diverse communities to improve their quality of life.” Are we defining terms the same way?
What a sad people we are, roaring up in metal vessels, polluting the air and life below, deeming it good for our quality of life. A roar we unfortunately hear, since 1957’s first introduction of the noise polluter above our city, to me the point of the sword that killed and forced out native America, peace, rivers and lakes from this land. We could have set up trade, respected native peoples, allowed them to live side by side with us, but no. We were too sick, too infected with the self-righteousness of might equaling right, with some words in a book we were sure could not ever be beaten by any people’s unwritten traditions.
We have failed to improve this land, and yes I plan to leave it soon, to give my spot back to a native American. While I am still here, I will continue to point out obvious crimes—most commonly committed by our supposed crime-stoppers, the LAPD. Police officers across this land represent our collective shame, our thievery, our pollution. It’s time we admitted our sins—
the first step in amending them.