Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Greetings from HP Land..

..and I don't mean Hewlett-Packard.

I've lived within a golf shot of Hawthorne Park for the last 9 years. In that time we've had our bikes stolen once (we recovered them both), we put up with the noise and human intrusions of living near a nuisance bar, and there is one small spot of green spray paint on the alley side of my fence.

I do not believe that any of this is the work of a gang.

They busted a meth lab inside an RV parked at what was a rental house across the alley from me a few years back. Someone bought that house and is now the owner-occupant. Problem solved.

Like I've said before, I like living Downtown.

The Sentinel article that clarified the misuse of the moniker 'HP' by those who had nothing but chaos on their minds was a pretty good idea, I thought. It certainly generated a firestorm of discussion in the form of comments on the paper's website, some negative, some positive, and some incomprehensible.

The original members of HP claim to be long-standing neighbors and friends, as well as recording artists. I think it's very plausible that the moniker got hijacked by those who are bent more on wanton destruction fueled by boredom, combined with some ill-advised and almost comical posturing.

That's not saying that the 'real' HP guys are ready to be invited into your home and introduced to your teenage daughter; some of the music put forth by these guys illustrates that point quite well. There's definitely some creativity going on there, but a good portion of hip-hop and the culture that fuels it is lost on me. I was tapping along to the beat but largely tuned out the lyrics. I think I'll stick with the old standards, like LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes.

Reading the comments to the Sentinel's article felt like being in the crossfire of an entrenched firefight in the culture wars. Some people don't understand, and that lack of understanding creates fear. Some are repulsed by the posturing and foul language.

One of the commenters invoked the motivational writer and speaker Wayne Dyer when he quoted him as saying "
Judgment prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances". I can identify with that, but I feel there is a more appropriate quote from Mr. Dyer that fits these boys, their story, the reaction of some in our community, and how all of us view our respective pockets of existence:
Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.
And one final citation:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22:36-40

Have a safe and pleasant week ahead.

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