Jose Ramirez was somebody's son, somebody's friend. His death days ago from a bullet fired into a car off Guerneville Road was a tragedy.
But Jose, 16, was not what some of his friends have described him as: a regular kid who "liked blue" but wasn't a gang member and never looked for trouble.
Police disgusted and alarmed by the shooting of Jose recognized him as a gang member. Nobody's saying that means he deserved to die.
But as we try to understand and do more to counteract the gang problem, we need to deal with it straight on. In the long run, pretending that Jose was a complete innocent in the wrong place at the wrong time won't help anything.
CARLOS SANTANA nodded proudly from a table in back at Railroad Square's Last Day Saloon as the Latin/jazz/rap band led by his son, Salvador, played a strong set Tuesday night.
"I'm just grateful to God that the musical river keeps moving along," Santana said during a smoke break.
"He doesn't want to sound like me," he said of his son, who's 23 and whose band opened for Santana's European tour earlier this year. "They're developing their fingerprint, their identity."
READERS SMIRKED at one of our Community Events listings, not because of the issue at hand. There's nothing funny about the methamphetamine epidemic in Sonoma County or the Sept. 12 forum on the treatable tragedy.