Adam Ybarra -- aka Little Boo Boo -- is facing weapons charges and is featured in the anti-gang documentary, "Life Facing Bars"

Adam Ybarra -- aka Little Boo Boo -- is facing weapons charges and is featured in the anti-gang documentary, "Life Facing Bars"

Police Produce Anti-Gang Documentary

Inmate Interviews Caution Against Street Temptations

Monday, March 24, 2014
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A documentary meant to dissuade at-risk teens from buying into the false gang life promises of quick cash and eternal loyalty premiered last week at the Edwards Stadium Theater in Santa Maria to a packed house of lawyers, judges, teachers, and city councilmembers, along with community leaders, area residents, and nonprofit groups. The 40-minute film, titled Life Facing Bars, was commissioned by the Santa Maria Police Department and created by Matt Yoon, a 2013 Cal Poly journalism graduate. It’s been uploaded to YouTube, and had attracted more than 25,000 views as of Monday afternoon.

Yoon said he was producing videos for his church last year when he was approached by Lieutenant Daniel Cohen. Interested in the prospect of interviewing ex-gang members — and needing to complete a senior project for his major — Yoon agreed to join forces for the unique crime-prevention venture and was soon headed to Kern Valley State Prison and Santa Barbara County Jail for notably unrestricted access to the facilities and their inmates.

Calling the year-long experience “eye-opening” and thanking Cohen and the police department for the opportunity, Yoon said the film has already grabbed the attention of law enforcement agencies as far away as North Carolina and is generating conversations up and down the Central Coast. Watch Life Facing Bars in its entirety below:


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I'm still way more in fear of the encroaching police state than I am of gangs.

It seems like the biggest victims of gangs are the gang members themselves, whether it is what they do to themselves or what the legal system does to them.

If there is one thing this documentary taught me it is how overly harsh and racist gang laws already are in this state. So if you are white and you are with your friend and you steal a bag of chips and you get in a fight you get 2, 3 or 5 years but if you are Mexican and you steal a bag of chips with your friend and you get in a fight you can get 12, 13 or 15 years? And stealing a bag of chips is some how aiding the gang? Throw a beer bottle at somebody and get 18 years cause you're Mexican and in a gang? Most of this isn't gang activity it is young kids doing dumb sht then getting trapped in the system.

The other problem I have with the documentary is how they say that all gang camaraderie is fake. If you're going to lie about this sht to children, you're going to lose your credibility when they get older and it is going to want to make them join the gang even more. Didn't we learn this with DARE and lying to kids about drugs? Now, there is some truth because there is a lot of fake gang camaraderie and manipulation that occurs and it is important to show that side, but when you are a one way propaganda communication vessel things may look good at the outset but it's not going to be a good longterm strategy.

I don't suggest kids get involved with gangs, but we should look at the main cause for gangs and gang activity and that is the war on drugs. If drugs were legalized gangs would mostly vanish. They would have no territory to protect, no drugs to sell and the police could focus on real crimes.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2014 at 8:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I say we just all breath some happy gas and think positively.

Why these kids can just get a job at McDonalds, save up some money, and buy a house.

Oh wait, this is Santa Barbara where even people with college degrees cannot afford to buy houses.

OK, let's just build another prison...yeah, that's a solution.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 2:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

30 years ago there were about 20,000 people imprisoned in Calif., now it's about 175,000... I partially agree with you, loon, but mistaking the "war on drugs" as the main cause of gangs isn't fully valid: how about poverty and lack of economic opportunity? Do those play in?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 8:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I began washing dishes in an Italian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, and hated it so much I then focused on college: and held 40hr @ week low-paying jobs to make it to my BA. Opportunities today are much less.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 8:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Loon...DISAGREE. I totally remember one of these very "gentleman" walking up to me in my truck and saying "what you looking at HOLMES!?" I had stopped at a red light in front of him and looked back at his bitchen car twice in the mirror. It really was a nice car. Instead I got "you looking at my lady?" and threatened with an assault. Sitting in your car with a seat belt on, red light no where to go with one of the roid raged out gentleman about to punch you in the face for looking at his car in the mirror.....ridiculous. There is a bully mentality that needs to be addressed not your lame A$$ war on drugs argument that you continually spew. Why not just move to Colorado or Washington?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"We need to ask ourselves: Could ending the war on drugs be one of our best weapons in preventing gun violence?


Jim Gierach, a former Chicago-area prosecutor, notes that 80 percent of homicides in Chicago are gang-related. "And what's the business of gangs? Obviously, drugs," he told Campus Progress in an interview. "We can change drug policy. ... It's the way to reduce violence that's easy, the one that's obvious."

It's Black Markets 101, experts said: Drug prohibition breeds gun violence. A prohibited substance, especially an addictive one, can yield tremendous profits for organizations that can afford the many costs associated with smuggling. By definition, you can't get legal protections to sell an illegal product. And when high profits are at stake and the courts are out of the picture, justice is often administered through violence.

"Black market trading routes are somewhat equal-opportunity," said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow with the Cato Institute. "A black market route for drugs can become a black market route for guns. It's difficult to quantify, but unquestionably a huge factor."

Studies show that the black market for alcohol during Prohibition led to increased homicides [PDF]--despite the fact that alcohol consumption, which is correlated with murder, went down. Homicides dropped by about half not long after Prohibition's repeal, but thanks largely to the war on drugs, the late 20th century saw another spike [PDF] in the murder rate."

Also, I tend to believe that everything the CDC publishes it does so with an agenda and almost always the opposite is true.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bimboteskie, your experience had nothing to do with gangs. There are plenty of individuals who act like that and have nothing to do with any gang. Those type of people GRAVITATE toward gangs and are often involved with them because that is the type of personality that is more successful and thrives better in a gang environment - it is also nurtured and encouraged in that environment - an environment that exists almost wholly due to the war on drugs. Get it??

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Uhhhmmm I'm pretty sure I recognize the face being interviewed.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Homicides dropped by about half not long after Prohibition's repeal."

Old people love to talk about how we should learn from history, 'lest we repeat it', but they can't walk the walk. They walk like retarded ducks. Why is that?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Look, gang members are people, too. They don't all live in a gang house and gang around all day. They have families and jobs and sht to do. They drive around to get places. Not everything a gang member does is "gang related" just because they are in a gang. If a gang member goes into a grocery store and buys a rack of ribs, those ribs are not gang related. If they yell at you and harass you it is probably not gang related, they are just being asholes. Stop saying that everything every gang member does is gang related.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 10:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Because if I don't you will get all gangsta on me? LOL! My point is that this behavior is a bully mentality not something I have created by not voting for legalizing weed or any of the other arguments you have made. Also I would say that the video is good because it shows how youths are drawn in with many false promises.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Made me really sad seeing that little boy tear up. I really hope this is used in a positive way and shown to people at risk so that this issue can be dealt with constructively and proactively rather than having to use the criminal justice system to punish after the fact.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What part of "Homicides dropped by about half not long after Prohibition's repeal." is confusing to you exactly?? That's half of ALL homicides, not just gang homicides, which means that gang activity dropped by more than half after prohibition ended. That was alcohol prohibition which was very short-lived. I imagine gang activity would drop by 80-90% or more if drug prohibition were lifted.

This video isn't going to have much impact at all, in fact even though I agreed that there was some good material in the documentary that is truthful and children should be exposed to it so they can make the right choices, I don't think it is very balanced. In fact it may end up making it worse when the kids get older and see how much more fun being in a gang is than doing homework and living in poverty. Gang members do have more money and they get more girls. Most don't end up in prison. You wanna end gangs tomorrow? If every pretty girl stopped banging gang members and started banging only non-gang members there would be no more gangs left in a matter of days. But what are you going to do? Inevitably a pretty girl who enjoys drugs and money (who doesn't?) is going to start hooking up with the gang members again. Women have no idea how much influence they actually have over men's lifestyle, it's just that it is more collective influence than individual.

Anyway, as long as there is an easy way for gang members to make a lot of money, by selling drugs, they are going to exist. You can't make that kind of money on petty thefts for very long, the vast majority of money that gangs get comes from drugs. Then the party lifestyle that follows encourages more gang members to get involved and they expand their market and protect their turf. They then use those numbers and channels to smuggle other products and commit various other crimes that would likely never happen if they weren't organized in the business of selling drugs.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Not sure I can buy your first paragraph drawing the analogy between alcohol and other drugs. I would have to say you are living in a dream world (or nightmare for the rest of us) if you think you can walk into a liquor store anytime soon and legally and buy some meth or an eight ball of blow. I think in the near term we are going to start hearing about some bad accidents in the legalized recreational weed states also. Anytime you have a large populous running around stoned for recreation, some are inevitably going to drive, operate heavy machinery or do something else they shouldn't while stoned. Point is, the bully type will always find something new to pedal illegally and the legalize it mentality won't be able to keep up.

For the near team I have to think deterrence is a better option than just a blanket solution of legalizing everything. Does your proposal include prostitution which seems to put kids at risk in other ways?

I will admit your the last half of your post above does make some sense. Once again it starts in the home, and with the youth and the parents teaching what is right and wrong. Also short term gains vs. the rest of your life responsibility.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

just for once try leaving leaving people wanting more-the more you post the less we read....

garfish (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 12:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bimbo, that doesn't make any sense at all. Right here in this town we used to have more weed stores than Starbucks. Those are shut down and now we now have more legal weed delivery services than pizza joints. What happened? Nothing. That's exactly what is going to happen in the other states that have legalized it. What you don't realize is that most people under 30 in this town toke whether it is legal or not and always have. Legalizing it simply takes away the manufactured consequences of being arrested or going to prison that ruins lives that never needed to be ruined.

As far as buying meth or blow in a liquor store, would you buy meth or blow in a liquor store? Most people here would not buy meth or blow in a liquor store, do you really need the government to tell you not to do blow or meth? The biggest problems we see in society with regard to drugs are the laws themselves and the violence of the underground market. Remember all drugs were legal 100 years ago, that includes heroin and cocaine which were both widely sold and consumed.

Cannabis was only made illegal in the early part of the century because the hemp decorticator had just been invented and some very wealthy people (including William Randolph Hearst) were heavily invested in the logging industry which was set to take a big hit from hemp paper and fiber production. It had nothing to do with the intoxicating effects, they just made up a bunch of propaganda and deception and printed it in newspapers to scare everybody into making it illegal. Even then, it was only quasi-illegal and it wasn't until the 60s that Nixon began the war on drugs. In the 1950s drugs were legal, did we have a huge drug problem back then? The war on drugs is the obvious problem.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 12:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, a**holes are a gang of their own, and they come in all shapes and colors. @bimboteskie- Why were you looking at his lady for holmes?

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 1:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And yes bimbo I believe in legalized prostitution, and what on EARTH makes you think that legalized prostitution will put kids at greater risk?? You still don't get the concept of how black markets work at all. Black markets are what put kids at risk of prostitution and selling drugs because it is all done underground. If prostitution for adults were legalized, then it would be done out in the open. A police officer or even you yourself could go into a prostitution joint and ensure that children are not being harmed. It will give prostitutes a safer, clean environment to work in rather than being forced out onto the street, turning tricks in dangerous places and nobody knows where they are or if they are safe..

Kids also have greater access to illegal drugs than they do to alcohol which is legal. This is because most drug dealers are kids. This is because drugs are illegal and kids have the greatest social networking contacts. Drugs being illegal gives kids greater access to drugs than if they were legal. Once you start to get this stuff and how it works you will start to change your mind on this whole monstrosity.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 1:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AZ2sb, I wasn't looking at his lady.. I remember the car not the lady. I am not sure why he got out while parked behind me at a red light and came up to my window and threatened me. I guess he was bad a$$?

Loonpt, yes I think people do need to be told not to do meth and blow. Supposedly more highly addictive than weed, but I am sure you will quote me some BS study that sez it isn't so.

Sorry, but you will never get me to say it is ok for my kid to go down to the store and buy a giant blunt instead of a pack of gum and go skate boarding high as a kite. The more the stuff is around, the more the chances of kids getting a hold of it. Nor will you get me to say that society as a whole is ready to function freely and productively with hallucinogenic drugs in their everyday lives. I don't have the energy to debate the sex trade although some countries have it legal and seem to be fine.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 3:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Enjoyed the Video, reminds me of my Criminal Justice class on Prison Culture and Gang Mentality, lots of information and a centralized look at the present situation of Gangs in Santa Barbara County. I'm hoping those who watch this Video reach-out to leave the Gang before they are sitting in front of the Camera next time one of these get made saying the same thing and regretting their sad excuse for a life.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You don't understand bimbo - kids ALREADY have easier access to illegal drugs than legal drugs - aka they have more access to illegal drugs than alcohol. That turns everything you are saying completely on its head..If drugs are legal, your kid won't be able to go down to the store and buy a blunt because it will be ILLEGAL for kids to buy blunts. Right now your kid can easily get ahold of a blunt if they want to because it is illegal and kids have easier access.

Drug addiction is a very complex issue, but I assure you that the war on drugs makes it much worse. Addicts are exposed to a slew of unhealthy, dirty chemicals in their drugs which is completely unnecessary. If drugs are unhealthy then so be it, but there is no reason to make them even worse just to discourage people because that obviously doesn't work.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Damn, those homeboys are ugly.

zuma7 (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 8:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@zuma7- Why you checking out the homeboys holmes

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@bimbo- I've had the same thing happen to me, and I didn't even know I was looking that hard. Insecure a**holes are a problem no matter where you go, don't you wish you could have turned him around and gave him a wedgie. I know I did.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My sister had a confrontation with a gang type in a fast food place recently. He came in, with rap "music" blaring so loud that she got up and left. As she did, she looked at him, shook her head at him in disgust and anger, and walked out. (Of course the managment didn't dare tell him to turn the noise down) He ran out after her screaming obscenities, standing at the door as he did, she ignored him (with her hand on her pepper spray in case he decided to attack her) and drove off.

The guy was white.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 9:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Was he wearing any Dallas Cowboys gear? If so he would be in violation of the proposed gang injunction. Provided he was on the list or was a john doe to be named later.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2014 at 9:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just asked her, she doesn't know.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 2:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Probably a Raiders fan then.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Haha Raidernation! Regarding the last 5 posts.. this will get worse before better regarding attacks on "civilians". They run around thinking everyone is too scared to stand up to them, similar to the way they all fill the hearings against the injunction knowing that if any fool walks up and speaks for it, they will have to worry about becoming a target. Forget that noise. I say put it up for a vote. Would probably pass with flying gang banger colors.

AZ2SB-a! I was thinking of giving him a give fat smooch since he was wearing those sagging pants anyway.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"I was thinking of giving him a give fat smooch since he was wearing those sagging pants anyway. "

Like this??

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 12:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@bimboteskie- Believe it or not, the majority of those people want to start a discussion on how to solve this problem, not continue it. How do I know? I know alot of those people. I truly believe the answer is between the two groups, but the polarization of the issue is preventing this from happening. Everyone from both sides have valid points, and weak arguments.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 2:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Good informative Documentary. I feel it does meet it's goal to inform those who may other wise believe different or may not know or understand the consequences of gang life and association with gang life. It's a simple message about gangs, crime and punishment.
Of course It could have added allot more info on many other issues related to gangs. I due believe the majority of its audience as well as the people in the documentary are intelligent and well aware of the wide range of issues relating to this subject. Just as the people who have commented are.

NavAiRecon2 (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2014 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

good video. should be mandatory viewing at public schools. the regret shown by the gangbangers at their lifestyle choice was real.

use this tool. and hurry up with that gang injunction. lets give the up and coming recruits a chance to escape this way of life.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
March 27, 2014 at 8:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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