“Blissful Ignorance”

Gumshoe has in his past posts mentioned some incidents back when he worked as a uniform “blue suiter” while patrolling the mean streets of Santa Ana, California.

Santa Ana was definitively a microcosm of East LA, Compton, East LA, and the Southside of Chicago all rolled into one rip-roaring place for street cops who wanted a taste of the gunfight at the OK Corral.  Yee Ha buckaroos!  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

More often than not while working the patrol late night shift aptly termed “Dog Watch” between the hours of 1900 to 0300, Gumshoe would come upon misguided, confused, and very lost Disneyland tourists on a nightly basis. Yikes!  DEFCON 3!  Batten down the hatches!

You first have to understand dear readers that one of the main thoroughfares bordering the “Magic Kingdom” was Harbor Boulevard situated in Anaheim, California.

Once these Mickey Mouse-eared and exhausted out-of–state wayfarers left Walt’s, they indubitably made the wrong directional traffic turn onto southbound Harbor Boulevard and into the real-life violently disputed “gangland” of Santa Ana.

The “Golden City” (the city’s motto by the way) of murder, and mayhem committed routinely by misguided youth “home boys and home girls” members of several ever-competing notorious street gangs in never-ending bullet-flying “paybacks” and territorial boundary ownership disputes.

Gumshoe easily observed the proverbial station wagon full of Iowa (or any midwestern state residents) honorary “Mouseketeers” blissfully and unknowingly cruising into harm’s way.

Dad would be driving hesitantly while mom would be looking at a wrinkled map and the gaggle of backseat kids would be sleeping.

Gang bangers would take a break from their internecine street turf warfare to routinely prey upon these pitiful pilgrims who inadvertently advertised “please rob me” signs of “we aren’t from these parts”.

These innocent and unwitting “this is not Kansas anymore Todo” denizens were doomed to be hapless victims who did not have a Bat Light to summon the cape crusader.  Drat!

They got instead, non-masked Gumshoe, who would immediately pull over these sad sojourners and burst their protective tourist bubble.

Gumshoe would give them a quick an effective warning about their ill-chosen route that left their collective mouths a gasped with the sound of the automatic doors locking and the swish sound of the closing of the interior windows.  Dad would be very alert; Mom would put away the map and turn her attention to the kids who would now be awake and wanting to pee.

Gumshoe would then provide them with an “unofficial” police escort out of the graffiti-scared DMZ of no man’s land and back to “civil” civilization. Wagons Ho!  The real true-to-life Hallelujah Trail.

No doubt the city of Santa Ana tourism office (if there ever was one) would never ever consider hiring good old streetwise Gumshoe as a tour guide.  However, Gumshoe thinks that he would have been a great guide for D-Land’s Jungle Boat cruise.  We all have dreams folks.

The wizen words of Gumshoe’s good late friend, Ben Franklin, who once said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work very hard to remain stupid!” seems to be a truism when traveling to unknown parts.

Gumshoe’s offers this hard-learned street cop advice to all tourists everywhere:

Know and learn about your environment beforehand and definitely have the survival sense for positive situational awareness and risk assessment.  Tourist bubbles are part of Fantasy Land don’t cha know?

In closing kind readers, remember to love the ones who love you and even try to love the ones who don’t.

Coram Deo!

PS:  Keep your car doors locked and your windows up.  Convertible enthusiasts good luck!


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Good article Gumshoe. Syracuse University was our so called tourist attraction with the Football, Basketball and Lacrosse games, Parents weekend etc. The University is located on the lower East Side. The Dome where the games are played is affectionally known as the Hill. Three blocks west of the dome is what we called Badlands. The section 8 housing was located there and with that some unsavory characters. It wasn’t a part of town you wanted to be in day or night, especially night. It wasn’t unusual to see a out of state plate in an area they shouldn’t have wandered into. Usually when you pulled them over the first words out of their mouths “Officer I’m Lost” which begged the usual question didn’t your son or daughter tell you what section of town to stay away from? Our city may not have been as exciting as your city but it had it’s moments to say the least.
    So again another long forgotten memory. Thanks again Gumshoe.
    Semper Fi

    • I do firmly believe my friend Tom that us coppers were indeed the “Gatekeepers” for the naive and definitely the uninitiated no matter what cities we patrolled. Thanks for giving me the “heads-up” on the badlands buddy. Semper Fi Devil Dog!