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"sideshows":a Deadly Game.

Essay by review  •  February 22, 2011  •  Essay  •  898 Words (4 Pages)  •  994 Views

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"WHAT IT DO?!" this 3 word phrase has sparked Side Shows in East Bay neighborhoods for years . Originating in the East Side of Oakland California, during the mid-80's, Side Shows have just recently begun to receive national media attention. This is due largely in part to the high number of injuries and fatalities of bystanders, and the mass amounts of car accidents. Although these "unlawful" events are entertaining and fun-in-nature they are beginning to spin out of control. Sideshows usually begin once night clubs and bars close. Hundreds of teens and young adults party on street corners, at intersections, and in empty parking lots and garages. Many amateur drivers, some of which have just left the clubs and bars, spin doughnuts, and figure 8's, in high performance cars, while others watch and dance around. Those on the streets are just inches away from cars which could whirl out of control at any moment.

Wrecks have been a part of Sideshows since they first began. The truth is most drivers don't have "hands"; Meaning they don't have the skill, or practice, to participate safely in a Sideshow, still they continue to show off. One night in February 2002, a 22 year old woman, U'Kendra Johnson, was killed when, according to Sarah M. Broom, author of the article "Sideshow" Drivers Face Losing Their Cars, 27-year-old Eric Crawford, "rammed her car into an apartment complex, when his car spun out of control, while spinning doughnuts. Johnson was killed in front of hundreds of spectators, just a few blocks from her own home." Although most injuries are caused by car accidents, numerous fights and shootings have also contributed to injuries and deaths during Sideshow activities.

Shootings are an ongoing occurrence. At the end of a Sideshow event, in August 2005, two were killed, in separate incidents and 3 were injured by gun fire. Also in February of 2005 a suspecting father was killed during a Sideshow in West Oakland. According to J. Douglas Allen-Taylor's column, published in the Berkley Daily Planet, "23-year-old, Eric Ramon Baeza, was fatally shot early Sunday [Feb. 6] in the vicinity of a sideshow, The killing occurred about 1 a.m. on Foothill Boulevard at Havenscourt Boulevard on a stretch of road where numerous intersections bear the black arcing marks of squealing tires from drivers spinning in circles." There were many different accounts of the story, lots of people suspected that Baez was participating in the Sideshow. However, Allen-Taylor's article stated that, Baeza was 'caught up in sideshow activity', unintentionally, while driving his friends home in his van." In the article published in the Oakland Tribune it was stated that, "Another van pulled alongside the van Baeza and his friends were in while the traffic light was red. Some of Baeza's passengers said the other van was 'dipping,' a street term meaning the driver would 'hit the gas, then brake, then swerve to make it rock.' the other van then pulled in front of the van Baeza's van when the traffic light turned green.

Baeza did not react immediately and sideswiped the other van's driver's door." Baeza was fatally fired upon several times.

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