Downtown Mugging Thrusts LA Times Editor Into Challenging New Realm

This certainly ranks as one of the more unusual and jarring LA Times juxtapositions.

The same weekend (January 19-20) that Community News editor Dan Evans was viciously robbed in LA’s downtown arts district, his newspaper colleague Roger Vincent had an article in the Sunday edition about the transitioning nature of that very same neighborhood. Here’s how architect Scott Johnson, who previously lived in New York’s similarly made-over meatpacking district during the 1970s, framed the arts district:

“There are very rough patches,” said Johnson, who lives in a condominium on Industrial Street. “It’s muscular. It’s complicated. It’s interesting…” He calls it [the roughness] “authenticity” in a time when “we’re getting bombarded with fake stuff.”

Evans wrote frankly and openly over the weekend about the details of the violent incident and how the altercation has shaken his world. In a neighborhood that he and wife Donna, a Patch local editor, only just recently moved to.

In the essay article, Evans revealed that he had taken since the mugging to carrying around a socket wrench for comfort and protection. But that is no longer the case. As several readers in the comments pointed out, for one thing the tool could actually be cited as an illegal weapon.

“I was definitely not aware that carrying a wrench could cause legal problems,” Evans tells FishbowlLA via email. “I’m looking into what is legal for me to carry to protect myself. Honestly, I stopped carrying it as soon as someone pointed out, quite correctly, that unless I was planning on getting a black belt in something, the wrench was more likely to be used against me.”

“Which goes to the second part of this: Whatever I do decide to do, I want to make sure I’m completely trained beforehand. No point in making things worse.”

We also wondered what sort of other feedback Evans had received from his downtown friends and neighbors. “It’s interesting,” Evans says. “Most of the off-line comments and advice has been essentially the same as the comments online. That is, some variation on “so sorry that happened.” Fortunately (I suppose), muggings seem very rare, and my neighbors swear they’ve never heard of this sort of thing happening before.”

We wish Evans well as he recovers from the incident. Luckily, per his account, he was not seriously injured and the financial collateral damage was limited to basically the cost of a replacement iPhone. Read his full piece here.