Chente doesn’t forgive Luis for his behavior—as always, he’s straightforward (and that’s part of what Luis has always admired about Chente). However, Chente goes out of his way to give Luis another
chance, since he recognizes that Luis is a talented young man who doesn’t deserve to go to jail for years.Active ThemesIn the following weeks, Luisreturns to school. Esmeraldaand the other ToHMAS members just say they’re glad Luis is okay. However, Mrs. Baezis furious with Luis for setting a bad example for other Chicano students. Luis doesn’t reply, but he gives her some poems and stories he’s written in jail.Even though Luis has described himself as defending Latinos from the white bikers, he also seems to recognize that he’s done something wrong by resorting to retaliatory violence. He also knows that he’s setting a bad example for other Chicano students.Active ThemesThe white bikers refuse to cooperate with the cops by identifying Luisand his friends. However, the police are able to trace the gun back to Roger Nelson, who they arrest and charge with attacking the bikers. At Roger’s trial, Luis sees the biker who he shot in the butt—luckily, the bullet didn’t do any damage. Luis testifies for Roger’s defense that he obtained the gun from Roger, and in the end Roger is acquitted. Soon after, Roger gets married and Luis attends the wedding as Roger’s best man.The biker incident comes to an end when the bikers refuse to cooperate with the cops—an action that, very oddly, mirrors Chente’s earlier claim that Los Angeles people should be working with each other against the LAPD and other corrupt authorities.Active ThemesGet the entire Always RunningLitChart as a printable PDF.Download it!
Chentehosts a community center meeting to discuss problems of gang violence. The problem has gotten too serious to avoid, he argues: children are dying because of gang feuds. Some people propose holding a meeting for representatives of the various gangs. But other people argue that this would only legitimize the gangs in the eyes of the community. Chente emphasizes the need to provide young people with an “economic foundation” that will give them incentive to stay away from gangs. Luisagrees, “It wouldn’t hurt if we had jobs.”As before, Chente takes an economic view of the gang problem. He refuses to believe that gangs are forming because of the deterioration of values or the inherent wickedness of immigrants. The reality is that people join gangs because gangs represent a viable way of surviving in Los Angeles.Active ThemesMeanwhile, Cokieis found dead in the street—somebody had “pumped [her] full of pills” and then brutally raped her. It’s whispered that Lomas killed Cokie, but many other Lomas, including Luis, are frightened by the crime, and conclude that nobody, Sangra or Loma, deserves that kind of pain.