I Heart SCV
October, 2014 - Issue #120
Courtesy of Shutterstck
Courtesy of Shutterstck
Crimes of Utopia
Santa Clarita is home to Fox's "Utopia." It's a year-long, $50-million-plus reality series about 15 strangers creating a new society. The show takes place on a five-acre ranch in the SCV complete with a lake, cows, chickens and 100 cameras streaming the Utopians' every move. It's lovely that Fox recognized Santa Clarita as the closest thing to a utopian paradise we have on earth, but I wonder if our fair valley deserves the reputation in light of certain recent events. Is there more danger than we'd expect in paradise?

Bullets & Bombast
When school began late this summer, many Valencia High School students and their families were worried. An Instagram user posted a threat to bring guns to the school and open fire on students. Photos of weapons were displayed. The unnamed student's plans were described in vague, bombastic language and worse, typed in all caps. While it didn't seem like the most credible threat - the images of guns were low-resolution stock photos, and most don't announce their shooting rampages in advance - it was still deeply worrisome to many.

Authorities had little trouble tracking down the owner of the account, a 15-year-old male student who said he posted the threats as a stunt. There were no plans to follow through and no means; he lived in a house without any firearms. The Sheriff's Department said posting these threats alone constituted a crime, and the consequences for the student, who was arrested, will likely be significant. Perhaps lessons on the consequences of stupid Instagram posts should be added to the curriculum.

"Perhaps LESSONS ON THE CONSEQUENCES of stupid Instagram posts should be added to the curriculum."
"Like Lions After a Zebra"
Natalie Lilley and her daughter are Canyon Country residents and horseback riding enthusiasts. On a Saturday morning ride along the Santa Clara River wash, they saw two pit bulls charging towards them. Lilley recounted the harrowing details before the Santa Clarita City Council. She said she turned her horse to face the on-coming threat, and it shuddered beneath her while she told her daughter to ride off in the opposite direction.

The dogs began pursuing her daughter and she tried to keep her mount and herself between them. Eventually, she got off her horse and sent it running away on its own with the dogs in fevered pursuit, "like lions after a zebra." Lilley and her daughter were not physically harmed by the event, but the horse suffered from bites and required veterinary treatment.

The search for the dogs and the woman who apparently owns them is on-going; she must be found before she can be charged. Lilley said she hopes the attack brings attention to the very large number of people and pets living in the river wash. If the vicious dogs and their negligent owner remain, others are at risk.

Crime & Punishment
The phrase "slap on the wrist" gets used too much in the wake of local crimes. Take Sung Jin Pak, a retired sheriff's deputy from Westridge. He claimed that a large group of kids pranked him by ding-dong-ditching - ringing his doorbell and dashing away, the kind of thing we usually regard as immature, but harmless, hijinks.

Pak pursued the youths. He said three of them turned back towards him, at which point he decided to fire his gun into the air. Happily, no one was injured by the lone "warning" bullet, but it could have ended badly. His punishment is three years of probation, no firearm for 10 years, some AA meetings, community service and $150 in restitution.

Other Claritans viewed the recent sentencing of Daniel Constantino as also being relatively light as well. He stabbed a man multiple times and authorities charged him with attempted murder. However, his plea agreement for the lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon came with just seven years of imprisonment. As much as we heart it, the SCV is no crime-free utopia; let's see if things go better on the new TV show.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor.
Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be
e-mailed to
- What is the sum of 1 + 1?
This is a required value
to protect against spam
community events