Troubling times we live in…

Welcome to California, USA.

San Bernadino to be precise, where yet again another unfortunate gun violence tragedy has occurred. Cedric Johnson, 53, flipped the switch and decided he was going to kill his wife, Karen Smith, also 53, a special needs teacher at a nearby elementary school. Two innocent children wer also among the victims before he before he turned the gun on himself.

Time for a pint: The Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance

I don’t have kids, but if I did I’d like to think when I dropped them at school that it would be a worry-free, safe place for them. And of course this is not the first school-reported incident, I hate to remind you of Sandy Hook where not only did dozens of parents suffer the most horrific losses possible but they must now contend with Sandy Hook deniers who claim the whole thing was a fake designed to whip up a gun-control fervor and who abuse the bereaved in public and on social media.

But living here for close to 20 years I’ve noticed people becoming more and more desensitized to these violent crimes. It’s almost become expected and like a bad action movie you’ve seen before but can’t change the channel. During her campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton spoke a lot about this and about taking down the gun lobbyists, one of the most powerful special interests groups in the country. As we know, she lost the race, I don’t see anyone picking up the torch. There is the odd article here and there to share on social media. But mixed in with the new filter apps, and the latest Coachella fashion faux-pas it’s easy to get lost. We have sort of become a scroll-by society. If you don’t like something just swipe up and it’s gone. Hey presto! No more pain. You turn on the TV and we are horrified with the images of the children chemically gassed by their own leader (apparently) but wait, stay tuned long enough and you can find out what Kim Kardashian is wearing and who’s top of the billboard charts.

I know it’s not healthy to dwell on all the darkness and that we all need some light relief, but I am personally worried that the more detached we become from global issues the more we are living in an alt-universe and I am Mr. Simms.

Then there’s gay rights. According to media outlets and human rights organizations across the globe, police in the Russian republic of Chechnya have been rounding up dozens of men on the suspicion of being gay. These men have been placed in detention. Some have been tortured. And at least three are reported to have been killed. It makes you thankful for the freedoms we have here – but it was only two years ago that the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was allowed in all 50 states. But given the way the country is going I’m not complacent about the future.

And how could I be? With Sean Spicer (the White House press secretary) and his latest blunder regarding Adolph Hitler and chemical weapons the atmosphere in this country for minorities and marginalized communities has turned poisonous. A lot of Los Angeles just can’t wait for this administration to tumble like a deck of cards and I’m right there with them. After 100 days all I see is a cabinet full of crooks, a rude president who refuses to shake hands with the leader of one of biggest Allies (Angela Merkel). And let’s not forget a failed attempted at eradicating the Affordable Care Act, the fiasco of the Travel Ban, and Tomahawk missiles launched at Syria. Then there is the unfolding scandal of a compromised election involving Russia interference don’t get me started on Mike Flynn. But hey, what about Hillary’s emails?

But I try to be an optimist so I was happy to see Facebook is finally introducing methods to curb Fake News. Not a moment too soon.


Other news….

This week I visited the newly opened Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance, where I met Gary

(a true Yorkshireman from Leeds) and Charles his California-born son, who were proud to be opening the doors to their new pub/craft beer brewery.) This place is a welcome addition to the South Bay food and drink scene and I enjoyed seeing they serve their amber nectars in real pint and 1/2 pint glasses at a very reasonable price. I also met their onsite brewer Andy, an American, but with an over-the-top British sensibility. They are still working out the kicks in the menu but I’m sure it will make a fine place for an afternoon out for us members over the summer to enjoy their beer garden. The Yorkshire Square Brewery is located at 1109 Van Ness Avenue in Torrance.

Also this week Brits in LA Key Members got to see a special advance screening of “Their Finest” and/or “The Lost World of Z” and some caught a glimpse of Brad Pitt in the parking garage, sans security. To get in on the action, email us to become a Key Member today:


Cheers and keep your chins up!

Craig Young