I went to the Santa Monica Pier on Friday evening, but I missed the donnybrook down the beach at the Venice Pier the evening before. From the LA Times:
A lifeguard whose attack by three people in Venice was captured on video had simply asked his assailants to stop smoking on the pier, one of the lifeguard’s supervisors said Friday.
The full-time lifeguard, who has been with the department for 10 years, was jumped by two men and a woman as soon as he hopped off the ladder at his tower at the Venice Pier on Thursday evening, authorities said.
The LAPD identified the two men as Harutiun Balyan, 30, and Ara Sarkisyan, 28. The woman was identified as Arusiak Gekchyan, 28. All three were arrested on suspicion of battery on an executive officer, a felony.
One lesson is that you don’t want to get into a fistfight with a lifeguard: the biggest guy got knocked out cold.
But another lesson might involve my vague impression that Armenians in California tend to fall into two camps: the ones whose names end in “-ian” (and generally came here before 1924 or fleeing Beirut in 1975) and the ones who names end in “-yan” (who typically came here from ex-Soviet Armenia).
The ex-Soviet “-yans” appear much more likely to show up on the police blotter. For example, the biggest mass murder in my neighborhood in recent years involved a four to one ratio of “-yans” to “-ians.” From the LA Times in 2010:
Los Angeles police said Friday that they are searching for a 28-year-old suspected gun dealer in connection with the massacre of four men at a San Fernando Valley restaurant.
Nerses Arthur Galstyan is considered to be armed and very dangerous and is still at large …
Investigators said they believe anger was behind the attack April 3 against six acquaintances at the Hot Spot Mediterranean Restaurant on Riverside Drive in Valley Village.
Police said Galstyan was among a group of guests attending an afternoon celebration in honor of a friend who had died in an accident a year earlier. A quarrel broke out and Galstyan began shooting, they said. Hayt Yegnanyan, 25; Sarkis Karadjian, 26; Harut Baburyan, 28; and Vardan Tofalyan, 31, were killed, and two other men were wounded.
I’m not sure why this pattern exists. Potential hypotheses might include:
– The Soviet Union was a finishing school for thugs and gangsters?
– The “-ians” tended to be middle class merchants and proprietors fleeing Ottoman atrocities, while the “-yans” are more Chechen-like hillbillies?
– Assimilation over the generations works?