Friday, March 31, 2006

Victims of the Lord of the Flies

"Children who go unheeded are children who are going to turn on the world that neglected them."
-Robert Cole

Dan Korem’s book, Suburban Gangs: The Affluent Rebels is one of the great books on gangs. In Korem’s well researched work he describes how gangs are a global issue. Beyond that he dispels many of the “soundbite” explanations for the primary causes of gangs. Things such as poverty or psychopathic behavior are truly not the top of the list of drivers for gang activity.

"Simply stated, the MPF is when a youth is faced with a crisis and there is no adult that he/she can turn to for help. That is, there is no adult protector in his/her life. The MPF dramatically increases the risk of gang recruitment as is found operative in about 75% of gang youths. It is clear that more youths from broken/ruptured homes resist gang recruitment, but when the MPF is added to a youth's life, a youth is significantly greater at risk of gang recruitment, suicide, drug abuse, etc."
- Dan Korem

Rather, Korem states, a youth who does not have someone in his / her life they can turn to in times of crisis combined with the brokenness of the family appears to be one of the main drivers for gang involvement.

I am inclined to agree with Korem here.

Having worked with gang kids for well over a decade the one thing I see time and again is that these young people have a “missing protector.”

Whether “mom” is too busy with work or “dad” is simply absent or whatever the reasons the primary guardian is not available these kids often turn to a different kind of family.

In William Golding's book, Lord of the Flies, a group of kids end up stranded on an island…alone and without any surviving adults. Over time they group themselves into two groups. In the end a war ensues and violence comes to the forefront.

The same is happening all over the globe in our neighborhoods both poor and “affluent.” Kids don’t have to live in the ghetto to have a “missing protector.” And when left to raise themselves the outcome is often bloody.

In the streets of Los Angeles, the housing projects of Cabrini Green, or the hallways of Columbine High School kids left unattended emotionally as much as literally lash out.

When parents or guardians do not supervise, nurture, love, provide safety, and discipline then children fall victim to The Missing Protector Factor.

Often as such is the case, they then fall victim to the gang.

Then they simply fall victim.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Set Up

"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd."
-Bertrand Russell

We all “herd”. We all like to socialize with others who are “like us.” However if you are in charge of a group and your goal is to manipulate that group for YOUR benefit you must have some controlling factors. You must create a conflict via “THE THREAT”. You have to create a “set up.”

Fear and fear of “them” keeps the group together. A group is made stronger, more cohesive, if there is a threat to the group. Usually this threat is perceived as being from another group. Sometimes the threat is real.

But often it is only a set up.

Gang leaders, cult leaders, terrorist leaders all manipulate the group to feel fear. Fear of a threat from another group. Us vs. them.

While the foolish religious fanatics kill each other in Iraq they haven’t the common sense to realize that they have been set up. How al Qaeda leaders must be laughing at the relative ease in which they set off sectarian violence. By blowing up a single Mosque they have manipulated a population into blaming each other for the attack. And the cycle begins. But really truth be told they only needed the excuse to exercise their hate. But they have been played by their leadership…all of whom are jockeying for a leadership role in the Iraqi wasteland.

Though the origins of the conflict between the Bloods and Crips is debated and somewhat shrouded in mystery, one story tells that the conflict originally started over a girl.
Yeah, a girl. Someone was dating someone else’s girl. It just so happened a conflict broke out and someone died. The two guys fighting for the girl were from different gangs.

That was about 40 years ago.

And how many Bloods and Crips have died since then? And for what? A set up. An argument that started way before most Bloods and Crips fighting now were ever born.

Whether this story is accurate or not is not the point. This and many other gang rivalries have been passed down from one murder to the next. One act of revenge for another. One set up after another.

Regardless of what the origin of the conflict was between the Bloods and Crips none of the soldiers on the streets today were involved in it. It isn’t their war but they are dying for it. Manipulated again and again and fighting, bleeding, and dying just because “this is what they are supposed to do.”

Bloods are supposed to be at odds with Crips. Vice Lords are supposed to hate Gangster Disciples. Surenos are supposed to fight Nortenos.

You kill each other “just because”. Just because someone else tells you that is what you are supposed to do. You all talk about needing no one. But the truth is you have been manipulated into believing that you “need” this war.

Without it…without the conflict…without the war between the colors, cliques, and sets what are you? Ask yourself this question. Then realize that you have been played by adult gang leaders, by manipulative people who care more about rims on their car than blood on their streets.

This isn’t brotherhood. This is a set up.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Very Very Small Gang Problem

“Sioux Falls' gang population is "very, very small,"
-Doug Simmons, a Sioux Falls Police officer who specializes in gang prevention training.

I couldn't resist doing some research on the "stupid" acts of a wannabe in Sioux Falls. It would be nice if those in charge of protecting our kids would do the same.
So far this year, the Task Force has arrested eight to nine suspected crack distributors associated with the Gangster Disciples from the Chicago area. The investigation is continuing.
In the latest enforcement action that began on Feb. 24, 2006, ICE teamed up with its law enforcement partners to arrest large numbers of gang members in Dallas (44), San Diego (41), Washington, D.C. (22), Miami (22), and Raleigh, N.C. (19). Gang members were also arrested in locations such as Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Springfield, Missouri. Those arrested included members of MS-13, Surenos, 18th Street Gang, Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips, Armenian Power, Street Thug Criminals, Brown Pride, Asian Dragon Family, Avenue Assassins, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Big Time Killers and Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos.
The gangs most prominent in the Sioux Falls, Sioux City and southwestern Minnesota region are Bloods and Crips (several sets of each), Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Black Gangster Disciple Nation, Surenos and Nortenos. In South Dakota prisons, according to the research done by USA Gangs the most common gangs are Aryan Brotherhood, Black Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Ku Klux Klan, Latin Kings, Nortenos 14, Skinheads, Surenos 13, and Vice Lords.,46715
MS-13 is just one of the many gangs whose members have found their way to the United States illegally. And that's how agents are able to arrest them. In the latest round of arrests as part of "Operation Community Shield," agents arrested five suspected illegal gang members in the Sioux Falls area.

There are no gangs here stupid...

Read this:

Gang symbol found burned on student's chest

Sign represents one of America's biggest street gangs, but police play down incident as attempt to be 'cool'


A police officer was called to Lincoln High School's nurse's office Monday to examine a 5-inch-long pitchfork-shaped marking burned into a student's chest.

The student accuses five juveniles of using a hot knife to burn the symbol onto his flesh. Charges had not been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.

The shape is a sign for the Gangster Disciples, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, police said.

The student told the officer he could hear his skin sizzling as the others put him through the initiation act. After he was burned, they poured alcohol on the wound.

A report of a gang initiation ritual in Sioux Falls during the weekend isn't a sign of organized crime establishing itself in the city, police said.

"It's a group of kids, wayward delinquents, and they will love to see their names in the paper," said Doug Simmons, a Sioux Falls Police officer who specializes in gang prevention training.

Sioux Falls' gang population is "very, very small," he said, estimating that at any given time the city is home to fewer than 15 people who could be considered gang members.

Gangs in larger cities exist for criminal enterprise, but in Sioux Falls, gangs are less organized and form more for social reasons.

"It ends up being a lot of kids who have supervision problems," Simmons said. "Their goal is to just do stupid things. They're not out here selling crack cocaine or stolen property.

"Police take a proactive approach to the groups anyway, he said, because they don't want them to evolve into criminal organizations.

"We let them know we're watching them," Simmons said. "We keep tabs on who they hang out with."

Dan Avenarius, chairman of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association, said the Internet makes it easy for kids to find information about gang colors and symbols.

"Are there kids out there who would come across this and think it's cool? Sure. It happens all the time," he said.

Avenarius said an incident such as the reported initiation wouldn't automatically indicate the existence of a gang. Officials should look for other signs in deciding whether a gang problem exists.

Simmons said parents should be aware that burning is commonly used by gangs to mark its members, and if they notice unusual burns on their kids, they should ask questions.

Students at Lincoln High School, where the victim attends, said they do not see a gang threat at school.

"It's never come up," said Jay Engberg, 17, a junior, who said he and his brother Jon, a freshman, try to avoid situations where they might encounter gangs.

Marcus Ribas, 15, a freshman, said students talk about gangs, but he mostly assumes they're exaggerating.

"Some people will brag about it, how they're part of a gang," he said.

Chris Hill, 17, a senior, said school administrators tend to overreact to students who claim to be gang members.

"The school likes to treat them like major gangs," he said.

Lincoln High School Principal Valerie Fox is confident the school does not have a gang presence.

"This isn't gang stuff like you or I would think about gangs," Fox said. "This is a wannabe, stupid act."

First you have to realize that in the past cities across America sometimes refused to acknowledge a gang problem because it hurts the chances of people getting elected. What do I mean? What politician wants to admit that there is a gang problem (especially in the early deniable stages) so that it looks as though he / she has limited control? Anyway you can look all day long on the net and find where denial and claims of "wannabe" activity provided a fertile environment for gang growth. You deny cancer long enough and it will kill you.

Let's look at the contradictions in the story:

"It's a group of kids, wayward delinquents..."
A gang is a group. And in the street gang definition they are considered delinquents.

" any given time the city is home to fewer than 15 people who could be considered gang members."
Ok so they admit there are "real" gang members present in the community.
So what happens when some of these "real" gang members encounter this so called "wannabe" kid and ask him about his affiliation? If he cannot answer the question to their liking...he becomes a target. Does it make sense to just dismiss this as "stupid behavior" or a potential danger?

"It ends up being a lot of kids who have supervision problems,"
Hello??? Read this blog...supervision problems are key to gang membership. If a parent will not supervise them a gang leader will. Interestingly enough the same ecology factors, the same drivers for gang activity are almost identical to the drivers for "general delinquency." The only difference is you need a gang leader to group them together under a "flag."

"This is a wannabe, stupid act."
No offense lady...but you need to learn about gangs. Wannabe kids are the MOST likely to become involved in real gangs. They are also more likely to be dangerous (this comes from real gang member's testimony) because they try so hard to prove they are serious about gang membership. Yeah it is a stupid act.

Just about as stupid as knee-jerk comments and denial about gang activity from people who lack the training and experience to even know what a gang is, how it forms, and how it spreads.

Maybe these authorities / officials are right. I hope they are. I hope this kid was just mutilating himself for "fun" or to be "cool". Even though he has a lifelong gang image branded into his chest. I hope this isn't an attempt at damage control. I hope this isn't a reflection of people who are not qualified to identify a gang. But really it doesn't matter if this kid is a card carrying member of the Gangster Disciples or not. He is now marked as one. And if he ever runs into a real one he is going to get hurt...and bad. That in and of itself is cause for concern.

About 30 plus years ago the Crips were considered "wannabes".

When are we going to stop being so stupid?

Author's note: The image featured at the top of this article is NOT the young person referenced in the news article. He is a real Gangster Disciple...who just so happens to have a pitchfork and Star of David tattooed on his body to represent his loyalty to the GDs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Theater of Violence

“By manipulating variables, modern armies direct the flow of violence, turning killing on and off like a faucet.” -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

I met "Darrell" almost 10 years ago. With tears in his eyes he tells me a story I will never forget. At around the age of 10 Darrell was new to the gang. As a part of proving that he was "down" for his gang he was to be a participant in a drive-by shooting of a rival gang member. Nervous and hanging out of the car window the group drives up on their target. At the age of ten, not wanting to kill another human being, Darrell began to fire...missing on purpose. He said that he began shooting the small caliber rifle to the side of the now fleeing target. Unintentionally he clipped the young man in the arm. The round spins the victim around momentarily stalling his escape. It was at this time, Darrell says, that the others in the car opened fire...cutting the young man to pieces. Two kids died that day. The gang's target and deep down inside so did Darrell...

In his book, On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman describes three primary situational variables that enable an individual to kill another individual in the group context. For the most part Grossman is not referring here specifically to psychopaths (those who have no conscience) but to so called “normal” people.

Though Grossman’s book focuses on war time killing and the conditioning process individuals in the military go through to be able to kill, some interesting parallels are discovered. These parallels between “legitimate” war time killing and gang warfare are quite telling.

The primary situational variables are:

Demands of Authority Group Absolution Total Distance from the Victim

From the gang perspective these variables play out like this:

Demands of Authority:
Often gang leaders are present, at least initially, to motivate newer members to kill or act out in extreme violence. (As with the Milgram experiment the authority figure plays a critical role in motivation towards violence.)
Respect, as it is defined by the gang culture is really fear, but it is stressed nonetheless. Respect for the authority leader is a key part in how far the subordinate will follow the leader.

Grossman also talks about legitimacy or perceived legitimacy of the obedience demanding figure’s authority and demands as being key in the Demands of Authority variable. In gangs, legitimacy is preached using religious and political elements we have looked at previously.

Group Absolution:
Grossman identifies the subject’s feeling of identification with the group as being key in the member’s feeling of relief of guilt in violent actions. In gangs, identification is the crux of being in the gang. “Joe Smith” is no longer just Joe Smith from down the street when he joins the Crips, he is now perceived as something greater, a Crip.

Grossman states that simple proximity of the group is also part of Group Absolution. Within gangs, members are rarely ever alone. The group is a part of their daily existence.

Legitimacy of the group (perceived), number of the group, and intensity of the groups’ support for the kill also fall under Group Absolution. In the gang culture all of these elements are present. Guilt is shared with group members therefore relieving the individual of personal feelings of accountability.

Total Distance from the Victim:
In Grossman’s books he describes emotional and physical distance as the parameters. With the gang, dehumanization and demonization of rival gangs is a daily constant. This creates emotional distance. Physical distance is often seen evidenced in the high number of drive-by shootings committed by gangs. For most, not all, gang members killing is easier if you do not have to look into the rival’s eyes. They are less human…therefore easier to kill.

Grossman’s work is an eye opener about combat and conditioning people to kill. Even more so it reveals how any group can enable and encourage violence through a process. The point is that once an individual surrenders his life to a gang he begins a systematic surrender of his individuality. And once he kills, each time will become easier. All the better for the adult gang leaders who play young, angry, and emotionally needy kids like a puppet show in their theater of violence.

Image Recreated and Based on Grossman's Diagram. From the book:
On Killing, The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
Back Bay Books
Little, Brown and Company
New York Boston
by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The mother of all lies...

"All creatures are more dangerous when afraid. In the most basic animal sense, if the dominant do not take care of you, you seek to dominate.”
- Gavin DeBecker, Protecting the Gift

On a gang affiliated web forum I see the photos of a young mother. In one shot she is throwing up her gangs’ hand signs, in another she makes a death related gesture towards rival gangs, and in another she features herself with a picture of her toddler baby.

On one hand this girl, like hundreds of other gang members I have met, says that her gang is for life. Then says that she would never want her own kid in a gang.

She is living a lie.

A lie she tells herself in order to sleep at night perhaps. A lie she tells herself in order to face each day maybe. But a lie nonetheless. She believes that she can live immersed in a life of violence and pain, represent a “cause” that kills thousands, and otherwise destroys the lives of thousands more and still have her child to grow up to be something different.

Modeling is a term we hear often. However in the behavioral sense, modeling means how we tell our children they should act by our own actions.

You hear it all the time. So called “artists” claiming that they are not role models. Sure musicians are in a very real sense just “actors” performing on records…but they still model behavior to kids. Kids for which reality is far more like a violent lyric than any music studio’s gangster rapper imitation.

I don’t knock music or freedom of expression. But the fact is we are all role models. We just may not realize it. The impact a musician has on a kid’s life is nothing compared to the impact of that kid’s parent. Somewhere some kid is looking up to us even though we may never know it.

How much more so for those of us who are parents. The way we live our lives is the blueprint from which our children will view and interact with society.

If we live a life of violence and Gangsterism and believe that somehow our children won’t imitate it, we live the ultimate lie.

Remembering that “mother is the word for God on the lips and hearts of children.”

Unless you want to bury that precious baby you hold in your arms for the world to see you have got to love him more than any rag you wear. You’ve got to love him more than any creed, or “king”, or “set.” When you are dead and gone the street is not going to remember you.

The same streets rich in the blood of dead gangsters will still remain long after all of you are gone.

So will your children. They will remain that is until their blood runs into the same gutters you fought tooth and nail to claim. Streets and territory you will never truly own.

If you don’t protect your children from fear and violence, they will live a life of fear and violence. To believe otherwise is the mother of all lies...

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Power of a God

Pictured: A t-shirt featuring Larry Hoover leader of the Gangster Disciples. Also known as "King Hoover" and "The Chairman."

The Milgram Experiment / The Power of the Man in Charge
In July of 1961, Stanley Milgram created a series of experiments that demonstrated a human being's willingness to "follow orders." In short the experiment involved having individuals send an electric shock to another human subject when he gave wrong answers. Milgram proved that when someone in "authority" directs a person, that person is likely to do things he would not normally do. In these experiments the person receiving the shock was only an actor and the shock was not real. However the other participant did not know this.

37 out of the 40 participants followed orders. And delivered what would have been fatal shocks with relatively little prompting...from "the man in charge."

More from Milgram:
"The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."
"The Perils of Obedience" (Milgram 1974)

If "normal" people can be led so easily into "killing" another human being because of the authority influence imagine how much more destructive the outcome could be if the follower is of an anti-social background. Imagine a kid who is already mad at the world. One who is looking for someone else or some group to project his pain, rage, or hate on. Provide that kid or young adult with a manipulative and skilled leader with a deadly agenda and imagine the potential outcome.

Now imagine the leader of a gang such as Larry Hoover. The leadership influence of people like Usama bin Laden. The leadership power of people like Jim Jones. Former El Rukn leader, Jeff Fort. Crip co-founder, Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

One does not need to look at higher profile names like those mentioned. Local leadership in gangs (often adults leading young people) wield tremendous psychological power over their followers. Slavery is outlawed. But gang leaders lead thousands of young people in a volunteer slave army.

I've seen gang kids "pray" to their leaders for forgiveness when having to eat "forbidden" food in lock up.

That is power.

When that power is corrupt how much more deadly it becomes. Add to that the influence of religion and politics and the influence can become god-like.

If said "god" is a devil then the potential for hell to be unleashed is unparalleled.

Everyone is a role model. Even if they think they are not. Someone is always watching.

Full account of Milgram experiment:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Psychopathology of Hate Groups

"According to a report published in 2003 in the FBI Law Enforcement bulletin, a hate group, if unimpeded, pass through seven successive stages of hate. In the first four stages, hate groups vocalize their beliefs and in the last three stages, they act on their beliefs. They point to a transition period that exists between verbal violence and acting that violence out, separating hard-core haters from rhetorical haters."

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin/March 1, 2003 By John R. Schafer, MA and Joe Navarro, MA
(With comments by Anthony)

Stage 1: Grouping

Haters feel compelled to have others hate as they do. Through peer validation, they get a sense of self-worth and at the same time prevent introspection. Individuals that otherwise would be inefficient, become empowered when they form or join groups. In addition, groups provide a welcome anonymity in which to express their hate without being held accountable.

(Though by definition, gangs are not considered "hate groups", many of the same "brainwashing" / "groupthink" processes take place. Peer validation is a key element in gang related violence. -Anthony)

Stage 2: Self-definition
Hate groups create identities through symbols, mythologies, and rituals, designed to enhance the members' status and at the same time, degrade the object of their hate.

(Self-definition is a key characteristic of most gangs. The use of religious based symbols, gang folklore and legends, and gang rituals all fall into this stage. This is one of the key similarities between the gang mindset, hate group mindset, and the more extensive ideology of terrorist groups. -Anthony)

Stage 3: Disparaging the target
By verbally debasing the object of their hate, haters enhance their self-image, as well as their group status. Researchers have found that the more often a person thinks about aggression, the greater the chance for aggressive behavior to occur. Thus, after constant verbal denigration, haters progress to the next stage.

(Gangs are noted for "disrespecting" opposing gangs. The use of slang terms such as "slob" or "crab" and many others is common with gangs. In fact all gangs use derogatory terms to dehumanize their rivals. This is most often seen in gang related graffiti. This kind of "disparaging" is also seen in all groups engaged in "war" with a rival. -Anthony)

Stage 4: Taunting the target
Time cools the fire of hate forcing the hater to look inward. To avoid introspection, haters increase their use their rhetoric and violence to maintain high levels of agitation. Taunts and offensive gestures serve this purpose.

(Disrespecting a gang rival is often a catalyst for a gang war. Whether that disrespect comes in graffiti, a hand sign, or verbally this is a common tactic with gangs. As it is with other dev-groups. -Anthony)

Stage 5: Attacking without weapons
This stage is critical because it differentiates vocally abusive haters from physically abusive ones. Violence coalesces hate groups and isolates them from mainstream society. The element of thrill-seeking appears in this stage. The adrenaline "high" intoxicates the attackers. Each successive hate derived thought or action triggers a more violent response than the one that originally initiated the sequence. Anger builds on anger. Adrenaline-high combined with hate becomes a deadly combination.

(How many gang shootings begin as fist fights, pushes and shoves, or other forms of physical aggression beforehand? This element builds on and is often the result of disrespect using graffiti, hand signs, or verbal taunts. -Anthony)

Stage 6: Attacking with weapons
Some attackers use firearms to commit hate crimes, while others prefer close-contact weapons. Requiring the attacker to be close to the victim, shows the personal-anger aspects of hate. Some attackers choose to discharge firearms at a distance, thus avoiding personal contact. Personal contact empowers and fulfills the deep-seated need of the hater to have dominance over the object of their hate.

(Drive-by shootings are less personal and easier in the psyche of the attacker to commit. Up close and personal killings or attacks with knives and impact weapons often indicate a more "personal" hate and generally take some conditioning to get to this point...with the exception of the individuals in the population who actually enjoy inflicting physical violence on others without empathy. -Anthony)

Stage 7: Destroying the target
The ultimate goal of haters is to destroy the object of their hate. With the power over life and death comes a great sense of self-worth and value, the very qualities haters lack, however, the ultimate destiny of hate is the physically and psychologically destruction of both the hater and the hated.

(Gang killings and other dev-group murders are the end result of a process. This process has been illustrated here. Intervention in this process is critical to stopping active violence before it reaches this critical point. -Anthony)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pathological Hate

"Just as Labradors are born to fetch, we are born to bond."
-James Q. Wilson

In groups individual beliefs are often intensified and reinforced by the group. Individuals tend to bond with others who are like minded. If an individual is “hate minded” he will more readily bond with others who believe the same.

But what is hate?
William Gaylin, M.D. writes in his book, Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence, that hate is more pathological than simple emotion. He goes on to describe in depth how hate works and exactly what its components are. And the findings are startling…when the subject of group dynamics becomes involved.

…suicide bombers in every poor neighborhood in the country.
When discussing the issue of terrorism Gaylin makes a poignant observation. Too often especially in the media culture we want to know what “we” have done to incite terrorism. How have we been the cause of terrorist acts? Gaylin states that the focus here is all wrong and I agree with him. Just as poverty is blamed for terrorism the facts tell us that this is nonsense. It could serve at most as a source of agitation but it is not the catalyst. If it were there would be suicide bombers in every poor neighborhood in the country. Yet there are none. In fact to state that poverty or lack of education causes terrorism is an insult to those who live in poverty.

Gaylin says:
“We have behaved like the well-meaning narcissists that we are. We have asked why they did this to us. We have been searching our souls when we should have been examining theirs.”

The same approach seems to be a societal norm of the misinformed. We blame poverty as the primary cause of gangs. Though it is a contributing factor it is not the primary driver. There are far too many gang members making more off of crack sales in a day than any of us ever will in a week. Yet they continue to live the gang lifestyle.

Bin Laden and his ilk are often from middle and upper class society. Educated and well financed. Neo-Nazi members tend to be from middle and upper class society as well.

It is ideology tied into a need to focus hate that drives many of these groups. The “causes” are many but too often we simplify the “cause” to some pop culture sound bite, throw a little money and good PR around and expect the problem to go away.

We are afraid to confront things we feel we cannot control.
Rarely do we attempt to address the issue of pathological hate. We are afraid to confront things we feel we cannot control. This is human nature. We have to find something that we must be responsible for so that we can collectively work to change things. When we do this we feel we regain control, thereby reducing fear. As I continue to say, fear and control are intrinsically tied together.

Gaylin defines hate in the following way:
1. Hate is fundamentally an emotion. (but beyond that it is a passion.)
2. Hate is more than an emotion. It is also a psychological condition, a disorder of perception; a form of quasi-delusional thinking.
3. Hatred requires an attachment. Like love it needs an object. (this object can be rational or irrational.)

Gaylin’s work is brilliant in that it tears down the simplicity of the pop culture definition of the “causes” of hate groups, deviant groups, and terrorist groups.

If you look into the ideology of various hate groups / dev-groups you will see different details but similar means.

There has to be a “war”…
Crips hate Bloods. Gangster Disciples hate Vice Lords. Al Qaeda terrorists hate “infidels”. Skinheads hate anyone who is not white. In this hate something beyond dehumanization takes place. Demonization is a step beyond dehumanization. The “enemy” is not only less than human but a target that needs to be destroyed if the group is to survive. These groups must create and maintain the image of “the great threat” in order to keep the group solidified. There has to be a “war” or the threat of a war if the group wants to continue to exist.

To demonize we must first dehumanize and remove any ties to humanity. Crips call Bloods “Slobs”. Bloods call Crips “Crabs”. Gangster Disciples are called “Glazed Doughnuts” by Vice Lords. Al Qaeda calls the West “infidels”. Skinheads call Jews “Kikes”. Even in our own military killing is made easier by giving the enemy a “name” that removes the human element... “gooks”, “krauts”, “slopes”, “towel heads”, and so on.

Hate is the unifying factor in the cohesiveness of such dev-groups. Hate that will not be satisfied by good PR, financial assistance, or feel good sound bites. Hate that must be first understood in order to better deal with the threat. Then we must deal with a sense of fear that we just might not have the kind of control we’d like to have over the attacks of the opposing force. Sound bites may make us sleep better at night but they will not protect us from biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks.

They will only make us more susceptible to the whims of those who HATE us.

Neo Nazi Hate Group Photo Link:

Monday, March 06, 2006

Embryonic Terrorists

"Everytime a soldier gets blown to smithereens in Iraq, we rejoice."
-Fred Phelps, Pastor, Westboro Baptist Church

DODGE CITY, Kansas (CNN) -- This past Saturday morning I found myself in a five-car caravan cutting across the Kansas plains with about 30 religious protesters. In the back of a truck, there were signs that read "Thank God for IED's" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."
The group is led by Fred Phelps.
He and his family have picketed and heckled military families at more than 100 funerals since June. They say the soldiers are fighting for an army that represents a country that accepts homosexuality.
He describes himself as an "old-time" gospel preacher who says, "You can't preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God."

Regardless of what side of the war you are on...the right to protest is a cornerstone of our country. Some use the guise of "protest" to further a more sinister agenda having nothing to do with freedom of speech. And some of those are planting the seeds, growing the very embryo of terrorism itself.

Groups like those of Westboro Baptist Church in the above article go beyond religious expression and political protest and yet hide behind these things. What they preach is a message of hate. A hate that is raising a terrorist mindset. This is not only this author's opinion, it comes from the creator of the group itself...

"America became WBC's terrorist. So, God, in retaliation, became America's Terrorist."
- Fred Phelps, Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.

Like traditional Islam has its extremists so too does traditional Christianity, Buddhism, and even Atheism. With every group there lies the potential for radical, sociopathic, or demented individuals to lay claim to a belief, and make it their own "cause" to kill.

The group mentality is telling. In a critical situation such as the scene of a car wreck, the larger the group of witnesses the less likely anyone will get involved to help. Why is this? Because individuals in the group feel a reduced sense of "personal" accountability. "Someone else will do it." The opposite is also true. A group such as a gang or other deviant group, will also share in violent ideology and lose the sense of personal responsibility...which makes violence easier. Violence becomes less personal and therefore easier to commit in the group context.

When people form groups their ideology is reinforced. Their beliefs strengthened and when hate is present...intensified. Sometimes to the point of violence.

Groups such as Westboro Baptist Church seek to incite hate and ultimately violence against the very country where their freedom comes from.

For now groups such as WBC only preach a message of hate. But in time as history tells us such hate when it doesn't fill the thirst for the group's rage will eventually seek to present its message in violence.

The combination of religious ideology, political ideology, and ritualistic beliefs with violent / hate driven agendas repeatedly seems to result in deadly outcomes. The modern street gang uses religious imagery and political rhetoric much like their counterparts in other dev-groups. This appears to be a growing trend that such groups are finding help in their own proliferation.

Hate courses through the umbilical cord for the fetus of terrorism.

KKK, Neo-Nazis, Islamic extremists, and eco-terrorists all came first with a message. Though their overall messages may differ the avenue in which the hate traveled eventually led to violent acts.

Groups like WBC are no different. Groups like this either fade away and die or serve as the womb in which future terrorists are grown.

Over time this blog will explore more deeply the growing threat of deviant groups within the United States. Embryonic terrorist movements silently growing in the belly of the United States.

More to follow...