Friday, February 15, 2008

no red flags

``We should all be prepared for a situation like this,''
- Christopher Morlin, a 22-year-old junior mechanical engineering student at the University of Illinois.
From the news:
“Kazmierczak was a student about 175 miles away at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, police said, and there "were no red flags" warning of any violent behavior.” –From a newspaper article.

There are always red flags. Sometimes people just don’t recognize them. In the coming days, watch, you’ll begin to see more reports of anomalies in this person’s behavior.

Here’s one, from the same article:

People close to Kazmierczak indicated that he was taking medication but had recently stopped, "and he had become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks," Grady said.

But in another news article Police Chief Grady contradicts himself:

"We had no indication at all that this would be the type of person to engage in this type of activity."

``There were no red flags,'' Grady said. ``

There are always red flags.

It may turn out that the medication had nothing to do with mental health. But with Mr. Grady combining the two elements of the statement, “off his medication” and “somewhat erratic” we have to wonder why he would link the two statements if medication were not somewhat suspect.

Only those closest to this shooter will be able to reveal things that are not readily available on the surface. More people need to be trained on what to look for.

No one EVER just snaps.

There are always red flags.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I want to join "a real gang"

*Warning: This post contains graphic images.*

Pictured: Hispanic gang member killed in an attempted drive-by shooting.

“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.”
-Oscar Wilde

Recently I received an email from a young person inquiring about joining a gang through the Gangstyle website. (Gangstyle is an outreach program for youth involved in or at risk for gang activity.)

In his words, "I want to join a real gang." What follows is my response, which I think may be applicable for many inquisitive young people.

If you decide to join a "real gang" there are some things that you will need to understand.

First you will be joining a long list of young people that have written to us here at Gangstyle pretty much on a daily basis, asking us how to get out of a gang. Not new kids, but OGs and long timers. Too scared to leave the ones who supposedly love them. Love doesn't threaten to kill you if you change your mind.

I mean kids and young adults who are trapped in something that turned out to be something they never expected.

Like the girl who joined one of the nation's largest gangs as a teenager. She was shot at the age of 16, watched her cousin die in the street and is now no longer able to have children. That was the price she paid for joining a "real gang."

Or another who joined another supergang and spent two weeks in ICU after being jumped in. She now is living day to day hiding from those who claimed to have love for her out of fear of being executed for not sticking with them. Drowning her despair in drugs and alcohol. Slowly dying.

Then there is the kid I worked with several years ago. A talented and kind young man with a great deal of potential. A smart kid who could have made something out of life besides ducking the law and ducking bullets.

He couldn't duck the bullets that well though and is now decaying in a grave somewhere. Never to return or get a second chance.

There are others too, existing as a living corpse on continuous life support because of a bullet. And more trying to avoid being stabbed, beaten to death or raped on a daily basis in prison for the remainder of their lives.

You have the freedom to do what you want. You can join a "real gang" but know what you are giving up.

If you have a family you will be giving them up. Maybe to a drive by and most certainly to any freedom of them being able to walk somewhere without the fear of being killed because of YOUR membership in a gang.

You should know too that the streets you will be fighting for, your "territory" will NEVER be yours. You may bleed and die in them but that concrete and asphalt will never really belong to you. That's an illusion.

So if you want to give your life up to modern day slavery for a few bucks or some so called brotherhood that will kill you if you don't do what they say, then go ahead.

I just believe that people should be well informed of what they are getting into.

Do you want to join to make money? Be sure that you at least get about 10,000 dollars and set it aside in a savings for funeral expenses too. Plus you'll probably need some bail money from time to time before you hit the grave or hospital.

You were not created to be a slave to some adult's set of rules regarding what you can wear, what you can eat, say or do. Know that the adults who run the gangs will not pay for your funeral, they will not provide money to take care of your family after you are gone, and they won't waste their time visiting you in jail. They'll gas your head up and get you to commit "for life". Then blow your head off if you think for one minute that you can leave without consequences.

When you are gone they'll just find another person to make them some money and make them famous while being able to avoid jail because they can blame gang activity on you.

That's gang life. Which is no life at all. Whatever your situation joining a gang won't solve anything. And it can and will take everything you have, including your soul.

We hope you will reconsider.

God can keep you safe. But not if you choose to ignore the gift of life He has given you. Not if you choose to take your life and put it in the hands of someone else who will then promptly take what life you have and throw it in the trash heap of discarded young people.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Conspiracy’s Bloody Path

“Poor evidence or lack of evidence, circular reasoning, repetition of unproven premises, and false dilemmas are all standard characteristics of conspiratorial arguments.” (Baskerville 1961, Griffin 1988, Young et al., 1990, Zarefsky 1984).
The Witch Hunt of the New Century
In Salem anything bad that happened was blamed upon someone practicing witchcraft. Of course there was always “evidence” to back up these claims, enough for a court of law to have people brutally executed.

In the dark ages gremlins were the cause of all kinds of problems too. In ancient times gods of all varieties were responsible for the plagues and blessings of man.

The sun circled the earth.

All of these and many other beliefs were once supported by “evidence.” Most were promoted with paranoia, fear, and plain ignorance. Conspiracy theories of today are essentially the same kinds of beliefs using the same distorted forms of logic wrapped in new clothes. However, as with the witch trials of Salem, the inquisitions of Spain, and even the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (for treason, blasphemy, and the conjuring of demons) conspiracy theories can lead to the slaughter of innocents. They are not always simply harmless viewpoints. Often, history shows us, they can be drivers for genocidal behavior.

Jim Jones and the People’s Temple
Untrammeled by the constraints of US society, Jones' paranoia developed here in full. He saw enemies in the CIA and the FBI who he claimed were trying to destroy the Temple, and even sometimes in Guyanese officials.

Jim Jones, leader and founder of The People’s Temple used conspiracy and paranoia as a driving and unifying force behind his delusional ministry. One that would eventually lead to the deaths of almost 1,000 people. Does his conspiracy sound familiar?

Like other paranoids, Jones used “the threat” as a means to unify and brainwash his followers into believing only him, and questioning his version of the truth could be met with harsh punishment. This “threat” is used by nearly every dysfunctional group to keep the group together. The difference from one group to the next are the players in the “threat.”

Jones was also able to produce “evidence” for his beliefs. Evidence that apparently was pretty convincing to those who followed him and eventually those who he would murder, including women and children.
Aum Shrinko
A Japanese apocalyptic cult released Sarin gas on subway trains in Japan in 1995, killing 12 and injuring 5,000. Their idea was to kill thousands and usher in the apocalypse and starting a war between the US and Japan. Like many other such groups their philosophy is laden with conspiracy beliefs.
Timothy McVeigh
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh built and detonated a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people, including 19 children in the building’s daycare. McVeigh was fond of the book, The Turner Diaries which was a fictional account of a race war and governmental conspiracies.

“The story starts soon after the US federal government has confiscated all civilian firearms in the US under the "Cohen Act", and the "Organization" of which Turner and his cohorts are members "[goes] underground" to launch a guerrilla war against the "System", which is depicted as the totality of the government, media, and economy that is under ‘Jewish control’”

(Sound familiar?)

While McVeigh was not known to be an active militia member, he was reported to have been interested in some elements of the movement, which often espoused conspiracy based beliefs that the government of the United States is secretly conspiring against the American people.
Interestingly, while McVeigh’s anti-government conspiracy beliefs played a major role in his attack on the federal building, more conspiracies arose surrounding the event after McVeigh’s arrest. Other paranoids began to claim that McVeigh’s act of terrorism was actually supported or perpetrated by the US government itself. An ironic twist for McVeigh indeed, to not be recognized as the “freedom fighter” he fancied himself to be and rather labeled as part of the conspiracy he supposedly fought against. As with other conspiracies more pseudo-scientists and laughable “experts” claimed that the bomb McVeigh used would not have taken the building down in the manner that it did. Conspiracy dictated that more explosives must have been used, while common sense would not be allowed to ask the question, “If the amount of explosives was not enough, why wouldn’t he simply make a larger bomb?” The same “experts” sound frighteningly similar to the 9-11 conspiracists in that they believed that demolitions must have been planted within the building itself.

McVeigh’s partner in the bombing, Terry Nichols, attempted to claim that the FBI was involved with the entire incident. Like any other coward trying to dodge conviction and accept responsibility Nichols claimed that the government was directing McVeigh in his exploits.

When McVeigh was arrested it was reported that he was wearing a T-shirt with the motto: sic semper tyrannis, the words shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Abraham Lincoln. Translation being: Thus always to tyrants.

The same overblown and outlandishly complex “the government did it” plot is regurgitated over and over again with each new generation of conspiracy theorist that comes along.
Al Qaeda and other Islamic Extremist Groups
Islamic extremists believe that the West in cahoots with the Jews are seeking to destroy Islam. This underreported conspiracy theory is so prevalent that many Muslims in mainstream society unaffiliated with extremists believe that Jews are to blame for the woes of the Middle East. Not much more than an extension and revision of Hitler’s paranoia laden rhetoric about Jews being responsible for Germany’s poor economic and social conditions, the Islamacist views Jews as subhuman.

The accounts of murder and genocidal acts against westerners, Muslims that don’t subscribe to extremist ideology, and anyone else on the globe that aren’t considered “faithful” to the cause of this brand of Islam are too many to mention and ongoing on a daily basis. Contrary to some far left ideology, the “policies” of the US are not the primary focus of Islamic extremists.

It is ironic that so many conspiracy theories abound about 9-11. When the actual trigger for the attack was itself based in conspiracy beliefs.

It is the belief that Jews are out to destroy them and that the United States is controlled by Israel. If the extremists want to destroy Israel, and they do, then they must first make the US unable to stop them. Time will tell how many will die from this cancer of conspiracy. Especially as these paranoid beliefs in “god’s support” of the cause drive them to seek and use nuclear weapons or something like smallpox.
The Next One
As more and more mentally ill people subscribe to the conspiracy theories of 9-11 it is inevitable that this paranoid propaganda will influence another McVeigh type to take action. While some people enjoy a good conspiracy theory for the fun of it and others are out to sell videos and books, some wholeheartedly are adding fuel to an already burning fire of rage and paranoia. Like the Islamic extremists place the blame of the condition of their society on the West and on the Jews, some loner or worse some semi-organized group of individuals with nothing to lose will inevitably make their move to “fight back” against their nightmare vision of some secret cabal. Whether an apocalyptic cult feels that attacking the government and or the populace will somehow usher in the return of the Messiah or bring about the fall of some perceived Anti-Christ the likelihood of this disease of logic absent mentality causing the deaths of innocents grows each day.

Conspiracy laid the foundation for the extermination of 6 million Jews during the rise of Nazi Germany and subsequently initiated World War 2 and spawned the deaths of over 50 million people. It is not a harmless ideology. Nearly every genocide is built upon some paranoid belief that the “enemy” out there is coming to undermine and destroy.

As it stands the Anthrax attacks of October ’01 appear to have been perpetrated by an individual or individuals with an anti-government agenda. Neo-Nazi groups have also attempted to utilize biological and chemical weapons on US soil before being stopped by the authorities. The conspiracy theory driven paranoid laced mind is becoming more committed and adept at finding new ways to bring the war they have created in their own twisted fantasies to the real world.

What may seem as harmless conjecture of the paranoid few has the potential to become the next Oklahoma City, Jonestown, 9-11, or World War 3. The conspiracy theorists themselves may transform into a type of disorganized but dangerous conspiracy of their own.
One not of men in black suits hiding under the bed or secret agents listening to our phone calls. One not of pipe bombs or truck bombs. The next attack may not only spill the blood of government officials but may spill into the lives of everyday Americans. The next conspiracy driven attack may not come with the thunderous explosion of homemade explosives but with the faint breaking of glass.

From a vial filled with smallpox.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mentally challenged killers

(Italics represent excerpts from news story)
Mentally Retarded Women Used in Bombings
By STEVEN R. HURST – 1 hour ago
“BAGHDAD (AP) — Two mentally retarded women strapped with remote-control explosives — and possibly used as unwitting suicide bombers — brought carnage Friday to two pet bazaars, killing at 73 people in the deadliest day since Washington flooded the capital with extra troops last spring.”
Oh yeah. These are the people who according to some, we are supposed to be able to sit down with and negotiate like reasonable people. These are the people who are supposed to be mad at us for our “policies”. Policies don’t make anyone use mentally retarded people to do the work they are too cowardly to do themselves. Bin Laden and his sheep sit back in safety demanding that everyone else blows themselves up. Yet one of his big shot leaders, Khalid Mohammad (the supposed mastermind of 9-11) surrendered without a fight several years back. He’s the one in the pictures that looks like a fat broke Ron Jeremy. Some jihadist huh? My what brave warriors. Why didn’t he martyr himself? Why did bin Laden run, like a squealing pig, from Tora Bora? Why do these idiots think that an all powerful God would need men, women, and children to do His cleansing for Him? Seems to me that in their actions they are calling their own God weak. Why can’t these jihadist sheep ask themselves these kinds of questions?
“Associated Press records show that since the start of the war at least 151 people have been killed in at least 17 attacks or attempted attacks by female suicide bombers, including Friday's bombings. Women in Iraq often wear abayas, the black Islamic robe, and avoid thorough searches at checkpoints because men are not allowed to touch them and there are too few female police.”
Political correctness and fear of offending. You are free to practice your religion any way you please. UNTIL it jeopardizes the safety of innocent people. Al Qaeda would have to be a blathering bunch of idiots to not continue to use this technique. If they know no one is going to search these women then why would they not use them more and more to kill people? Your religion is your business. But when it puts at risk my friends, my countrymen, my family, then it becomes my business.
“Even the use of the handicapped in suicide bombings is not unprecedented in Iraq. In January 2005, Iraq's interior minister said insurgents used a disabled child in a suicide attack on election day. Police at the scene of the bombing said the child appeared to have Down syndrome.”
Yeah they’re just freedom fighters. What a noble cause. They rip their clothes off wailing in the street when one of our bombs misses the mark and accidentally kills a civilian child. But it’s ok for them to strap bombs to their own children, to women, and to mentally handicapped people and butcher non-combatants. I guess killing children if off limits unless they are the ones that get to do it.
The terrorists seem to be the real mentally challenged people here.