Police in Fontana, California were searching a suspected gang member's home when they found a manhole built into the floor. Down the ladder was a small secret underground hideout containing an arsenal, shooting range, and rather modest hang-out space. According to CNN, "interlocking rubber mats lined the ground in one area, with something resembling furniture pads or moving blankets fixed to walls, and a US flag hanging in one corner. Another area had a dirt ground and a wall lined with sandbags."
"We are the champions at Hide n Seek and no manhole will help you..." the police wrote on Facebook. "We strongly recommend that you put as much effort as you did in your underground cave, into becoming a productive member of society. You will thank us later for this advice."
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In secret court proceedings, the U.S. government is trying to force Facebook to help wiretap Messenger. Facebook has declined, so the Justice Department is asking a judge for an order of contempt. Read the rest
Ireland has a goat problem.
A growing gang of wild goats is having its way with the towns of Ennis and Clare's gardens, parking lots and roads. Greenery is being devoured. Cars are being forced to slow or stop, with all too much frequency, for fear that drivers could end up having to pick goat meat out of their vehicle's grills with a pointy stick. According to Clare's Mayor, Tom McNamara, “the disturbance that these goats are causing in the locality is totally unacceptable." The Mayor continued by pleading that the goats “are getting up on top of cars and going around businesses at night time." The goats, which have been tagging local homes and historical landmarks as they expand their territory, have drawn the attention of the local law enforcement's gang task force.
OK, that last sentence was bullshit, but it'd be awesome if it were true.
In all seriousness, having a whack of uncontrollable wild animals traipsing around the town is a public safety concern. Sooner or later someone's going to get hurt in a goat attack (no seriously: goats can be ASSHOLES), or wind up hitting one – or five – with their car. Right now, there's talk of erecting signs warning motorists of goat hazards in town and on nearby highways (goats be roaming), and some pretty stern mumbling about what can be done to control the exploding goat population. According to RTĒ, no one's in favor of a cull, no matter how delicious goat might be. Read the rest
The Los Angeles punk and skate scenes of the mid-1980s produced a brief, shining moment of total badassery in the form of The Hags, a now-legendary all-girl skateboard gang that prowled Hollywood and West LA. Bust magazine takes a loving look back. Read the rest
Before the internet, even before desktop publishing, gang members who wanted calling cards headed to a printer with their idea. The results are collected in Brandon Johnson's Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s. Read the rest
Cult Nation gathered up a fascinating collection of vintage photos from Lowrider Magazine and personal collections that show how influential Latina gangsters were on style and culture in Southern California. The look, the poses, the Germanic blackletter font still used widely, and the camaraderie are consistent in every shot. Read the rest
Dave Maass from Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "A coalition of social justice and digital rights groups are tweeting at Gov. Jerry Brown today to demand he sign A.B. 2298, a bill that would bring new accountability measures to CalGang, the state's troubled gang database. Read the rest
Married moments earlier in New Zealand, Sarah and Matthew Oke were posing for photos at Lucy's Gully when they ran into the Maori and Polynesian Black Power gang, who were paying their respects to dead members. So they all posed for this shot, which has gone viral.
Photographer Rebecca Inns writes: "The rain had just cleared and we were enjoying a lovely sunny wedding shoot. As we headed back, we came across a very full car-park and the guys who were there as part of a hikoi. We asked if it would be okay to include them in a wedding photo and they were really accommodating. This is the result. … "They all offered their congratulations to the couple and were so kind. They also told the bride how beautiful she looked." Read the rest
It's like something out of Mad Max: a Russian biker gang-cum-militia wearing wolfy helmets, operating in the ruins of Eastern Ukraine. They are "fiercely loyal" to Vladimir Putin and to Christ, but not to families they left behind. Read the rest
Mexican artist Renato Garza Cervera sculpts freakish rugs in the form of skinned gang members.
"Years ago I was watching TV at the house of an ex-girlfriend," he told The Creators Project. "We were watching an animation shortcut where a funny monster had in the floor of its house a green and red dotted hippopotamus rug. So I thought, 'That rug is quite anomalous: it’s not made out of a typical beast. It’s not a lion nor a tiger nor a bear. Those rugs apparently no longer represent fierce creatures, now they are endangered species: So what would nowadays be a beast or represent an animal-like, barbaric kind of bestiality?'"
The "skins" of the Latino male are tattooed with phrases connected to the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs of Los Angeles.
"They represent a group of Latin American and US-established societies who live in a difficult set of circumstances due to an odd system of political, economical, social issues, which are out of my reach and comprehension," Cervera says.
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"I hate to think that people are watching this and we walk among them."
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OK boppers, The Warriors reunion is coming to Coney Island, New York on September 13 to celebrate the iconic gang film from 1979. Read the rest
Kosher Nostra, Plug Uglies, Yakey Yakes, and the Potashes are just some of the excellent 19th century street gang names compiled for this Mental Floss post by Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages. Read the rest
Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix, the eldest brother in Mexico's once-dominant Tijuana drug cartel, was shot to death by gunmen disguised as clowns at a children's party on Friday.
The 63-year-old drug lord was also known by the nicknames "El Pelón" (the baldie) or Menso, ("stupid/crazy"). He was assassinated by a man in a clown suit during a family gathering at an upscale resort in Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist destination on the Baja California peninsula, state special investigations prosecutor Isai Arias told Associated Press on Saturday:
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An official of the Baja California Sur state prosecutor's office told the AP that the costumes included a wig and a round red nose.
"OnCentral," a KPCC/Southern California Public Radio reporting project focused on the communities of South LA, has published a terrific series of very detailed posts by José Martinez on graffitti and gang tagging. Here's part one, here's part two, and here's part three, just published today. The latter digs in to the nuances of gang tags that indicate hostile conversations between gangs, or specific gang members; and tags that reveal the presence of Mexican Mafia or various gangs acting in collaboration with local businesses. The snapshot above shows a handpainted sign on a liquor shop in the area, bearing the name of that shop—but it contains a hidden symbol for one of these organized crime groups, suggesting that the liquor store is in cahoots. (via Tony Pierce) Read the rest
A new A&E documentary TV series produced by rapper Ice-T debuts tonight: The Peacemaker, starring ex-gang member turned mediator (and now, television host) Malik Spellman.
The five-episode series starts tonight at 10pm.
And, I'm proud to say, Boing Boing Video's own editor-producer-shooter Eric Mittleman worked on the show—he had some pretty intense behind-the-scene tales to share of what it's like to work on a project about mediating gang violence, with current and former gang members, in gang-controlled neighborhoods around Los Angeles.
Snip from the show description:
For the last 20 years Spellman has dedicated his life to ending gang violence, putting it all on the line to mediate truces between rival gangs in Los Angeles - adversaries sometimes separated by less than one city block. Whether he's in his classroom teaching life skills to middle school students, or riding through South Central on his bicycle, Spellman stays true to his purpose: keeping kids safe, out of trouble, and free from violence. Each episode of THE PEACEMAKER executive produced by rapper and actor Ice-T, provides an unprecedented look at gang life, following Spellman as he coordinates and oversees tense moments of mediation between enemies with long histories of hate and violence.
Cyclists, didja catch that? Spellman's a two-wheeler.
The Boston Globe has a review here, NY Daily News here, there's a Facebook page for the show here, and the official website's here, with video. I'll be watching. Oh, and Ice-T is on Twitter now: @finallevel. Read the rest
The structure of guilds in video games mirrors the structures of criminal gangs in the real world, and both can be modelled using the same mathematics, say a group of Chinese and American scholars. Unfortunately, their paper isn't published in a proper open access journal, so we can't review their findings -- only the abstract.
Quantifying human group dynamics represents a unique challenge. Unlike animals and other biological systems, humans form groups in both real (offline) and virtual (online) spaces--from potentially dangerous street gangs populated mostly by disaffected male youths to the massive global guilds in online role-playing games for which membership currently exceeds tens of millions of people from all possible backgrounds, age groups, and genders. We have compiled and analyzed data for these two seemingly unrelated offline and online human activities and have uncovered an unexpected quantitative link between them. Although their overall dynamics differ visibly, we find that a common team-based model can accurately reproduce the quantitative features of each simply by adjusting the average tolerance level and attribute range for each population. By contrast, we find no evidence to support a version of the model based on like-seeking-like (i.e., kinship or "homophily").
Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic
(Image: Guild Wars, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike photo from dalvenjah's Flickr stream)
Shrink: I will create a WoW guild of shrinks to treat WoW addiction
Game Guilds are "distributed cognition" - Boing Boing
Boing Boing: Ban on gay-friendly guilds attracts queer-rights ... Read the rest