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Gangbuster Forum
by Marc
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x Unread post xMarc   - at 1:26 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Marc Ok. I had this little idea on the way to work about dealing with the gang culture inside the broader community of the GTA.

I'm not going to address the root causes of violence, as these are known and any effort I've read about to remedy the problem by addressing causes (ie. job programs) seem more like PR successes than real successes.

I'm looking at the culture itself and looking at what can be done to change it.

It's clear that there are a great many people (mostly young people I would say) that accept the idea of violence within the community. Vendettas are acceptable, as the established authority represents outsiders who can't be trusted to deal justice.

But at the same time, there are a great many people who recognize that vendettas are no solution to violence and want it to end. Some of these people are undoubtedly afraid to speak about how they feel.

My idea is to find a way to clump groups of non-violence supporters together. Create a network for them outside of the influence of the gangs, so that they can work to subvert the influence of gangs.

Maybe a UMCity-type deal, I don't know.

The key would be to getting really influential people involved. Not sports stars or so-called community leaders but young people who know what's really happening.

I think the whole thing could work as a clandestine effort, like a spy game, at the beginning. Eventually it would gather individuals within the community, outside of the law enforcement sphere of influence who could discuss, and act in small ways to diffuse problems.

How ?

By counselling individual people not to use violence, for one. There are really only a handful of people involved in the acts after all. Maybe a few hundred.

By diffusing situations in a hundred different ways.

By discussing with others who are in the community - really in it.

What do you think ? I know this might sound a little broad or simplistic, but it seems to me that the community just needs some institutions to help it unite against violence.

Constructive criticism only please. Improve on my idea. Flesh it out a bit. Give to the community.

In unions there is strength.
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x Unread post xJess   - at 3:40 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Jess I think what you are describing is a lot like how native american societies were set up. There was a chief and a council of elders, among whom were prominent woman and of course the elderly members of the community, as well as the prominent men. But even this might seem too authoritarian for today's youth..

I like the idea of it starting small and underground - kind of like a subversive force for good. People seem to like to get behind change if it seems manageable and low-risk or low-profile -- I think the idea is sort of "grassroots." It also lends it some street credibility where movements like the Guardian Angels just came across as a bunch of misguided, politically-correct, wannabe thugs. No offense to any Guardian Angels out there. I'm just going on what I've read and heard elsewhere.. I don't think the quasi-militant thing is really very effective. Unless maybe you like extremism. But we're trying to get away from that here.

I like the idea of outreach groups. That would allow it to grow organically in community. People will more readily gravitate to it if it doesn't go around trying to convert. Word-of-mouth marketing is the best kind there is. And the outreach group is there to be approachable for people who are tentative about getting involved. These people should be well equipped to deal with hard questions. And some kind of idea of psychology helps. It's kind of like being a salesperson, only you're selling them something that is going to be good for them and their family and neighbours. A hard sell shouldn't be necessary.

I've also been interested in how support groups work. They can become very powerful in a way, because they fill a "void" for a lot of people looking for some sort of place to belong and people with whom they can relate. My mom has become "hooked" (pardon the pun in advance) on her rug-hooking group I think because it gives her a sense of regularity as well as community and support. It's like an anchor. Anyway, I have a book kicking around somewhere with guidelines on how to start up and run a support group, if that interests you. It would at least provide some theoretical basis on how something similar might work in communities that need that sort of "anchor."

Another thing would be that it would require a very clear statement of intent. Otherwise, somewhere down the road, you'll find it breaking off into splinter groups of varying agendas. Not saying that wouldn't happen anyway, but "an ounce of prevention..." Anyway.. this would help get people's attention. I think a good place to start is circulating literature that catches people's interest right off the bat. Shock value might help here. But it can't be too overt or you'll just make people laugh at the whole exercise (or conversely, ignore it since people have had enough of shock value or aren't even easily shocked anymore.)
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Edited by Jess on October 28 2005 at 2:43 pm
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x Unread post xJess   - at 3:41 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Jess Of course with all of this, I haven't addressed what this movement would actually *do*... I'm still not really sure about that...
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x Unread post xUniversal Sea   - at 4:03 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Universal Sea why not get gang members on here and try to cultivate a positive, productive environment, using their individual skills for good, teaching them while learning ourselves, showing there is hope in their lives and they are not fuck ups?
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x Unread post xbalancing act   - at 4:05 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x balancing act

Posted by universal sea:

why not get gang members on here and try to cultivate a positive, productive environment, using their individual skills for good, teaching them while learning ourselves, showing there is hope in their lives and they are not fuck ups?


That was the first laugh, I got on UM City today.
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x Unread post xUniversal Sea   - at 4:11 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Universal Sea That would make it a good day on here I'm sure.
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x Unread post xMarc   - at 4:48 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Marc "Of course with all of this, I haven't addressed what this movement would actually *do*... I'm still not really sure about that... "

Like I said above, small things....

I dunno....

There weird thing about "communities" is how they exist as bubbles within themselves. UM... Toronto... Scarberia....
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x Unread post xMarc   - at 4:50 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Marc Actually, we would already have the jump on them.

As pervasive as they are, the gangs appear to have NO web presence at all.

I Googled Malvern Crew and Scarborough Gangs and found not a single homepage.
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x Unread post xJess   - at 5:47 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Jess lol.. I suspect you'd only find hacker type gangs online. And even then, I'd doubt it.

I suppose it would just a basically some sort of "fellowship" type group. I remember our grandparents' generation always had that kind of thing - church socials, various organizations you could join (that didn't cost as much as buying a car, however..) or just various types of loosely organized social clubs. We don't really have that kind of thing in our communities. And if we do, they're very strictly defined special interest groups. I think in general people are too insular. How do you get them out of that mindset.

My initial reaction to all this was, Kill MTV, Mush Music and the like. That probably does more to perpetuate bad stereotypes than anything. Then hit the radio. All those stations that play shitty rap music. Good rap can stay.

I think I'm probably asking for the impossible here though...
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x Unread post xMarc   - at 6:32 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Marc I couldn't agree more.

The thing I liked about religion, when it was more relevant, was the idea of gathering. At Burning Man, I could tell there were a lot of 'tourist' types who were intimidated by being around other people - and it wasn't just that there were crowds.

People aren't even going to movies anymore, and even that was a pale imitation of a gathering. Are dance clubs and malls all we have left ?
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x Unread post xJess   - at 8:28 pm on Friday October 28 2005 x
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x Jess Rave was the last gasp of any sort of social movement even remotely like that. (I'm talking real-life, physical social phenomena - not online stuff like blogging, dating sites, etc.) And because it spawned from drug culture, naturally the drugs worked to corrode it from the inside out and outside in. But you'd have to be a moron not to have seen that coming. I mean the hippie movement was your first clue. You still get interesting little autonomous gatherings like that now and then - like BM - but it really comes down to human nature. On a good day, I could be out there trying to reach out to others and helping out for whatever purpose. On other days however, I just want to curl up in my jammies and shut the world out. I think most people are the same, or variation of one end of the spectrum or another. We're all too damn moody!

I guess what I'm saying is, even if you got something started, it would be hard to find people who will remain dedicated to it for the longterm. For one, as soon as the threat of violence is off their doorstep, they'll become complacent and forget about wanting to stave it off anymore. There was something about those support groups that addressed that - boredom. People stop attending when they feel it's getting repetitive. You have to keep doing new things to keep people engaged. I suppose that's why committees have regular elections - to keep the new blood flowing.
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x Unread post xJess   - at 1:13 pm on Saturday October 29 2005 x
x stuff like this goes on all the time x
x Jess Communities in bigger cities have been dealing with it for years...

50 Cent's billboards yanked after protests

  
How would you like to see this outside your kids' school?
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x Unread post xxMarc   - at 1:39 pm on Monday October 31 2005 x
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x Marc Interesting values there...

If getting rich is all he cares about, why doesn't he become a male prostitute then boast about how much money he makes doing THAT ?
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