Five Ugly Pieces, Part 2: Hiding In Plain Sight

The MySpace Page (thanks, to Grayson) of the “30 Deep Gang” is, according to the creator, “all about money.”  There are images of dice, diamonds, blocks of gold, rap stars, and twenty dollar bills.  There is a photograph of a young man pointing a gun at the camera, and another photo labeled “Lil’ Wayne . . . Prostitute Flange” showing a smiling woman towering over the rap star.  In the “friends” section, there is a picture of a young man with the caption, “Zone 3 shawty money men da longway.”  Zone 3 is where bartender John Henderson was murdered, and the police are looking for “30 Deep Gang” members in Henderson’s death.

Zone 3 is also where I used to live, and the sound of gunfire was a regular thing there.  In order to get by you had to ration your response to it, or you would spend every day responding to it, which is an impossibility.  This is what the mayor and the chief of police are denying whenever they announce that residents are being hysterical about crime.  Residents police themselves, even more than criminals are policed.   Innocent people are held captive by the threat of violent crime, but, still, there are people who believe it is distasteful to demand to be freed.

You cannot say that crime is abnormal when the criminals actually define themselves by the police zone they live in.  Clearly, crime is the most normal thing to these young men.  The page’s creator, “$Booman Da S***$,” describes himself this way: “single, straight, Capricorn . . . income: $30,000 to $45,000.”  Income?

Another “30 Deep Gang” friend is a pretty young woman flashing two fingers at the camera: her photograph reads, “F*** Yo Baby Mama She Aint Got No Money.”  A culture that says this about women is a dead culture.  Four of the fifteen “friends” are photographed taking photographs of themselves with cellphones.  They stare at the phones in their own hands, hypnotized.

“OmG iTZ KiTTy KaTT” poses sexually, staring into her phone; “Tonio(Y.M.G. B***h)” holds a cellphone in one hand and a gold chain in the other.  This is not about money but about poverty.  People who take photographs of themselves with twenty-dollar bills or gold chains or cellphones in their hands cannot think of anything else to do.  These are portraits of tragically stunted lives.

Is it at all surprising that people like this seem prepared only for future acts of violence, then prison time, the way others prepare themselves for the SAT, then college?

After the murder of John Henderson, some in the media agonized over whether the killing was done “gangster style,” as if the angle of the gun mattered in discerning the intention of the murderer.  Some actually reported the killing as an accident, as if shooting an unarmed crime victim in the leg, manhandling him to a locked room, then shooting him again through the door is something that just happened.  This type of thinking is a sickness that benefits nobody beyond the person who prides himself in believing it.

On the “30 Deep Gang” page, the young man pointing the gun at the camera is holding the weapon sideways.  He is very clear about his intentions.  Why is it hard for so many otherwise well-educated people to see this?

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