Monday, June 28, 2004

I'm just back from five days in the Midwest and once again I've got a lot of mail and reading to catch up on.

A reader wanted some information on the difference, if there was any, between the Eme-sponsored "truce" and the one that Stanley "Tookie" Williams tried to launch from jail. From what I can tell, were was a big difference. The Eme "truce" was a combination of new rules of engagement and a policy of structural organization. It was the move to vertically integrate the street gangs into the Eme.

Tookie's truce had no such stipulations. Whether he called for a truce out of genuine concern or just a cynical way to get out of his death sentence, the fact is, there were no strings attached. The Eme edict was, "Follow the new rules or we'll kill you." It's the way the Soviet Union maintained control in places like the Balkans. The Soviet edict was, "Stop killing each other, or we'll be happy to do it for you." Tookie's truce had no stick. It was all carrot. It was a straight up appeal to stop the killing.

Should he be believed? The simple truth is, Tookie did not have the power projection of the Eme. The Black Guerilla Family, the Black prison gang, doesn't have the organization, intelligence gathering and information channels of the Eme. They can't call shots from prison because they just don't have the structure. And even if the BGF had an Eme style org chart, I've never seen any proof that Williams is or was affiliated with BGF. So Tookie had no stick to beat the Bloods and Crips into an enforced truce. So in that sense, his appeal to stop the killing has to seen as a genuine appeal, his motives nothwithstanding.

There are other instances, however, most notably with the Gangster Disciples in Chicago, where black truces were nothing more than an Eme style power grab. More on that later.

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