Thursday, August 26, 2004

This has to be the strangest iteration of the gang phenomenon I've ever come across. According to a cop up in Bellingham, Washington, the Lummi Nation, an Native American tribe officially has a gang problem. The strange thing is that this problem was apparently a bootstrap operation where the reservation residents and the local white boys decided to form up gangs. Prior to that, there had never been any kind of friction between the Indians and the white kids. They've been getting along just fine for generations.

The whole gang scene emerged the same way friends choose up sides for a game of touch football. The young people were so hell bent on emulating the attitude, dress and music of LA gangsters that they went out and got themselves the clothes, assumed the position and started representing. The white kids decided to represent Bloods while the Native kids picked the Crips. These kids are nowhere near being the hard core shooters and slangers of LA fame but the local cops expect that one of these days, the friendly rivalry might blow up into some serious trouble. The drugs aren't quite there yet since the locals seem to prefer huffing to skonce or chronic.

For the sociologists out there who research this stuff, this sounds like fertile ground to study because none of the dynamics that exist in big cities seem to be present up there. Any jokes I can think of about kids in the past playing cowboys and indians for fun would be out of place here. But it sure sounds the Lummi (Crips) and White boy Bloods are doing just that. Except in this case, let's hope the "bang bang you're dead" doesn't get realistic.