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Jasmine Vines Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 April 8th, 2013 Tech-Gangsters Has this new technological age brought about a new type of gangster? There has been a shift in gangs throughout the world; it is not rare to see an American gang in another part of the world such as Asia or India. This new age has been brought on by the news now allowing for people to hear about gang activities from different parts of the world. Gangster rap music is now contributing to the spread of the glorification of the gangster lifestyle across the international airways. Also the new social media sites such as, Facebook and Twitter are giving gang the opportunity to post and represent themselves to the public. Gang Life Vice Lords is we got rules and by laws. You got to learn the rules and by-laws. We got prayers. We got ways you got to carry yourself. Older lords they look out for younger lords. They made us go to school. These things they dont do, know what Im saying? You never leave a man down in the streets. If you got to stand there and die with them you got to stand there and dies with them . . . now, if you talk about active gang members? Nah, theyre not following the principles. (79) These are the words of Jon, an active gang member of the Lords, a well-known gang in Indianapolis. He gives a brief summary of what it is like to be in a gang. To fully understand how any technology relates to a gang, you must first understand the lifestyle. He says that to be in a gang you must be willing to, right there in that moment, stand and fight no matter the

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circumstances. If somebody has a gun or if they just killed one of your closest friends within your gang you stand and protect your territory. Because the gang life was the only life that they felt they had they made all aspects of their life about what their gang said they could and couldnt do; what they should and shouldnt do. Gang life was their only life; there was no different way of living. All gangs have set rules for most gangs one common rule is that you defend your territory, the place where you sell the drugs that are provided to you by your gangs dealer. In a broad spectrum every gang sells drugs, it brings in a steady income for the gang and it helps to gain that notoriety. (Laugher) It will give people who buy the drugs or the people that provide the drugs a chance to see that the gang is about their business on all aspects. When it comes to selling the drugs each member is expected to help out, you have to carry your own weight. It is known among the gangs that if you are going to claim a gang (wearing the colors, using the signs, and telling people that you are a part of the gang) then you need to make sure that you have good reason to. Gang Violence Gang activity over recent years has lead to an increase in deaths in the United States. In the midst of the widespread gang violence across the United States, innocent lives have been caught in the crossfire. According to ABC news on March 12, 2013, Jonathan and Jonylah Watkins were shot at several times ultimately leading to the death of six- month old Jonylah Watkins. Daniel J. Monti, a professor of Sociology at Boston University who has written several books pertaining to gang violence, says that we are now in an age where young individuals are willing to commit violent crimes to prove themselves as a legitimate gang member. These violent crimes include; shooting or killing rival gang members as a form of retaliation.

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According to Monti gang members are required to fight in order to display their commitment to their neighborhood. (10) Likewise, Timothy Laugher, an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Niagara University who has spent an immense amount of time studying gang members, also agrees that gang members must engage in physical altercations in order to uphold their gangs notorious reputation. Gangs and Social Media Due to recent advances in technology, such as, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram gangs are now able to commercially promote themselves. In past years gangs were constricted to the boundaries of their local neighborhood or city. Now, it is not uncommon to see gangs that originated in California in cities such as New York. This is caused by the involvement of gang members in these forms of social media websites. Thomas Watkins, an NBC representative, says Tech-savvy gangsters have long been at home in chatrooms and on Web sites like MySpace, but they appear to be gravitating toward Twitter and Facebook, where they can make threats, boast about crimes, share intelligence on rivals and network with people across the country. Gangs, such as, Crips, Bloods, Florencia 13, MS13, and various other gangs utilize websites such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to post pictures of themselves holding firearms and making gang affiliated gestures, or making gang related commentaries and statuses. For example these gangs can utilize a website such as Facebook to write gang associated comments that are visible to the public eye. Although these websites are aiding the popularity of certain gangs; it is beneficial to police authorities. Law enforcement agents are able to use this information posted on these social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook in order to present incriminating evidence against potential gang members. (Watkins)

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In a recent article published on CBS New York, 63 members of rival street gangs were indicted in an East Harlem crackdown carried out by NYPD. According to CBS New York, gang members from local street gangs, True Money Gang, Air It Out, and Whoadey were convicted with conspiracy in first degree. The evidence convicted in court were the conversations between gang members to kill rival gang members, utilizing Facebook and Twitter. This aspect of social media is having a positive affect because it is being utilized to reduce and possible stop gang activity. News and Gang Violence There was a section of the book Panic; The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem about the News and gang violence. The authors Richard C. McCorkle and Terance D. Miethe, professors at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, talk about how gangs and gang violence are portrayed in the news media. Our conceptions of crime and justice are generally not based on out personal experience. Crime, particularly violent crime, is a relatively rare phenomenon.. (78) A quote from the authors that explains why America relies so heavily on the news to provide us with answers. Most Americans have never had to experience everyday viciousness, so they depend on the news to tell them the latest on violence, the latest on who is being killed and who is doing the killing. The amount of coverage of gang violence in U.S. newspapers and magazines from 1983 to 1999 has increased by nearly 2,500 percent. (85) But not all information that the newspapers and magazines is completely correct, McCorkle and Miethe found that the news media had a constant habit misinforming the public about news when it came to gang violence. When they studied a newspaper coverage of the gangs in Los Angeles, they found that while the newspaper reported mostly on violent offenses such as shootings, stabbings, and beatings the statistics about arrests showed that the most gang members were

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picked up and charged for property damages, drug offenses, and truancy. (85) Newspapers are now making minor stories blown up to sound like more than what they are the authors noted that newspapers and magazines are using words like Urban terrorism, war, hoodlum bands, and gang war battles to describe the actions between what may have been a small disagreement.(86) Gangs and Music Music is one of the most vital components of the gang community. Gangster rap or hip hop music has been the focus of immense controversy due to its glorification of the gangster lifestyle. Early pioneers within a sub-genre of hip hop called gangster rap include NWA and Tupac. According to the book Street Gangs Throughout the World, written by Herbert Covey, an instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, gangster rap is seen as a driving force behind the expansion of gang culture, not only in the United States but also in other countries around the world. Within the book Covey states, American gangster rap promotes and romanticizes street gang values and culture. (36) This has caught the attention of many other countries who desire to emulate rap culture. Gangster rap provides the international public with a false representation of the gangster lifestyle. Therefore, this misguiding form of technology easily influences individuals ignorant to the gangster lifestyle. Chicagos death toll is on the rise and gangster rap music is seen as a direct cause to this issue. A popular rap artist named Chief Keef has garnered the attention of the public eye. This seventeen-year-old Chicago rapper is known to be directly affiliated with the gang known as, The Gangster Disciples. This rapper is utilizing the social media to disperse his gang-orientated lyrics throughout the world. Instead of being seen as a harmful role model to the youth of the world he was given a 6 million dollar record deal with Interscope Records. This shows how corporate individuals are able to exploit the gangster culture through rap music.

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In Conclusion Within the period of researching my topic I discovered both positive and negative aspects of social media. While gang members are using social media to gain acknowledgement, the police force is also using social media websites to diminish the amount of gang activities. Whilst we have no clear evidence if gang violence is directly related to the use of social media networks, we do know that gangs will continue to use the social media sites such as, Facebook and Twitter, to gain popularity while the law enforcement will remain watchful of the gang activities on all sites in an effort to slow the amount of gang violence that is occurring. Also gangster rap continues to be at the forefront of the international dispersion of gang culture. Lastly, we see that news media will continue to misinform the general public on the true activities of gang members. Overall all of these technological components are essential in the perpetuating battles on gangs.

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Works Cited Chandler, D.L. Chief Keef and His Mother Flash Gang Signs on Instagram. Hip Hop Wired. 24 Jan. 13. Web. 1 April 13 Covey, Herbert. Street Gangs Throughout the World. 2010. Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd. Cummings, Scott, and Monti, Daniel. Gangs; The Origins and Impact of Contemporary Youth Gangs in the United States. New York: State University of New York, 1993. Print Dolak, Kevin, Chicago Baby Jonylah Watkins Dead After Being Shot Five Times ABC News. 12 Mar 13. Web. 3 April 13. Effron, Lauren. Chicagos Gang Violence Fueled Through Social Media. ABC News. 19 Oct. 12. Web. 15 Mar. 2013 Gorner, Jeremy. In Chicago, Killing, and Questions on the Rise. Chicago Tribune. 30 Dec. 12. Web. 15 Mar. 13 Lauger, Timothy. Real Ganstas. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2012. Print McCorkle, Richard, and Miethe, Terance. Panic; The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Print Watkins, Thomas. Gang Members Moving to Twitter, Facebook. NBC. 2 Feb. 10. Web. 2 April. 13