In a previous post, you mentioned defining gangs in our home town, or, rather, the resistance to defining a “gang”. I remember once when I was young and impressionable (“the good old days”), I was hanging out with some friends one night in the parking lot of the Godfather’s Pizza in our home town. That was the thing to do, and there were typically hundreds of teens there on a weekend night. As we were sitting on the trunk of our car, someone shouted “fight!” and the crowd started to drift toward the escalating scene. As that happened, I noticed that several guys were getting things out of their cars – ball bats, chains, car jacks, etc. I was getting pretty nervous, but my curiosity was more powerful than my apprehension. It was like that in the good old days.
The scene that followed was, to put it lightly, gory. When the ambulance came to get the victim, we were all sure that he was dead. I was shaken to my bones with all kinds of emotions. It was my first experience with how brutal people can be, and it was one of the most powerful,
I knew most of the offending party. I think that I came to see you in the middle of the night with one of my friends, and I thought that I should make an anonymous call to the police or something. I was afraid to give my name. This was a gang fight and I didn’t want to be involved. I was convinced that everyone in town would be shocked that there was this level of gang violence in our hometown backyard.
The only mention of that incident in the local press was a note in the police reports section of the Metro insert, somewhere around page C3, and the description was something like “[name] suffered multiple injuries and was taken to the hospital after an altercation with several perpetrators.” It was amazing to me that there was no public outrage, nor was there any investigation into the incident. Was no one concerned about escalating gang violence? Did they see it as gang violence? I can only assume that it was not given the respect of big city gang violence, since we weren’t exactly in a big city.
Then, I can also remember watching Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, and flipping through the various channels to see the camera angles and to hear the commentators. Our home town station was finishing up the cattle report. Small town life has its ups and downs.
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