Everyone gets ICP wrong

Spencer Ackerman stumbles a bit in his attempt to continue piling on the FBI on the heels of his work at demonstrating real concerns about the Bureau’s terrorism training.

A few days ago the FBI released their annual gang assessment.  Now I’m going going to go into a full review of the document other than to say it’s unclear why they clearly didn’t consult a MUCH more comprehensive survey of the subject in New Jersey and, as a result, came away with a highly misleading evaluation of the gang situation there.

Included in the list of ‘non-traditional gangs’ are the Juggalos.

Enter Mr. Ackerman’s punchline.

The FBI considers the fans of shticky rap group Insane Clown Posse to represent a threat on par with the Crips, Bloods, and Aryan Brotherhood, according to its annual report on gang activity.

You might think Insane Clown Posse’s people — known as the Juggalos — are just a group of face-painting teenagers who wonder how magnets work. Not so, says the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. To the feds, Juggalos are a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that are “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.”

And this is why agencies that try (in good faith) to talk about issues like this have to provide the public (and press) with context and information so they can make informed judgements about that information.

You see, the vast majority of Juggalos are as Spencer describes.  What happens, however, is that there are a small number of people who are gang members whose commonality is wrapped up in the Juggalos style.  They call themselves Juggalos, identify with the culture and reference the music in their criminal activities.

The problem really is, how do you label a group like this without also labeling the law abiding members of this subculture?

You can laugh all you want about the idea of face painting gangsters and Faygo but allow me to provide one example of why it’s not a joke.

…the two teens had concocted a plan to “meet him, scare him, and kill him.” Freemore told police that he had stabbed Michael in both the neck and stomach and that Seagraves had stabbed him in the neck.


Seagraves, Freemore and the Juggalo supporters connected to them through MySpace showed a fascination with ICP’s violent lyrics and a fierce loyalty to each other. Instead of showing remorse over the death of Goucher, Juggalo friends posted words of encouragement on the accused killer’s site until the site was shut down Wednesday.

Everyone here should have done a much better job of explaining these issues and providing some context to the discussion of gangs and crime.


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