We lazed in bed till after 9, then caught the end of the Rose Parade Coverage in lovely HD. The notable interruptions? Every commercial break included a spot inviting viewers who have seen suspected gang activity to call the Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force hotline. It had a dramatic voiceover; the image was just white text on a black background. It was not festive or celebratory in any way, and raised a whole bunch of questions.
What exactly is gang activity? For that matter, what do they mean by a gang? Crips & Bloods, Nortenos & Surenos, Jets & Sharks? The commercial didn't offer any definitions, so I checked out the MCJGT website. You have to dig for it, but a list of warning signs is there. Many of them apply to teenagers in general. For sure, the first five (half of the points!) applied to me in high school. Take a look:
- Poor academic progress in school.
- Lack of interest in school activities.
- Large blocks of unsupervised time.
- Signs of increased conflict at home.
- Frequent disciplinary problems at home and/or school.
- Frequent contact with police.
- Drawing graffiti.
- Imitating gang dress or behavior. [What is gang dress?]
- Tattoos drawn on the body.
- Uses hand signs adopted by a gang.
- three or more people,
- who share a unique name or have identifiable marks or symbols, (such as tattoos, wearing certain styles of clothing, colors, hairstyles, graffiti, etc.)
- associate together on a regular basis and sometimes claim a specific location or territory,
- have an identifiable organization or hierarchy, (although the leader for one type of criminal activity may be different from that of another criminal activity),
- and either individually or collectively engage in antisocial, unlawful or criminal activity in an effort to further the gang's social or economical status.
They've even got the stylized photo & the posturing. (And where are the female officers???)
Heck, I'm gonna call & report the activity of our local gang - Pebble Beach residents. They're easily identified by the resident badges on their vehicles; they claim a very large, specific, exclusive territory; they proudly associate with each other; and damn if they don't routinely make illegal left turns from Lighthouse Avenue.
For now, well, I'm gonna get back to watching the Biggest Loser marathon - no ads recruiting spies there.