In the preceding post I mentioned the possible peril to the broader community when local journalists ignore developing neighborhood problems. There are some glaring examples of the broader threat of gangs beyond the neighborhoods that they call "home" at this "gang intelligence" site.
While I referred to the press's pre-9/11 inattention to al Qaeda as an analogue for the local news stations' inattention to neighborhood gang activities, Anthony documents past gang members' literal connections with al Qaeda and their plans to use battlefield explosives on a scale much larger than a single neighborhood. Alleged al Qaeda conspirator and gang member, Jose Padilla, is perhaps the most prominent example. Anthony also refers to the spread of recruitment of teenagers by gangs beyond inner cities to suburbs and small townships and across class lines to middle and upperclass youth, such that no place and no teen is truly safe. Accordingly, the whole stereotype of gang as an exclusively urban and impoverished threat is misguided. Gangs present potentially what Anthony calls "domestic insurgency" that presents a society-wide problem.
And yet, the local news media does not seem concerned enough to look into these possibilities. They don't seem interested in probing underneath the stereotypes. Gangs seem to be somebody else's problem. However, as Anthony points out, gangs are a "power outage away" from becoming armed guerrillas as many did in New Orleans after Katrina, with little police response (because the crisis pinned them down elsewhere) and late National Guard response (because our domestic forces are stretched thin by the Iraq War). If the local news media waits until a sensational crisis to delve into gang dynamics, it may just be too late for many Nashvillians.
First, thanks for the reference to my blog, violencemanagement.blogspot.com
Although I don't live in the Nashville area I do travel there quite often. I thought I'd also let your readers know that I recently discovered evidence of Mara Salvatrucha in the area as part of the gang population.
Near Perimeter Drive where the Youth Villages office is located and up to Harding Place there are several "tags" by the notorious group. (Also known as MS13). You can Google the name and readily see the potential threat this super gang poses.
One such article and perhaps the most alarming to date is found here:
Once again, thanks for the mention, and for working to keep the good people of Nashville informed.
Gang Intelligence / Threat Management Group