Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Corruption in the Country

I’m facing some of the most challenging writing of my career this week. After attending a gang conference on the reservation in Roosevelt, I found out that serious gangs are infiltrating this little community. I”ve noticed graffiti on a few walls, but didn’t realize that they were the monikers for violent gangs out of big cities. Of course gang members are usually a huge source of drug sales for gangs, and having covered gang stories in Salt Lake City, I’m very aware of how violent, and nonsensical young gang members can be.

The conference of course focused mainly on gangs on the reservation, which I don’t understand because you would think that the native americans would band together to form one gang against outsiders, but apparently they’re forming gangs against themselves. All gangs are really ridiculous, especially in rural communities because they have no need to band together for safety, and most of the kids do it out of boredom or what I consider stupidity. There’s a whole mental dynamic behind kids who join gangs, but I still believe lack of parental awareness/involvement, and societal influences, is largely to blame.

Anyway, the point is that gangs are here in Vernal. I drove around and took pictures of graffiti that reflect the violent gangs, and went on MySpace and found dozens of young people in Vernal flashing guns and gang signs. As I talked to people here, and mentioned the graffiti they had seen, they all said the same thing. “Oh that’s just kids being kids.” After talking to a gang officer here, he said he commonly gets that response from parents, even as he’s arresting their kids for gang behavior. Nobody here want to believe their kids are involved in anything bad, and go so far as to protect them and threaten legal action against the city for “picking” on their kids. Most of them have no idea of the potential for death and destruction if gangs continue to grow, and spent a lot of time pointing fingers at “those damn indian kids,” or those “damn mexican kids.” In reality, I found more white kids on Myspace claiming gang alliance thatn I did hispanics.

So, I’m charged with finding a way to let the community know that they can stop the spread of gangs, and educating them to signs to look for in their own kids, or neighbor kids. My challenge is to present the information without automatically getting the readers defensive, or basically to trick them into receiving the information. That means I have to write a basically neutral, informative article that will not give any reader any reason to believe it doesn’t apply to them. Luckily, I think I can accomplish my task by utilizing what I know about the mentality of the town. It’s good to know that my writing truly has an effect on my readers, but reinforces my obligation to utilize it properly, and write well.

My time spent at the GAteway saloon netted some great story ideas, unfortunately most of them involved corruption within a certain city police department. I’ve always known there was some political issues, and that families and friends within certain departments use their positions to not only benefit themselves, but also to manipulate the community around them. I won’t go into much detail about this here, but I’ll continue my intel on the matter, and probably blow the story out of the water right before I leave town. I know for a fact that this is not the town to piss people in positions of authority off, at least not until I’m on my way out.

August 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by holyj on 2008-09-12 Corruption in the Country – bookmarked by 3 members […]

    Pingback by Bookmarks about Gangs | October 1, 2008 | Reply

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