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gang behavior
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gang behavior:

OK, my superhero character has just run into some gang members, and I realized I know absolutely nothing about gangs. So, can someone who knows more about gangs help me with this?

Some of my questions:

  • is it plausible for them to take exception to a kid who calls himself a superhero wandering around in their territory?

  • if he asked them how he could tell what was and wasn't their territory, would they give him a straight answer? (I had one guy point out their marking on a nearby wall, but it sort of reads wrong to me.)

  • how do you spot gang members - would they all have a certain piece of clothing such as wearing the same hat?

  • how would they react if they came across a guy who wasn't part of any gang mugging a random passer-by in their territory?

  • what are some plausible-sounding (but not real) gang names?
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 2 Firebert, Tue, 24th May '11 5:34:25 PM from Somewhere in Illinois
That One Guy
Gangs are usually distinguished by an article of clothing, yes. And they might take exception to a non-gang affiliated person mugging someone in their territory, depending on how "noble" they are or just because they see it as an insult to them. As for territory designations, they would probably be straight up about it and specific, if a bit exaggerated to make them seem more powerful.

edited 24th May '11 5:34:46 PM by Firebert

Gangs typically show behaviours like a wolf/lion pack. They're on the ready about their territory, and they're not afraid to expand outward.. or retreat with their heads under their legs. They brand themselves with something identifiable, like an outfit or just the hair, so you'll know it's them and not some other punk-ass with a beef. One of the worse insults would be to make a joke of their presence.

I suggest The Warriors and A Clockwork Orange* as inspiration. Look at this scene, for one example:

edited 24th May '11 5:42:30 PM by QQQQQ

 4 Mr AHR, Tue, 24th May '11 5:44:16 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Answers I got from an awesome fellow troper:

  • If by "take exception" he means "get pissed" then yes.
  • Probably not, but it would depend on the gang. The Latin Kings for instance will usually just kill you, but some of the more civil sects of gangs like the Spiders will give you a vague answer and maybe let you go
  • Generally, they'll all be wearing the same color clothing. Often a rag of that color will be hanging out of their pockets or pulled up over their face. Examples; Crips: Blue, Bloods: Red, Latin Kings: Black and Yellow, Hoovers: Orange, Spiders: Green, and so on and so on and so on. If he's coming up with a fictional gang, I'd advise making their color purple.
  • Depends on what their relation to the passerby is, if that guy is part of their gang, or friends with one or more gang members, the mugger can expect the shit to get kicked out of him. If he's a nobody, it again depends on the gang. Gangs that started out as vigilante groups (eg, the Black Stones) will usually step in, but others won't.
  • Again, depends on the gang.
 5 Spa´n Sun, Tue, 24th May '11 5:52:04 PM from Somewhere Beyond Here
Laugh it off, everybody
I provided the above answers, for the record.

If you need any further help, don't be afraid to PM me. I (unfortunately) have a lot of experience in the area and can probably help you out (assuming you're shooting for at least semi-realistic, anyway).
I spread my wings and I learn how to fly....
What would be a good gang tag? I had something my protagonist described as 'a cross between an S and a T'.

Also, does Shadowhand sound like a good gang name?
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 7 Spa´n Sun, Wed, 25th May '11 4:00:15 PM from Somewhere Beyond Here
Laugh it off, everybody
No, not really. Gang names tend towards the unelaborate.

I once met a person simply calling himself "Truck".

As for tags, just do an image search for Gang Graffiti.
I spread my wings and I learn how to fly....
 8 jasonwill 2, Wed, 25th May '11 5:10:13 PM from West Virginia
i know of a "gang" in my area, small time idiots who say they are in a gang and some who sell some stuff. Not really that organized to do anything, this is a low crime area anyway.

But most if not all gangs show ownership with graphitti. And asking them "how they know" would be a very, very bad idea.

If that happened in real life and I wasn't welcome, I would VERY RESPECTFULLY say that I made a wrong turn, and was on my way out, and that I didn't mean to, something like:

"Sorry man, got a little lost back there, didn't mean to get on your turf. What's the quickest way back to (whereever I was going)?"

I don't know how safe I would be then, but I'd get the hell out if they let me.

Also, do gangs still use colors? I thought they were harder to identify that way now. I thought tattoos where more common. I thought that went out after the 90's to use colors to mark a gang member. I could be wrong though.
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
 9 Spa´n Sun, Wed, 25th May '11 5:54:04 PM from Somewhere Beyond Here
Laugh it off, everybody
Colors are still quite prevelant in areas where the gangs are more or less unopposed. In suburbs, you're correct, tattoos are more common.
I spread my wings and I learn how to fly....
 10 Dec, Thu, 26th May '11 5:29:08 PM from The Dance Floor
Stayin' Alive
May not answer your questions, but it still might be helpful:

Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit
Deviantart.
An easy way to come up with a gang name: just use a street name within their territory. If its a numbered street, call them the 87s or something similar. Something like the Jefferson (St.) Crew could work too.

In real life, most gangs tend to have stupid names.
 
 12 jasonwill 2, Fri, 27th May '11 8:50:23 PM from West Virginia
Bloods (National)

Hell's Angels (Roads lol)

Crypts (National?)

Black Gangster Disciples (Chicago and Milwaukee)

North Side Soldiers (West Virginia, idiots in my local area)

There are some real gang names from real life. Don't know much about any of them but the last two. The Black Gangster Disciples are... pretty damn hardcore. Their leader cut off the hands of, raped, and killed his girlfriend for some gang related code. Also, "50 to the chest" was a punishment for disrespect. 50 blunt hits that is. Also, they raked in millions in sales of drugs, and extended their reach to many parts of Chicago, and all the way north to Milwaukee, where they showed off sporty cars to try and get the suburb kids to join for the cash. It would make you rich, but it was dangerous and you were likely to die young.

Also, do not ever wear a Hell's Angels tattoo unless you want them to forcefully remove it, and they will. It is strictly a gang only tattoo.

The North Side Soldiers are the local gang in my area. Not much of a gang, not organized, never really done a lot. I think they may deal with some weed, but there has never been any gang violence around here, never. Maybe organized selling of the stuff, but never any murders. All their members are mostly idiots from the only AAA high-school in our whole area anyway (net population of about 100, 000K for our metro area). It's more a fad for some people.

So on one side this gang may be all fake about it like the North Side Soldiers, or hardcore like the Black Gangster Disciples. that might be important to keep in mind. Population should be considered too, since Chicago is much bigger than my area. Denser populations tends to arise to poverty which arises to gangs. The lower the population density the less intense the gangs will tend to be, at least from my understanding.

Hope this comparison of two real gangs gives you some ideas of how you want your gang to be in the work in question. Real life is about the best example out there for many things.

edited 27th May '11 8:53:10 PM by jasonwill2

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
 13 Spa´n Sun, Sat, 28th May '11 5:47:30 AM from Somewhere Beyond Here
Laugh it off, everybody
Crypts

It's "Crips" actually.

Aren't the BGD just "The Disciples" now?
I spread my wings and I learn how to fly....
 14 jasonwill 2, Sat, 28th May '11 5:01:17 PM from West Virginia
IDK, I learned of them from The History Channel's "Gangland". I learned of the North Side Soldiers from people and the fact that murders are ultra-rare around here.

I think they merged with other races later on when their leader went to prision or something for murdering his gf, so maybe. They had some kind of alliance in prision with other people or something, but I may be remembering something different.

I think your right actually.
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
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Total posts: 14
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