Gangsta! Part 2

| November 2, 2011

Contributing Author Dickson Igwe

Last time we looked at how the Black Panther group saw violence as a means of winning power for Blacks and how the IRA terrorised Britain as a means of averting British rule.

However, the idea of gangs as purely criminal received a boon in the early 1970s with a movie coming on to the scene that captured the Western imagination.  It spawned a whole new culture in criminal entertainment and the glorification of crime.  It was the Godfather, released in 1972: a story about a crime family that was a Mario Puzo masterpiece.  This classic further spawned Godfather’s, 2 and 3, and there is even talk of a fourth movie.

The Godfather made crime and death sexy, and began a new genre in film with the gangster as superstar. . The Godfather, played by both Marlon Brando, then later Al Pacino, who played the cold blooded son of the elder Godfather and progeny of the criminal forbear, were inspiring type figures who looked after their own to the hilt, using murder, extortion, and illegal business activity to bolster the power credentials of the Genovese, Gambino, and Corleone Families.

Scene from the Godfather

These were ruthless criminal clans that migrated to the United States from Sicily, Italy, and soon became the gangland bosses of places like, New York, Nevada, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Tampa, Phoenix, San Juan, and even Havana Cuba.  This was an underworld of prostitution, gambling, blackmail, drug dealing, fraud, political corruption, and extortion.

Unfortunately, as these things go, it also spawned a real life culture of wannabes that in the inner cities and ghettoes of the United States, Latin America, Jamaica, and Britain, began to mimic the criminal ways of the Italian gangster paradigm. But in many ways, these carbon copies became even more callous and ruthless in their Modus Vivendi.  They operated outside of the Italian criminal value system that put the family at the center of the gangster paradigm, and which possessed a culture of ‘ honour’ among thieves.’

Today, there is a well defined and well developed criminal subset of a gangland epiphany that has killed thousands and maimed many thousands more. A criminal sub culture many young men and even women feel the need to enter into, as an alternative to a more traditional, wholesome, and regular way of life.

The gangster culture offers the deceptive allure of glamour, easy riches, and a perverse sexuality that eventually brings death, destruction, and despair to its practitioners.

OK, circa Road Town, Tortola, Capital of the Virgin Islands, at a seminar held under the big tent at the Elmore Stoutt High School on June 16, 2011. Thanks to the Commissioner and his team, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force sponsored a symposium on gangs that was presented by the United States Virgin Islands Police.  A number of visiting US officers and experts on the subject of gangs explained to a large audience of educators and similar type professionals, the dangers of a gang culture forming in the British Virgin Islands.

The main presenter at the Symposium was an Officer Lavelle Mark Campbell, who is Safety Officer for Schools in the USVI and described as the Gang Tsar. Campbell stated that it was a tragedy that kids joined gangs in order to feel safe, and fit in.  He also stated that it is easy to be blind to the gang problem, especially when it was in the embryo, as it probably is in the BVI.  He also described how copy cat gangs were a problem, and that the prime age of the gang member was between 16 and 24 years.  To be continued next week…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: British Virgin Islands News, Culture & Society

About the Author (Author Profile)

We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.

Comments are closed.