One of the journalists I spoke to leading up to our gang forum last night asked me why we were doing an event on gangs, hadn’t we already done that? Well, yes, I think an issue like this merits an ongoing discussion. The healthy development of our youth, especially the youth in our communities who struggle with poverty and exclusion, has to matter to all of us.
If you couldn’t come last night, you can read the research. Ottawa gang members seem to have some important common characteristics. Most have experienced trauma, many are oldest sons, all were living in poverty, most started acting aggressively from a very young age, all were actively recruited by older gang membrers. Our next step is to use this important information to help parents, families and community services.
One thing that seemed to get missed in the question and answer session is the emergence in Ottawa of “Juggalos.” As Katharine Kelly said, this was the scariest interview she did, and as St. Srg Mark Patterson said, it looks like there are about 60 associates in Ottawa. We tend to stereotype gangs as associated with immigrants, the Juggalos most definitely don’t fit that pattern. Its something that we need to learn more about.