First off, what do I know about Gangsters? Well, I’m originally born and bred in Chicago Illinois, the Mecca of some of America’s most notorious gangsters. Al Capone made his bones here and Sam Giancana was so infamous they used part of his life story in The Godfather.
I also grew up in the inner city housing projects of the South Side of Chicago, and would not be overstating it one iota by describing my neighborhood as a warzone between two of the largest street gangs in the nation.
I say all of this to say, that I’ve got a bit of a historical pedigree when it comes recognizing basassness. (For some it’s a word) In short, I know gangster. Gangsters do deeds that run the risk of punishment from the powers that be, and live by a code (however corrupt) that forms a philosophy that they latch onto. They do the crime, and even those that think they are invincible know somewhere in the back of their head, that if caught they must face the consequences — in many cases ending with incarceration or even death.
And then there are what I like to term the “Internet Gangsters,” those that use social media to bully, and intimidate the area residents in order to pave the way for their own agenda. Much like in the streets, they try and claim territory, except in this case, instead of neighborhoods and blocks, they try and stake their claim on message boards and news groups.
You know the type, just like the flashy mobsters of old; they try and impress the denizens with tales of their prowess. The give flowery examples of their superiority with a handgun, or hand to hand combat. They hint at their extensive client list that OWES them their life, and boast to whoever’s logged on at the time that they KNOW someone “legendary” that’s done SOMETHING “impressive.” Which I assume by default, makes them legendary as well.
In the urban areas there are two types of gangsters, “OG’s” AKA, Original Gangsters. Individuals who have lived the life ages ago, and by virtue of that past pedigree have the influence and respect of their peers. They often can get away with what other’s cant because they have “been there done that” even if it was 3 decades ago. Then there are the “BG’s” or Baby Gangsters, which are the newcomers that have just entered the gangster lifestyle, and are trying to “earn their strips” by proving how tough they are.
Unfortunately in the Executive Protection community we have both types of gangsters, plying their trade on Social Media, those that look down on civilians and warriors alike for not having their level of experience, as well as those that overdo it so aggressively in an effort to gain recognition and respect that it’s almost comical. If it only affected themselves, that would be one thing, but remember, intimidation is a tool of tradecraft for the Gangster.
That means that on social media their outlet is usually those who are younger, more inexperienced, and less inclined to opposition. In the message board, “neighborhood,” you see it play out in the form of comments and post. The new guy will ask a new guy question, and the response from the “OG” is how dumb a question it is, or reply back in such a condescending manner that the questioner runs for the hills. And then there’s the “BG” who writes a post or responds to one with such a tall tale about, “their Saudi Prince Client” or the “20 man security detail they were involved in,” that it’s beyond belief.
The only one spared these attacks? The person that the Original Gangster sets his sights on for grooming into the gang. That person, usually young and inexperienced, is typically spared the virtual lashing when they ask a question, and encouraged when they write a post that seems to focus more on the negative than the positive. They are being inducted, and without the proper interventions, suddenly they are exhibiting the same traits as the other gangsters.
Gang violence is an epidemic in some communities, and unfortunately it’s also starting to gain a foothold in social media. I mentioned earlier that I grew up in a gang infested neighborhood. One of the things I attribute to making it out of there (relatively) unscathed is the fact that there was “community policing” in the form of concerned citizens who said, “not on my watch, not on my block.” They didn’t stop the gang’s activities, but they did make their presence unwelcome and by sheer force of will, more than force of arms, compelled the gangs to take their activities a bit further in any direction but there.
I vote we do the same for Internet Gangsters.