In going through some old newspaper clippings a couple of weeks ago, I found this old column I had published in The Clay City Times sometime in the fall of 1997. For those who aren’t familiar with Powell County history, this was an odd time in Stanton, as we had been receiving some statewide (and perhaps national) attention for a so-called “gang,” better known as 213, after the death of its chief tuff and a subsequent riot after the funeral.
Back then, I found the whole thing hard to believe, and now, 15 years later, I find it even more ridiculous to think the “hard” streets of Stanton were being patrolled by a gang of hoodlums and hooligans.
I’ll leave it to you decide, from your memories, from your imagination, and now, from this. Enjoy:
Perhaps the biggest shock from reading about the riot-torn streets of Stanton was discovering that Stanton had a gang. Now, I knew we had clubs like the Girl Scouts and Beta Club, but I was unaware of a full-fledged “gang.”
This struck me as a huge waste of time. If the kids want to be a group or a club, that’s fine. Build a cute treehouse, create a secret handshake and spend the weekend telling tall tales. But a gang? Get out of here.
What’s the purpose of this lone “gang” in Stanton? There are no other gangs to fight with, and really, that’s the main things gangs do. Bloods fight Crips and vice versa. Stanton’s gang has no other gangs to battle with. Does the Stanton gang break up into shirts vs. skins scrimmages, calling it “107” against “106”?
Plus, being the only gang is much like being an only child – when trouble starts, there’s no one else to blame it on. If the police are investigating gang-related crime, then it’s not too hard to figure out who did it:
Policeman 1: “What we’ve got is a gang-style robber, complete with gang signs, gang colors and gang graffiti.”
Policeman 2: “Got any suspects?”
Policeman 1: “I’m no Kojak, but I bet it’s that gang again!”
I mean, come on: it won’t be difficult at all to solve that mystery.
Besides all that, real gangs start up to provide some sort of protection from the streets. Take Los Angeles for instance. The LA gangs are forced to survive on streets filled with crack, heroin and prostitutes. The Stanton gang has to deal with overdue movie rentals, people parking in the No Parking area in front of the Post Office and strangers from Campton (Note from modern day Kevin: I can’t believe I missed out on a Compton/Campton joke). Granted, even familiar faces from our eastern neighbors are frightening enough, but that’s still not a big problem.
Maybe I’m just too “out of it” to understand the importance of a gang. Perhaps Stanton is just catching up with the rest of the world, what with multiple traffic lights, increased crime, riots and all. But more than likely, it’s just a group of kids with nothing better to do, like going to school, and instead hang out in a gang.
I think I prefer the good ol’ Beta Club.