I’ve been doing side work summarizing sociological criminology research for a guy who works for the US DOC. His PhD in social psychology makes him better qualified to digest the material than me, who has a background in philosophy and religion. But he’s got money and I’ve got time. Timewise, the trick for me is to proportionally direct my attention to several other things at once. I’ve been doing this work, at my own pace, since August.
Even though the federal prison system does not deal with minors, the work has all been focused on the nature of juvenile delinquency, with an emphasis on preventing such behavior from escalating into full-blown adult criminality. I recently finished a book on religious terrorism that I was reading for leisure. It might seem difficult to transition seamlessly from these two topics to my individual contributions to the world of humor, but I did so rather easily. A good waiter for three years and a bad cook for one, I am a natural multi-tasker who does everything half-assed.
Maybe I’ll start another blog about multi-tasking. And then a couple more.
I naturally compared the criminological work with what I was reading about ideological murder. I could personally relate to the juvenile delinquency work because I dabbled in such behavior extensively. As an adult, I have broken many laws many times. I haven’t stolen anything since I was 25, and I haven’t done anything violent since elementary school. I’m talking about minor stuff like drunken hijinks. And I haven’t endangered anyone’s life by drunk driving since the last time I drove.
Since I am also very religious, I am intrigued by the zealous fervor that leads others with similar mindsets to kill others and even themselves in the name of God. And since my books are in the genre of “humorous memoir,” it’s all quite interconnected.
One similarity I found between terrorists and certain criminals was a concern for one’s legacy. “Better to die fighting than to live as a coward” is a mentality common to both. Where I grew up, most premature deaths were from car accidents. Here in (C)harm City, they’re by murder. In both cases, the sites frequently become memorials to the dead.
One incongruous thing I’ve noticed in the rougher parts of Baltimore is the presence of teddy bears and related items at such shrines. Maybe a toddler choked to death there, but it’s far more likely that some gangsta’ got gunned down at the spot. Blow yourself up in the Palestinian Territories and you become a martyr, perhaps your face plastered on a billboard. Get shot during a crack deal gone awry in the city, and some asshole leaves a fucking Teddy Ruxpin there. Not exactly bad-ass nor glorious. The jihadist gets his reward of 72 virgins; you’re mourned by your babies’ mamas.
I don’t sling much crack anymore. I haven’t pimped in ages. And I’m pretty sure the Bloods whom I called a bunch of faggy pussies on funnygangster.wordpress.com knew I was kidding. But, just in case, I’ve instructed a trusted confidante that if I get shot and anyone so much as thinks of putting any toy at the scene of the killing, they are to take action. They are to burn down the donor’s housing unit, laugh as it burns, and then immolate himself at the scene.