A week or two ago, I was coming back from a garage sale when I spotted some gang graffiti in an alley. This is not by any means unusual here in Saint Paul, of course. We’ve got gangs like Minneapolis has potholes. (Okay, maybe not quite that bad. But close.)
Anyway, this was interesting because there were three subsequent garages in a row tagged with graffiti – graffiti from two different gangs, on the two garages on the ends.
And in the middle? Anyone’s guess.
After writing this post and a sequel and another later post about gang graffiti, people seem to
pester politely ask me about graffiti on or near their home, work, or place of business a couple times a week.
Usually they describe the graffiti to me, which isn’t particularly helpful. Not because people are idiots, but because there are a lot of common mistakes people make in interpreting gang graffiti – one of the most common mistakes I see is people mistaking “13″ in hispanic graffiti for a capital “B”. Pictures, I tell them. I really need pictures to be sure of what you’re looking at.
Sometimes, though, pictures don’t really help.
Consider the three garages I came across.
First was this one:
“GDN” = “Gangster Disciple Nation”; the pitchforks on either side are a very common GD symbol. This one’s easy.
Then there was this one, two garages down:
Around here, six-pointed star almost always means Gangster Disciples, so combined with the GD tags two garages over, you have to consider the possibility that this was a GD tag that got interrupted, or something similarly strange.
Things are not made any more clear by the garage in between these two:
Big… something. AOC. RMU. Huh?
This, to me, is a really funny piece of graffiti. It’s supposed to be a big bit of bragging for the gangstas who made it – whose initials are probably AOC and RMU. We run this block, bitch. AOC and RMU in the house, dog. Word up, yo. Representin’ the… Gangster Disciples? Or Crips?
At first, I want to say it says “Big 60s”, which would be a reference to one of the various “Rolling 60 Crips” sets. (The Rolling 60 Neighborhood Crips, for example.) It very much looks like it was done by the same person who did the Crip + star tag one garage over.
But then I look at it again, and I want to say it says “Big GDs”, which would of course mean the Gangster Disciples. (That “6″ could be a really, really sloppy “G”.)
And it could be “Big 6Ds”, a kind of stupid almost-phonetic spelling (?) of “sixties”, which would be a Crip reference, again.
Crips? Gangster Disciples?
I can’t say with a hundred percent certainty, given the… totality of the circumstances. Nobody can, except maybe AOC (or is it ADC?) and RMU, whoever they are.
It’s the information age, dawg. I gots Skype and ICQ and a Crackberry and a Gmail account, yo. What do I need to learn how to write for? I’s a player; that shit’s beneath me. Right?
Word up, homies. Don’t write on other people’s garages and fences and shit, okay? It’s disrespectful. But, if you’re going to do so anyway, at least try and be fuckin’ legible, you know?
Sloppy handwriting: Nemo’s pet peeve of the day… yo.