Tweets and Threats: Gangs Find New Home on the Net

Sharon Cohen, AP, January 11, 2014

The video is riddled with menace and swagger: Reputed gang members in Chicago point their guns directly at the camera. A bare-chested young man brandishes an assault weapon. They flash hand signals, dance and, led by a rapper, taunt their rivals as he chants:

“Toe tag DOA. That’s for being in my way . . . Killing til my heart swell . . . Guaranteed there’s going to be all hell.”

Thousands watch on YouTube. Among them: the Chicago police, who quickly identify two of those in the video as felons who are prohibited from being around guns. Both are later taken into custody.

As social media has increasingly become part of daily life, both gangs and law enforcement are trying to capitalize on the reach of this new digital world–and both, in their own ways, are succeeding.

Social media has exploded among street gangs who exploit it–often brazenly–to brag, conspire and incite violence. They’re turning to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to flaunt guns and wads of cash, threaten rivals, intimidate informants and in a small number of cases, sell weapons, drugs–even plot murder.

“What’s taking place online is what’s taking place in the streets,” says David Pyrooz, an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University who has studied gangs and social media in five big cities. “The Internet does more for a gang’s brand or a gang member’s identity than word-of-mouth could ever do. It really gives the gang a wide platform to promote their reputations. They can brag about women, drugs, fighting . . . and instead of boasting to five gang members on a street corner, they can go online and it essentially goes viral. It’s like this electronic graffiti wall that never gets deleted.”

On the crime-fighting side, “cyberbanging” or “Internet banging”–a phrase used by Desmond Patton, a University of Michigan researcher, to describe this activity–is transforming how police and prosecutors pursue gangs. Along with traditional investigative techniques, police monitor gangs online–sometimes communicating with them using aliases–and track their activities and rivalries, looking for ways to short-circuit potential flare-ups.

It’s a formidable task: There are millions of images and words, idle boasts mixed in with real threats and an ever-changing social media landscape. Myspace has given way to Facebook and Twitter, but gangs also are using Instagram, Snapchat, Kik and Chirp–different ways of sharing photos, video, audio and words, sometimes through smartphones or pagers.


It’s not just changing styles, but the language itself that can pose obstacles. Police often have to decipher street talk, which varies according to gang and city. In Chicago, for instance, a gun may be a thumper or a cannon. In Houston, a burner, chopper, pump or gat. In New York, a flamingo, drum set, clickety, biscuit, shotty, rachet or ratty.

That slang played a significant role last year for New York police and prosecutors. They pursued a digital trail of messages on Facebook and Twitter, along with jailhouse phone calls, to crack down on three notorious East Harlem gangs tied to gun trafficking, more than 30 shootings and at least three murders.

After 63 reputed gang members were indicted, authorities revealed they’d collected hundreds of social media postings to help build their case. {snip}


{snip} By the start of 2014, 53 of the 63 charged had pleaded guilty. And in November, then New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly offered an endorsement: Hailing a 50 percent drop in homicides among those 13 to 21 since 2012, Kelly said a new strategy “including attention to the new battleground of social media has resulted in lives being saved in New York City, mostly minority young men.”


In many cases, gangs do little to hide their identities, even though they know they’re leaving an electronic fingerprint for police.

“I guess the need for recognition and street cred must outweigh the potential for being arrested and charged,” Roti says. “They don’t seem to be that worried. They may feel they can hide in numbers. There are millions of pictures and posts. (Their attitude is) `I’ll take my chances.'”


Eric Vento, a Houston police officer and gang specialist, says he sometimes creates aliases to befriend gang members online.

“You have to build your persona,” he says. “That comes through countless, tedious hours of posting comments. You have to get to be friends with these people. You have to let them into your fake world. You have to build their trust. Only then, will they let you in. Until that time, you’re there twiddling your thumbs.”


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  • Alexandra1973

    They could look up words at urbandictionary(dot)com.

    • T_Losan

      also the comment section is usually a goldmine of information.

  • Ograf

    And I care if the little rats off each other?

    • DNA Explains It All

      I care DEEPLY, that they DO.

  • bigone4u

    When narcisissm combines with stupid, you get social media bravado. Blacks are both stupid and braggarts, thus they foolishly give law enforcement the evidence to imprison them. The traditional mafia guys must be getting a good laugh off this, as am I.

    • Anything they post online is instantly evidence; do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. No warrant is necessary.

      • Pro_Whitey

        Aww, no way!! (just kidding)

    • DNA Explains It All

      Yeah, blacks don’t really fall into the “organized crime” category do they?

      • Garrett Brown

        “Bloods” and “Crypts” in contrast to family names are all the evidence one would need for the answer. Or maybe they’re just embarrassed to be named the “Boneefa Shaquida Jones Oogadari” gang

        • Katherine McChesney

          The word is “Crips”…not ‘crypts’.

          • Garrett Brown

            Sorry for not caring what so ever what a negroid gang is specifically called.

          • Conrad

            A good pun, though.

      • Spartacus

        More like “organized stupidity” …

        • DNA Explains It All

          I don’t think “organized” belongs in any term referring to blacks. Maybe “Conglomerated Crime”, or “Pack Attacks”, as when a large troop of chimpanzees attack something we never call that “organized”.

          • So CAL Snowman

            But large packs of chimpanzees do exhibit the characteristics of organization when they attack a pack of other chimps. I’ve watched video of “chimp raids” and the chimps often march in single file (to conceal their numbers) and when they approach enemy territory they cease communication and go into silent mode. Once they engage the enemy they all shriek and shout in unison to incite fear.

          • DNA Explains It All

            Ok, I will give you that, but where have we seen such advanced strategy employed by blacks?

          • Please don’t give feral blacks any ideas, i.e., flinging poo at rival gang members . . .

          • DNA Explains It All

            Well we do sort of make them halfway wear pants to try and discourage such behaviors, natural to the species as they may be.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            And those banana traps….

          • They already fling poo at county jail deputies and prison corrections officers, just like in the monkey house at a zoo.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            So, chimpanzees are better organized than the typical black gang bangers.

        • I suspect the term you want is “weaponized stupidity”.

          • Spartacus

            Much more appropriate .

    • OhWow

      In Howard Beach, Queens Italian mafia affiliates beat the living daylights out of some black kids trying to act hard coming through their neighborhood. They haven’t come back since. The Italian mob would literally throw them in the Bronx Zoo to the hungry lions or throw them in a pizza oven. I know Italians get made fun of these days for being guidos and all that, but Italian men are one of the few ethnicities of white men that has kept its macho nature and won’t bow down to PC culture with blacks. We need others to follow suit. Italian mafia = street smart, underground, had morals. Black gangs = could not be more stupid, out in public shooting kids by accident, no morals.

      • Katherine McChesney

        ‘Italian mafia = street smart, underground, had morals.’

        Surely you jest. They have no morals. They’re just professional killers.

        • Anthony

          Yes Morals, a code of honor, if and when they killed it was only each other, no wilding, no flash mobs no knockout game=no innocents no civilians.

        • DNA Explains It All

          You have to admit, the real mob was a lot more selective in their violence and seldom harmed children or gang rapped.

        • Garrett Brown

          They along with the mob didn’t kill innocent civilians. They have further distanced themselves in the past two decades even more from killing.

    • Funruffian

      In a way social media is a Godsend for those who need to be informed of what the feral bantu is up to. It does have redeeming value when it can be used to our advantage. If Law enforcement uses the Social Media outlet to pinpoint criminals and potential crimes, this will alleviate pressure for the rest of us who want to practice our Freedom of Speech.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Stupid, violent, fecund. “Human” plague.

  • MekongDelta69

    The NSA monitors everything, but street cops can’t ‘decipher’ gangsta ebonics?

    Yeah, ok…

  • DNA Explains It All

    I just luv gettin on the facebook and postin me some pix of me and my grill muggin with my cash, crack, and an AK, oh baby I looks so good.

  • Puggg

    Let them practically confess to crimes for the whole world to see.

    The ones that get me are the ones that know they’re convicted felons, know they’re supposed to stay away from guns and firearms, yet run around all over the internet showing off guns. When they do that, the might as well drive themselves to the nearest Federal prison and book a five year stay.

    • I believe federal sentencing guidelines provide five years, but this can be aggravated. An “assault” weapon enhancement will aggravate and double the sentence to ten years, and so will an ex-offender who is still on parole. It is thus possible to receive a 20 year sentence for possession of a firearm by an ex-con. Since there is no parole in the feds, one would end up serving 17 years out of the 20, even with good behavior. Needless to say, I am careful to avoid them.

      • DNA Explains It All

        Yeah but just how many minority offenders does the Oooga Booga “social justice” dpt actually prosecute this way?

        • Who knows? It’s up to the regional US Attorney’s Offices unless Eric “Fast & Furious” Holder tells them not to. I imagine these cases are popular with the feds: 1 The perp either actually has a gun or does not, so cases are clear-cut. 2. Getting firearms out of the hands of prior offenders – while unfortunate in my case as I greatly enjoyed shooting my collection – produces an obvious social benefit. 3. While the liberal left is obsessed with enabling dysfunctional blacks to wallow in their social pathologies without any consequences, the same liberal left is also obsessed with guns.

    • Alexandra1973

      Now watch, some leftist idiot will suggest that videos taken from social networking sites shouldn’t admissible as evidence. Or that doing so will somehow create a “disparate impact.”

      They’re that stupid.

  • Marc Zuckurburg

    You can thank me later.

    But now, we need to get to work on comprehensive immigration reform.

    • mobilebay

      Let’s change “reform” to “enforcement” and we’ll all be with you.

  • borogirl54

    I wonder if these gang members realize that all they are doing is playing into the hands of law enforcement? I doubt it.

    • Blacks are not very bright to begin with, and since they compound this by using drugs, the result is the level of stupidity we see here. This is really just the same thing the nation saw with Trayvon Martin’s thinking he was immune to consequences, though on a macro-social scale.

      Flash-mob looting of stores and “knockout” attacks on whites and Asians are part of the same phenomenon. They simply don’t believe anything is going to happen to them.

  • libertarian1234

    This gang culture here……the braggadocio, the arrogance, the desire to be seen as armed and dangerous, and celebrating all of it…….. reminds me EXACTLY of the ones in most of Africa, like Somalia and Sudan where war lords run things instead of a legitimate government.

    Since blacks have been basically in the hunter/gatherer stage of evolution for the last several thousand years, they very likely have a built-in instinct for gangs as an offshoot of tribalism, so this behavior is the norm with them.

    Which could well be why they can’t compete or succeed in a civilized society.

    Left to their own after a disaster scenario, most peoples of the earth…..especially whites….. would drift toward building communities and expanding on them with certain rules and regulations as guides to live by.

    Blacks would naturally trend toward forming gangs, and war lords as leaders and would reject anything akin to an orderly society with a set of tenets and laws to conform to.

    If this country erupts into internal conflict, blacks will feel right at home living within a world where every day survival is as far as they will need to plan.

    • DNA Explains It All

      The threat they will pose in a post collapse scenario will certainly cause the majority to be eliminated early on. I don’t know anyone who has not voiced this opinion in my area.

      • I suspect huge numbers will starve. Once they have looted grocery stores in their own neighborhoods, nobody outside these areas will place a high priority on delivery of food to them.

        • DNA Explains It All

          Even if do gooders wanted to feed them post collapse, who would provide armor and air support to be able to to it? These animals would EAT the relief workers.

          • Good point; for an example of just that, the experience of UN aid workers in Somalia in 1992-1993 quickly comes to mind.

        • Non Humans

          Most of them live in alleged and so-called “Food Deserts” anyways. I wonder how long the nonhumans could survive on their drugs in such a scenario?

          • These “food deserts” still have places that sell greasy, salty “convenience” food, malt liquor and HFCS-laden soft drinks. They don’t sell fresh produce and the like because there is almost no demand for it in those neighborhoods. The term is really just another weasel-word concocted by the Cultural Marxists; it has no genuine meaning.

    • jackryanvb

      OK, but give Blacks credit for somethings.

      They vote for their own kind.

      They never fall down in to White liberalism, White Libertarianism.

      They never adjutated to fight a world war to make the world safe for Democracy.

      There has never been a Black version of Jimmy Carter or Eleanor Roosevelt.

      Thugs, savages, pseudo animal Orks yes. Idiot Liberal, Libertarians no.

      • On the other side of the ledger, the black African on his own:

        * Never invented a written language

        * Nor the wheel

        * Never really domesticated any of the tame animals around him

        * Never came up with an edifice beyond a mud hut.

        Sure, they don’t have any idiotic political doctrines. But they don’t have any doctrines period.

        • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

          To be fair, some domesticated cattle. In Kenya and some other places. However, I don’t know how long ago they began it. It’s like the “Great Horse Culture of the American Indian.” Europeans introduced the horse to North America. Before that they were hunter-gatherers for the most part, with some Eastern and Southwestern tribes doing some minimal farming.

          • I know what you’re talking about, but I’m open to the notion that what happened there wasn’t really domestication, properly understood. It may even have been purely a matter of the Masai following the cattle around, in which case the cattle domesticated the Masai and not the other way around.

            BTW, were cattle ever indigenous to black Africa?

          • There are lots of big ruminant species in Africa; some of these would likely be interfertile with Eurasian cattle species.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            I think they were and Michael Scott’s post rings true. I now recall seeing some documentary about how cattle were the basis of the social order for the Masai (maybe others?) and wealth was measured by them.

            We must be careful when we constantly seek to discredit as a motive to discussion. When it is done in error, our detractors can easily use it to point of the grand ignorance displayed. Unfortunately, I see posters doing this on Amren all the time. We’ve got enough facts and real history to use and a valid argument for our racial defense. I often think that most of this is pure laziness. It doesn’t do any white movement any good to only have postings that are mostly emotional ravings.

            But you are one of the least guilty of this as far as I can see.

          • Bos taurus cattle were introduced to black Africa by the ancient Egyptians, but the sanga cattle were a cross between native African ruminants and zebu cattle (Bos primigenius indicus) brought from India.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            Of course that’s true. This is why blanket statements are so dangerous and damaging when whites throw them out without thinking.

      • Garrett Brown

        Replies to a guy with the handle Libertarian with “idiot Libertarian”, that’s pretty damn funny.

  • Dave4088

    I’ve been meaning to produce a special, cloth bound ebonics to English dictionary and hawk it to police dept.’s. I’m surprised Rosetta Stone hasn’t developed ebonics language training yet.

    • DNA Explains It All

      Never would work, ebonics is too advanced as to be written down. Our Greek alphabet is far too crude a tool to capture it’s true beauty and meaning.

      Perhaps a picto-graph with the translation next to it.

      Imma busta capinyoass – (you cam imagine the picture)

      • Katherine McChesney

        The latest word is ‘ratchet’…THEIR spelling for ‘wretched’ I suppose.

        • DNA Explains It All

          And that they certainly are.

      • Lt_Greyman_NVA

        Here is the picture:

        • DNA Explains It All

          I’s dontseesnopictcha

          • Who Me?

            Trust me, you don’t want to see it!

        • NeanderthalDNA

          Hey! That’s my old avatar from chimpout!

        • DNA Explains It All

          Dang, I can smell the love.

  • OhWow

    Living only 35 miles outside the Queens border (NYC) here are some I’ve picked up over the years:

    Teardrop tattoo on face = he killed someone to earn that
    Chopper/heater/nina/hammer = gun
    Banging 5 = being an active bloodz gang member
    “Blllllat!” = bloodz gang call
    Slime = nickname for a bloodz member
    Wildin/gooning = publicly going around causing random destruction and violence
    Cut eyebrows (slash marks) = gang member or affiliate

    Once you learn some of the lingo, you will notice it’s posted online a lot and understand what it means. Of course liberals will think a black teen mentioning a “hammer” is just trying to build a fence for his mother.

    • borogirl54

      The teardrop tattoo actually means that the wearer is serving a life sentence or is on death row.

      • DNA Explains It All

        Here in Texas, I was told that it could mean two things. Each tear either is a year of calendar time in the pen or a murder.

  • MartelC

    Remember the ‘technology gap’ – the reason yuffs weren’t becoming silicon valley entrepreneurs was because they didn’t have access to high speed internet and macbooks…

    Well, we see what they do with technology, just as they do with once beautiful cities.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      Look what they did with flash mobs.

      • Their innate thuggery expresses itself in whatever they do.

        • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

          I feel like telling you (and everyone) a story; my first experience with blacks was when I was three years old. We lived in downtown Sacramento in a home that I remember had a back yard. I can remember climbing the fence in the back (or trying) with my sisters. There was a small apartment complex behind us (two story). I remember some black kids up on the balcony above us yelling at us. That’s all I remember, but my mother told me later in life what was happening. The kids were yelling racial slurs at us and urinating, attempting to hit us with the urine streams. My mother went to the apartment to talk to the mother about her kids and the sheboon yelled at her, used profanity and bragged that the more babies she had, the more money the state would give her. I want to note that this was 1955!

          • LACounty

            Insane. If the “state” would stop funding them, they might eventually disappear.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            The “state” is now controlled by them and others like them.

        • DiversityIsHumanism

          Your innate racism expresses itself in whatever you do.

  • Spartacus

    “When, long ago, the gods created Earth
    In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
    The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
    Yet were they too remote from humankind.
    To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
    Th’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
    A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
    Filled it with vice, and called the thing a ——.”

    H.P. Lovecraft – On the Creation of ——s

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    I am so glad that the political correctness era happened at the same time as the beginning of the internet era. It’s hard to censor news and scrub racial identifiers out of crime reports when the criminals are taking videos of themselves committing the crime and posting it on Facebook or WorldStarHiphop.

  • Lt_Greyman_NVA

    “That comes through countless, tedious hours of posting comments. You
    have to get to be friends with these people. You have to let them into
    your fake world. You have to build their trust. Only then, will they let
    you in. Until that time, you’re there twiddling your thumbs.”

    Sure glad we are spending millions of dollars so cops can sit on their fat asses making “friends” with the negros. What do they call this, the Un-intelligence Unit?

    Just wait till the TV show!

    “Net week on UIU-NY the team gets closer to facebook rapist “muh-dik” and has trouble sending out for Pizza. Jaquinishia, the female lead starts to have the feeling that she might be pregnant by her buck partner Do’Atomior.


    • MBlanc46

      I wonder how many of those cop hours are spent on porn sites.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      Hmmm, there is a bit of a fake world going on right here, in some respects. Spending all your time talking with people to reinforce your set ideas has a way of doing that. I don’t mean you necessarily, but it happens a lot.

      • Rhialto

        The fake world is the world presented on television and other mass media. Spending an hour on the internet accessing news and commentary, and possibly commenting yourself, is far more valuable than gaping at the TV news for the same hour. I concede that the internet is no substiute for action and preparation.

  • Dave4088

    The US military needs to recruit ebonics code talkers similar to the Navajo code talkers in WWII. The use of ebonic codes could turn out to be the military’s new secret weapon and Al Qaeda and other enemies would be totally stymied and find these codes nearly as unbreakable as the Navajo codes.

    At minimum it could put some inner city welfare queens and dead beat ghetto daddies to work using their exotic, but nearly incomprehensible language.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      I say just drop them into North Korea. Kimmy will love it, at first. Then, when the action starts it will be too late. Imagine thousands of Dennis Rodmans loose over there.

  • negrolocaust

    in the muslim world if you act like a degenerate looting stores and playing knockout game on white people they restrain you and cut off your hands. it is a real shame that they don’t do that here. and the second offence they should cut off their black feet like they did in the GOOD OLD DAYS.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      I can think of something else that ought to be cut off.

    • judenjager

      In the good old days we could hang some in a tree as an example. Never had these problems, then,,,,,,,,

  • This left me profoundly depressed after my return from Australia in 1998. Sure, Australia has declined substantially in more recent years, but I first went there about 17 years ago.

  • This fake “divide” is really a matter of individual spending priorities. We have DSL internet at home but not cable TV. Black guys tend spend their money on expensive automobile wheel rims and goofy, clownish “afawete” clothes. My surplus Pinzgauer truck has steel military rims, and I am currently wearing “Wrangler” jeans, a 25 year-old rugby shirt and an equally old sweater. Black women spend a fortune on clothing as well; my wife sews most of her own good dress clothing for work. Blacks eat out a lot. We eat out only three times per year: on our birthdays and on our anniversary. Blacks set their home heat to sauna-like levels in the winter; we have ours set at 55 F, which is why I am wearing a sweater.

    All other things being equal, OF COURSE a couple like us would have more money for computer-related consumption; we aren’t spending our income on all that other garbage.

  • Earl Turner

    If you want to get an idea of what cops have to decipher, go take a look at the blog ‘chasthuglife’ on blogspot.

    Oh and by the way, it looks like my inspirational picture of MLK and his 14 words has a chance to go viral. I’ve been posting it to a few black FB pages and people ok I mean blacks are starting to share it. Feel free to join in and spread it yourself!

    • Alexandra1973

      Replace “black” with “white” and instead of Michael Lucifer King put, say, Jared Taylor, and you’ll have the usual race hustlers coming out of the woodwork.

    • Cute; I wonder if any of them will ever catch on as to who really said your (paraphrased) statement.

  • Mack0

    It would be wonderful. They will continue to be a problem until we stop subsidizing their existence. We must realize that they need us but we don’t need them.

  • Bardon Kaldian

    Gangsters were icons of the Prohibition era- Capone, Dillinger, Luciano, Bonnie & Clyde, Bugsy Siegel ….. Old Hollywood made movies about them back in 1930s & 1940s. Who is interested in these dumb thugs ? I guess- no one.