Hello everyone. Or should I say, what up ninjas?
The FBI has labeled fans of the Insane Clown Posse as a gang. That is to say a gang on the same level as MS-13 or the Aryan Brotherhood. If a person with an ICP tattoo or apparel is arrested for a common crime, they are prosecuted as a gang member. See here for example: (near bottom of page)
Regardless of what you may think of ICP (and I’m fully aware most will not hold them in high esteem) this is an unprecedented violation of civil rights. People are being labeled as a menace to society because of the music they listen to or the clothing they wear. Now I am not a big fan of the slippery slope but one must wonder in this case. Sure, many will dismissively say that juggalos should be arrested en masse or worse. But will you accept this kind of thing when your favorite artist puts you on the FBI’s most wanted list?
The stupid thing about it is that the FBI have juggalos all wrong. Yes there are probably some actual gang members who are also juggalos. However, the last time I checked correlation still has not become causation. The bad apples out there in the juggalo community are exactly that, bad apples. This does not mean that every juggalo will do the same things. Are all Joker fans being monitored by the FBI now because they might go on a shooting rampage at a theatre?
Not only that, the actual message behind ICP’s music is a positive one and has been for years. Yes there is violence and misogyny in every song. There are profound appeals to ignorance (Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?) and appeals against all manner of authority. But ICP does not call upon their fans to do violence against anyone for any reason. When a so-called juggalo took an actual hatchet into a gay bar and attacked people, ICP condemned it in the strongest terms the very next day. They do not agree with bigotry, racism or random attacks on civilians. Just look at their response to this attack- they’re going to sue the FBI. If they were a gang they could call upon juggalos across the land to physically attack FBI offices and agents. But they haven’t done so and they won’t because juggalos aren’t a gang.
The greater issue here is that the FBI is taking a steaming dump on civil rights and has picked a target no one cares about so they can trample rights in relative obscurity. I am not a big fan of the “first they came for the…” argument but I do have to wonder what the greater purpose of all this is. Are juggalos being used as a test case for even wider civil rights violations? If you can be thrown in jail for having a hatchet man on your shirt, what else can land you in the clink? What other bands will land you a permanent criminal record?
If you are a juggalo and have been hassled by the authorities, you can tell your story personally at Juggalos Fight Back. In the meantime, if you’re down with the clown make sure your lawyer is too.