Kelly Denton - kdentsxo - Section 41 - Journey Log #1 - Warrior - Curiosity and Engagement
While in class, we discussed creative reading and the ability to endlessly research things of interest. Unbeknownst to me, I "research" something at least one a day. Whether it be the definition of a word or the lyrics to a song. I never thought those little things would technically be considered research. I love the ability to think of something so random such as, Nicholas Spark's net worth, and in mere minutes be able to tell anyone that it is in fact only 30 millions dollars (I thought it would be more). I took this newfound sense of passion for "researching", not just looking up, and applied it to one of my other classes, Criminal Justice.
Last Thursday, my Criminal Justice professor was out so her TA was directing class. We watched a short film about one of the deadliest criminal gangs called the Aryan Brotherhood. The special and outrageous thing about this gang is that it is entirely made up of people who are already in prison. The oddity of such a gang grabbed my attention immediately. So with the habits of mind, curiosity and engagement, plus creative research in mind, I looked up the Brotherhood on google.
This group is the nation's oldest white supremacist prison gang. With members totaling over 20,000 across the nation, that's only .1 percent of the entire prison population. Surprisingly, however, the gang is responsible for 30 percent of all murders in the federal prison system. There are two people at the head of the gang that decide who they kill, when it happens, and where their killings take place. They communicate using coded letters and multiple different cyphers. Majority of the time, prison officials are not able to decode the letters so communication between members is never able to be cut off.
Last year whenever something interested me like the Aryan Brotherhood did, I would come home and tell my mom all about it. Obviously while away at school its harder to find the time to tell her all the minute details about my day, like a thirty-minute video I watched earlier in the week. I decided to tell my friends about it while I did some research, showed them pictures, and spit off facts to them. My one friend mentioned a scene from a tv show that reminded her of the Aryan Brotherhood. I was quickly becoming obsessed with the Brotherhood so naturally, I had to look into this tv show.
In the scene my friend told me about, a young boy gets onto the bus headed towards prison with a swastika on his forehead. His mom gave him the tattoo in order to keep him safe while in prison.
She merely thought there was a resemblance to the gang but when I watched the video I knew it was more than that. Looking closely, you can see that other kids have tattoos with the letters AB (Aryan Brotherhood). Those kids immediately pull the young boy over and say "you're with us" since the swastika is a symbol used by the Brotherhood. The young boy's mother thought by giving him the tattoo, he would be protected by the gang instead of a target. The Aryan Brotherhood is ruthless to its enemies but incredibly loyal to each other. Somehow, the mother of the young boy knew that.
Although I did some research and stayed engaged with the topic because I was thinking about the habits of mind, I honestly believe that I would have done the exact thing anyway. That's just how I've always been. The habits of mind allowed me to believe that what I was doing, researching something some people would think is insane, was actually educational. Not once did I ever think that researching any random topic, just because, was something that teachers would find beneficial. This class is the only time I ever thought my wandering mind and endless random questions about the world was something to be proud of.
I've always been a little 'odd'