Gang Culture

Adjacent: Jono Rotman spent 7 years photographing and unpacking narratives of Mongrel Mob members. The results feature predominantly Māori men wearing their gang patches, SS helmets and other Nazi paraphernalia and leathers.

I learned about his art from a blog "humanising the inhuman?". I immediately questioned the choice of words that might imply gangsters would not be humans: I reflected for a moment on wars, genocide, slavery and unfathomable cruel attrocities visited by man upon his fellow man, and I rapidly concluded we need to avoid being sanctimonious hypocrites. Instead own up to the ugly reality that is the full extent of human nature.

However I don't want to dwell on abstract theories and instead in my blog here, I'm just going to write about my own experiences with gang mentality as a complete outsider, and it's not unique to criminals at all.

Last updated: 2021-07-20

2021-05-15 Nocturnal Visitor

A few days ago a police car and another unidentified vehicle swooped in front of my house and parked there as if doing surveillance. Eventually they drove off again without getting out of their cars. Then that night two police cars silently pulled up with lights off, one on each side of the road. My dog noticed and woke me. It was 4:30am. They too sat there for a while and eventually drove off after two officers returned from a neighbours house and put something in the boot.

During the day several police vehicles and an ambulance were there, so I dismissed it as none of my business, but that night a white car appeared on MY driveway with headlights on full beam and some kind of radio turned up loud. I assumed it might be another police car. I had no idea of what they might want to see me about at 2:50am, but felt great anxiety. I went out in my onesies with my dog. It was hard to see anything as the car headlights were glaring right in my eyes.

Lucy was barking, maybe because she sensed my distress. However the car then backed down my drive and parked across the neighbours driveway instead. I saw it was not a police car. In the shadows a man wearing a black jacket and what looked like a large circular gang-badge on his back leapt out and scurried to the house two doors up... then shortly returned. They did a reckless U turn and drove off tooting their horn.

I have no idea what it was about, but their display on my driveway and honking the horn would certainly have got neighbours thinking I was somehow involved. It was too dark to take pictures, but I jotted down the registration plate and the online registration details do look like the vehicle they were driving.

I did contemplate contacting the police about "suspicious activity", but in my experience they just waste my time, file a report and maybe even drop me in the shit with the sinister gangsters. So just publish it here online instead.