Escalation

 

GANGLAND CHICO AND NEWS FROM THE NEW MALL

It’s a little bit beyond me why anyone would join a gang in such a barely urban area—seriously, what is the point when you live somewhere like Chico, let alone Hamilton City—life isn’t all that rough up here (aside from the gang problem). But, alas, whether I deem it reasonable or not, now and then it rears its ugly head. I’m referring, of course, to the downtown shooting two weeks ago, allegedly involving 16–19 year-olds and some kind of gang dispute.

I once saw a documentary about lions, wherein the narrator stated that young, unmated males sometimes form roving gangs, fighting other lions and terrorizing the countryside—killing for the sake of killing. These were the ones who had no place in the pride, and because of the structure of lion society they had no mating prospects and no future (unless something were to “befall” one of the alpha males and leave a power vacuum). In addition to that, they had a lot of raging hormones, and no place to channel their aggression.

I sometimes look at people who join gangs through that lens: it’s animal instinct to lash out at the society you feel has excluded you, especially against the people you feel most in competition with for limited territory and resources. For the young misfit beta males, it’s a lion-eat-lion world. I wonder if we can mitigate the problem by becoming a more inclusive society, or if there’s just a percentage of the population genetically programmed to be sociopaths, and we need to better react to their presence now that there’s so many of them.

Not to jump on the whole “this town is going downhill” train; I don’t actually see it that way. New problems are coming up as the population grows, but I think the ratio of amazing to terrible around here is still holding steady. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the amazing people are becoming proportionately more amazing, doing bigger and better things with their talents than I’ve ever seen.

On a completely unrelated note, my inbox has been blowing up with people suggesting we write something/hang banners out our windows to celebrate the fact that there’s a Sephora coming to Chico (opening on May 2nd inside JCPenney). I’m only half-kidding about that, it’s seriously been suggested to me by several people. As a female-type person who wears makeup now and then, I suppose it is pretty cool to have access to more of the high-end brands. And God knows JCPenney needs something to get me in the door now that the novelty of riding the North-North State’s only escalator has worn off (I don’t actually know whether that’s true, but when they opened it was totally a thing to go there and ride it while we all told each other it was the only one. Chico history, yeah!).

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.