Hat tip to Ener Hax for pointing to this report made by The National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) who prepared the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment (NGTA) that examines emerging gang trends and threats posed by criminal gangs to communities throughout the US. It comes as no surprise that “gangs are becoming increasingly savvy and are embracing new and advanced technology to facilitate criminal activity and enhance their criminal operations”:
According to NGIC reporting, gang recruitment and intimidation is heavily facilitated through the Internet. Gangs use social networking sites such as Facebook to promote their gang, post photos of their gang lifestyle, and display their bravado, which ultimately influences other youth to join gangs. (NGTA, 2011:41)
Following this line of thoughts, nor should it come as a surprise that Virtual Worlds also are mentioned, but I admit that I was in fact surprised to see SL highlighted in this context:
Of course it makes perfect sense; the military has been using virtual reality/virtual worlds to simulate and train for decades, so why not gangs. Yet, for someone who has been using SL for years, this perspective does come off as a bit exaggerated, and I admit that it made me chuckle over the morning coffee. I tend to agree with Maria Korolov‘s comment on this:
I mean no disrespect; I know that gangs pose a serious and oftentimes lethal threat to many, many people all over the world. It’s just very interesting to see a different perspective on one of my favorite technologies. Paraphrasing McLuhan; “We become what we behold. We shape our technology, and then our technology shapes us.” Context always matters!
BTW; according to the above-mentioned report OMG is not an expression of surprise, but stands for Outlaw Motorcycle Gang … context, context …