Corporate Media Spin: 'Juggalo' stigma taints double stabbing
Around 6:00 p.m., MST, on Monday, May 31, two people were stabbed outside Wendy's on Colfax Ave. and Emerson Street in Denver, Colorado.
The two victims were on their way to attend the Insane Clown Posse (I.C.P.) concert at the Fillmore Auditorium next door, at Colfax and Clarkson, when a fight broke out that ended with two people stabbed and one person fleeing the seen, who was later taken into custody by Denver Police. The witnesses, a group of young women, adolescent ages, who were not attending the concert but came downtown to look at the many artistic face-paint designs displayed traditionally now by fans of I.C.P., often known as "Juggalos" and "Jugalettes." They explained that two men started yelling at one another, then some unidentified person hit another person with a rock over the head just shortly before a man pulled out a knife and stabbed another man. Then, according to local corporate media reports, the person attempted to flee the seen and was chased by another man, presumably a friend or acquaintance of the first victim. The alleged perpetrator then stabbed this individual as well. The young women began explaining that I.C.P. fans are "not peaceful people." They speculated the stabbing was part of some kind of "I.C.P. gang" issue, however, another man who was not only a witness but allegedly spoke to the victims' friends, when I asked the young women to elaborate, the man interrupted and explained that the incident had absolutely nothing to do with 'Juggalos' per se. He explained that the fight that broke out was actually a domestic dispute - two men fighting over a woman with whom they both allegedly had relations. This, naturally, would therefore have nothing to do with the band I.C.P., a very controversial hip hop group whose fans have been tagged as gang members and placed on gang lists by police around the United States.
It is all too often that 'Juggalos' and 'Juggalettes' are depicted as pugnacious and violent people, however anecdotally I have seen little evidence of their being any more pugnacious than any other musical fan base, trend, click, genre or what have you.
The gentleman who explained the above details, which contradicted the corporate press's claims of relation to the concert, expressed a strong concern that the incident would be used to further taint the image of 'Juggalos' as negative or bad people. Not only was the incident not gang related, he explained, but as many well know 'Juggalos' are actually not a gang. Police profile people as gangs with a sort of profile checklist of features and attributes, however 'Juggalos' themselves contend they are not a gang and merely band together in groups because of their common interest in the band I.C.P..
One noticeable feature of their sub-culture is the universality factor. I.C.P. fans have a call-and-response signal they yell to one another ("woo, woo") regardless of whom they might be, or where they may be from. They are not territorial in the way that gangs often are, and there are no documented factions of 'Juggalos' who might rival one another. Behaviorally they bond universally among I.C.P. fan bases, much like any music-based trend, which is very different than what is thought of as gang culture in the United States.
The Insane Clown Posse may be a group that depicts and propagates ideas and images of violence, Chauvinism, sexism and even racism, however, their fans appear to be from a diversity of racial and gender backgrounds, inconsistent with what may be assumed as the "hate speech" in the bands' lyrics. The simply observable fact is that they seem to be on the radar screen of those institutions in society that thrive on exploiting scapegoats, which further isolates 'Juggalos' and 'Juggalettes', rendering them easy targets for this sort of thing, and to that extent all that can be said of their perceived crassness is that it doesn't help them dispel this stereotype, however it also doesn't confirm nor prove that they are somehow inherently violent or that they are some sort of gang.
The Denver Post, the only local newspaper of relevant status still remaining in print in Denver, Colorado, relied on the statements of Denver Police spokesperson Sonny Jackson, who eventually released the name of the suspect being investigated, 20-year-old Jeremy McKim. The irrelevant part of the story, true for every local corporate media report, is the almost zealous mentioning of the fact that the fight broke out between I.C.P. fans before an I.C.P. concert, however, Denver Post did not specify whether McKim was planning to attend the concert. Their earlier reports said the police were searching for a youth wearing a white shirt and white face paint, thus implying the young man was a fan of I.C.P. planning to attend the concert without confirming nor substantiating this information. As usual they merely relied the information provided by police.
Does face paint and I.C.P. attire somehow discredit a person's statement, even if they were eye-witnesses? Why didn't the corporate press interview eye-witnesses?
The local ABC affiliate, Channel 7 News, somewhat more objectively reported that Denver Police Officer Matt Murray could not explain how the incident was at all related to the I.C.P. concert, however they included the name of the band in the headline and claimed in the subheading that the stabbing was related to the concert, then in the story explained that they could not actually confirm that allegation.
The local affiliate of CBS, Channel 4 News, also alleged that the stabbing incident was related to the Insane Clown Posse concert. Once again they could not confirm it.
The local NBC affiliate, KUSA Channel 9 News, mentioned that they were among fans of I.C.P. but stopped short of claiming the incident was related to the I.C.P. concert.
All in all it appears our local press is more interested in conjuring and encouraging myths than they are in actually reporting verifiable facts.