September 26, 2006

Vash is a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger

Here in Nac, a couple of weekends ago, someone thought this:
January 2006

would look better like this:
September 25, 2006

This is the local paper's (The Daily Sentinel) report (because they don't archive, here it is):

Talk of vicious gang likely just rumor
No evidence links 'VASH' to a gang, but there is a cartoon character called Vash

The Daily Sentinel

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who is "VASH?"

His name appeared literally all over the historic downtown area this weekend. The graffiti was painted on business walls, and while police may not be sure exactly what the word means, they are well aware of the rumors.

Police have "heard" from some concerned citizens that the group behind the vandalism are a "vicious and well-funded" gang with Cuban connections. Its members murder innocents as a part of a gang initiation, prostitutes underage girls and drives around town late at night without headlights — waiting for some good Samaritan to flash their headlights so the gang can follow the motorist home and kill them.

The first hole in the rumor, according to NPD Assistant Chief Mike Kelly, is that police have no information or any evidence that ties the criminal mischief to any particular gang, group or activity.

"This type of activity is typical of a 'tagger' who is just putting his marks on buildings," Kelly said. "As for this person being part of a violent or dangerous group or gang — I'm really not sure where that came from."

The other problem with the rumor is that police have never heard of any gang called "VASH"— and apparently, neither has the Internet.

Public Information Officer Sgt. Greg Sowell said he did some Internet research on "VASH," and he could not find anything to connect the name with any gang activity.

"I looked it up — it's a cartoon character," Sowell said. "And it looks like the kind of thing kids would be into."

Sowell was referring to Vash, the Stampede — the main character of the Japanese sci-fi series — "Trigun."

Dispelling rumors about the headlight killers, Sowell said local police have never heard of any substantiated cases of someone being killed for flashing their headlights, and he noted that listed the urban legend originating out of Florida as "false."

"So as far as the presence of some new gang, we don't have any concrete information that would say their presence is even in Nacogdoches," Sowell said. "We're aware of the rumors, but as of right now, that's all it is — unsubstantiated."

In an interview in June, police said there are currently four criminal street gangs active within the city limits of Nacogdoches — Latin Kings, Vatos Locos, Brown Pride and the West Side Bloods.

One of the previous gangs, the South Side "13," which was once comprised of about 38 Hispanic males, has all but disbanded, and most of those members are now associated with either the Vatos Locos or Brown Pride.

Police also said the gang members have learned that wearing gang colors and painting graffiti was not really lucrative, so many of them have turned to "more economically minded" activities, such as distribution and selling of illegal narcotics and illegal weapons, and money laundering.

This summer police received a federal grant for surveillance equipment that they were going to use to help combat gang-related crimes.

As for the downtown cleanup, Main Street Manager Sarah Hueber said the city is working with utility companies to clean up utility poles and boxes that were tagged, but as for the individual businesses, it's pretty much up to the property owners.

"And we hope it is possible for them to clean it up," Hueber said. "If they have to use sandblasting, it could be hard on a historical building."

Hueber said the city is available to help business owners figure out the best option for their individual buildings.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the downtown graffiti, Hueber said. Anyone with information regarding the downtown spray painting can call 560-INFO.

Yes, here in East Texas, we fall for urban legends like the headlight thing.

Some people think graffiti is art, and in big cities, such as New York, where there are so many old, abadoned buildings, and so much graffiti, I can sort of understand. But here in Nac, this is pretty shocking. If it is a gang, isn't it ironic how they are attempting to gain respect through tagging their "territory" by doing something so mindlessly disrespectful? It has to be ignorant (and I mean that in the best way) kids. It just has to be. Who else would do something so senseless and stupid??

March 2006

September 25, 2006