I am a full time employee, full time student, mom of two, and wife. My children are well behaved and intelligent, I have a career I enjoy, friends I love and a wonderful marriage. I contribute to society, help strangers in need, donate to charities and pay my taxes each year. I am also a Juggalo and have just learned that the government I stand up for and defend does not do the same for me because of that single and apparently all encompassing fact.
Juggalos tend to think of each other as a family. The Salt Lake City Police thinks of us as a gang. For those of you who think you don’t know us, you simply don’t know you do. We bag your groceries, we teach your children, we represent you in court and you sit next to us at work.
I know that I am only one person but I represent a very large subsection of our population. While I am a law abiding and productive citizen, those facts by no means make me a minority within the Juggalo community.
My husband, toddler, infant and dog live in a nice house near Liberty Park in Salt Lake and a few weeks ago our home was paint balled and a window broken. My husband, the more pessimistic of us, immediately said it was because of our taste in music. We filed a police report, had our window fixed and went on with our lives. A few nights later we had some silly kid throwing snow balls at our house and thought very little of it. Then last night our house was egged with such passion that egg shell and yolk actually managed to get between our double paned windows. I finally had to concede that clearly we were being targeted for some reason as this did not happen to any other houses on our block. While my husband was more and more convinced that this was because we were Juggalos I just couldn’t believe that was the case. Who would scare a family and attack a house over music preference?
I mentioned to him that maybe we should call the police and get their opinion on what to do about this situation, he looked me right in the eye and told me I was being naive and that they would not do anything to help us. As if to prove his point, just at that moment three men from the Salt Lake City Police Department rode by on bicycles. My husband went out and caught their attention, told them the situation and asked for their opinion and advice. We were informed that in Salt Lake City we were considered a Gang and in not so many words, that by choosing the music we do we had waived our rights as citizens. One of them looked at our car behind us in the driveway with stickers supporting Psychopathic Records and told us that we had brought it upon ourselves. I was shocked and told him very clearly that I was successful, a student and a mother, I was very much not a gang member. His response was “if you choose to fly the colors you choose to pay the consequences.”
I have spent a great amount of time backing up police and politicians to friends who have long ago learned to not trust them. I had never had a reason and truly believed that my friends were exaggerating or there was some other unseen or left out piece of information. They most certainly couldn’t be speaking about us when they wrote about Juggalos in the newspaper or spoke of them on TV. I really felt that the government I was so proud of understood that one person who did something stupid and happened to be wearing an I.C.P. t-shirt was simply a single person who did something stupid. Tonight I was proven wrong by the same police department I am supposed to count on if I am in an accident or see a crime or one of my children is injured.
I can understand that people who hear our music can be startled by it and the violence contained in the lyrics but it is no different then people who enjoy horror movies, just with a better beat. If you were to take the time to listen you would see that many of the songs speak of forgiveness, family support and staying true to who you are even when others try to tear you down. We are not so ignorant to think that the general population will understand that and we know that we have to work a little harder to prove ourselves as valuable members of our society. Our answer to that is J.M.A.D. Juggalos Making a Difference is now active in nine states and we host charity events for the local underprivileged or ill.
As a subculture we are proud of who we are, we are large enough to be a strong force for good given the chance and we are very much misunderstood. It is so sad to me that the government my taxes support looks at me as someone scary and beneath them simply because they do not agree with my taste in music. In closing, we are not a gang and we are not scary, we are simply a subculture.
Juggalos and Juggalettes are a fan base for music. Please visit saltlakecityjuggalos.com and sign the petition to help remove us from the Gang Task Force of Salt lake City. We would like the freedom to listen to what ever music we want without being judged as a gang member.
The Branley Family
Dear Branley Juggalo Clan,
Although a Juggalo did threaten to toss Mike Brown over the balcony at the recent Twizted show, we agree that the majority of Juggalos and Juggalettes aren’t violent or pose any real threat to society (other than their terrible tattoos and bad fashion sense). That sucks that some stupid egg-throwers keep fucking with you, but it’s complete bullshit that the police mistreated you when asking for help in protecting your property. Labeling someone as a gang member usually implies that there is some sort of organized crime going on (theft, drug dealing, human trafficking etc.). Come on SLPD, just because one crazy Juggalo attacked another crazy Juggalo with a battle axe (allegedly the victim gave the attacker an STD through a Juggalette) doesn’t mean the whole “Family” is part of an organized clown-crime-movement . Being a Juggalo doesn’t imply that you are a criminal, just a participant in another form of youth rebellion or member of an alternative subculture. I’m willing to bet that the majority of Juggalos out there are more likely to be rocking a hatchet man tattoo than packing a machete in the belt of their 42” pants. Come on SLPD, there is nothing illegal about having bad taste in music, clothing or shopping at Hot Topic. Besides, Who else is gonna serve you your 7-layer burrito at Taco Bell?