Juggalos, media scares, and the West Memphis 3

ICP on Nightline

This is sort of old news right now, but in March Nightline ran a feature on Juggalos and violence, but with ICP mania sweeping the net (you know what music video I’m talking about), it seems like the subject is still pertinent. (If you don’t know who ICP are or what a Juggalo is, go ahead and either watch the Nightline feature or read the transcript at the link and then come back.)

The closest thing to an expert Nightline could find to support their thesis that an epidemic of Juggalo violence is sweeping the nation is a single detective from a state currently best known for passing a horrendous racial profiling law. But the killah klowns aren’t as eloquent in defending themselves as Marilyn Manson was when media-hacks were trying to tar and feather him for similar reasons. About the most intelligent defense they were able to piece together was this: “Out of millions and millions that have bought our albums — some of them have probably committed horrendous crimes.”

Now, ICP are not ones to rely on the work of scientists and I’ll assume that goes for statisticians as well. So I’ll do my best to break this down for them.

It’s difficult to estimate the total number of Juggalos. The 2009 Gathering of Juggalos had 20,000 people in attendence. The most recent ICP album sold about 50,000 copies in the first week. But let’s be conservative and go with the 20,000 estimate. (I actually suspect it’s much higher than this.)

Nightline cites only 3 instances of reported Juggalos actually murdering anyone. To be charitable, let’s assume there are 10 people who are both Juggalos and murderers. That would mean AT MOST .05% of Juggalos are murderers. Granted that’s a significantly higher percentage than the US population at large (there were 16,272 murders in 2008 and the US had a population of about 305 million). But less than 1%, at most, isn’t exactly cause for alarm. And I would think Arizona’s finest would be better served by realizing that 99.94 percent of murders are committed by non-Juggalos and adjusting their law enforcement priorities accordingly. (As I write this, the number of murders committed per year by Toby Keith fans is currently unavailable.)

Why have I put myself in the improbable position of defending ICP, or more specifically their fans and people who could be misconstrued as their fans? In 1993 three teenagers were doomed to spend the rest of their lives in prison for listening to the wrong type of music. And I would hate to see something like that happen again thanks to more shlock journalism and wrong-headed law enforcement.

And a preemptive response to the inevitable one-liners about how Juggalos (re: poor mostly rural teenagers who don’t fit in) deserve imprisonment, death, or worse for their fashion-sins: go right right ahead and fuck off and die already.

See also:

Vice’s surprisingly good coverage of the Juggalo phenomenon.

14 Comments

  1. great article klint! however, you may wanna go ahead and just link the miracles video there for the 3 people who haven’t seen it yet. FUCKIN LINKS HOW DO THEY WORK

  2. Good job. Well written and thought through.

    It’s fun to heap scorn on juggalos, but this piece is much needed.

  3. As much as I love to hate on them they don’t deserve to be considered as criminals just by nature of the (crap) music they listen to. The worst crime most of them will commit is a crime against fashion (or smuggling strange midwestern soda pop into europe).

  4. Sell out.

  5. f*ckin magnets! how do they work?

  6. Good article. Hadn’t heard of Morton’s List. Shit makes me want to roll dice and drink Faygo.

  7. Let’s be honest and get the facts right. Juggalos are not being looked down upon by police around the nation for a few murders.It’s because of the uprise in crime committed by “juggalos”. Anything from simple theft, vandalizm, and smoking pot, to more serious crimes of rape, vicious assults, and yes murder. If you combine the uprise in crime with the seemingly gang like nature of juggalos it is easy to see why this is happening.

  8. Good morning,

    I’d give the obligatory “Whoop Whoop” to you but at this time I feel it’s not needed. So what is the issue with all of the post 9/11 youth in this nation considering Psychopathic as a consumerist corporation? Is it not good enough that two guys from a poor portion of Detroit worked from 1991 till present to create a record label that was actually a success? I mean the gross NET income for Napoleon Dynamite was somewhere around 47million with only an investment of around 50k then all of a sudden everyone is wearing truck stop shirts, and believing that 5th grade quality drawings were somehow “indie”. How much did Viacom spend making sure all of the music and art they were pushing on their many television stations and magazines were geared towards emocore indie rockerbois who would more than likely just buy right in and purchase as many Panic at the Disco and Band of Horses items that their Republican supporting, Christian, Fox News glued, vapid, fearful, parents would blindly pass off their credit card to. Nice safe white washed corporate rock meant for the little morons who’s parents are now losing their homes, and waving signs…

    But oh no! Horrorcore survived?! How can this be?

    At what point did you miss the term “Underground”?

    Now that the systems of control in this nation are crumbling to dust, even with all of your ME Generation concern for your phone and trimming your beard and making sure your clothing looks the MOST “indie” and your comments are the MOST catty, it would seem that all of the finger pointing isn’t helping to kill off this trend that seems to have outlasted your fashion from 5 years ago.

    Good article, I just wish it didn’t attract the American Bush Youth…Don’t forget to salute after you comb your bangs today.

  9. Klint Finley

    May 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    “It’s because of the uprise in crime committed by “juggalos”. Anything from simple theft, vandalizm, and smoking pot, to more serious crimes of rape, vicious assults, and yes murder.”

    Cliff – where are the numbers supporting this claim? The Nightline refers to “a series of murders and other violent acts” but only gives 3 murders as examples of what they’re talking about. Vasey claims that Arizona has “multiple individuals committing gang-related crimes, gang-motivated crimes.”

    That’s an astounding figure: MULTIPLE. That’s like, MORE THAN ONE.

  10. Twiztid_Blunt

    May 13, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Thank you all so much. Hate us all you want, think the music is crap, but thank you for accepting we shouldn’t be a gang. I like music and that’s all there is to it, but people keep turning it into so much more and there’s nothing I can do but try and explain myself, but who’s going to listen?

  11. swaneejuggalo

    May 16, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Terrific well written piece kudos to you my friend..

  12. f*ck off juggalo hatten bitc*es
    mmfwcl

  13. its_about_family

    May 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    “It’s because of the uprise in crime committed by “juggalos”. Anything from simple theft, vandalizm, and smoking pot, to more serious crimes of rape, vicious assults, and yes murder.”

    there is a huge problem with that statement, besides the fact that there are no facts supporting it. The bigger problem would be if there is anyone out there committing crimes of rape, vicious assaults, or murder claiming to be a juggalo, has no idea what being a juggalo is. As for the “teen crowd” being used as an example that they commit murder because of icp’s music is nothing more then ridiculous. where’s the parental supervision in these cases? music is marked with explicit content for that reason alone. to prevent under age listeners getting into something their not mature enough to handle. parents allow the music to be played and then want to point the fingers when their child takes something intended for entertainment and turns it into something serious. All that murder and horrific things they rap about is ment for entertainment only and not to be taken seriously. what should be taken seriously, and i can’t express this enough juggalos, is that when they rap about family and being there for them, that’s what being a juggalo is about. not how many people you can rob, shoot, or humiliate. but how much good you can do, and the love you can give, for your family and the ones closest to you. Myself being a juggalo have never done nothing to do harm to another person’s life. not saying i’m without sin. I have been in fights for stupid reasons and done my share of drugs in the past. but I’ve never done these things because i am a juggalo. i did these things out of my own stupidity. Now in my present days i’m a hard working citizen. a person who helps out in volunteer work, fund raisers, and even doing things as simple as helping an elderly lady do yard work just because in her condition, she can’t do it. I listen to psychopathic artist and call myself a juggalo not for hate, and crime. but for the sense of belonging and family. With all that said, i hope that alot of misguidence and misunderstanding has been cleared up. Before i go i’d like to give a shout out to all my true juggalo family, MMFWCL! add me at myspace.com/khaosklown

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