Skater culture clash

According to the Concrete Disciples, “On Saturday, November 5th, Richard Sanchez unleashed the Suicide Bomber show on Los Angeles at the Han Cholo gallery.”

Skater Art

Skaters have always enjoyed a kind of fringe style to their music and art, almost as a way of demonstrating against the culture and society that their elders expect them to blithely take for granted. This is no different than any youth movement that finds itself boxed in and deprived of real opportunity, so it is hardly surprising that skater bands and logos would shock those who fit the traditional sense of “conservative”. If you believe the punk movement managed to allow expression that didn’t exist prior, that was the whole idea.

Well, apparently someone on a plane had some skater art/logo on his notebook and was dressed in the typical “thrash” and “rage” gear of teenage angst about the future. Nevermind that this stuff has become mainstream and highly commercialized even with names like “Independent” and “Suicidal Tendencies” , or the fact that the guy was 36 years old and possibly under the influence of controlled substances. The details are interesting, but the point is that his mere appearance coupled with the words “suicide bomber” on a notebook was interpreted by another passenger as a possible terrorist threat.

I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about the art show (although I think the gallery name, Han Cholo, is clever). I just think this is a perfect example of how important culture is to security. If you are unable to recognize friend from foe, artist from attacker, then you have no way of properly estimating threats and are likely to attempt all kinds of irrational and unsubstantiated things just to reduce the feeling of vulnerability.

The Mercury News report quoted Special Agent LaRae K. Quy, spokeswoman for the FBI’s San Francisco office, who “noted, there was ‘no reason to believe there was any sort of terrorist activity going on there.””

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