Critical Analysis of the Nazi Low Riders (NLR)

I, as a Nazi Low Rider, hereby swear an unrelenting oath upon the green graves of our sires, upon the children in the wombs of our wives, upon the throne of god almighty, sacred to his name, to join together in the holy union with the brothers in this circle and to declare forthright that from this day moment on that I have no fear of death.The words used in this declaration are not new to the U.S. citizens. They represent the first part of the Nazi Low Rider (NLR) oath, which is a major white prison gang in the United States (White Prison Gangs, 2009).The National Gang Crime Research Centre has revealed that most prison gangs have been formed form street gangs. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has commented on the general escalating levels of criminal activities in the United States correctional facilities. According to the Bureau, a gang is defined as a set of inmates, who collaborate so as form an organizational set up (Gaines Miller, 2008).This research paper seeks to critically analyze the Nazi Low Riders with an emphasis on its criminal profiling.

The Nazi Low Riders history
The Nazi Low Riders started in the late 1970s in the prison system of California. This was through the influence of the leader of Aryan Brotherhood (AB), John Stinson, so that he could form an organization of white supremacy. The aim of Stinson was to use the association as an Aryan Brotherhood strong arm. The youth adopted the term Nazi so as to display the racist philosophies that they had. From the Hispanic gang members, the youth borrowed the term low riders so that they could make fun of other gangs. In 1990, the NLR was declared a security threat by the law enforcement authorities. Its operations were first identified in Costa Mesa, California (White Prison Gangs, 2009).

According to Yablonsky (2005), John Stinson referred to the recruits as skinheads. He targeted the young skinheads as they were more energetic .His idea of forming the group was that of a total white supremacy. The prison gang was hostile to all the inmates who had a Jewish or Black origin. The group was formed as a hate all other groups gang. As Stinson claimed, it was to maintain a white America (Yablonsky, 2005). In the 1980s, the prison authorities worked very hard to ensure that they had dismantled the AB and the NLR groups through isolating the members in other private prisons. Among the prisons that they were incarcerated in were the Pelican Bay and other Security Housing Units in America. The reason as to why they planned the isolation was to weaken the expansion of the NLR (Montaldo, 2010).

Characteristics of the NLR
Since its formation in California, the gang has spread to several other places like Illinois, Florida, Colorado and Arizona. It is a very tightly knit gang with an inventive communication system. They have a specific slang language that they use so that they can hide their secrets from their rival prison gangs and the correctional officers. For example, the term kites is used to mean letters. Not only does the group operate in prison, but it also extends its activities on the streets, especially after their release from prison (Yablonsky, 2005).

According to Los Angeles Magazine (1999), the NLR members were estimated to be over thirteen thousand in the United States in 1999. The reason as to why inmates joined the group was to avoid harassment from other Black or Hispanic groups. There were some Jews who joined the group, and they detested the blacks very much. This is because they considered them as a threat, and at the same time degraded them because of their race. The NLR claims to have a total pledge to the white race. However, research has proved otherwise, because sixty percent of all the criminal activities they engage in are usually against their fellow whites. This happens as a result of disagreement in business deals. Therefore, the research shows that business comes first in the group (Los Angeles Magazine, 1999).
The NLR has very many enemies. The most common ones are the American Mafia, Nuestra Familia, Crips, Black Guerilla Family and the Bloods gangs. The NLR has an active relationship with the Public

Enemy Number One and the Aryan brotherhood (Montaldo, 2010).
Like the other prison gangs in America, the NLR has an inmate code of communication. The gang leaders pass on information through writing letters. The letters are characterized by art work, and secret numerals and letters so as to keep the information secret. The slang language is used in writing the letters (Hunt, Riegel, Morales Waldorf, 1993).

Organizational structure of the NLR
The membership of the NLR in the prisons is based on a hierarchy which has got kids, juniors and seniors. The seniors are the ones who lead the NLR groups. Most of the seniors have led the gang from the time it was established in California. For one to attain this position, a member must have a total of five years experience in the NLR. Additionally, the members must be approved by three senior members who have served for a long time. The juniors that are directly below the seniors do not have the authority of inducting new members, but can point out potential NLR members. It is the responsibility of the seniors to ensure that the initiated kids adhere to the rules of the group. The kids are usually from other smaller white power gangs. Examples of these smaller gangs include the Insane White Boys and the Peni-Skins (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

The look
Ordinarily, prison gangs usually have their own specific culture, which is often autonomous. The NLR gang is no exception. Their culture includes the use of graffiti, a specific dress code, slang language, tattoos and hand signals. Much of the Nazi icons and symbolism vary from place to place. For instance, a Hunnington Beach member of the NLR gang may vary from the one in Lancaster. It is very difficult to identify gang members of the NLR. This is because they do not adhere to any specific rules on dress or tattoos (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Though there is no single tattoo that is required of the members of the NLR, there are several symbols that are widely used in the gang. Symbols like the SS lightning bolts, the swastika and images of Hitler are commonly used. Some members of the NLR prefer to use demons, eagles and skulls. Additionally, patches or tattoos with the number 88 and WP (White Power) are also used. The dress code of the NLR members is white. There are several white paraphernalia like printed T-Shirts which have their logo. The NLR members have developed a habit of hiding their clothes from the public and the law enforcement authorities (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

The violence in the prisons
In the U.S, the state is in charge of parole and incarceration of offenders and juveniles. In 1999, the state was faced with a challenge of dealing with the NLR gang. The group was responsible for the violence that occurred in the Californian prisons. As a result, the members of the NLR gangs were housed separately (Yablonsky, 2005).The members of the NLR group are career criminals .Additionally they have set a record of having a very high recidivism rates. In the prison, their survival depends on gang affiliation. NLR severally operates as an umbrella group for the other white gangs in the rest of the prisons. Recent estimates reveal that the NLR is responsible for eighty percent of the Californian Prisons violence. In fact, the Californian prison authorities officially ranked the NLR as a disruptive gang status. This is because the group had suddenly become a noticeable source of criminal activity and violence. Most of the violence comes as a result of lack of submitting to the NLR by the other white gangs. Also, the use of drugs contributes to the violence they exhibit. The only gang that the NLR considers equal to it is the AB. The NLR members often instigate violence through leading revolts and among the officials and inmates in the facilities of correction (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Another source of violence by the NLR is caused by the rising number of the NLR members who are strongly opposed to the alliance of their group with the AB. Most of them have a desire of achieving a sovereign status as the solitary major white gang. Some of the NLR members feel that the members of the AB who are older use archaic criminal tactics. This is perceived as a danger because those tactics are already known by their rival gangs and the authorities of the correctional facilities. This issue has resulted to several prison fights, where the members fighting end up getting wounded. The members who advocate for the breaking up of the AB and NLR alliance are normally sent out of the group (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Drug issues
Yablonsky (2005), states that narcotics trafficking is one of the major illegal activities that NLR engages in. According to Anti Defamation League (2010), the NLR dominates the production and trade of methamphetamine, which is commonly referred to as speed or meth. The drug is very easy to produce, and it brings back good profit as it has a high demand. The members of the NLR have come up with specific places where they run the meth labs. Mostly, they use motel rooms and homes as their business centers. For instance, the NLR has created very many meth labs in San Bernardino. Other cities that get the drug from the NLR are the Antelope Valley, Orange County and Riverside. Research has also showed that NLR work closely with several motorcycle gangs in distribution and production of meth production (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Female members have a role to play
The participation of ladies in the NLR is unique. This is very important as they not only offer financial and personal support, but also continue with the business operations once the male NLR members are sent to prison. The female members are very influential as far as recruitment of new members is concerned. They offer free sexual favors and drugs to the targeted recruits. Ultimately, they end up recruiting these members using intimidation and force. Afterwards, the recruits are forced to commit crime. Most of the members who are targeted are usually wealthy. Therefore, all the benefits they get from these gangs go towards the gangs lifestyle and expenses (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Street organization
Even if the gang started its operations on the prison, it extended to the streets. The streets became their second home after prison. NLR members meet in bars, fast food joints, high schools and video arcades (Anti Defamation League, 2010). These meeting places have been termed as the attack scenes of the NLR, as shown in Costa Mesa. They have the frequency of striking innocent people as they are targets of the rage motivated by race. In other societies, the members of the NLR live in the same apartment or building. The groups they form serve as families of individuals who are marginalized in the society, and have lacked a sense of belonging. Usually, the individuals in this group are ex-prisoners or jobless youth. When the members of the NLR move to residential areas, they dominate the whole neighborhood. They establish themselves through giving threats to people and harassing other residents (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Other criminal activities
The Nazi Low Riders are also involved in credit card fraud. They rob credit cards from people and shop using them. They target the wealthy people and narcotic business people who are not members of their gang so that they can get their wealth. Additionally, the members have participated in illegal gun trafficking and assault. The NLR gang does not only use fists and steel- toed boots for defense, but also use handguns, automatic weapons and rifles. The NLR has been known to attack the correctional officers in very many instances. For instance, in the 1998 spring, two police officers were attacked by the group in Torrance (Anti Defamation League, 2010). According to a gang officer in the Sheriff Department of the Riverside County, the NLR gang is very rebellious. The officer states that, If we stop them and they decide that they dont want to do what we tell them ... many times theyll try to fight the officer, (Associated Press, 1999).

Several NLR members are usually charged with possession of firearms. In March 2001, two members of the NLR were arrested with seventy three firearms. The firearms were used by the NLR members to participate in their illegal activities. Additionally, twelve inmates of the NLR were indicted on murder charges, where they used illegal arms in their attacks (Staff and wire Reports, 2007).According to White Prison Gangs (2009), the fifth part of the NLR gang states that Let me bear witness to you, my brothers, that should an enemy agent hurt you, I will chase him to the ends of the earth and remove his head from his body. This reveals how the group is involved to all sorts of violence, including murder.

It is disheartening to realize that despite the efforts of the police officers to curb the gangs illegal activities, some correctional officers still collaborate with the NLR members. In 2004, a state correction officer was arrested for helping the NLR gang in the Chicagos Californian Institute for men to distribute drugs. He also assisted the gang leaders in planning the attack of other inmates. The officer was accused of engaging himself in a racketeering conspiracy of the NLR gang which aided in committing violent crimes and attacking inmates based on their race (Rosenzweig, 2004).

The alliances
The NLR has a strong ability of attracting young members from other smaller gangs composed of whites. Additionally, it has developed a habit of establishing links with other white supremacist organizations. The hostility, racism and anger of the NLR members make them fit for acting as rivals of the other race groups. The other white gangs usually take advantage of the NLR by enticing them with the hope that they will have a status in joining the Aryan Supremacy. The supremacist organizations of the Whites enjoy the limelight that the NLR members have by attacking the other races. This kind of behavior has caused a lot of violence because when the members realize that they are taken advantage of, they act with a lot of rage, causing several murders in the areas they operate in (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Racism of the highest degree
Some observers argue that the activities of the NLR are usually based on motivation for crime than an ideology of race. However, the NLR is involved in both, because they cannot recruit white members, or any person who is not willing to engage in criminal activities. They usually have a slogan which states Hate is survival. As a result, the members of the NLR believe that if they do not express hatred to black or Hispanic gangs, then there is no point of them existing as a gang. The NLR members center their hatred on the race traitors and the blacks. The race traitors are all the people who support the relationships which are interracial (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

The NLR also hate the Asians. Some members of the NLR have Hispanic names. In fact, others have wives or lady friends who have a Hispanic origin. The alliance between the Hispanics and the whites has a benefit to the group. Some members claim that the collaboration helps them to have a stronger support as they attack the black gangs. Also, some of the NLR members live in the Latino neighborhoods, and that is why they relate closely. In an interview, one member of the NLR gang stated that You must have at least half white blood but no black blood (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

Like father like son
Most of the NLR members are men. Evidence has shown that several of them are from families which have a long history of gang involvement. It is not a weird thing to find the father of an NLR member as one of the older members of the NLR. In addition, most of the NLR members have grown up in families which strongly believe in white supremacy and the concept of intolerance. This explains why the government authorities are faced with a challenge of dealing with the NLR members. There is no way a parent who has been an NLR member before can discourage a child in being part of the gang (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

The law enforcement An uphill task
The NLR gang has been rated as one of the strongly established groups in the U.S. It is a criminal force whose growth is alarming. Though it was formed in Californian correctional facilities, it has now spread to other parts of the U.S. The authorities have had speculations on its spread, and have seen a possibility of the gang spreading to the eastward side. All the same, the law enforcement has tried severally to destabilize the group, which has been a commendable job. However, it seems like the NLR is here to stay, making the task of the Law enforcement officers more difficult (Anti Defamation League, 2010).

If the Nazi Low Riders will ever be wiped off from the US, then it will be through collaboration of all the U.S. citizens. The non governmental organizations should act as watchdogs to the youth in the society by ensuring they get all the counseling they require. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the reasons which motivate the people from joining the Nazi Low Riders are dealt with. The parents also have a role to play as they bring up their youth.


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