#18 It’s Not Always About Gangs – Part III
During the 1980's, a movie called Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze, was released. The premise was rather ridiculous: Russia launched a surprise invasion of the U.S., took over a large portion of the country, and the only resistance was a small group of teenage football players.
In spite of this, it attained cult status among a lot of men who grew up in that era. Nearly every guy whom I know in prison loves it, and when it is on, everyone watches, usually with enjoyment and much loud commentary. A number of years ago, in another prison, Red Dawn aired late at night, and we were all watching. Unlike Terre Haute, which has solid doors on all the cells, this was an old prison, with open bars. It was extremely loud, with everyone yelling back and forth, regarding their favorite scenes. As usual, someone had made wine. (It is entirely possible that I was the culprit.) So a lot of the guys were drunk, and it was even louder than normal.
Each time the football players won a victory over the Russians, they would yell the name of their football team: "Wolverines!" At some point, one of the prisoners yelled along with them, and the cry was instantly taken up by others, with much drunken laughter. Even after the movie was over, when someone would yell "Wolverines!“ everyone joined in, and it kept on till half the unit was involved. Someone howled along with the yells, which instantly sparked an entire inebriated debate. "That isn't a wolverine!" "Yes, it is!" "No, it isn't!" "Yes, it is!" "No, that is a wolf, dumbass !" "Ok, smart guy, you make a wolverine sound!" In the end, since no one could decide what type of noise a wolverine might make, it was decided that a wolf howl was good enough. So each time the "Wolverine" shout arose, everyone howled along with it, and laughed. The next morning, the entire prison was on lockdown. The Special Investigative Services (SIS) had instituted an investigation into a possible gang conflict, and the prison remained on lockdown until every single prisoner in the place had been escorted out to their offices and interviewed. This process took about 3 days. What did they want to know? Yes, you guessed it: Who are the Wolverines. SIS had already received "reliable information" that the Wolverines were a Southern gang, attempting to move into Aryan Brotherhood territory, and a bloodbath was imminent. Luckily for everyone, SIS was on the job, to keep the world safe. After the interviews, over 30 people were put in the hole, as suspected Wolverines. I was one of those suspects. Those of us who were smart enough to keep our mouths shut, and deny any knowledge of anything at all, were let out in a few weeks. But a few brave souls decided they wanted to help out, and attempted to clear up the misunderstanding. They explained about Red Dawn, and all that had occurred, letting it be known that there was no Wolverine gang. I never saw any of those individuals again. Since SIS can never be fooled, they did not fall for the "lies" about movies and drunken actions. The attempt at deception was used to confirm all five of those prisoners as "known Wolverines", conspiring together to hide their gang. They all remained in the hole, awaiting transfer to a gang facility. Shortly after this incident, I was extradited to another jurisdiction, and was gone nearly 4 and 1/2 years. Upon my return, during the intake interviews for prisoners being processed into the prison, each person was questioned regarding knowledge of a specific gang... the ever elusive Wolverines. For all I know, the search could still be ongoing. Which is why it is never a good idea to tell SIS when it isn't a gang!
Next article: #19 It’s Not Always About Gangs – Part IV