The FBI deemed in 2011 the Juggalos, a term used to describe Insane Clown Posse fans, known for their spidery hairstyles and love of Faygo, a “loosely organized hybrid gang”.
The Juggalos marched on Lincoln Memorial to protest this classification Sept. 16.
The Juggalos marched last week not to get their name off the gang list, but to let America know that they are not what we think they are and to express their distaste for their new label.
We, the Editorial Board, do not see why the FBI considers these music fanatics dangerous enough to be classified as a gang. We do not believe the classification is necessary.
A Juggalo is a fan of the band Insane Clown Posse. The band has a massive following and, each year, the Juggalos have a festival called the Gathering of the Juggalos. This year will be the 18th consecutive celebration.
While the Juggalos themselves are quite bizarre, they are not particularly dangerous. In fact, it is actually pretty inspirational these people who say they often feel displaced in society have found solidarity and family.
In 2014, NPR interviewed Patrick Flanary, a freelance journalist, about a court case against the FBI classification of the Juggalos as a gang. Flanary said the classification was unfair and created problems for fans of the stigma associated with being a Juggalo.
The FBI does not have strong ground for its claims of gang-related violence. The bureau has linked two episodes of violence to two self-proclaimed Juggalos, but Flanary said no violent acts have been committed since 2012.
The Michigan sector of ACLU supported the Juggalos in their lawsuit against the FBI and said they are “fighting for the basic American right to freely express who they are, to gather and share their appreciation of music.”
The case was dismissed because the FBI never ordered the police or any other law enforcement groups to target the Juggalos.
We will admit we understand where the stigma for being a Juggalo comes from. Insane Clown Posse does have sexist, violent and absurd lyrics. But, fans justify some of the lyrics by saying the group is not doing anything different from Rob Zombie and claim the band is “just telling horror stories.”
Americans have not had a problem with condoning violence in music before. Many still support this art and look past violence committed by artists.
Despite violence in the music they adore, the Juggalos do not commit heinous crimes. While the Editorial Board does not endorse the content of Insane Clown Posse's music, the controversial content does not warrant the Juggalos' classification as a gang.
As long as the Juggalos are not hurting each other and are not hurting the public, the public and the FBI should let them have their festivals, listen to Insane Clown Posse and march on Washington to protest their status as a gang all they want.
So, we, the Editorial Board, say, “Woop woop!” and crack a Faygo in your honor, Juggalos.