Internet Recruitment Goes Wrong For The Mounties

Oh, those wacky Canadians! Now they’re recruiting a new generation of Mounties on the 18th Street Gang Website (link goes to the CBC story). I KNOW that the gang situation in Vancouver exists – mostly in Asian-Canadian gangs – but do you really think that the 18th Street Gang will be able to help you clean up those mean streets?

This was, of course, a mistake. The RCMP was blind buying ad space on Lycos, and their ads were inadvertently included on a privately owned free website – that of the 18th Street Gang. The LA Times also picked up the story this AM and clarified that the ads were supposed to go on ads targeting “youths seeking entertainment related content.” Well, now I feel even safer knowing that the Mounties are hiring teenagers looking for the latest update on Fall Out Boy’s new single.

This also reminds me of a hilarious story that shows exactly how far off the mark the Mounties really were. When I was in college, the local police force was a Mountie detachment (the University of BC is technically not part of the City of Vancouver – that stops at the campus border). The sergeant in charge had a sitcom-like relationship with a lot of the student leaders, because student government fundraised by holding beer gardens, which often resulted in Drunken Hilarity. But the sergeant REALLY had it in for the Engineering Undergraduate Society. At UBC, the ‘Geers wore red jackets, with their names sewn on the back – and, according to legend, the RCMP sergeant was convinced that the Engineers were a gang, that the jackets were their gang colors, and went out of his way to harass them.

So, somehow, in conclusion, I’m not really surprised. If Sergeant Hickman can mistake the letterman jackets of a pack of hardcore nerds for gang colors, then it doesn’t surprise me that the RCMP wouldn’t have recognized a gang website even if they had seen it. I wish I could have heard the conversation when the CBC informed them of their inadvertent sponsorship. I bet it was classic.