Jacking in from the "Roll Over John Dillinger" Port:
Washington, DC -- The latest rogue development to hit the Net is the appearance of so-called "cybergangs." It has been hyped by the media as an emerging, cyber-trend and given credence by citing the concerns of law enforcement officers with expertise in gang related activities.
Small problem: It's a hoax.
A Dispatch investigation has uncovered that the genesis of cybergangs leads to one Nick Woomer, 16-year-old preppy white kid in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Woomer, who uses the "gangsta'" name of "N-Doggg," created a "gang" called "Glock 3" on a lark, and hoax gang site was established by real gangbangers out of Detroit.
"It was a joke from the start," Woomer says via Email. "Me and two other friends (all of us suburban white kids) started this whole thing because someone would do some graffiti around the school and all of the sudden a well-to-do suburban school is gang-infested," he says.
Sensing he had the potential to pull off the first ever cybermedia-prank that even the infamous media prankster Joey Skaggs would love, Woomer says he and his friends, "decided to milk the situation for all it was worth." So they "made up" Glock 3, named after the gun "mentioned in a bunch of rap songs," he says, and used "3" because there "were 3 of us." Then they "recruited" a bunch of friends, gave them "a bunch of 'G'd up' (or "gangster") names," he says.
The media-prank fooled at least one "expert," Capt. David Gonzales, head of the gang task force for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The Arizona Republic quoted Gonzales as saying Glock 3 "is the best-known gang web site in country."
The original Glock 3 site ran into trouble earlier this year and was shut down by its Internet Service Provider. The site was revived when Woomer received an offer from someone in Auckland, New Zealand known only by the Internet name of "Sinister." Sinister offered to revamp the entire site using his own disk space, housed on Voyager, a New Zealand ISP.
Using his considerable HTML chops, Sinister transformed the page into a kind of "be all you can be" gang site, complete with ginned up "gangsta'" talk, grade school drawings of "G's" (now removed, as of a recent site update) and pictures, "straight from my homeboyz in East L.A" which turn out to be nothing more than scans from gansta rap albums and pirated for display on the hoax gang site.
Although Woomer readily copped to the hoax, Sinister, when confronted, went ballistic and continues to insist he's a real gang-banger. However, in the course of a week long run-and-shoot Email exchange, his story breaks down on so many fronts, that he appears to be nothing more twisted, egomaniacal snapperhead, one that doesn't know when call off a good joke and move on.
Sinister claims to be a 19-year-old, Hispanic whose family immigrated to New Zealand. When I asked him how he got involved in computers, this was his reply:
"It'z a long story.....but to cut it short, I got into computaz thru' my P.O. He said I should 'take up a hobby' an' when I waz forced to go on one of those wackass 'troubled youth' courses by tha popo, we were taught "life skills" etc. an' one of those skillz was usin' computaz an' they had tha 'Net there too so I thought this looked pretty dope an' so my homie 'borrowed' ;-> me a phatass computa an' I got hooked up. I waz disappointed to find no gang shit on tha Web until I accidentally stumbled across tha original Glock 3 Web site when I waz doin' a search for pix my gun (Glock 19) way back in February. Tha rest iz history!!"
But when Dispatch contacted the Auckland authorities, they had no record of anyone fitting Sinister's profile. When asked what crime he had committed and asked to explain why he had a "P.O." (parole officer) when few kids get put on "parole", Sinister bluffed and changed his story: "Sorry, I don't discuss any criminal shit I've done. Well he likes to think he'z a parole officer. More like a fuckin' youth worker tho'!"
Though Sinister insisted on using his gangsta' rap in Email to me, his history of postings to Usenet, as ferreted out using Deja News, tells a different story.
Back in 1995 Sinister created "Flamenet" a kind of "gang" he says, that was meant to intimidate other posters. As the "leader" of Flamenet, however, Sinister always posted comments in plain English.
Flamenet is described in Sinister's sig, circa 1995, as "Some flame for a reason, others for defense, Flamenet just flames, so let the pain commence." A typical "Flamenet" posting by Sinister goes like this: "You sick cunt! You're encouraging teens to join your illicit sex romps!! What a fuckin' pervert. Post in the appropriate newsgroups, you chronic masturbator!"
In hundreds of postings all signed with his trademark, "Sinister by name, sinister by nature," sig, he uses correct English, with no hint of rap-tinged "gangsta" talk.
When Sinister is confronted with the various ASCII costumes he's worn over the last two years -- the irritating little, straight English spewing twerp verses the "gansta'" -- he offers this reply: "Tha white system forced me to speak like 'dat! I waz hassled for speakin' tha way I speak to my homiez in tha 'hood so I had to act like I wasn't no G for a while on Usenet! Now that I gotz Glock 3, I can speak however tha fuck I want! It'z somethin' a white person like you would have trouble understandin' tho'."
According to his previous Usenet romps, he is apparently a fan of Sandra Bullock, having checked into the alt.fan.sandra-Bullock newsgroup on Jan. 15 of this year with the comment: "Just checkin' out my old stomping ground!"
When Dispatch confronted Sinister with the hoax, and noted that Woomer had copped to the joke, he flamed back violently, insisting that he is "REAL an' I'm HARDCORE. That'z how I want you to tell this story. A story of a 'divided' click wit' tha fake asses like N-Doggg on one side an' me an' all my REAL homiez on tha other side."
But one has to wonder just how "hardcore" someone is that laments the absence of Beavis and Butthead from the New Zealand airwaves and pines for pro-wresting. Here's another Sinister Usenet comment, posted to ALT. TEENS, one of his favorite hangouts:
"Yeah, well we haven't got Beavis and Butthead yet over here coz the faggots in charge of tv programs an' stuff are too chicken-shit to put it on! They're afraid there's gonna be a backlash or something. We even lost our pro wrestling programs cos kids were imitating the moves in the playground! (me included!)."
Yep, a real "hardcore" gang-banger in action there... the mind boggles.
Beyond his infantile postings to Usenet, Sinister refused to several requests to talk on the phone. "I already got beef wit' local setz who wannna see me in tha casket an' word on tha street iz that tha popo have got my phone wired coz I'm wanted in connection wit' a few thingz, " he wrote. When I suggested he call me collect, from a payphone, he refused and gave no explanation.
Although he claims he's from East Los Angeles, he refused to answer basic questions to back this up. I asked him what school he attended there and to name a few teachers. No answer. I asked him to name the streets that defined the turf of any gang that operated in his old neighborhood. No answer. I asked him to give me a single address on the street where he used to live. No answer. I asked him to name a few stores in or around his East L.A. neighborhood. No answer.
In private Email between Woomer and Sinister, the stress begins to show as late as Oct. 14th. On that date, Sinister sends a message to Woomer about the schedule for updating the Glock 3 site. By now there's been much media attention, and it's increasing. Sinister, anxious to make a good showing, is concerned that he might be doing *too* good a job, which further increases the chance of the hoax being exposed.
Here is the Oct. 14th Email:
>Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 08:57:34 +1300 (NZDT) >X-Sender: email@example.com >To: Nihilist
>From: Sinista >Subject: Re: DJ Elite an' tha Ill Squad > >At 14:44 13/10/96 -0400, you wrote: >> >>Jist to let yo' ass know I sent him a message inductin' hiz ass. >> >>Peace out, >>N Doggg > >Cool. Yo' I know tha sig says next update in November but I'm >fixin' to get shit updated by tha end of tha week. November >would be too late coz of all tha media peepz that are visitin', >I want it to look more dope but tha problem iz if it'z too >phat then won't it ruin ah credibility? Too professional or some >shit?? What do you think? Peace.
When Woomer tells Sinister that the game is over and to "stop taking this shit so seriously, " he gets blasted by the Auckland wannabe gangster, who writes back: "No way, holmes! This shit ain't over yet! I want this shit in ALL THA MAGAZINEZ that are at tha book stores 'round tha world."
Woomer and his crew pulled off the first cyber-media prank, though it fell short of his big goal, which was, he says, "To get some asshole politician to publicly denounce the site and get us a bunch of media attention, then I was going to come out and say it was a huge joke and ruin his career."
For Woomer, real life goes on, "got physics to do now... " he writes and fades back into the Net.
Sinister, however, continues to flounder in his own dillusions of grandeur, being fed by a host of media outlets, from TV to radio to newspapers, all clamoring for interviews. Here's a clue, folks: use a little electronic shoe-leather and call this twisted little fuck on his bluff. Better yet, don't call at all.