Some days I wish “denial” was a river in Egypt

I will readily admit that most days I go about living my life in a happy and deliberately insulated bubble. Bad things generally happen to other people, crime takes place far, far away from me; and gangs exist in a world that has little to no bearing on mine. Okay stop, I know all three of those statements to be false. I'm bougie, not naïve. It's not that I don't know what's real; more like that I don't want to be slapped in the face with it every second of the day.

But I'm a contradiction: I don't like watching the local news but I will watch the cable news outlets. I don't read my local paper but I follow a ga-zillion news, culture, political, and relationship blogs regularly. I hate hearing about local crime statistics but I watch the hell out of Forensic Files, all the CSIs, and my personal favorite Dominick Dunne: Power, Privilege & Justice (a truTV docudrama recounting snobby, elitist rich folks who can't buy their way out trouble). I recognize the irony in all of this.

A few years back, I watched a reality show on A&E called Dallas S.W.A.T. and was able to suck my teeth and shake my head at the takedowns as long as they happened on the other side of town. The minute they showed a kidnapping/ hostage situation/ gun battle less than ten minutes from my spot… I was done, son. TMI – Too Much Information.

If I thought Dallas S.W.A.T. was bad, I had no idea what was coming for me on the History Channel (THC). Since I work from home, I often catch super-random shows during the day and keep them on in the background for noise. This is the only reason I've watched/heard every episode of Charmed, seen twenty hours of Barbarians, and can recite some episodes of Law & Order in my sleep… verbatim. At any rate, every once and a while, I would catch a show on THC called Gangland. Gangland is a half hour show that profiles the origination, rise and decline (or continuation) of a different gang each episode.

On this particular episode, they were profiling the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). As they talked about the origins and spread of the gang, my fingers froze on the keyboard. "When we return, we'll show how the ABT has spread into Dallas suburbs and are recruiting not from prisons but from the boys next door." My head whipped around, say what now? Which suburb? Which boy next door? As we say in the BougieHousehold, "Aw heckie naw!" I ran downstairs to double check that the perimeter motion sensors where still engaged (cuz that'll REALLY stop somebody if they want in) and sprinted back up to my office. Out of breath (I don't do stairs), I sat down to give the program my full attention.

Let me stop for a minute here and share. OneChele cannot watch super-scary things. Horror movies and me have a bad track record going way back to BougieOlderBro taking me to see Night Watch when I was child. Can't do it. I have such a vivid imagination that I literally dream myself into the plots for weeks (months, years) to come. For some reason I can watch violence (Scarface, Godfather) but not scary, horror-type stuff. It comes back in Technicolor brilliance with me as the erstwhile victim. I don't know why, one day I'll ask a $400/hour analyst and get it all ironed out.

Back to Gangland. At this point, common sense should have said Chele, turn it off! Someone was surely redecorating on HGTV and those were nightmares you could live with… but no! I decided I really needed to know. That was the scariest half-hour of television I have seen in a while. These Neo-Nazis are EVERYWHERE and they are not playing. Recruiting, organizing, hellraising and whatnot… around my favorite parts of Dallas. When they got to the part about gangs being like a virus that affect unsuspecting communities, I had to get to Googling.

Okay, seems as if they were really starting to expand and then Katrina happened. A few N'Awlins boyz joined up with some Dallas ruffnecks and the ABT started catching some beatdown. Membership decreased for awhile then Obama took office and they are rising up again. (Haters! No seriously, they HATE him.) So now the New Black Panther Party of Dallas is stepping into the fight. Yeah, I don't feel so much better. Seems to me if you add gun powder to gasoline that explosion will be twice as big when someone lights the fuse. And someone ALWAYS lights the fuse.

Yesterday, I gave my barista (seemingly non-threatening white guy) the squinty side-eye the entire time he whipped up my 2% half-caramel, half-white mocha frappacino with no whip. Last night I dreamed I was racing down the street away from unknown pursuers and BougieMom was in the passenger seat saying, "Floor it, baby- I didn't survive the 60s to go through THIS bullshiggity." I woke up sweaty and exhausted, positive there was a cross burning on the lawn. It's the imagination, ya'll. Equal parts blessing and curse.

My moral to this story is the following question: Is it sometimes better just not to know these things? Or is the best defense a good offense? Forewarned, forearmed? What do you think?