Latin Kings?

Driving through our small town last week, I spotted a man waiting to cross the street. 

He appeared to be about 30-years-old, clean-shaven, holding a plastic bag, and dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt with white-block letters. 

I read the shirt while passing him: LATIN KINGS.

Latin Kings?


Traffic cleared.  I checked the rear view mirror.  Unhurried, the man reached the opposite side of the road, and then disappeared into an alley.

Latin Kings as in "The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation" also known as the largest Chicago-based street gang?

I was immediately curious as to why a guy would want to wear a shirt like that in a small-town (with little current gang problems). 

After some thought, I decided that the man's choice of Latin Kings' clothing could be explained by one of the following:

(1) He is a Collector

The curious pedestrian is simply a collector of gang attire.  He models it.  Maybe something like: Latin Kings on Wednesday, Bloods for Thursday, Friday features MS 13, while the weekends are reserved for Skinhead outerwear.  Other days of the week are open to mix and match.

Note: Zazzle seems to offer a wonderful service in helping to connect the buyers of gang items to sellers who advocate violence including robbery, rape, and murder.  

(2) He is an Attention-Seeker

I can't think of a more effective way to either get your teeth kicked-out (for displaying gang paraphernalia in another gang's turf) or meet lots of police patrol officers looking for someone potentially associated with criminal activity--since the shirt shouts: "POTENTIAL GANG MEMBER: STOP ME AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!"

(3) Everything Else Was in the Wash

Back in the days of life as a single guy, I can relate to having few shirt choices; especially when my wardrobe was limited due to it being laundry day.  After several years of marriage, the Mrs. was really happy to see my old college undergraduate shirts and sweatshirts disappear (despite the lack of evidence, I think she had something to do with it).  I do admit that my fav college gear was getting a little faded, and um, undersized after all these years, but I could have squeezed at least another decade out out them.

(4) He Just Got Scammed

His pal who said he had a deal on memorabilia from that talented Swedish hip-hop group The Latin Kings was lying--the purchased shirt refers to the gang not the music scene.  At least the man can still brag about band members autographing his jar of ligonberry jam.

Ok, so I my explanations are a bit far-fetched, but I think me laughing at the options above are likely better than thinking about the real reason for the man's choice of t-shirt.

Photo is from here.


malone8 said...

Someone may have given him the shirt. When my husband was in FT. Lauderdale recently our son-in-law gave him a Miami Hurricane shirt,and our granddaughter gave him a Jr.ROTC shirt (both new).

G'day - Maxi

malone8 said...

Someone may have given him the shirt. When my husband was in Ft. Lauderdale recently our son-in-law gave him a Miami Hurricane shirt,and our granddaughter gave him a Jr.ROTC shirt (both new).

G'day - Maxi

malone8 said...

Someone may have given him the shirt. When my husband was in Ft. Lauderdale recently our son-in-law gave him a Miami Hurricane shirt and our granddaughter gave him a Jr.ROTC shirt (both new).

G'day - Maxi

Elena said...

Maybe he bought the shirt at Goodwill and has no idea what it means. Hopefully he won't run into any rival gangs that do!

soccermom said...

I would say an attention seaker.
a complete dumbass

Bob G. said...

You're being WAY too kind with him...LOL!

Yeah, he wants attention...NOT the "best" way to get that, especially if some MS-13ers are about.

Soccermom's got it right:
(he's a dumbass)

In Fort Wayne, it's more "underground", and you have to know the SPORTS LOGO and TEAM COLORS that are attached to a particular gang.

And there are always the "wannabes"
They just need a life.

Good post.

Matthew Rush said...

I think you may have over looked one possibility - this white dude has minority envy and is just dumb enough to think this t-shirt makes him cool, but just smart enough to know he's much likelier to get away with wearing it in a small town than in a city with real gangs.

Wait a minute. That actually makes sense. Damn. I was trying to say something funny.

Audrey Allure said...

Haha maybe he really had no clue at all.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Maybe someone gave him the shirt and he has no idea what it meant. Like maybe he thought he was the Latin King?

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Or, he found it at a thrift shop.

Here's how old I am - many years ago, before kids, the Latin Kings had recently made their debut (or one that was in the news.) I remember walking a few blocks in from Lake Michigan in Chicago and seeing their markings on building walls.

secret agent woman said...

My vote is for a variant of #3 - He's a poser.

Kimi said...

I'm going with either attention seeker or it might have been the last shirt he had left to wear that was viably clean. Guess we won't know what the purpose was, though. Good to always keep our eyes opened :). I tried getting my hands in the formation of that picture you have posted. Looks like a star. I even counted the fingers to make sure it was all ten :). Hope you're well.

Brian Miller said...

he got it at the goodwill...there are amazing things there you know...

Tara said...

So, are you saying you got married to have clean clothes? It's okay, I got married so I didn't have to take out the garbage anymore. :D

I vote for: The guy is clueless. (One can hope, right?)

carma said...

the MS-13 gang is huge near where I live, yet I've never been inspired to purchase a shirt. Maybe I can make up my own on cafe press ;-)

James (SeattleDad) said...

Hope he didn't get caught off gaurd with that, after buying it at a thrift shop.

kathryn said...

Oh, I love your take on this! And I honestly think the guy was trying to look "cool"...or his version of it.

Or maybe he had no clue what the t-shirt meant when he picked it up out of the dollar bin...

BobKat said...

In a small town, where being macho may help in getting the babes, wearin a Latin Kings T-Shirt is nothing. You can have long hair, and get hassled. What really strikes FEAR and ATTENTION is wearing apparel with the logo of a marijuana leaf or NORML.

Excellent post as always Slam.

Kristin said...

We have those lovely gentlemen in Florida too. Le sigh.

passionofthemom said...

I concur with the "DUMBASS" theory that was mentioned a couple of times. That much is for sure!!

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your theories.

My guess is he thinks it's a movie.

The other day, I saw such a cool shirt in Cambridge. I'm not a big fan of the video game Grand Theft Auto and won't let my son play it. But the green t-shirt read "Grand Theft Rondo". It's for the Celtics player Rajon Rondo.

Nikole Hahn said...

We were on the California Highway heading home when my husband pointed to a motorcycle that just passed us.

"Look what it says? To get that jacket they had to murder someone."

The jacket read "precious ones." They are a part of a dangerous gang. It wasn't laundrey day for that guy, but then I got to thinking. Why in the world did they choose the name "precious ones." It doesn't sound tough. I hear that name and I immediatley think of the Precious Moments collection.

"Why don't they pull him over? Arrest him?" My husband grits his teeth.

"Because it's that little thing called probable cause. He could be an ex-con proud of a murder or they can't prove he did it."

Loved this blog. Very funny.

kirk954 said...

umm you guys know theres a rap group called latin kings right...he may have just been a fan