Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
The Mormon Gang? (The Mutant Brady Bunch)
Time Magazine 30Aug99 L8
By Steve Lopez
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Salt Lake's violent version of the Straight
Edgers will be in the news again next month as the first of three
gang members goes on trial for the murder last Haloween of
15-year-old Bernardo Repeza, Jr. Repeza's father had moved his family
to Salt Lake to escape the violence he found in California.
The Straight Edgers remain something of an enigma, especially in Salt
Lake where some of them have become violent. In most ways, Straight
Edgers seem like Mormons. They don't drink or smoke or use drugs.
They are not promiscuous and condemn much of popular culture. But
Straight Edgers are also vegan (i.e., strictly vegetarian) and have
their own punk rock-like music. In Salt Lake some have turned to
violence, such as the murder of Repeza and the firebombing of a
McDonalds under construction.
What remains uncertain is why Salt Lake's Straight Edgers have turned
violent, when the group is, for the most part, pacifist. When asked
why some Salt Lake group members are violent, Josh Anderson, who
firebombed the McDonalds, says, "Maybe because this isn't the most
exciting town, and a lot of kids need a cause." Anderson grew up LDS,
but became disenchanted with the Church when his family was
ostracized when his mother came out as a Lesbian.
While some call the Straight Edgers a real threat, Salt Lake police
minimize the danger, noting that of the 200 gang-related felonies
they handled last year, only three were committed by Straight Edgers.
The danger did apparently lead Elder Alexander Morrison of the
Seventy to warn local Church leaders. He told the leaders to "Steer
them clear," referring to the youth in their wards and branches.