Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Teen Fad - Fight Club Meets Reality TV

Arlington teenagers are fighting, and not only for attention.

Now they're also brawling for $15 per DVD.

The latest story of Fight Club-come-to-life is the sickest yet. Not only are teenagers fighting for fun, but you can buy the videos on the Internet.

Four Arlington teenagers face assault and organized-crime charges, plus a state agency investigation, in connection with mob fight videos sold on Web sites such as Agg Townz -- a street nickname for Arlington -- Fights.

On a page and other sites, "Mike Jack" advertises two videos where mobs of boys and girls brawl publicly in segments such as "Girl Gettin Jumped," "Rashanae and Tiffany Goin At It" and "Last Day of School, [n-word] Goin Crasy."

Teenagers from Mansfield and other cities may be involved, an Arlington police spokesman said. Several of the fights are in nicer suburban neighborhoods. Another is in Dallas.

Arlington police have arrested Michael G. Jackson, 18, John Barree, 18, and Deunte Lamar Gaines, 17, of Arlington. A 14-year-old boy was also arrested.

Their problems might not end in local court.

State boxing officials in Austin will investigate whether the fights were organized, said a spokesman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which licenses all "combative sports" events.

Under Texas law, you can't stage a fight for an audience without a license.

Last year, investigators looked into a similar high school kids "fight club" in the wealthy Austin suburb of West Lake Hills but found that it wasn't an organized promotion and that no money changed hands.

"But our lawyers would be very interested if someone is selling DVDs," said Patrick Shaughnessy, an agency spokesman.

Violators might face criminal charges plus administrative fines of up to $5,000, he said.

"I don't think anyone ever expected to see high school kids involved in something like this," Shaughnessy said.

The videos show high-school-age boys getting punched in the back. Other boys' heads are slammed, bleeding, against streets or curbs. Arlington police said they have not identified those who were injured.

They are investigating whether gangs might have been involved, Miller said.

You could still find some of the videos on Web sites yesterday, if the TV news didn't show enough to turn your stomach.

Agg Townz Fights 2 -- Take It 2 Da Streets is described on one Web site as "DVD mode, very professional," including about 50 fights with special effects and a music soundtrack. According to the Web site, it sells for $15, an increase from the $10 for Part 1.

Several of the videos are posted on a popular video-sharing Web site with cold and unemotional captions such as: "Two girls fightin' for some reason I can't remember, in a soccer field parking lot."

Another caption was blatantly racial: "black vs. mexican, put special effects on this one."

One of the Web advertising sites also thanks some KKDA/104.5 FM radio personalities, but station executive Ken Dow said the scenes were spliced in from a different video and that the station was not involved.

On one of the Web sites, "Mike Jack" addresses shoppers:

"Wuz up peoples this yo boi Mike Jack. Yea im tha producer of Agg townz Fights and still the best dancer. I dont think i can stop once i'm this good. Ladies i'm the one you need to see. ... Check out how us Agg Townz peoples get down."

Arlington police said they started investigating the videos after a fight on March 11.

They said they found hours of video on Jackson's computer, including Agg Townz Fights 2.

They wound up meeting with school leaders this week and spent all afternoon Wednesday with ministers.

"We can't stop this ourselves," said police spokesman Lt. Blake Miller. "It'll take the entire community."

At a press conference, Deputy Police Chief James Hawthorne called the videos "about the most senseless thing I've ever seen in Arlington."

But I don't know which is more senseless: Fighting for a video, or buying it.

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P.S. I admit, I am totally in love with Shield Pro 2006