The Null Device
Birthday greetings ...prison-style! Or, how gang members can't resist sending their homies in lockdown birthday cards, complete with elaborately coded gang symbolism. The cards are often intercepted by prison authorities, who rely on them as a source of intelligence about inmates' gang loyalties:
On the front of the homemade greeting was a cartoon of a gangster holding a MAC-10 automatic pistol. The card was bordered in blue, the Crips' signature color. And because Crips avoid the letter "B" at all costs -- due to its association with their rival gang, the Bloods -- the card happily announced "Happy C-Day."
"That's where you get a lot of your information, from these birthday cards," said Officer Steve Preciado, a Lancaster gang investigator. "A lot of times their family members won't send them nothing. But the gangsters will put their nicknames on these cards, and where they're from, like 'Shorty from Pacoima.' So your job is to find out who Shorty is."
(via bOING bOING)