“Chasing Ghosts” clip #2 wins Open Reel Night!

The latest clip from “Chasing Ghosts” tied at Cinema Paradiso’s Open Reel Night!   This means our documentary will be playing at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in October.  We could not be more excited about getting the word out about at risk kids and their need for proper guidance.  This particular clip deals with one local after school program in Boca Raton, Florida called Velocity.  They are just one of the many community centers, like the Boys and Girls Club, who need the communities assistance in order to survive.  We must come together and work as a team if we are going to prevent, suppress, and re-habilitate gang members.  See the above clip to see how ex-gang member (Latin Kings) Tito explains about how this is a war and we have to be active.  For more information on gangs, or if you would like to contribute, please contact talktogabriel@gmail.com

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South Florida Premieres Newest Clip from Gang Documentary

Chasing Ghosts Gang documentary premieres at Cinema Paradiso in south florida fort lauderdale

It’s an exciting time in South Florida. Movies are being made and film festivals are abound. One of my favorite local film festivals is Open Reel Night run by Kevin Bosch, where locals can show off their short story talent. It’s at the historic theater Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale and I will be premiering our latest clip to the gang documentary “Chasing Ghosts” on Thursday June 28th, at 8pm. For more on gangs http://www.chasing-ghosts.com

We can win this, and get into the Grand Poobah of film festivals in South Florida, THE Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival!! In order to get a ballot, you have to buy a ticket $5. Then you use the ticket to vote for your favorite movie = hopefully ours. I have have been working on this documentary for years and it has the same message as it did before, kids need role models and a place to go after school… In Florida, this problem is not getting any better.

Spread the word so we can raise awareness!
Come early at 7pm for drink specials, red carpet, and snacks!
Bring your friends!!

Cinema Paradiso: http://www.fliff.com/Film/477/OPEN_REEL_NIGHT_4

Thursday June 28th at 8pm
503 SE 6th Streeet
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Open Reel Night on Facebook:

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“Chasing Ghosts” documentary clip about Gangs in the Tower Road Triangle

Still from "Chasing Ghosts" that shows "Bloods" gang grafitti from Tower Oaks, Gainesville FL.

This excerpt from the documentary Chasing Ghosts follows Gang Detective James McCollum as he searches for graffiti and tries to decipher the mystery of Gainesville gangs. Also, the graphics were provided by Katie Fields from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The documentary “Chasing Ghosts: fighting gangs in schools” is about how the gang population in Gainesville is growing and how to stop it from getting any worse by emphasizing the importance of resources like education and after-school programs. We will be working with the Boys and Girls Club on this documentary and show how they are currently handling the gang problem in Gainesville. I will be exploring the solutions for children who want to join gangs and the alternatives for their future.

The Boys and Girls Club will receive %15 of all profits as part of the gang prevention program. Also, I would like to start a program for at-risk youths in school to film and edit their lives as part of the documentary. This documentary will be an example to all small towns on how to prevent gangs before they plant their roots and become like Salinas, California where the FBI has been called in to regulate the gang problem.

We have already won several awards for our documentary “Chiefland” http//www.chieflandthemovie.com. We will be taking Chasing Ghosts to the film festival circuit so that we can raise awareness about the importance of gang prevention.

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Fight or Flight? Troubles with battling gangs in Gainesville.

Keith Blanchard, Executive Director of The Boys and Girls Club.

Keith Blanchard knows Gainesville has a problem.

“There are 20 registered bloods here in town,” says Keith, Executive Director of The Alachua County Boys and Girls Club. Keith used to be a police officer in Salinas, California, but he decided to move to Gainesville to get away from gangs.

“I don’t want to have to go through that again, but not so much for me, I don’t want other people to have to go through that life, here,” Keith says.

Keith spends a lot of his time trying to raise money for The Boys and Girls Club. Just last year, he presented a proposal to the city commissioners that outlined the immediate need for funding The Alachua County Boys and Girls Club gang prevention program. He showed up to the meeting with a wealth of knowledge about gangs, and he says he even had support from the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, Gainesville Police Department, and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. Despite all his knowledge and support, the commissioners dismissed his claims and his anti-gang program and told him he needed more backing.

“We’ve been cut so far back, you know, to the bare bone, that you’re expecting groups like us to work miracles and solve community issues with no money, no funding, no staffing,” Keith says. “It’s just not possible and that is where we are with this economy.”

Keith is an associate producer on our project “Chasing Ghosts: Fighting Gangs in Schools” because he sees this documentary as an opportunity to enlighten people about what happens when you put your head in the sand, and do not address the problems that today’s youth are facing.

Keith moved from one of the most violent places in the U.S. to get away from gangs, only to face the same problem in his new town. He is now fighting them in Gainesville so he doesn’t have to move again. By not funding gang prevention programs programs like the Boys and Girls Club, we leave ourselves open for juvenile crime because these kids have no where else to go.

If you would like to donate to the Alachua County Boys and Girls Club please visit their website at www.myboysandgirlsclub.com

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Latest demo of “Chasing Ghosts: Fighting Gangs in Schools.”

Chasing Ghosts: fighting gangs in schools from Gabriel Tyner on Vimeo.

This latest version has Tito, 3rd crown Latin King, talking about his experience with gangs and how to get out of them.

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Ex-Latin King Fights Gangs with his Bible

Tito in his office

Tito in his office at "John 3:16, 17 Boxing Club and Gym"

Today I met with Ex-Latin King Tito in Ocala.  Tito was a 3rd crown Latin King (high up on the totem pole in Latin King terms).  After being in prison several times, he finally made peace with God.  He made a promise that if he got out of prison he would devote his life to God and get other kids out of gangs as well.  He kept that promise and opened John 3:16 and 17 Boxing Club and Gym in Ocala.

“The Gym brings people of all races together” says Tito.  At his boxing club, Tito takes at risk kids and gives them a positive environment where he can preach about his savior Jesus Christ.  According to Tito, there are not a lot of options for kids and that one of the reasons they join gangs is because “they need to fill the emptiness that is inside of them.” He has already worked with several Bloods, Crips, and Folk Nation members who want to get out and is actively trying to get kids back on track to a life with Jesus Christ.

Tito is very serious about using the scripture of God to tackle the gang problem.  He believes that when he was a Latin King he was “possessed” by evil and now, with the power of God, he is able to have a normal life without crime or prisons.  He even told me a wonderful story about when he was a Latin King in prison, their gang would harass people for things like food or money.  They had no problem taking from anyone, except for Christians.  “We would start to steal from Christians and we would just start shaking.  There was something about them that we just could not touch so we left them alone.”  Tito did not understand at the time what was going on, but now believes that God was watching over his Christian followers.

With this documentary, Chasing Ghosts, we now have actual testimony of how one person got out of a gang.  His testimony will be a wonderful inspiration for anyone who either wants to get out of a gang or is thinking about joining one.  In the documentary, we will be discussing a lot of issues dealing with gangs.  For example, we go over what a gang member looks for when they are recruiting and what happens to kids who are recruited.

Unfortunately, like most after-school programs, Tito is in need of funding and volunteers for his boxing club.  “This gym doesn’t even pay for itself, I live day to day so that these kids can have somewhere to go.”  If you would like to join his boxing club, donate, or just volunteer please give the gym a call at 352-361-9992.  The Boxing Gym’s address is 8318 SE 58th ave, Ocala, Florida 34480.

Please help us finish this documentary by becoming a sponsor.  For example, we are trying to go to Tallahassee to interview Dr. Beaver who discovered the “warrior” gene its impact on society and children.  Also, we are trying to update our equipment and need a new HD camera.  Please email us at info@chasing-ghosts.com if you would like to become a sponsor.

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Parents fight for after school programs

15840_1102736423602_1682467341_217125_4050993_nParents were fighting for after school programs at the Alachua County commission meeting this morning.  They are trying to get two programs, that were recently cut, reinstated.  These programs, run be the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office,  kept their kids off the streets and out of gangs between the hours of 3 and 10 p.m.

One program was closed  in Tower Oaks  because the building was put into foreclosure and the other program, in Majestic Oaks,  was closed because the program director got reassigned. Donna Ali, whose child was in one of the programs said, “Now they’re all over the complex, getting them in trouble and doing what they do.  There’s drugs, bad people that comes in and tries to influence that child into doing things they’re not supposed to.”

One of the most important solutions to keeping kids out of gangs, other than good parenting and policing, is after school programs.  With no end in sight of the current recession, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is having to deal with these budget cuts as well as other after school programs like the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County.  It is foremost the parents’ responsibility to keep their children out of trouble, but sometimes the parents are working or just not able to be there for their kids.  This is an example of just a couple of  programs that have been cut, but how many are out there that are not being funded?  Forget voluteering for the Peace Corps because we have plenty of kids right here who need our help.   Please support your local after school programs by volunteering or donating.   The Alachua County Commission meeting should be available for you to view at http://alachua.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3 look under the 9am meeting on 11-10-09.

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Interview with Dr. Beaver: “violence” gene links to gangs and weapons

According to Dr. Beaver, some cultures, like the Maori featured in this photo, are more likely to carry this warrior gene.  Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co

According to Dr. Beaver, some cultures, like the Maori featured in this representation, are more likely to carry this "warrior" or "violence" gene. Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

Last week we had a phone interview with Dr. Kevin Beaver who has discovered that males who have the monoamine oxidase (MAO) gene are twice as likely to join a gang and use a weapon in a fight than other kids.  This was discovered after some 2,000 teens were separated by gender and tested for the presence of this violent gene.  Also, they determined if the teen was in a gang and if they used a weapon.

“Violent tendencies were important in the past,” says Dr. Beaver.  For around 100,000 years  violent tendencies were the most important in human beings.  The males, who were the fighters and hunters, had to be violent to survive for as long as they did.  Only in the last 10,000 years have we stopped fighting for our lives and started settling down from a pastoral life to a settled lifestyle.

“Genetics matters when it comes to delinquency and violence,”  says Dr. Beaver, but so does the environment.  “The environment or situation can trigger this gene.” This means that we need to intervene and get these kids out of their volatile  situations.  Now more than ever it is so important that we raise our children in the right environment with the  knowledge that they are capable of great violence, especially in groups or gangs.  We need to be aware of this gene so we can redirect these violent tendencies into a positive outlet.   Sports, after school programs, and physical education  are a good start in redirecting the violence.

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Science connects violence to gangs and weapons

Dr. Kevin A. Beaver, photo courtesy of Michele Edmunds/FSU Photo Lab

Dr. Kevin A. Beaver, photo courtesy of Michele Edmunds/FSU Photo Lab

“Previous research has linked low-activity MAOA variants to a wide range of antisocial, even violent, behavior, but our study confirms that these variants can predict gang membership,” says Dr. Kevin M. Beaver of the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.   “Moreover, we found that variants of this gene could distinguish gang members who were markedly more likely to behave violently and use weapons from members who were less likely to do either.” In today’s culture, violence is very visible in our youth.  Almost every day now we hear about some act of youth violence, and once a week we might hear about how that violence is connected to gangs.   Now there is a scientific reasoning behind that violence and it is named “The Warrior Gene.”

We have scheduled an interview with Dr. Beaver today to talk about the implications of this “warrior gene” and what it means to our youth.  Are we programmed to be violent?  Can we redirect this violence?

To read the entire article click—-> HERE

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We need answers to youth violence


After the recent burning of a 15-year-old boy and now the incarceration of a couple for washing their kids mouth out with soap, both cases were from Florida, it’s no wonder that we do not have control of our children.   When the government is policing us for disciplining our children, how are we supposed to control them?  With hugs and kisses?  Time out is not working.   Drugs like ritalin and Aderol are doping our kids, but is that working?  I believe these kids need a different answer than suppression.  We are suppressing them by taking away their physical education and giving them drugs.  The problem with the drugs is that they work, but there could be a better solution.   What if these kids just need to vent their aggression through a nice game of kickball?  I grew up this way.   I turned out alright.  These children need some place to vent their childhood angst.  The boys and girls club has a bunch of activities to keep children occupied.  I never played sports, but I am sure that is a good place to start if you want your kids to work out any frustrations they might have.   We need to work this out as a community, so please leave your comments so we can come to a common solution.

Here is a link for the 15 year old set on Fire.  Click ———–>Here

Here is a link for the Mother who was arrested for washing her kids mouth out with soap——–> Here

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