I guess it’s true you learn something new every day. I’ve known about the movement known as Straight Edge for a long time, but I never would have guessed there’s a violent side to it. There was a documentary about Straight Edge on the National Geographic channel, so I decided to watch. Almost instantly, I regretted it because of the nonsense spouted off by the narrator about how kids growing up in America have to deal with constant peer pressure to smoke, drink, or do drugs. And then the Straight Edge interviewees went further about how they needed to join some group to resist that peer pressure. I mean, seriously. If you have a hard time saying “no”, you’ve got some serious will power issues.
In all my years of school, I have never been pressured to do anything I didn’t want to do. No one offered me a cigarette. No one pushed a beer into my hands. No one ever gave me a joint. I mean, I knew what my peers did. Heck, some of them were (are) stupid enough to post pictures on MySpace. But no one pressured me to do that stuff. And even had someone done so, it would not have been that hard to say “No thanks”. If I can do it to Mexican dudes hawking hammocks in Juarez, I can do it to a teenager with a cigarette.
Because of that, I find it silly that people need to join a group in order to resist peer pressure. Sure, it may be that bad some times, but I highly doubt that peer pressure is as bad as some people make it out to be. But the worse thing about Straight Edge (in my opinion) is their disapproval of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. I can understand abstaining. Heck, I don’t smoke, and I probably won’t drink much after I turn 21, but I’m not going to push that on other people. But at least most Straight Edgers don’t that that to the extreme and beat up or even kill people who they disagree with. It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? A gang that doesn’t drink, smoke, or get high. I guess you don’t really need to do that stuff to be violent.