Contemporary Legend

Someone told me before that flashing your high beams at the traffic light turns it green because it like thinks you’re a cop. Then, one day, I like flashed my lights and like another friend in the car said that it used to be like they told me not to do it because like “urban legend” is that Bloods or Crypts used to have to like drive around at night with head lights off and whoever was nice enough to flash their high beams to remind them to turn his lights on had to be shot. So they would like get out of the car and shoot them. It was part of their initiation.

Suraj heard the part of the legend about flashing high beams at traffic lights from his sister because one time his sister was driving with her friend when they got stopped at a red light. Then her friend told her to try it. So she tried flashing the lights and it seemed to have worked. Suraj admitted that although he knows that the flashing lights story is not true, he still does it. He does not know why he continues to do it despite knowing that the truth is, as he claimed, the cops have a remote that can change the light if they are in an emergency. Suraj feels that when it works it is a coincidence and thinks that it is funny that he still tries flashing his high beams at red lights. This can also be considered superstition and shows that both cars and time are considered valuable. Since people are in cars often, a superstition appeared which involves cars. Also, people try this action because they are impatient and do not wish to waste time waiting at a red stop light.

The part about the gangs was, as stated in the above account, learned from his friend as he was in the act of flashing his high beams at the red light as he usually does. The reason Suraj decided to begin talking about car lights and to include this part to his story was because a girl living in the same dorm was walking around spreading a warning for everyone that MS13, a gang local to the Los Angeles area, was rear-ending targeted drivers and shooting them. It usually occurred when the gang members rear-ended a car and when the hit driver stopped and stepped out of the car, the gang members would shoot the victim. The girl spreading this warning that night said that she had a relative in the gang and, therefore, knew about this behavior ahead of time and felt that she should spread the word to encourage people to stay indoors and be safe that night.

Suraj expressed his thoughts on how he believed that the gang behavior with both the rear-ending and the flashing lights was stupid because innocent people get killed. Both parts to Suraj’s story can be considered FOAF legends or friend of a friend legends because they provoke discussion about belief to a certain extent, and Suraj heard each of them from a person who had been told about these occurrences. While Suraj learned all of this at his home in Richardson, Texas, these stories are known in other places as well, including southern California. The two gangs that Suraj mentioned, the Bloods and the Crypts, are from southern California. However, there are also many gangs in downtown Dallas, which is not too far from Richardson. These stories have diffused to many places in America because many places share the luxury of cars and the menace of gang activity.