Austin Cline has been actively involved in educating people about atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, and secular humanism on the internet for over 15 years. Austin Cline was a Regional Director for the Council for Secular Humanism and a former Publicity Coordinator for the Campus Freethought Alliance.
You can also read more about Austin's current and past work on his Google Profile: Austin Cline.
I've been watching Gangland, a History Channel program about gangs in America — street gangs, motorcycle gangs, etc. When you watch a lot of episodes of this sort of program back-to-back as I've been doing, you start noticing interesting patterns. Unless the History Channel has been inaccurate in their portrayal street gangs, their origins have all been very similar — not just similar to each other, but also I suspect similar to the the origins of the earliest tribes and nations.
Put simply, most of the gangs profiled over the four seasons of Gangland on the History Channel were first created by people who simply wanted a means of protecting themselves. Some needed to protect themselves from other gangs; some needed to protect themselves from racism; some were just friends who were bullied at school. Whatever the problems in their lives, it was clear to them that the ostensible authority figures in their lives — parents, police, politicians — were unable or unwilling to help them. Usually, they had good reasons to fear for their lives, at least some of the time.
So I've been watching LA Ink, the spin-off of Miami Ink. I've already seen some of London Ink, but none of Miami Ink. I wonder to what degree the show's drama is created through selective editing and to what degree tattoo shops are drama-magnets.
I suppose that the sort of person who is likely to open up a tattoo parlor could be different enough from the sort that opens up a book store or sandwich shop, and if so that could make a difference in terms of what sort of drama the store develops.
Still, it makes me happy that where I work is drama-free — and since I tend to work on my own, I wouldn't end up dealing with the drama anyway.