The shooting of D. Brown, a local hip hop star, was the catalyst that set off the ‘chop craze’.

Kids started had the tip of their index/trigger finger amputated as a form of protest against gun violence. The first to get “chopped” was local street artist/singer. Whose opening night for his art show conencided with his self inflicted form of protest, which many have now labelled as a blatant publicity stunt.

But despite it’s many critics the chop movement has grown and become more varied in its forms. The most popular chop these days is to have the middle toe chopped, symbolizing that you don’t run from problems. This chop was made especially popular by the bare foot pop star sensation Staevos. Funnily enough the original “cop chop” is now more frequent found among Caucasians despite it originating as a form of protest by the African-American community. It made sense in those days, it has hard for especially dark skinned folk to get tattoos– just a matter of contrast. These days everybody wants to get chopped.


Back-alley amputations are unheard of, chop shops have been combined into the tattoo/piercing parlors. The kids have it easy, no risk of infection
(which we pretended to each other we weren’t scared because, “they’ll just chop more off then, don’t worry dude…” )
there was no anesthetic for us back then– just a rag to bite on. That’s all I had when I got a digit chopped off my pinky.

Stupid I know, but I was 16 at the time and I really wanted to get out of my god awful piano lessons (the immense popularity was a nice bonus as well).

I didn’t really care about D. Brown, so I can’t blame the chopped kids today that give blank faces when you mention the name– mention Staevos and they’ll talk your ear off.

We all just wanted to be hardcore. You can laser off a tattoo, but a chop is permanent. Once it’s chopped it is gone.

And you can do whatever you want with the left overs. My pinky is somewhere in the bottom of the Lake Tahoe, where I threw it 8 or so years ago. As well as satisfying my melodramatic tendencies, the ditching of the digit was a measure against my parents reattaching it and continuing to train me to be the next Mozart. Reattachment is also complete utter social suicide.

I still remember , Matt Belmany, the name is still hard to say because of the memories that go with it. Strolled into school wearing gloves and refused to take them off until some cruel kid snatched at them showing stitch marks around his hand; he became a complete laughing stock for weeks, that was of course– until he went too far.


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