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“What is about them that make us join?”

No father, single mother, and the city is riddled with crime. With so few opportunities felt, young males and females look to each other as some means of guidance. This quickly turns into violence once the males start to clique up and form bigger groups known as gangs. Then as narcotics is introduced the situation gets worse. As a young male myself, it would have been easy to join a gang, yet I didn’t. Well, how come, it’s not like I didn’t grow up in the neighborhood. What were the reasons I decided not to join?

For starters, the city I grew up in did not force you into a position to join. For instance, in a city like Chicago or Los Angeles, you can be affiliated just by being from the neighborhood. Some boys figure I should just join because I’m getting shot at anyways living here. Others just take the risk and not join. But if you do choose to join a gang to keep from getting shot, it will only increase your chances. Because now you are on the radar of other gangs.

Another reason why I decided not to join is because I understood the psychology behind the gang life. And that is kill whoever disrespect our turf; but only if they look like you. I understood at a young age the gangs operate on this basis of disdain for each other. Why, well it comes from the mentality that I can’t touch this guy, but this guy is fair game. You say you don’t know better, but make a real conscious decision not to touch certain people. Someone who don’t know any better shoots anybody. But the dynamics around the gang is this self hatred. Hatred which stems from the idea that I hate myself, so killing someone that looks like me is fitting because it’s like removing me, without taking me out of the equation.

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, why do so many young people join? It seems to be counterproductive, and if you do gang up, why not care for each other. Why be apart of something built around so much violence? The main reason is the need to belong in a society you feel you don’t belong to anything. Another reasons why young people join a gang is to have family in their lives. You so many young people with no family, so dying for the group is better than being alone. And the other reason people join is to escape. They have nothing else going on in life, or going anywhere else, why not join.

In the end, there will always be gangs. Truth is, they have been around for a very long and will continue to be around. As long as you have a demographic of men and women who feel they don’t belong you’ll have gangs. As long as people feel they need protection they’ll join. And as long as their isn’t a stable family structure, then you’ll have gangs. But most of all, poverty is a main source. When you only think of life in the now and not tomorrow, you can’t see the future. So as usual, more and more join, even with the high numbers of deaths linked to gangs.

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