“Have you ever sought to belong to something?”
Growing up in an urban community, gangs are all around you. But most importantly, the psychology behind gangs are just dangerous as the criminal activity associated with the gang. And when I say psychological, I mean why young people join gangs to the construct of the gang itself. The control factors of the gang is more stringent than a day to day job. And the danger is a lot higher. So why are so many young people willing to join. Well, let’s look more at the psychological ramifications of joining a gang. And one of things is observing the need to belong.
There are so many young people in our society with a need to belong to something. It’s also the reason we see a rise in the youth fighting online. Everyday you see a video posted on social media of some fist fight. The need for attention and the need to belong no matter how gruesome the actions. This why gangs don’t even have to recruit anymore. There is a multitude of young people running to the gangs. So how do you fix this problem? Because even though young people want to belong, there are other reasons for joining as well. Another issue that leads to gang initiation is lack of structure.
Too often, young people don’t have structure at home. Youth who have home structure are far less likely to join a gang. As a matter of fact, gangs are more strict than home life. So if you have the ability to follow the rules of a gang, you can follow rules of society.
But why, why is it so hard for these individuals to follow what is actually more strict? Abiding by the law requires you to think a certain way. You have to look inside and go I am the problem. Gangs allow you to transfer responsibility to someone else. My enemy is in my way. They are the ones keeping me from attaining what I want in life. So you commit an act of violence because you think it makes you admirable, but it shows a complete lack of accountability. But when the people around you cosign your actions, then you will never learn. Not until it is too late.
In the end, what do we do? How do we make young people see that defining your entire existence in this one moment is not worth it. What if the Bloods, Crips, Vice Lords, Gangsta Disciples, and Latin Kings were community based organizations? Organizations that recruited young boys who don’t have a family and turn them into productive members of society. Our communities would be far less dangerous, and it would create a generation of great young minds. But as long as young people see gangs as the only way out, we will always see a sharp rise in crime and prison populations increasing as well.