STREET LIFE: WHY GANGS ARE SO APPEALING TO YOUNG PEOPLE

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“The need to belong.”


ganglands

Gangs have been a problem in society for hundreds of years. And questions have always arisen as to why so many young males and females join gangs. Of course we point to the need to belong, but is it deeper than that alone? Is there more to joining a gang? But let’s first start out by defining what I mean by a gang.

Because any group of young people hanging out with each other is a gang. But we define a gang in society in correlation with criminal behavior. And that is what separates the gang of friends who innocently hang out together from those who break the law. It’s the conduct within the group that ultimately determines the character of the group.

american lifestyle

In America, we have street gangs that involve themselves in criminal activity on a daily. Because being in a gang alone is not deemed a crime. So why are so many young men and women joining in alliance with gangs in America? One of the obvious reasons like I said before, a reason to belong to something, anything.

But you also have so many that need some form of guidance in their lives. The gang leaders are generally older and provide them the tools of survival they don’t get at home. But it’s not constructive guidance, but the destruction that ultimately leads to their demise. Sometimes the kid has a stable family life, but an unstable community.

And when you live in an unstable community, you seek to be the guys living around you. Their lives tend to look alluring and much more interesting than your own. But the danger that comes with it is not realized until it’s far too late.

distractions necessary

So, in order to keep your kid from falling into this lifestyle, a major way is distractions. You keep them as busy and involved in activities as possible. It’s close to impossible if your kid is constantly in a sport or some out of school activity. And when they become of age to leave your house then you send them into the world.

The distractions are not really to make sure they stay out of trouble. But the distractions are to give them enough time to fully understand the ramifications of getting into trouble. When they are 12, 13, or 14 years old, they think you’re being hard on them. But when they are 20, 21, 22, they can see the downfall so they’re less likely to get into trouble at this point in life.


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GANGS CULTURE: WHY WE JOIN


“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.


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848: NARCOTICS CHARGES AND MISUNDERSTOOD LAWS THAT AFFECT A COMMUNITY

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“Ever been in too deep?”


848 is the charge that is reserved for mainly drug traffickers who move high quantities of narcotics. It is known as the the kingpin charge. In my lifetime, there have been a few kingpins that have graced this earth. But when I think of a kingpin, I think of Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, Joaquin Guzman (El Chapo), and Griselda Blanco. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that Americans have been hit with 848. And when you look at what they were engaged in, you could consider these people kingpins. Nicky Barnes, Frank Lucas, Ricky Ross, Big Meech, and Rayful Edmond. My question is, do some of the men who are hit with these charges know what they’re involved in?

Growing up in the inner city, there were guys in my community that were charged with various drug offenses. To me they were just basic drug dealers, but you hear about guys receiving kingpin charges and you pause. These guys are kingpins, really? But in the court system, the level of drugs that they were selling made them kingpins. But, there is only one problem, a lot of the names I stated early were much older men. But what about guys who were getting charged in cities across the United States at young ages. And when I say young, I mean 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old.

You think to yourself, what 15 – 18 year old really know about the drug laws. You had guys selling drugs that didn’t even know there was authority outside their neighborhood. So to assume they were these guys putting together this massive criminal enterprise is far fetched. Don’t get me wrong, they knew it was wrong. But for boys this young, they were doing what was the cash cow in the neighborhood. So if they knew what they were truly involved in, would they have still joined? We will never know because so many of them have lost time selling drugs.

Now as for me, how come I never got involved in my neighborhood debauchery? It was because I knew the full extent to which I could get into trouble or killed. How did I know, I was taught in my household. So why weren’t these guys taught in their households. Or maybe they were taught what could happen. Maybe they knew and just didn’t care. I will say, the older guys knew what could happen. Unlike the older guys, younger guys had no clue what they were doing. Nonetheless, the criminal justice could care less if they knew or not. They were carried off to jail.

In the end, being seen as a kingpin or running a continuous criminal enterprise is an 848. So by law, it is not hard to be labeled as a kingpin. But as for the young guys who get involved they are in the dark as to what they are doing. But in today’s society, can they truly say they don’t know. There is enough information out here that was not available in the past. But as long as poverty is what’s driving the market, we won’t see any stoppage of drug sells anytime soon.