Gangs Across America
Gangs Across America
Gangs Across America
The definition of a gang is a group of people using a unique name and identifiable marks or symbols who claim a territory or turf as their own (Edgar 94). Gangs have been a part of American culture since the beginning of our nation. Starting with secret societies like the Free Masons and evolving into violent street gangs such as: the Crips or Bloods. The evolution of gangs has been fast and is rising quickly. People feared the gangs of the nineteenth century, but the gangs today pose a greater threat (Edgar 91). These types of gangs have menaced the streets of America for too long. Gang activity has been increasing more over the past few years. We have to make a strong attempt to minimize or even stop gang activity across the country by having curfews, having more kids in extra curricular activities, and having ex-gang member’s talk to youths.
Gangs today have destroyed our cities with crimes varying from ones as minor as graffiti all the way up to murder. They are now complex criminal organizations which deal in weapons trafficking, gambling, robbery etc…(Feinstein 1). One problem leading to gang activity is there is no parental involvement in ones life. Many people who join a gang live in single-parent households, have little contact with their fathers, and seek a sense of belonging (Kelly 2). Marcus Alexander said, “I was feeling lonely and if you’re by yourself you feel vulnerable. They were like family, so they had my back.” When
Alexander became a member of the Crips gang; he was not getting along with his mother and was not speaking with his father (Kelly 3). Only if parents would step up and take care of their children and care for them maybe this stuff wouldn’t happen.
Youths join gangs for different reasons around the world. They join gangs because they have a need for power, their friends are in a gang, they feel neglected, and others protect them in the gang. Physical abuse by parents may edge their kid into joining a gang, poor parenting has consequences; these consequences lead kids to become sociopathic gangsters (Egendorf 20). The camaraderie and the excitement of gang life, has been driving a recent jump in gang membership across America (Kelly 1). Many gang members have joined a gang just to get power and respect from their peers. Peer pressure is one of the most influential predicaments a youth might encounter (Egendorf 32). Friends, classmates, and family members who are already in a gang, may pressure a person to join a gang. Just to please the people that is doing the pressuring he or she gives in and joins the gang with out regard to the consequences.
Preventing gang involvement is a hard task but we have to do our best to find ways to fight it. Selling and using drugs, even drive-by shootings are some of the gang related activities that threaten to destroy our communities (Jure 2). Enforcing curfews for minors can help prevent murders, rape, assaults, and robberies during the night (Egendorf 108). Another way to help prevent gang activity is to get the community involved and to start taking action against these crimes. The community can get together and start some intervention/prevention strategies. Prevention is the key to maintaining a positive environment (Egendorf 135). It is the parent’s obligation to be on the look out for signs of gang involvement in their children. Parents should know what their child is doing and where they go. Last but not least the parents should spend more quality time with their child, talk to their child more often, and be a good role model to help prevent gang involvement in their child (Egendorf 141).
There are many types of solutions to prevent gang involvement and one of those ways is through extra curricular activities. Young people need to be included in wholesome activities because there needs to be an alternative to joining a gang (Markon 1). A program called RIZE tries to recruit gang members and at risk youths to a youth dance program or to church (Kelly 1). Marcus Alexander was seventeen when he started to attend RIZE and is now attending college to become a computer designer (Kelly 3). The program is at the West Charlotte Recreation Center and is run by Pastor Charonn Barnette an ex-Hidden Valley Playas (A.K.A Hidden Valley Kings) member (Kelly 1).
There are many different types of extra curricular activities youths can participate in. They can get involved in a sport such as: baseball, football, basketball, and even wrestling if they are willing to put the time and effort. They can pick up different types of hobbies like: building model airplanes, collecting coins or cards, and even practicing magic is a great hobby for children to get involved with. Who knows maybe one of these children will be the next David Copperfield of their time.
By having ex-gang members