Being that the closest that I have ever come to or violence is in television of movies, this topic intrigued me. What makes a person want to become part of something that is so violent and dangerous? Why would someone risk everything to put their lives on the line for people that are not even their blood relatives? As I read the material that I found in the library about, I found out a lot about how this children's' though process works. They believe that the gang members are their family; to them it is not seen as the sinister organization of careless violence as it is to us "normal" Americans. To them the gang is their family.
Children are joining at younger ages; our current juvenile justice system is no longer adequate for today's hardened young gang members. According to recent studies in demographics the problem is not going away. This problem if ignored is going to lead to the decay of our society.
In many of the articles that I read about gang violence they warned of the impending youth crime crisis. Youth violent crime has been rising dramatically for more than a decade. An upward surge in youthful perpetrators of violence is complemented by an unprecedented growth in youth living with little or no adult supervision. For decades mostly adults drove violent crime, with kids involved mostly in property crime. What has been changing is that juveniles are becoming much more involved in violent offenses, with the use of weapons.
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Authorities describe the youth gang as a "violent and insidious new form of organized crime", heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, gangs are involved in drug trafficking, witness intimidation, extortion, and bloody territorial wars. In some cases they are traveling out of state to spread their violence and crime.
Gang members' range in age from 8 to 22 years old, but there are exceptions. Some gangs have members as old as 40. Trying to explain why children become part of a gang is something that has been a question for sometime. The reason given most often is that gangs to these children are like a family. So many of the gang members come from broken homes, or are victims of child abuse. The gang to these kids believe it or not is like a safe haven from the violence that they see at home.
Also the industry can be partially blamed for the increase in children joining gangs. Not to say that just because a child likes "gangster" rap and watches violent T.V. shows and movies, that they are going to join a gang. But if you add the violence in the home, abuse, neglect and the media then you have a recipe for a child that will be more likely to join a gang. The main word that I feel can be attributed to children joining gangs or become delinquent is supervision. The lack of supervision by a parent or responsible adult can lead the child to wander and become influenced strongly by the wrong people.
The media also glorifies gang violence, with the language, colors, and symbols. In videos we see men denigrate women and drive expensive cars, wear expensive clothes, all while they talk about would they just killed, or how they out ran the police. Give this information to a young child, who is poor and has been denied these things throughout their life, of course they are going to take this information in and see gangsters as glamorous people with extravagant lifestyle and endless wealth, then they will join because they want to be like them. Would movie stars or athletic figures be so envied if they didn't have the glamorous life? No.
Gangs are a serious problem in America and need to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Unfortunately for that the gangs that are accounted for in the United States there are many more that are operating on a smaller level. Gangs are the powder magazine they must be dealt with before the time bomb goes off. Once that time bombs goes off it will be like a domino effect.
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