By Brian Perry
Pop culture has painted quite the pretty picture of gangster life. The music videos tell a story of a life full of hot cars, hot clothes, hot girls and a lot of money. You often see the gangsters in the videos decked out in all the best designer brands and waving around their cash as they drink Cristal and drive away in their supped up cars. What you don’t see in these videos is what gangs are really about. They don’t show you the violent crimes committed to get their hands on cash and they don’t show you that the pretty girls often have babies from various men who they’re forced to perform sexual favors for as a part of hanging with the gangsters. They also don’t at any time let you know that both joining and trying to leave a gang can be deadly.
Children and teens join gangs in order to feel like they belong. They think that by joining a gang that they’ll get the respect that they’re lacking at home or from their peers. They’re often promised power as well as money for joining a gang which cinches the deal for a lot of kids. But in order to join a gang you usually have to pass an initiation and it often involves crime and violence. Most kids who join gangs quickly come to see that gang life is anything but glamorous or fun. An initiation could involve stealing, fighting or even killing. And once you’re in, sure you may get some cash—that’s been stolen and you may also get to wear some “cool” clothes in your gang colors and you may even enjoy some of the excitement at times, but it’s not long before your life consists of doing things that can get you arrested or even killed. Things like robbery, violent crimes, gang rape, drive by shootings and even murder is what’s expected of you once you get into that gang that you were so excited about. Another aspect that few realize is the threat that being in a gang poses to the family and friends of the members. Just because your kid sister has nothing to do with the gang doesn’t mean that she could end up losing her life when a rival gang decides they want revenge.
What inevitably happens is that the reality sinks in and a member wants out, but sadly, getting out is often harder than getting in. Gangs don’t take kindly to parting ways and just hoping that you won’t talk about the things they’ve done. So, they reinforce the fact that the departing member needs to keep quiet and brings the point home with a serious beating that could leave them for dead. The gangster life is no life at all.
Writer, Journalist, Blogger