Archive for the ‘Gang Rationales’ Category

Waddup my names G im from queens in new York city. I peeped ya website nd I could relate to a bunch of shit on there. I been gangbangin since I was 14 years old…I’m 21 now.

My situations a Lil complicated tho. I joined la familia nation when I was 14 nd I banged everyday basically, mostly on Latin kings…..in my hood they brainwash you into thinkin they ya enemy nd I fell for it. I was willing to do anything for my gang. Then one day the big homie sent out a T.O.S (terminate on site) on me over some byullshit gang politics. You would think at this point I walked away from gang life, I walked away from one gang and joined another one, a big no no in my hood. So since about 2 years ago and ive had a price on my head ever since…me nd my moms had to move out our big apartment to some bullshit basement just to stay alive. Everytime I walk out my front door I gotta look over my shoulder nd pray I don’t catch a bullet. I got stabbed up pretty bad like 4 months ago by some Latin king niggas out in Brooklyn. I was laid up in the ICU for 2 weeks wit a whole bunch of tubes in me. That made me take a good look at what my life has become nd after I got out the hospital I decided to walk away from all this bullshit.

I don’t chill wit any of my boys no more they all brainwashed by the gang. I basically chill wit my family most of the time. I been goin to church alot too. This is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life, but ima try my hardest to walk away from that gang life. I know my beef and all my enemies won’t just disappear but I think my faith in god gonna keep me alive nd breathing. Thanks for listenin

Find this story and more at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/gang-testimonies/change/

 

If you’re new here, and interested in following the latest news about gangs, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Gangs and At-Risk Kids provides a very informative and useful website for people wanting to know more about gangs, what they are, how kids get involved and the consequences of involvement.  For more on the website go to:

http://gangsandkids.com/

And don’t forget to look at some poignant poetry and stories from those affected by gang life at:

http://gangsandkids.com/gstory.html

Other links can be found at:

http://gangsandkids.com/glinks.html

Hi DP-

       I want to thank you for responding to the earlier posting on “Dismantling Racism.” I can understand your feelings on many levels. I have seen the harm done by gangs in Chicago and around the country. I could probably cite a dozen socio-economic reasons why gangs have grown into the current menace they have become. As a Christian, however, I want to do everything I can to undercut the reasons why these socio-economic disparities exist and to reclaim these Gs for Christ. I am all for social justice and for trying to alleviate the poverty, pain, and hopelessness that have created an environment where gangs can grow and prosper. There are, however, many programs and organizations that have attempted to do just that. Still, the gangs grow. Why is that? It’s because there is one underlying element in the human existence that breeds this sort of behavior and it’s not addressed by these programs. It’s called sin. It’s a love of self that works not only on the mob side of things, but on the civic side as well. They feed off of each other. It’s pure selfishness on both ends of the spectrum that creates the environment where gangs grow and prosper. Governing bodies for years have allowed a system of racism to exist which perpetuates stereotypes and fosters a climate that manifests itself across town in the form of greed, political corruption, and ‘gangsterism’. People in power usually think of themselves first, so what’s a kid in the hood supposed to do? They emulate what they see from the governing officials. It’s all about selfishness and self-love as opposed to what Jesus told us to do. In Philippians 2: 3-11 Paul the Apostle writes that we should:

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”      

       In other words, Jesus asks us to become servants. If we all put others ahead of ourselves, like Paul asks, the nastiness of the hoods would cease to exist. If we were students of servanthood instead of students of selfishness, we would be able walk through our neighborhoods in peace and security. If we had each other’s backs instead of trying to stab each other in the back, endless possibilities for mutual reconciliation and community building would exist. Instead, we put our own wants, needs, and desire first. This goes not only for gangbangers but for those of us outside of the “ghetto.” People tend to be selfish instead of selfless. We follow the example of another instead of the example of Jesus. Because of that, we pay a heavy price. We think of our own needs before we think of those around us. The inequalities that motivate the gang lifestyle are rooted in the selfishness of those who created a political system that dehumanizes those who are different; it sucks the hope right out of their souls.

       Now, don’t get me wrong. Gangbangers make decisions too, and they need to be held accountable for their decisions. They are where they are at because they (not their fathers) chose to do the things that gangbangers do. When things get too hot for them, some of them do take advantage of organizations that try to help, like the church. They are selfish and in need of change, just like you and me, and that is what I am aiming for in this ministry, total transformation. That’s also why Jesus came. He came for the sick and not the healthy. He came for me and he came for the gangbanger wanting to change but not knowing how. He came to transform us. When we become transformed into servants as Jesus taught us, there would be more hope, trust, and possibility in this world.   

       There are many reasons why gangbangers decide to “drop their flag.” One of them is when they see that what they’re doing doesn’t work. Remember that they did not create this system. They are only the latest installment of a system that has failed them on a personal, familial, and communal level. These guys are smart, however, and they can come to the realization that what they have been espousing is just plain bad. The problem is that by the time that they recognize this, they have long rap sheets and couldn’t by a job if it was for sale. This drives even the most well-intentioned G back to the streets with jarring consistency. Gangbangers make bad decision, decisions that are contrary to God’s will and local laws. These decisions harm their communities. Admittedly, they are not commonly served by the socio-political community that they call home, they often lack the familial infrastructure that teaches them how to live, and yes, they suffer because they make their own selfish decision too. Choices are made and those choices are most commonly based on sin, giving in their own wants and desires with little or no regard to the community they live in.      

       Other reasons why a gangbanger may want to chance is out of fear of retribution from another gang, fear for his family, a fear of going back to jail, a desire to rid themselves of the drug and alcohol abuse that commonly accompanies gang life, the fear of injury and death, and, finally, pure exhaustion from that lifestyle. While some Gs may have the best intentions, one must understand that the gang lifestyle is addictive and no matter how good the intentions of the gangbanger are, they often relapse into the gang lifestyle because of the addiction. That’s why mentors who see these guys as creations of God and who are willing to serve them are so vitally important to changing the gang culture.      

       We sometimes think that a bad ending to a gang lifestyle is inevitable because we see it so often. Change is possible, however, both on an individual level, as well as on a communal level. It doesn’t happen often because we tend to look at gangbangers as neighborhood sludge, but when we understand that these are men and women that Christ loved and when we look them in the eye and understand that he loved them so much that he died for them, it changes everything. You realize that change is possible because that’s God’s business. He changes lives, or better yet, he transforms lives. When one gangbanger’s life changes, that change impacts the lives of everyone around him. The life of Nicky Cruz (as portrayed in the Cross and the Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run) is just one example. The problem is that, because there are not enough men going into the streets to reach them, there are not enough of those changed lives to point to as examples and, in the end, Satan turns out more Gs than we can reach out to. We need more servants willing to walk across the street and show a Gs what the love of Christ is all about. That’s how neighborhoods change, one life at a time.

       Change comes, contrary to political opinions, not from some powerful individual such as Barack Obama, but from God. We must understand that the gang problem is a spiritual battle and has to be fought on the spiritual battlefield. That’s the only way to change the “ghetto.” There are plenty of battlefields scattered across the world that were once desolate places of death and destruction, but have now returned to nature and are beautiful places to behold. That’s the way the “ghetto” will be. It’s a battlefield full of death and destruction, but some day, the Humboldt Parks of the world will be reclaimed and once again become beautiful sights to behold. That will only happen, however, when we fight the battle on the enemy’s territory and free the world from the sin of selfishness that rests at the center of all racism, hatred, pain, and gang activity. Keep in mind, gangs don’t run the city. Satan does. The Bible calls him “the Prince of this world” (see earlier post called “Asking the Wrong Question”). Gangs, however, represent just one face of Satan in a world gone wrong.    

       Truth be told, there are different forms of ghettos in Chicago. We most easily talk about the ones portrayed in pictures as deteriorating, dilapidated, and dirty blocks of crumbling apartments, but there are other ghettos that we don’t often think about, places where men and women are bound by greed, sex, and self, places where their souls are dirty and deteriorating. Sounds familiar right, but you would never recognize these places as “ghettos.” One definition is that a “ghetto” is an:

Environment of isolation: an environment where a group of people live or work in isolation, whether by choice or circumstance.”

       I know it’s stretching the definition a lot, but bear with me. These “ghettos” present an “environment of isolation” and are located in places with big fancy houses, like Barrington, and in beautiful apartments along Michigan Avenue, places where people are bound and isolated by their pride and inflated perceptions of self-worth. There are also university “ghettos” where men and women wear their accomplishments as commendations on their own self-worth. Yeah, these are ghettos too. They’re just prettier ghettos. Fancier, more respectable “ghettos.” They’re just places where people are bound to a lifestyle borne out of pride and sin where they think too highly of themselves and not nearly enough about God. So, when you talk about gangs, keep in mind that they are just one manifestation of a larger issue. Gangs are part of a spiritual battle going on for the hearts and minds of men’s souls all across this city, in Humboldt Park, at the University of Chicago, along the “Magic Mile”, and in affluent suburbs such as Kenilworth. The suburban “ghetto” may seem cleaner, more affluent, and more respectable, but they can be just as deadly to a man’s soul as any south side or west side “ghetto” you can describe. Sin is sin, no matter where it occurs. Souls are being lost in all of these places. Satan’s modus operandi is different from place to place, but just as deadly. In one he tricks people into thinking they have no hope because they are living in what seems to be perpetual poverty. In another he tricks them into a false sense of security based on the lie of accumulated wealth. In a third, he gets people to trust in their own intellect for knowledge about the universe and their own “salvation”. In each of them, however, people act out of pride, greed and selfishness. And don’t think there’s no connection. If you read your history books, you’ll find that the Black ghettos or Puerto Rican ghettos are just as much a product of selfishness in city hall and white America as it is of the gangbangers who can’t find jobs and tear apart their neighborhoods with violence. Truth be told!

       In the end, I know that this may not be the answer you wanted to hear from me, and the reality of the situation is that the answer is a lot more complex than I alluded to in this response. The truth I wanted to get across in all this is that life is all about spiritual battles, whether we talk about gangs or businessmen, scholars or truck-drivers. So if you think you haven’t had a fair chance, you have to ask yourself, “How am I faring in this spiritual battle? How close is my walk with God?” The Bible says that “If God is for us, who can stand against us” and “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Never forget, God IS in control of this broken world, not only in the larger world picture, but also in your life, if you will allow him to be. That’s something that the gangbangers may not want to admit but which each of them will one day have to confess before Christ himself. The same truth, of course applies not just to gangbangers, but to you and me, and everyone who has ever lived. And eventually, we will hear God pose the question, “How have you used your talents to further my Kingdom here on earth?” May we be able to say, along with Jesus, that we used those talent so that “your kingdom will come, so that your will may be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”

So you’re a G holding up the flag, keeping the colors. Are you out there gangbanging for some street cred? You say you’re prepared to go to prison for that flag, for the guys in the hood, to gain that street cred.  If that’s you, here’s something to think about before you get yourself locked up. These are the 7 options that D tells us that a G faces when he goes to prison. Are you prepared to face them?

1.  Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life in prison?

2.  Are you prepared to kill?

3.  Are you prepared to get killed?

4.  Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life in a cell?

5.  Are you prepared to be sexually abused (there aren’t any women in there)?

6  Are you prepared to go to Satan?

7.  Are you prepared to commit suicide?

A sobering view of what it means to be a Christ follower in this broken world we call home. While not specifically gang-oriented, this page should have a strong impact on how we view our mission to marginalized and broken people looking for love and acceptance in the gang lifestyle.

http://www.reasons.org/judging-jesus-his-followers

The Ashland and Cortez Latin Kings were among the first gangbangers I worked with when I was at Teen Challenge back in the early 70s. It was through their President, Michael Perez that I was introduced to all the other sections of the Latin Kings. I’ve not seen any of them since 1973. I know that Lucky was killed, but do not know what happened to any of the others. If anyone know their whereabouts, please let me know. Also let me know if you can fill in any of the names and stories of other guys in the pictures whose names I’ve forgotten.

Ashland and Cortez Latin Kings ca 1972. Lucky, Cholo, and Sonny

Ashland and Cortez (Bucktown) Latin Kings ca. 1972 no. 2

Ashland & Cortez (Bucktown) Latin Kings ca 1972 (no. 3)

 

Lucky’s demise is related in Chapter 37 (pp. 206 – 208) of  the book My Bloody Life by Reymundo Sanchez (Chicago Review Press, 2000).

For Those at Risk

“To those of you out there living the gang life or looking to get into it, please take a moment to let the following words soak in.

I have never met a gang member who wasn’t looking out for him- or herself first and foremost. The loyalty they show you to suck you into the lifestyle disappears the moment you decide not to risk spending the rest of your life in a jail. Not to be a moving target,  or the moment someone who outranks you suddenly has something against you. You are not the king or the queen of the streets as you are made to feel that you are. You are simply a scapegoat for dirty officials and drug dealers you’ll never even meet. Don’t fool yourselves – there are easier ways to live the hip-hop life. I mean you can wear the clothes, enjoy the music, do the dance, do it with those who stay in school and without getting yourself killed. All the police, judges, and politicians, and suburbanites you think you are hurting by your acts of delinquency are getting rich at the expense of your life.

If it is abuse at home that is making you turn to gangs, seek help. Please seek help. Go to a teacher, to a school counselor, talk to anyone you think can get you out of the abusive situation. But you have to understand that extreme situations often call for extreme measures.  Prepare yourself to make tough decisions that may feel as if they are the wrong things to do. Just understand that you have to get out and there is no time to be a pussy. Take control of your life before someone else makes you lose control. It’s amazing how so many good kids let a couple of assholes  ruin their reputations and then turn bad when they feel they have no choice. Or they get into a situation where they are hurt by a rival gang or a cop and suddenly have a reason to accept the gang way as the right way.

I can go on and on about the dos and don’ts of the streets but I’ll spare you the lecture. Bottom line is that standing on the corner acting tough does not make you tough. It makes you a stupid, ignorant asshole who fucks up everything for the rest of us. Get an education, and go live the life you think you are being denied.”

Reymondo Sanchez
former Latin King gang member
Pp. 285-286 in Once a King Always a King
Sanchez is also author of My Bloody Life.

http://chicagogangs.org/index.php?pr=RESOURCES

Towards an understanding of the Gang Mentality:

http://www.youtube.com/user/huk730

An interesting article from Will Okun’s blog

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/guns/

For the entire blog contents go to:

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com./author/will-okun/

Good stuff on gangs and related issues at:

http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=6399

http://www.gangstyle.com/gangs_parents_questions.php

Want to join a gang? Read this…

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/gangs_wannabe.php

http://www.slugsite.com/archives/825

http://gangwar.com/dynamics.htm#graffiti