Analysis of Gangs

Gangs are a violent reality that people have to deal with

in today's cities. What has made these groups come about?

Why do kids feel that being in a gang is both an acceptable and

prestigious way to live? The long range answer to these

questions can only be speculated upon, but in the short term

the answers are much easier to find. On the surface, gangs

are a direct result of human beings' personal wants and peer

pressure. To determine how to effectively end gang violence we

must find the way that these morals are given to the individual.

Unfortunately, these can only be hypothesized. However, by

looking at the way humans are influenced in society, I believe

there is good evidence to point the blame at several

institutions. These include the forces of the media, the

government, theatre, drugs and our economic system.

On the surface, gangs are caused by peer pressure and

greed. Many teens in gangs will pressure peers into becoming

part of a gang by making it all sound glamorous. Money is also

an crucial factor. A kid (a 6-10 year old, who is not yet a

member) is shown that s/he could make $200 to $400 for small

part time gang jobs. Although these are important factors they

are not strong enough to make kids do things that are strongly

against their morals.

One of the ways that kids morals are bent so that gang

violence becomes more acceptable is the influence of television

and movies. The average child spends more time at a TV than

she/he spends in a classroom. Since nobody can completely turn

off their minds, kids must be learning something while watching

the TV. Very few hours of television watched by children are

educational, so other ideas are being absorbed during this period

of time. Many shows on television today are extremely violent

and are often shown this from a gang's perspective. A normal

adult can see that this is showing how foully that gangs are

living. However, to a child this portrays a violent gang

exiezce as acceptable. 'The Ends Justifies the Means'

mentality is also taught through many shows where the "goody

guy" captures the "bad guy" through violence and is then being

commended. A young child sees this a perfectly acceptable

because he knows that the "bad guy" was wrong but has no idea

of what acceptable apprehension techniques are.

Gore in television also takes a big part in influencing

young minds. Children see gory scenes and are fascinated by

these things that they have not seen before. Older viewers see

gore and are not concerned with the blood but rather with the

pain the victim must feel. A younger mind doesn't make this

connection. Thus a gore fascination is formed, and has been

seen in several of my peers. Unfortunately kids raised with

this sort of television end up growing up with a stronger

propensity to becoming a violent gang member or 'violent-

acceptant' person.

"Gangs bring the delinquent norms of society into

intimate contact with the individual."1, (Marshall B Clinard,

1963). So, as you can see if TV leads a child to believe that

violence is the norm this will manifest itself in the actions of

the child quite, often in a gang situation. This is especially

the case when parents don't spend a lot of time with their kids at

the TV explaining what is right and what is wrong. Quite often

newer books and some types of music will enforce this type of

thought and ideas.

Once this mentality is installed in youngsters they become

increasingly prone to being easily pushed into a gang situation by

any problem at home or elsewhere. For inezce, in poor

families with many children or upper-middle class families where

parents are always working, the children will often feel deprived

of love. Parents can often feel that putting food on the table

is enough love. Children of these families may often go to the

gang firstly out of boredom and to belong somewhere. As time

goes on, a form of love or kinship develops between the gang

members and the child. It is then that the bond between the

kid and the gang is completed because the gang has effectively

taken the place of the family.

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