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
existance 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 instance, 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