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Gangs Essay Examples

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.

The new anti social structure of cities also effects the

ease in which a boy/girl can join a gang. ” The formation of

gangs in cities, and most recently in suburbs, is facilitated by

the same lack of community among parents.  The parents do not

know what their children are doing for two reasons: First, much

of the parents’ lives is outside the local community, while the

children’s lives are lived almost totally within it.  Second, in a

fully developed community, the network of relations gives every

parent, in a sense, a community of sentries who can keep him

informed of his child’s activities.  In modern living-places (city

or suburban), where such a network is attenuated, he no longer

has such sentries.”2, (Merton Nisbet, 1971).

In male gangs problems occur as each is the members tries

to be the most manly.  This often leads to all members

participating in “one-up-manship”.  Quite often this will then

lead to each member trying to commit a bigger and more violent

crime or simply more crimes than the others.  With all members

participating in this sort of activity it makes for a never

ending unorganized violence spree (A sort of Clockwork Orange

mentality).  In gangs with more intellegent members these

feelings end up making each member want to be the star when

the groups commit a crime.  This makes the gang much more

organized and improves the morale of members which in turn

makes them more dangerous and very hard for the police to deal

with and catch (There is nothing harder to find and deal with

than organized teens that are dedicated to the group).  This

sort of gang is usually common of middle or upper class people

although it can happen in gangs in the projects and other low

rent districts too.

This “one-up-manship” is often the reason between rival

gangs fighting.  All gangs feel powerful and they want to be

feared.  To do this they try to establish themselves as the

only gang in a certain neighborhood.  After a few gang fights

hatred forms and gang murders and drive-by’s begin to take

place.  When two gangs are at war it makes life very dangerous

for citizens in the area.  Less that 40% of drive-by’s kill

their intended victim yet over 60% do kill someone.  This gang

application is one of the many reasons that sexual sterotypes

and pressure to conform to the same must be stopped.

Lastly one of the great factors in joining a gang is for

protection.  Although from an objective point of view, we can

see joining a gang brings more danger than it saves you from,

this is not always the way it is seen by kids.  In slums such as

the Bronx or the very worst case, Compton, children will no

doubt be beaten and robbed if they do not join a gang.  Of

course they can probably get the same treatment from rivals

when in a gang.  The gang also provides some money for these

children who quite often need to feed their families.  The

reason kids think that the gang will keep them safe is from

propoganda from the gangs.  Gang members will say that no one

will get hurt and make a public show of revenge if a member is

hurt or killed.

People in low rent areas are most often being repressed

due to poverty and most importantly, race.  This often results

in an attitude that motivates the person to base his/her life

on doing what the system that oppresses them doesn’t want.

Although this accomplishes little it is a big factor in gang


So, as you have seen gangs are a product of the

environment we have created for ourselves.  Some of these

factors include:  oppression, the media, greed, violence and

other gangs.  There seems to be no way to end the problem of

gangs without totally restructuring the modern economy and

value system.  Since the chance of this happening is minimal, we

must learn to cope with gangs and try to keep their following

to a minimum.  Unfortunately there is no real organized force

to help fight gangs.  Of course the police are supposed to do

this but this situation quite often deals with racial issues also

and the police forces regularly display their increasing inability

to deal fairly with these issues.  What we need are more people

to form organizations like the “Guardian Angels” a gang-like

group that makes life very tough for street gangs that are

breaking laws.

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