Stopping Gang Violence at All Levels by Removing Social Barriers
by James Butler
Monster Kody is a Los Angeles native, a premature father, a brother, a leader, a target, and a source of income. Though a great read “Monster”, is a real life depiction of how mixed up and troubling Los Angeles and gang violence is and how its negatively affecting humanity. Los Angeles gang members play rather vital roles in California’s economic structure and its history as a state from white gangs swindling this land away from Mexico to black and brown gangs engulfing every crevice of today’s land. Gang culture and gang mentality is what I feel this country was built on. You can’t point your finger and use your illegitimate bastard of a son as a scapegoat of your creation and exploit his perilous way of life. That is what I feel is going on today. People are looking for a way to stop the gangs that are not appealing to them (Anderson, 1996). There are fingers firing at gang activity and gang violence and the bull’s eye is Los Angeles; the so-called starting point of gangs as we know them today. The Crips, the first Los Angeles gang, took everything they know about that culture from watching the Italian and Russian mafias from the years of late. If I can guess, I would say that the mafias, the Crips, learned from early Britain and other conquerors of territory. It is so bad in the Los Angeles area is because the lack of education and guidance we have; which is done on purpose by the higher-ups in our society. The school budgets have been dropping gradually since the 70’s and the prison system’s budgets have been on a rise (Gallagher, 2008). The only solution to stop gangs is to deconstruct American separatism all together. When people find a difference in another person, no matter how minor, there iss going to be conflict. If we make our country actually one whole instead of all these labeled groups, subgroups, and micro-subgroups there would be national peace and understanding.
People tend to ignore things like gangs until the spotlight shines on the subject and everyone becomes concerned and disgusted with it. Gangs are on everyone’s door step. Not just bloods, crips, and latin gangs, but the KKK is also a gang that does the exact same thing minority gangs do. They go unnoticed or maybe purposely unidentified as a giant threat to today’s society. People have to face this “problem” head on; not with police ran “gang units”, that do more damage than they do justice. We need people to talk and listen and understand. A gang member has the same everyday problems a California CEO has, some more or less amplified; none the less all people need to be heard and understood. I feel gang members should be rehabilitated instead of persecuted for taking advantage of the cards they were dealt. If the government was able to give these misguided people somewhere to put their idle hands, besides a gun or drugs, there would be no gang violence. There would still be gangs, but no violence. A busy person has no time to go looking for someone to shoot at night if he has something to do in the morning. Most people in gangs come from lacking families and that gang is their extended family. You can not deny them the pseudo-family if they have nothing. However, you can try to stop them from hurting each other in the name of the family. The government should put its money into funding programs that help the community by employing its residents and reviving its place of residency (Berry, Burden, and Howell, 2010). The people getting hurt the most are the people who live in the area where the gangs subside at. The people who are scared to come outside at night and the people who can not take their kids out to play because of the danger that lurks around every corner of their neighborhood are most affected. There should be something that helps them out the most, but everything is taken away from the inner city people which makes them resort to gang banging and drug dealing.
The biggest problem is the lack of education in the gang heavy communities. There is no place for people to go besides the streets and penitentiary system (Gallagher, 2008). The extracurricular activities and the different programs people originally had are all gone. Where does a kid in the inner city of a lower class home have to go when school is out? When you take away all the ways to escape there harsh reality of what is around them, people end up gang banging when there is nothing to do. In addition, there are negative role models hounding to join them and drug money is more appealing because of a life of poverty since birth. Drug dealing becomes the best alternative. The lack of education makes it harder for people in the real world and it makes them pervious to change (Anderson, 1992). You can not reform anyone’s way of life from birth if it is all they know. The parents of kids these days are not making it better, they are giving their bad tendencies because that is all they know. I have seen kids that can not hold a proper conversation, can not read, can not count, but they can curse and throw up gang signs. This is the reality that we have today. The parents who had their education stripped from them are making their children worst off than what they are. Not to mention, these people are to become parents at ages as low as 14 years old. That is who our focus should be on. Innocent children who are being raised into ignorance and caught in constant cross fire of bullets and stupidity.
We have to really unite as a nation to stop gang violence and the spread of gangs. You can easily consider the Democrat and Republican parties gangs in a way. There shouldn’t be separation in people who are after one common goal, which should be the betterment of our nation. There is no way you can tell an uneducated, poor, disenfranchised gang member to come together and be peaceful if the rich and educated are doing the same thing in our nations capital. I think it is really a trickle down effect and the only way you can stop something is if you start from the top and stop the snow ball from growing as is rolls down hill. We also need more education and a better quality of education in all lower class cities (Ramsey, Rust, Sobel, 2003). Most people can’t afford to go to a private school there should be a bigger public school budget from elementary all the way up to colleges for the students. Education would be the step in the right direction of a healthy untied country.
My proposal is bigger than just gang violence; I feel this would help out America as a whole nation. There is no way we can target one problem and expect it to change when the whole nation as whole is still messed up. The rise in education would ensure our future wouldn’t be as bad as it is looking today. The next thing to do is bring everyone together as we take down all the social barriers created. Why can’t educated people agree to disagree and look out for the greater good? I feel this would happen if we educate our kids now, because the older people are almost at a lost of hope due to the way we’ve been living for so long.
Anderson, James F., and Laronistine Dyson. "Ridding the African-American community of black gang proliferation." Western Journal of Black Studies 20.2 (1996): 83. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 1 June 2011.
Berry, Christopher R., Barry C. Burden, and William G. Howell. "After Enactment: The Lives and Deaths of Federal Programs." American Journal of Political Science 54.1 (2010): 1-17. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 1 June 2011.
Gallagher, Stephen. "The American Prison, Open for Business?." Peace Review 20.3 (2008): 376-379. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 1 June 2011.
Ramsey, Alison L., James O. Rust, and Susan M. Sobel. "EVALUATION OF THE GANG RESISTANCE AND TRAINING (GREAT) PROGRAM: A SCHOOL-BASED PREVENTION PROGRAM." Education 124.2 (2003): 297-309. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 1 June 2011.
Critical Resistance on Gang Injunctions and Racial Profiling
from Critical Resistance website, www.criticalresistance.org. Click image to visit site.
In the fight against the prison industrial complex, growing people's power is about taking action while also cultivating a sharp analysis. Creating healthy communities means getting stronger and getting smarter. We always need to do both, and luckily one creates the conditions for the other...
In this vein, we have two updates on our struggle to defeat gang injunctions in Oakland: an exciting new report and an urgent call to action every day next week.
We're proud to release our report: "Betraying the Model City: How Gang Injunctions Fail Oakland." Written by CR Oakland volunteer members, this report exposes rogue City Attorney John Russo's plan to further legalize racial profiling against young Oaklanders of color, to criminalize and dispossess entire communities, and to steal away vital resources from our City. Betraying the Model City also lays out clear recommendations for actually improving our lives here in the East Bay. Please click below to download a PDF copy, and please help us spread it out to everyone who can use it.
We've worked with amazing organizations and individuals to mobilize hundreds and hundreds of people to countless events, demonstrations, courtdates, and city government meetings against gang injunctions and the violence of policing from which they spring.
Earlier this week, we helped pack City Hall with 200 people demanding that the injunctions be deauthorized. Watch the video here (fiery community testimony starts around 1:17:00)! STARTING MONDAY, A CITYWIDE WEEK OF ACTION TAKES IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL!
We will be mobilizing everyday from Monday 2/28 through Friday March 4th for teach-ins, community bikerides, a vigil against violence, and more! All to culminate with a massive rally at City Hall on March 4th from 4-6pm at Oakland's City Hall!
We need your help to turn out at least 2,500 people to this rally. Let's add Oakland to the list of places, from Madison
Resources from Critical Resistance
CRITICAL RESISTANCE FLYERS
What is Abolition? Download Flyer
What is Critical Resistance? Download Flyer
What is the Prison Industrial Complex? Read Article.
Prisons: New Forms of Environmental Racism. Download Flyer
Las Prisiones: Nuevas Formas de Racismo Ambiental. Download Flyer
2006 Prison and Jail Statistics. Download Flyer
Joining Forces: Prisons and Environmental Justice in Recent California Organizing.
By Rose Braz and Craig Gilmore
Kinder, Gentler, Gender Responsive Cages: Prison Expansion is Not Prison Reform.
By Rose Braz. In: Women, Girls & Criminal Justice.
Environmental Racism and the Prison Industrial Complex
There's a Movement and that's the Main Thing: an Interview with John Bowman, Hank Jones, and Richard Brown.
The Abolitionist Newspaper.
An Interview with Andrea Smith, author of Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide about the book and her work with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and the Boarding School Healing Project.
The Abolitionist Newspaper.
Critical Condition: Taking Care of Business... and nothing more.
By Liz Samuels. The Abolitionist Newspaper
2005 Annual Report
2004 Annual Report
2003 Annual Report
2002 Annual Report
2001 Annual Report
RESOURCES ON PRISON EXPANSION IN CALIFORNIA
CR works with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) to stop prison expansion in California, please visit http://www.curbprisonspending.org