The existence of “gangs” and the activities that these so-called illegal youth organizations has conceivably been one of the major problems faced by any country’s government. Conflicts in the streets are indeed present in all towns or cities in every country. This might not be the primary concern of the government but still this has an effect on the lives of many citizens. In all these conflicts present in both sides of the streets, the term gang has to be considered.
Gangs are groups of individuals, may it be youth or adult, that shares a common goal and purpose and are mostly involves in criminal activity and misbehavior that threatens the peace and order of a place (Ryan, 1995). They mostly control a territory of their own and try to cover more territories to prove supremacy against other gangs. They used violence and other criminal acts to have money or other things that may help them maintain their group or to achieve their goal.
Gangs may range from small youth groups from the streets who commit crimes together to a highly organized group of individuals who have the purpose of creating big profits from illegal acts like gambling and selling illegal drugs, firearms or any smuggled goods. If in the past gang members are mostly poor people, school drop-outs and are not an educated individual of the society, today, members of various gangs are not only limited to this (Samenow, 2004). These “gang members” are individuals that are highly educated and are from middle class family.
In the past, the reason of some gang members are the financial stability of their lives or the misunderstanding between family members that results to broken family ties, now, even those rich individuals are connected to gangs (Cosores & Saroyan, 2003). Structure of Gang in a general context Gang members could be categorized into five: original gangsters, the hardcore, regular members, wanna-be’s and could-be’s. The original gangsters are the one that are forever in the gang. They are the one that are most dedicated and loyal to the group.
Leaders of the gangs usually come from the hardcore members which constitute of about 5-10 percent of the gang. Without these hardcore members, the gang’s organization and activity are endangered and most possibly could result to the collapse of the whole group. They are usually involved in the most dangerous and big activity of the gang. Moreover, those that are designated to rob or steal belong to the regular members (Carson-DeWitt, 2001). Further, their ages ranges from14-17 years old which are considered minor by the law.
They are considered the backup of the hardcore members. They gain their status of being regular member to a hardcore one if they stay in the gang for quite long period of time. Wanna- be’s on the other hand are assumed to do tagging and stealing. They are usually the new recruits of the gang and they are presumed to do anything the gang members will tell them to do. And the last one is the one that may be or is possibly be a member someday if the immediate family will be out of control of the child. This category is termed “the could-be’s. ”
Evolution of the “Gangstah” Society Piously ravaging any society, the Gangstah Society or the Gang Culture, as to how the slang representation is portrayed in modern idiom, has not been as popular as it is in the contemporary society in the trace of history and social psychology. In Douglas E. Thompkins’ “School Violence: Gangs and a Culture of Fear,” the increasing acts of violence by students was shown. This increasing hostility has been very alarming, wherein it called the attention not only of the local officials but was already addressed as a national problem.
This problem was related to gangs and gang activities within the country, thus affecting the nation’s schools, affecting the children going in the schools. This problem has already been addressed by the congress, wherein the passed various initiatives aiming to reduce the violence that is happening in the schools today. This is not only a concern for the parents or the school itself. This requires the attention of everyone, since the children are posed to be the future of the country, which is why we need to take care of their interests. According to Mary E.
Patillo in her “Sweet mothers and gang bangers: managing crime in a black middleclass neighborhood,” life is getting difficult living in a suburban place, where the cases of gangs are rising. There are increased cases of burglary, theft and other various crimes. As the number of gangs increases, the number of criminal incidences also increases (Ryan, 1995). These increases in cases of crimes are plaguing the neighborhood and threaten other nearby neighborhoods. Not only does this affect livelihood and security, parents also fear for their children joining gangs.
In order to address this problem, various efforts from the government are being elicited. Increase in security and response teams are only minor concerns. They aim to spread knowledge about gangs all around the neighborhood, thus encouraging people that these gangs bring negative effects to them (Reynolds, 1998). Classifications of Gang There are certainly different classifications of gangs present in one place. It somehow depends on the level of crimes they are committing or the amount of power they have. The smallest one and the most disorganized one is the scavenger gangs.
This classification of gangs were comprise of mostly not well-educated or drop-out from schools and are usually involved on petty quarrels or crimes. The leaders of the scavenger gangs may often be substituted or are often change due to the disorganization of the whole group. The next one is termed territorial gangs. They are probably more organized and have highly-deep resources. They control a certain territory and defend that territory to other gangs by means of violence or other criminal acts. The most and are highly organized gangs and is founded to have the most profit from illegal activities like smuggling and drug dealing.
They probably constitute of the most experience and highly trained criminals that have intelligence of the product they are dealing with. The Existence of Gangs in the United States During the 1800’s, some Americans were already involved in gangs. Moreover, in the last decades of the 1800’s, many immigrants from other countries formed new breed of gangs. The streets of New York City saw all of these gangs like Irish gangs Whyos and Dead Rabbits. In this era formed the most notorious and significant gang in the United States. This gang is known as the Five Points Gang which is headed by its leader Paolo Antonini Vaccarelli.
Johnny Torrio was the partner of Vaccarelli in command and is also a member of the Sicilian Mafia. The famous Alphonse Capone or Scarface is the most notorious recruit of the Five Points gang. He was an Italian descent born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Lucky Luciano was also a member of this gang and a childhood friend of Al Capone. Al Capone became the most brutal and notorious gangster in the United States in that time (Carson-DeWitt, 2001). During the 1920’s and 1930’s, the development of gangs flourished with an influence of Capone’s style of gangster. These gangs symbolize poor families and family problems.
This is due to the problems that were experienced inside the neighborhood. The increase of immigrants also increases the variety of gangs with members from different races like Asians and African Americans. Mexican gangs were also formed in the early 1940’s. Many street gangs flourished in the cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles. In the early 1990’s, United States of America became the number one consumer of illegal drugs. This was being take advantage by the gangs. They are mostly involved in all of these illegal drug activities and try to have the most profit out of this illegal activity.
But in the middle of 1990’s, government of the United States together with its local government officials passed many laws, plans and strategies that will combat the spread of the gangs. Many gangs are now flourishing in the United States. Among those gangs are the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18TH Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha, Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Sorenos, Vice Lords, and Black P. Stones. During 2001, it is estimated that the number of street gangs all over the United States reached one million. This number exceeds during the 2001. Socio-criminal vortex of a gangster
No matter how devastating the “gangs” has brought the society, there appears to be a misinterpretation on the infamous reputation of the gang members. Consequently, gang members are not born; they are made—evolved through life development for that instance. Samenow argues that the social causes of crimes are not actually manifested by degrees of uncertain probability, thus a matter of absolute causation. In the economic context, he states that impoverished people or those individuals on the breadline are not criminals—that the ratio between the rich and the poor would most likely lead to a higher regard on the latter.
It may also be taken to assumption that this argument of Samenow greatly comprises a lot of concepts on what most sociologists or crime analysts define as “sociological implications” which on the brighter side is not evidently giving much on the reputational basis—influences on the delinquencies must be paid more attention than tracing on family backgrounds, family construction and the virtues and values learnt are vital aspects in twisting the mind of a youth to the worse part of the criminal issue (Samenow, 2004). Psychological interpretation of the gang life
Juvenile delinquency—perhaps a word devoid out of rhyme when the society judges those who are enrolled in the school of gang; however, what many are not knowledgeable of the predicament of the matter is that, being a gang member does not directly connote the fact that an individual wanted to be a part of the “criminally involved” organization. Psychology and human behavior stresses that in most cases, an individual indulges in gang operations or gang membership not for pleasure of being a “societal villain”—but because one found the attention which has he or she was not able to have in the “clean life (Cosores & Saroyan, 2003).
” Further, psychological theory is said to be damaged by the demonstration of hypothetically real and examples on the intent to show the behavior of criminals in a deviously rational and logical perspective. Consequently, victims on crimes and the people beneath the breach of law are spotted by unknowledgeable psychiatrists, counselors and therapists to be outrageously insane or irrational because of committing such illegal thing—thus crime is not a mental illness, otherwise, an illegal act committed by a sick person shall be considered as mentally aberrant at all stakes.
To be able to commit a crime, one must be intellectual and capable enough to plan, predict and exhibit the criminally involved activities—no abnormal person has the capacity to do that—only those who are knowledgeable enough of what to do. Familial issues as triggering factors in shifting to the gang life As mentioned in the previous discussion, it has been stated that there are several reasons why an individuals wishes to get involved in the “unstable” life of a gangster.
Thus there is another factor which needs to be evaluated and assessed—though literature and critical research has led analysts to this conclusion—tracing a gangster’s daily experience and family background may cater a bigger piece of answer on their respective behavior (Ryan, 1995). The development of a criminal mind How is a criminal mind developed? —this question clouded the minds of several innocent individuals, specifically those who experienced traumatic experiences from the hands of gangsters.
Basing the analysis on the aforementioned information gathered, a criminal is does not exist in the natural state of the term—it is either triggered by the psychological or sociological implications that the criminal himself has never expected. Precisely, there is no specific age limit or no gender echelon to describe the “criminal” characteristic—some are like babies, or act or are still immature, while some are not—and sometimes, this reality could save them from the illegal act done, of course, if based on psychological discrepancies or laws that place walls on juvenile circumstances (Samenow, 2004).
Normally, the juvenile cases on crimes would either form a parabola of distinguishable concerns on height, weight, physical appearance, I. Q. level or peer-reliant status quo. But on the field of adolescents, an adult criminal suffers from penis anxiety—“brandishes his penis as a weapon before which others will succumb” (p. 102)—which on the larger perspective may be established as only a matter of short deliverance and not on a heavier weight in forming a basis. These factors, however, is a result of two immense contoured reasons such as lack of adequate definitions in work and the insufficiency of conceptual clarity.
The distinguishing dynamic perhaps of the fundamental definition of a criminal would be “the individual who makes crime a way of life” (p. xviii), allowing the subject on criminal distinction dismiss over the question of deterrence, rehabilitation or maturation, and other effect on distinguishing individuals who cease criminally enhanced activities (Samenow, 2004). Societal view on the youth at stake of the “youth-based” plague Perceivably, the most prone group of people in the social or ideological paradigm is the “youth. ” One cited reason for this falls on the grounds of “maturity” or on the subject of innocence.
According to the author of Inside the Criminal Mind, he exposes the connotation that the psychological and sociological theories which is in one point or another being given with ample attention on establishing the “criminal” mind for that instance is nevertheless “dead wrong (p. 5). ” Although these manifestations on the “criminal mind” are but considered as astonishing and fearful dilemmas, there is no un-bizarre portrait on such that even the most experienced and knowledgeable analysts could not give a clear answer to numerous questions.
The author further clarifies that there is an intrinsic difference between the criminals and the non-criminals hence giving light to idea that “all criminals are alike in one way: how they think” (p. 20) and not basically on the famous streamline of peers, role models, school performance, economic deprivation, family upbringing or life span development rearing, mental illness, or other cited problems or theories, per se. Leading to an argument that “crime resides within the minds of human beings (p.
6)—wherein on clear analysis would mean that each individual possess an immense possibility of being a criminal. By then, since these individuals are not yet unfolded in meaning, then the theoretical and sociological literary aspect of the criminal mind is yet to be sought in characterization (Samenow, 2004). Gang involvement and the wrath attached to it Due to the advent of humanitarian and democratic advocacy, the society is no longer as petrified with the existence of gang members in the society.
Conceivably, the armed forces have gained the trust of the public that the humanitarian contraband dilemma can proficiently be contained. As a matter of fact, survey shows that there are “criminals” or so-called strayed individuals who turn themselves voluntarily to the law enforcement to seek for help and in the brighter case of the scenario, share their thoughts on how to thoroughly eradicate the problem with the increasing population of the Gangstah Society (Saroyan, 2004). Gangs had caused social concern even before, eliciting attention from all walks of the society, not only of the rich and the famous.
This raised the people’s efforts to know more about these gangs, on how they were established, and how to deal with them, ending them basically. Researches were made on how these gangs think. There were propositions that these gangs form through the various psychological and group processes based on the communities in the lower strata of the society. This opened a perspective on how we could see these gangs: whether they are affected individually or by the community. This has been a relevant result, which became necessary in the future discussion and studies of gangs.
There were also theories on how the immigrants had opened the possibilities of the creation of these gangs. It’s about how second-generation immigrants started creating gangs in order to fill in the gap of the then neighborhood social relations and their separation from the “real world” of the place they have settled into. Some theories were also based on their social classification, wherein they formed gangs to compensate for their place in the society, since they are lower or middle class, they feel inferior, frustrated, and possibly challenged by those who are in the upper classes.
They have resulted to forming these gangs out of frustration and as an excuse of their state of life (Ryan, 1995). Other theories, still related to poverty and class distinctions of the people, states that the lower class of people thought that being in that part of the society, they are receiving less or no opportunity at all, that’s why they are not gaining any improvements themselves. Since they are in that kind of position, they are downsizing themselves, thus they created gangs to seek refuge from other people of the same class as well.
Gang member predicament on membership and betrayal For those who has survived from the whirlwinds of gang life and has been saved from the horrors of what seemed to be the “fugitive” verve, survivors from the wrath that was lurking deep on the veins of the Gangstah Society has shared multifarious stories and experiences which in recent practice are used for information dissemination and lectures for the young minds. These stories are shared to families so as to warn them not to engage in the said forms of organizations (Saroyan, 2004).
With the hope of healing individuals who has “gone astray” and of trouncing the long prevalent impasse on the subsistence of the “criminals,” the recent age has found cure for those who seek for help and change in life. Habilitation centers and psychological treatments has been introduced not only to ‘fix’ those who has damaged their lives by involving their selves in the gang life, but also to prevent them from getting the societal plague, so to speak. Conclusions and further remarks
The predominant deliverance of these criminals has been studied and analyzed; the government’s aim in expunging the plague has served their worth that these “gang members,” whether they say that what they do is an expression of their selves, is an illegal act and so they must not poison the minds of those who are weak. Inasmuch as they want to spread what they believe, the very fact that lives are lost because of their existence, then they must be stopped.
References Carson-DeWitt, R. (2001). Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol & Addictive Behavior. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, Gale Group. Cosores, P. , & Saroyan, J. (2003). Trapped Between Innocence and Death: a guide to being free from gang life (Publication. Retrieved November 17, 2005, from AngelCakePress: http://www. angelcakepress. com/john-saroyan-sample. html Reynolds, J. N. (1998).
The Twin Hells: A Thrilling Narrative of Life in the Kansas and Missouri Penitentiaries. Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Library. Ryan, P. J. (1995). Organized Crime: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO Samenow, S. (2004). Inside the Criminal Mind (Revised and Updated ed. ). New York: Crown. Saroyan, J. (2004). Trapped Between Innocence and Death: A Guide to Being Free from Gang Life (1st ed. ): Angel Cake Press.