False Promises of Gang Life

Parents may not realize this, but research tells us that the number one reason children join gangs is for a sense of family or belonging. Today’s working parents are busy. This isn’t wrong; this is necessity, but sometimes kids feel neglected or inadvertently get lost in the shuffle. Some children simply aren’t as outgoing as others and feel isolated or bullied at school. These kids can easily get discouraged and lonely. They are easy targets for the lure of gang promises. The reality of gang life is not what it may appear to be.

Young people are drawn into gangs because of the illusion of friends who “have their back”, money, respect and the glittery lifestyle some celebrities represent. There is not protection in a gang. As a matter of fact, there is much more danger in joining a gang than not because you and your family become targets for rival gangs. Entire families are put in harm’s way. Most young people never meant for siblings and other family members to be killed. They usually don’t realize the far reaching consequences of gang involvement.

Gang members usually end up dropping out of school because of fear of rival gang members. Without an education, there’s not a lot of hope for financial security. Respect in a gang is simply fear. Real respect is recognizing the rights of others and treating people the way you want to be treated. Real respect is earned through education and accomplishments. Gang violence and criminal acts are hardly respectful. How much respect is garnered for those behind bars? Does anyone really grow up thinking, “hey, when I grow up, I want to go to jail”? Does anyone really think they should be beaten senseless to gain friends? Should you really have to commit crimes to keep “friends”? Most teens are tired of parents and teachers telling them what to do. Gangs dictate what you wear, where you go, who you can hang out with and date. They will rob you of your freedom and choices.

According to statistics, gang involvement makes one 60% more likely to be a victim of homicide. Teens who find themselves involved in gangs usually never intended to ruin their lives. They were trying to find something positive, but they found it in the wrong place.

If a young person you know is entertaining the thought of joining a gang, remind him or her of the consequences and the alternatives. There are clubs, church activities, Boys and Girls clubs, sports, various lessons in art, dance, music, etc. If you are already involved in the gang culture and want out, go to your local police gang task force. According to the website above, there are ways out, but you may likely have to change your location. It won’t be easy, but can be done. Remember, it’s much easier to never get involved than to get out.

The Dead Rabbits Irish Street Gang

The Dead Rabbits Irish Street gang, of the middle of the 19th Century, was as vicious as any gang in the history of New York City. They ruled the squalid area of Lower Manhattan called the Five Points, and if a member of any other gang dare set foot in their territory, bad things happened to them very fast.

There is some dispute as to how the Dead Rabbits got their name. One version is that the word “Rabbit” sounds like Irish word raibead, meaning a “man to be feared.” “Dead” was a 1800’s slang word that meant “very.” So a “Dead Rabbit” is a “man to be very feared.”

Another version is that the Dead Rabbits were an offshoot of a older gang called the “Roach Guards.” Two factions within the Roach Guards constantly quarreled, and during a fistfight at an especially violent gang meeting, someone threw a dead rabbit into the room. When the fighting subsided, one group took the name “Dead Rabbits,” while the other kept the name “Roach Guards.” Predating the present street gangs the Crips and the Bloods by more than a 125 years, to mark which group a man belonged to, a Dead Rabbit wore a blue stripe on his pants, while a Roach Guard wore a red stripe on his pants.

Besides the Roach Guards, the Rabbits’ arch enemy was the Bowery Boys. On July 4th, 1857, the Rabbits and the Bowery Boys squared off at the corner of Bayard and the Bowery. The incident started, when a embattled policemen, being chased out of the Five Points by a group of Rabbits, ran into a Bowery Boy’s saloon. The Rabbits followed the policeman into the dive, and were beaten back by an angry group of Bowery Boys.

The Bowery Boys took offense at their turf being invaded, so a large group of Bowery Boys marched into the Five Points area. They were cut off by a battalion of Rabbits and a two-day war started, with as many as a thousand combatants fighting with hatchets, knives, stones, and even guns. The police sent in reinforcements, but they were beaten back by both gangs and told in no uncertain terms to mind their own business. The war swayed back and forth into both territories, with Canal Street being the boundary line.

By the end of the second day, the two gangs were near exhaustion, and the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard was called in by New York Mayor Fernando Wood. The National Guard, joined by the New York City Police, busted into what was left of the skirmish and started cracking the heads of the weary warriors. When the dust settled, eight gang members were dead and hundreds more were injured.

This did not end the animosity between the Bowery Boys and Rabbits. In August, 1858, on the corner of Worth and Centre Street, a small group of Bowery Boys were pummeled by a larger group of Rabbits. As the Bowery Boys ran off licking their wounds, two unsuspecting men exited a house at 66 Centre Street. They walked right into the path of the angry Rabbits, and thinking these two men were Bowery Boys coming back for more, the Rabbits descended upon them with a vengeance. One man was able to escape, but Cornelius Rady was not so lucky. He was hit in the back of the head with a rock from a slingshot and died soon afterward. Rabbit Patrick Gilligan was arrested for Rady’s murder, but it is not clear if indeed he was convicted.

The Civil War started two years later and many of the gang members were drafted, against their wills, into the war and sent to far away places, mostly in the South. When the war ended, the Rabbits were either dead themselves, or in no physical condition to continue tormenting the streets of Lower Manhattan. But in New York City, the creature that it was, and in some cases still is, other street gangs soon followed to take the place of the Rabbits.

Who Is in Your Gang?

The 1st of August was national Swiss day and to celebrate the occasion, the Swiss embassy and some of the Swiss clubs (yes, there is a yodel club, a fondue club, a Swiss folklore dance club in case you’d like to join one) organised a big get together for all the Swiss living in Sydney.

So I dragged my husband along to check it out, it was easy to convince him, I just needed to promise Swiss chocolate.

Anyway, we got there and it was really interesting to see this Swiss community getting together, proudly carrying their flags, wearing their traditional red yodel shirts, speaking the same language and sharing the same traditions. There was a sense of belonging, one of the core needs people have, the need to belong.

Now, the interesting fact is that you can leverage this need to belong in your business by building a community and invite people to belong.
Think about Apple, Apple is the perfect example for creating a community around their products. They have so many advocates promoting Apple better than anyone, it’s one of the best marketing tools and it’s free. I’ve come across a lot of Apple fans, they are so dedicated that they will try to convert anyone they cross paths with (and yes, they did succeed with me too).

Creating a community around your product or services is very powerful and the benefits can be huge:

Connecting: Having a community around your products and services helps you connect existing clients with prospects. Your ‘gang members’ support each other (Apple fans are helping each other with technical issues in online forums) and share their stories (hopefully about how awesome your product or service is).
This is crucial because it gives your product or service exposure without you doing a thing. People are talking about it and spreading the word for you.

Credibility: Your prospects hear from other clients rather than from a dodgy sales person. It’s a form of social proof to see other people using your services and talking positively about them. Your happy clients do the selling for you.

Getting to Know Your Clients: Creating a gang will help you getting to know your clients better. What do they want? How can you improve your current product or service? Your community will tell you. Having a community allows you to get feedback from people that are actually buying your products and services rather than spending money on focus groups that couldn’t care less.

Launching new services: Your loyal gang will be there for you when you are introducing a new product or service and you might even want to give them an early release or special offer as a reward for their loyalty.

The best and easiest way to build your community is having an outstanding product or service. Your clients will naturally want to be part of your gang. If your product is crap, it will be hard to build a community of supporters. So focussing on giving lots of value and engaging your clients is the best place to start.

To your powerful gang,

Franziska

PS: Thanks for all the great comments about our last article ‘Liberal vs Labor’, we always love receiving feedback.

‘We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.’
Cicero

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