Graffiti, Gangs, And (Your) Teen(s)

While walking through a neighborhood recently, I noticed some graffiti writing in the middle of the street. I immediately thought to myself, “wow, do people STILL draw graffiti these days”?… Now this particular neighborhood was “nice”, “quiet”, and everyone pretty much kept to themselves. “So”, I thought to myself, “WHY would someone(s) purposely target a street in an area like this?… unless, there is more to the story here.

Upon a little further research, I discovered that this may have been left-behind traces of an unruly group. This made me wonder if this could have been some type of gang-like activity (sometimes I am a little naive to things that are outside of ‘my world’). As I continued to ponder on this, it made me realize that our teens are becoming more and more involved in troublesome behaviors and self-destructive affiliations.

My mother always said that life is FULL of C-H-O-I-C-E-S.

The current events in the news show young men (and women) spending countless years that equal MORE than the REST of their lives behind bars, because of the choices they made previously to join a gang. It saddens me to think that they will NEVER have the chance to re-consider their actions again.

On my way home, I came up with my own list of reasons why we are losing our kids to “the streets”, and violent activity. Maybe this list of reasons will reach at least one parent, Youth Leader, or even a teen who may be able to get through to a loved one, a close friend, or someone special to them and help them decide AGAINST joining a gang or making ANY potentially violent/harmful decision(s).

My list of why…

– a sense of belonging. He or she may not feel connected to his or her own family.

– this group may represent the ONLY thing they recognize as a sense of community.

– he or she may be BORED. Having nothing of interest to them to keep them busy, or to positively impact their time

– he or she may be trying to fit in, feel accepted as a part of a larger crowd.

– he or she may be HURTING, and searching for SOMEone who understands them.

– it MAY be a cry for help or attention that they may feel they are not getting at home.

– he or she may have a NEED for an authority-type figure, or someone to look up to in their life.

– he or she may want to be viewed as “cool”, or stand out to their friends.

– his or her environment may not be very positive or productive, so they may choose what is “common” and available to them. Thus, falling into a stereotypical-type scenario.

– he or she may not feel that they have inner leadership instincts, so they may choose to follow the crowd (we were taught to ALWAYS be a leader… NEVER a follower)

– he or she may not be much of an independent thinker, so they allow others (and other things) to influence their mindset and thought process.

I remembered reading an article in a Teen Voices Magazine on the realities of gang-life, and how a young 16-year old girl shared her story of how and why she joined a gang. Her story was very insiteful, and REAL. She mentioned that she was searching, trying to fill her need for someone to show her affection, and that they loved and cared for her. She wanted to be accepted, protected, and respected. She understood that many kids join gangs; believing that selling drugs, etc. would eventually fulfill their inner desire for “fancy”cars, and nice(r) clothes. She said that many feel that it is the ONLY way; not realizing the REALity of it all.

Gang violence and acceptance is a part of our society today. This issue is RARELY addressed (until someone is shot, injured, or death occurs as a result). My deepest belief is that the RIGHT decisions can be made in a teen’s life, and it all starts with the RIGHT conversation. So, let’s get talkin’.

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.

Used Gang Rip Saws Can Deliver New Machine Quality at Used Machine Prices

Almost everyone who enjoys woodworking as a hobby imagines what it would be like to earn a living by operating a full-scale commercial woodworking company. But the path from hobbyist woodworking to commercial woodworking involves lots of planning and purchases. If you decide to take your passion for woodworking into the commercial realm, chances are that most of wood working machines that you see in your woodshop today won’t be there when you finally open your commercial production line. For example, instead of using hand saws and circle saws for all of your cutting needs, you’ll eventually need an industrial grade gang rip saw; a radial design power saw with its blade mounted to its motor that cuts wood both across the stock and above it.

Industrial grade gang rip saws simplify a variety of cuts that take significantly more time and effort when made with other types of saws. But to bring the power of top grade gang rip saws to your production line, you could be looking at spending multiple thousands of dollars. Although taking your woodworking to the next level can put lots of money in your pocket, getting to that level can take lots of money out of it. Faced with the expense of industrial wood working machines, some aspiring woodworkers try to compromise by buying a grade of machinery that isn’t designed to stand up to the production needs of commercial woodworking, and the result is always the same: the machines work wonderfully for a little while, then they start breaking down with increased frequency, eventually burning out. If you feel tempted to buy a rip saw in a cheaper grade than you ideally need, a better idea is to shop for an industrial gang rip saw used.

When woodworkers are first cutting their teeth in the commercial woodworking business, many of them don’t know about the value of used industrial woodworking machinery. Unlike domestic grade woodworking machinery, industrial machinery’s long life span and sturdy construction mean that it can be “used” and still perform like new, especially if its former owner kept it properly maintained. In addition to startup woodworkers, commercial woodworking companies also buy machines used in order to save money; and when you learn how much new industrial woodworking machines cost, it’s easy to see why. In order to make sure that they get a quality machine for the money, woodworking companies follow two simple rules when buying used machines: they research the seller’s reputation and they ask to see a copy of a machine’s official maintenance record. If you follow the same rules as you shop for used gang rip saws, you’ll end up with the saw that you need at the price that you need.