Kids Love the Disney Gang

The Disney Gang is a group of the more famous Disney characters that have been developed over the years since Disney first got into the business of creating cartoons. Often the gang includes, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck, and lots of other loveable characters. The Disney Gang developed as each of these characters became popular in their own right, though Mickey Mouse is usually seen as the most prominent of the characters. There are lots of party supplies out with these Disney pals featured on them. You’ll find them all featured as a group or individually on a series of paper goods.

Kids love watching the various television shows featured with the characters in the Disney Gang. Many of these characters have been around for a very long time, almost since the beginning of the Disney Company so there are lots of different shows and cartoons with the characters in them. Even Goofy has had his own cartoon series in the nineties and he had two major motion pictures hit the movie theatres, A Goofy Movie and A Goofy Movie II. They were fairly popular among the kids for movies that only featured Goofy. The entire Disney Gang has been seen in videos games as well. Now kids can play games with their favorite Disney characters. There are lots of products out now with each of the Disney Gang characters on them too. You’ll find clocks, watches, shirts, other clothing, and even plastic and glass silverware and plates.

The Disney characters featured in the Disney Gang came to together to help each other out with their problems and various cartoon high jinks they get themselves into. Sometimes the cartoons just have funny adventures. They have featured members of the Disney Gang in movies that are based on other literary works. The most prominent cartoon that is out is the cartoon movie, A Christmas Carol. It featured Mickey Mouse as Scrooge’s Assistant and Mr. Scrooge as well, Scrooge. The Disney Gang makes a great theme for a kid’s party or even an adult party.

Chicago’s 2012 Murder Rate Tied to Drugs, Gangs and Personal Conflict

Chicago’s 2012 murder rate has been a constant fixture in the media this year, with reports of deadly shootings occurring nearly every day. Most of the shootings are related to interpersonal conflicts between rival gang members, and drugs often play a central role in these altercations. But despite strict gun control policies in the Windy City, it seems that drugs and gang-related conflict will continue to fuel Chicago’s murder rate, begging the idea that it’s not gun control Chicago needs: it’s drug control.

Chicago: A US Hometown War Zone

As of June, 2012, the number of homicides in Chicago since 2001 numbered more than 5,000. 2001 was the first year that American troops entered Afghanistan, and since the inception of operations there approximately 2,000 US troops have been killed. These numbers indicate that Chicago’s homicide rates are more than double the rates of troops killed in an established Middle-Eastern war zone. (1)

How could this be happening in a city with more than 12,000 police officers? The answer lies in Chicago’s long history of gang wars, going all the way back to the Prohibition and mobsters like Al Capone, Bugs Moran and Dion O’Banion.

Over the last 70 years gangs have remained a part of Chicago, and although gang members and styles have changed, primary sources of income have not, with drugs being the most important source of gang revenue. In the 80’s and 90’s Chicago’s gangs were mostly young black men ruling over a vast and well-connected empire buoyed largely on sales of crack-cocaine.

Fortunately, Chicago police were successful in cracking down on gang leaders and fracturing gangs into less powerful and seemingly disorganized groups. However, this strategy seems to be at least partly responsible for the current high rate of gang-related homicides considering that there are now more gang factions in the city than ever before. And because the manufacture and sale of illicit drugs is still the primary source of gang income, violence is often not far away. (2)

However, many people believe that it’s not gang wars specifically that are directly causing the high rate of murders. Although the deaths often involve gang members, the shootings are generally not about “gang business” – at least not initially. In a story for Chicago Tonight titled: Are Chicago Murders all Gang Related? Natalie Moore uncovers a concept of gang-associated homicide that goes something like this:

*Gang member #1 feels slighted by rival gang member X over an interpersonal conflict
*Gang member #1 makes derogatory remarks about rival gang member X
*Gang member X retaliates by shooting rival gang member #1 and anyone standing nearby
*Soon after, gang members supporting gang member #1 make a retaliatory attack on the rival gang
*Retaliations alternate back and forth, sometimes culminating in multiple, separate but connected shootings throughout the course of a day

In the process, innocent bystanders are sometimes shot and killed, and police often erroneously cite their deaths as gang-related. (3)

What law enforcement efforts have made clear is that the binding glue of Chicago’s splintered gangs isn’t fraternity or respect, and it definitely isn’t a sense of security. It’s all about drugs. Using drugs together, selling drugs, manufacturing drugs, engaging in crimes to procure more drugs; this is the moral fabric that many gang members are cut from.

The reality is that most gang related killings aren’t worth the offense supposedly committed, indicating a populace that is hasty and paranoid. Add drugs to this picture and it’s easy to see how things get blown out of proportion in the Windy City.

(1) Chicago Homicides Outnumber U.S. Troop Killings in Afghanistan Huffington Post 06/16/2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/16/chicago-homicide-rate-wor_n_1602692.html

(2) Belkin, Douglas Chicago Hunts for Answers to Gang Killings The Wall Street Journal 07/12/2012 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303644004577520863051001848.html

(3) Moore, Natalie Are Chicago Murders all Gang Related? Chicago Tonight 09/25/2012

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’.