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.