There is a culture within the U.S. that is often characterized by violence, drugs and an allegiance to a name. The gang lifestyle is pervasive throughout the United States, often spilling over from heavily populated major cities to small metropolitan areas. At this point, cities that were once gang free are quietly being invaded by gang leaders persuading an often young population into following their lifestyle. Sadly, many of these kids may have never felt a sense of belonging until adoption into this negative way of life.
One major gang known across the US is the Crips. Embracing the color navy blue as their own, the Crips originated in Los Angeles, California in 1969 by Stanley Williams and Raymond Washington. Being one of the largest and most violent gangs in the United States, this clan is 30,000 to 35,000 strong. This gang is largely known to have a bitter rival with the Bloods, another violent gang that came out of Los Angeles, California.
If you have watched any of the Gangland episodes on The History Channel, then you may have seen an interview with Crip co-founder, Stanley “Tookie” Williams. Original founder, Raymond Williams, initially began recruiting members in his violent gang at the age of 15. His original gang was referred to as the Avenue Cribs. Raymond Williams, living only 10 years while being a Crib/Crip member, was killed at the age of 25 on August 9, 1979. His killer was never discovered . Co-founder, Tookie Williams also found an unnatural end to his life. Williams was found guilty of multiple homicides, including four counts of felony murder with special circumstances. Williams was executed in 2005 by method of lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison. To my amazement, it was reported that thousands of protestors stood outside the prison requesting clemency for Williams.
I find the gang mentality to be very terrifying. A strong belief in the idea that you can slay anyone that crosses your path for no good reason is alarming. As a juvenile probation officer, I have had some dealings with juveniles who are involved in gangs. I worked with a youth I suspected to be an active Crip member, as he carried a blue bandana with him. He would never admit this, so it was just my assumption. I have also worked closely with a youth involved with the Latin Kings. By the age of 16, he had already been shot once in the back. It appeared that the gang mentality and the life of “glamour” had too much to offer was irresistible. The youth now fears for the safety of his family and is somewhat hesitant to come back to where he grew up.
This truly makes me feel sad for the youth in this country, who only have the gang lifestyle as an option of respect and possible bright future. Although you may not believe it, gangs are becoming prevalent across the US. To combat your child becoming involved with gangs, I highly suggest getting your youth involved in extra-curricular activities at school. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop is so very true. The more involved your kid is in positive activities, the less likely they are to be involved with a gang and eventually the court system. Parents, I urge you to take the time to help your child build their self-confidence. A strong belief in self is a great deterrent to failing prey to manipulative individuals who victimize kids who often feel they don’t belong.
Crips. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crips. 23 April 2010.
Williams. http://www.streetgangs.com/magazine/raymond.html. 23 April 2010.