Why do people join gangs? What happens in that gang? What is so special about being in a gang? Through research, it is clear that the biggest predictor to gang involvement is all of the “positives” that come in being in a gang because when you join a gang, you get certain “perks” that other non-gang members get.
What I mean as in “perks” are:
- Easy access to drugs and alcohol
- Easy access to guns
People who are in a gang or are thinking of joining a gang can leave/not join a gang by doing something else with their lives. To begin, Hisham, an EDP teacher I interviewed, came up with a very good way to prevent people from joining gangs. He stated, “If I could do something about the gangs, I would collaborate with men (specifically people of color) who come from poverty to be given a job so that they stay off the streets”(Hisham). Something important that I noticed from that quote was that Hisham said, “collaborate with men who come from poverty to be given a job”(Hisham). This is significant because what he said was actually an amazing idea. Men in poverty SHOULD be given a job to stay off the streets. Secondly, In Kate McLean’s article, “Gang Wars: Oakland leaves locals perplexed, upset”, it talked about everyone’s mixed emotions about gangs. In one sentence, a person by the name of Callis, said, “So many students aren’t involved in gangs but they have to live with the violence. They lose friends and loved ones and they survive-and they are resilient”(Callis). This is important because it was saying how people in Oakland have to fear the outside world, thinking they’ll get killed. I don’t want people to move into Oakland and just start having negative emotions/thoughts about this city. I know this city can do and be better. Some may argue that people joining a gang can’t be prevented, but I believe that it can.
Adding to what I’ve said earlier, people who join gangs might join them because they know the “perks” of being in one, so they already know what they’re going to earn when they join a gang. Starting off, when I interviewed a bus driver who only provided her first name, Michelle. I asked her, “what do you think should be done about gangs in Oakland”? She replied with, “Nothing should be done about the gangs because people protect themselves by joining gangs”(Michelle). I found this interesting because this was exactly what I meant for the “perks” someone can get for being in a gang, in this case, protection. This is actually true because there are people who are being watched and are afraid, so their only hope was to join a gang so that they’re protected all day. If I were in a situation like this, I would’ve notified the police about the problem. Furthermore, in Scott Johnson’s article “Element of racism among rival Latino gangs in Oakland”, he interviewed a Latina by the name of Karina Naveja. During the interview, Naveja stated, “There was so much violence between black and brown people, there were huge fights. Joining a gang was how I protected myself”(Johnson). Some major keywords I found in the quote were “protection” and “violence”. Based off these keywords, I already knew that the quote was stating that people who were afraid of someone that they would join a gang for protection. This is important because people who do these types of things are those who are afraid of telling on the person they’re afraid of, not realising that they can tell the police so that they ACTUALLY do something about it. Some may argue that people join gangs just because they want to, but I believe that there’s more to that because everyone has a reason for doing something.
Some may argue that former gang members can’t do anything else with their life or people just join gangs for no reason, but I believe that former gang members CAN do something else with their lives and people do join gangs because of something that’s going on in their lives. It’s just that other citizens always think about the negative things when he/she sees a gang member.
Finally, it is clear that the biggest predictor to gang involvement is all of the “positives” that come in being in a gang because when you join a gang, you get certain “perks” that other non-gang members get.