When will Gang Violence End

Astonishingly, gangs come second to terrorists nationally, on works of pure evil (Chandler). Gangs are known for their mysterious background, making it hard for society to understand them. Youth are attracted to all the lies gangs sell: it is a social group, an easy way to make money, a way to feel loved and accepted.

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For these reasons, the explosion of youth gangs across the Nation is out of control. In 2015 the United States police department gathered as much possible information on gangs. They gather information from all across the nation and concluded there are 76,000 gang members, 24,000 official gangs, and in 29,000 jurisdictions (Chandler). The numbers from this poll have continued to rise. Often times people wonder what effect youth gangs have on society since they have such an unclear upbringing.


In the medieval western times, the abbeys had groups of disobedient young men who were recruited into the abbeys. These recruits were known as the Abbeys of misrule. The Abbeys of Misrule battled each other to gain honor and power to represent their individual abbey (Loury). Following the Abbeys of misrule, society began to call mischievous groups of people, thugs. The word thug originates from the Indian word Thuggees. In India in the 13th-century, Thuggees were known for robbing people of their prized possessions and harming others as a mark of authority and power.

European youth gangs in the 15th century were the first gangs to associate color with their name; the Mims, Hector’s, Bugles, and Dead boys (White). These youth gangs were prominently known for breaking windows, burning down taverns, and fighting each other with colored banners (Loury). The colors associated with gangs in this era were a strong sense of establishment and identification (Dickson-Gomez). This will carry on over the next centuries, leading into today’s era. South Africa had young black males, who called themselves the Tsotsi. They formed their youth gang to protect other black men in their country (Fatal shooting). They brought the idea of instilling fear into people who were not black and not male, by harming only caucasian people (Swift 25). The majority of gangs around the world, not in the United States, are not in favor of American gangs.

Opposingly in the United States, many youth gangs were formed in order to discriminate minorities. The main point of interest driving these young people to join a gang was the fact concerning minorities were controlling the municipal politics. Young white males were unhappy with how ethnic minorities were controlling the librarians, parks, local police, water systems, and roadways (Driscoll). White males began to form violent rallies and gangs against the different ethnic groups who were controlling the municipal politics.
In the 1950’s, New Zealand had an uprising youth gang who was accountable for 90% of the crime involved in New Zealand. They were primarily known as the Maras. The name Mara comes from the Marabunta ant, located and discovered in Central America. These ants are very destructive. Marabunta ants are known for devouring and demolishing everything in their path. The Maras are secondarily known as the Trucha. Trucha is the Spanish word for trout but also is a slang word for a rude, prudent person (Gardner 12). Twenty years ago religious institutions were the biggest social institutions, where children would gather together for one purpose. The direction of society is changing. Today, gangs are becoming an important social organizer for a lot of teens (White). They no longer search for a church or a religion, but simply a gang.


Youth gangs are a growing phenomenon. They are not only prevalent in America, but also in countries across the nation. The question so many Americans and foreigners are wondering is; Why do these youth gangs form? The simple answer is because every child, teenager, youth, even adult, wants to feel accepted into society (Gardner 13). Teenagers especially yearn for someone to love them. Often times, in safe family environment homes, the love teens desire is from their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. When there’s a lack of love and trust at home, the teenage must search somewhere else (Chandler). This leads us to the mystery issue of how gangs form.
Poverty in families often leads to neglect or abuse, causing the youth to leave their home, or be kicked out. Leaving them looking for a companionship and a place to call home.

Gangs are a substituted family for youth around the world (Gardner 12). Researchers have found three major reasons why youth choose a gang as their safe haven. The first reason is, once apart of a gang, the members within it are responsible for each other. Meaning, the child or teenager, who may have lacked support, protection, or affection at home, now has all those in his/her gang (Swift 21). The primary leader takes the role of a father or mother and gives the child what feels like healthy physical, mental, and emotional support and protection (Loury). Secondly, gangs primarily form in tightly-knit communities. Occasionally a bother and a sister might join, or maybe twins will join together. This creates family ties within the gang members, making the decision to join a gang more prevalent. Lastly, indigenous people and minorities tend to feel more excluded from the world (Gale 7). No one wants to feel unwanted or not cared about. Therefore minorities, who feel they do not fit in, are intrigued by the idea of joining a gang who welcomes them for who they are. These are just a few reasons why children/teenagers chose gang life.

The gang leader appeals to these young children who are searching for their identity. They may manipulate their thoughts, by telling the teenagers their family, friends, and coworkers do not care about them (Fatal shooting). The leader of a gang can often make his gang sound very appealing to a young indigenous kid who is looking for someone to accept him/her, or a child of a minority who wants his friends to like him. Especially in today’s day and age; high expectations are put on people, especially youth (Swift 21). These high expectations do a number on those who feel they are not reaching the expectations society has put on them (Driscoll). Craving acceptance and attention; children seek refuge. Youth gangs are forming all across the nation at a rapid pace because kids need and want a place they can safely call home.


It is sad to watch children flock to unhealthy solutions thinking they are going to fix their messy situations. Initiation is a huge term used when talking about youth gangs, or gangs in general. The process taken to be officially accepted and apart of a gang is called initiation. Initiations are cruel, and some may wonder how such innocent youth can do such horrific deeds. The answer simply lies in the tragedy of their own lives and homes.

Caleb helm is a man who was once involved in a gang as a teenager back when he lived in Washington. He shares of the realities of gang initiation when he stated, Initiation was different for everyone. It was how you got your individual name. My name was invisible because I could do and go anywhere without being seen (Helm). Initiation is not just a test to pass. It is proof to who the person is and what they are capable. It shows the leader what resourceful talents one can bring to the gang family (Helm). For youth who chose to join a gang, initiation is a part of their new identification. It is apart of their place in this world, making it very important to them.

Chris Lane was a seventeen-year-old boy. His closest friends were trying to get involved in a gang. When Chris refused, they demanded he joined; even threatened him. Chris’s parents had warned him of the danger of gangs in his city and the lies they would tell to get him interested in joining one. Chris tried to explain to his friends his religion (Christianity) and his morals were against the gang life. Refusing to join, his three best friends were commanded to kill Chris. Killing Chris would be apart of their initiation process, to show dedication to the gang life.

Following Chris’s death, his father reported that Chris has warned his dad. He told him he denied the invitation to join a gang, and in return, his friends would have to kill him for initiation. His father, who had warned him of the gruesome gangs for so many years, underestimate the power and control of initiation (Loury). He lost his son to three innocent kids who wanted to join a manipulative gang. He now travels the world to testify of the horror within youth gangs. Initiation is a terrible aspect of the mysteries behind the life of gang members, yet it is real. It is alive, and it is scary.

The world is full of examples of the dangers when involved in a gang, or the dangers gangs put on society. Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California are two of the biggest hot spots for gang activity in the United States (Gale 8). Los Angeles is best known for the Crips, the Bloods, and a Mexican affiliated gang called The Mara Salvatrucha (White). Chicago’s most widely acknowledged gangs are from Latin origin. The Latin Kings are the largest Latin organization (Dickson-Gomez). The members of these gangs, both from Los Angeles, Chicago and all over the United States specialize in cruel activity (Fatal shooting). Their actions do not reflect emotions, but rather reflect the trauma they endured or the economic crisis they are in.

To a person in poverty, joining a gang and the drug cartel is a quick fix to get rich. Economics begins to play a huge role in youth joining gangs (Swift 19). The drug sales bring in a lot of cash, more than they are used to. All the sudden, the gang life is better than their home life, and their willing to do anything to stay (Gardner 27). Money pushes people to commit acts of violence or evil, they would never consider if money was not involved.

Motorcycle gangs are another form of a gang most often found in America. Hell’s Angels and Satan’s Choice are the most dangerous. They travel around the country in groups of twenty plus packs usually. They use their motorcycle to instill fear in those around them and their rival gangs. Similar to the gangs in America, other continents have problems with it too (White). Motorcycle gangs may seem harmless, traveling miles upon miles on motorcycles; however, they are traveling to find trouble they can start.
Russia has a group called the White Inquisitors. They discriminate against any race other than Caucasian. Harming many African Americans,

Latinos, and Mexicans, the White Inquisitors find pleasure in minorities pain. Inflicting pain to adults, teens, and even children of other races makes this specific gang dangerous to the minorities in Russia. Other hate gangs are found in Cape Town. Cape Town is a small town in South Africa, with over 130 different gang affiliations: the Hard Livings, Mongols, Junky Funky Boys, and the Americans. The Americans are the largest gang association in Cape Town. Their name is made to discriminate all American citizens. They specifically target gangs in the United States who are bringing in a lot of revenue each year. These groups/gangs are looking for ways to harm people who are different races than themselves.

Names/titles to gangs are extremely important. Gangs give themselves names to tell society what they stand for, and what legacy they want to leave behind (Swift 19). Names often times oppose religion by using words or phrases meaning, without God or abandonment of God. Gang names have four main purposes. The first being to promote fear, secondly to claim their territory. Next, a name establishes their identity, and lastly promotes loyalty within the group and from outsiders. All these gangs and many more are apart of the pure evil affecting mankind every day.

Many people wonder why Police have not been able to stop the outburst of gangs around the world. The Police’s job is to protect the people and stop evil. Why have they not stopped gang life? Gangs are so evil and corrupt, especially in Urban places (Swift 18). This creates the fear to enter gang territory very high, even for highly trained and skilled cops (Driscoll). The bond within a gang, and between the members in that gang are strong. The bond is often built between children and adults who have experienced extreme trauma or lack a sense of acceptance (Chandler). This kind of bond is hard to break, almost impossible for cops to completely sever it without getting hurt or killed in the process. Where one gang is located, it is most likely a rival gang is very near. Gangs do not like each other, but they know they are stronger together. This is why they tend to flock together (Loury). If the police department were to barge in on one gang, other gang affiliations in the neighborhood would step in, creating chaos (Fatal shooting).

Thankfully, in areas with strong religious backgrounds, gang life is minimal. For example, Ghana and the Middle East have the lowest number of gangs in their area. This is because Ghana is extremely Christian, and the Middle East is primarily Islamic (Gale 10). Although the police are not capable of completely stopping gangs worldwide, finding ways to reform urban areas into communities where everyone feels accepted, is essential to reducing gang violence.


A future without gangs is a far-fetched idea. While the elimination of gangs in the United States and around the world would be spectacular, it is not a reasonable idea. The largest gangs have been around for a long time. Their roots are deep, their connections are vast, and their community is continuously growing. Hispanic and black gangs in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California began around a century ago (Gardner 27). These gangs have unbreakable connections and ties (Dickson-Gomez). Richard Swift, the author of the book Gangs, explains why gangs violence needs to be limited. He states:

Living free from the threat of armed violence is a basic human need. It is a precondition for human development, dignity, and wellbeing Conflict prevention and resolution, human rights, good governance and peacebuilding are key steps towards reducing poverty, promoting economic growth and improving people’s lives. (Swift)

Gangs have become a source of survival for the majority of members who join them.
A large reason for gangs being important to the survival of their members has to do with money. The economic plan within each gang is unique, but each one brings in a lot of revenue. Americans, as well as mankind, are obsessed with money (Driscoll). The drastic measures one will go to provide for his/ her family is amazing. Money motivates our economy and empowers our society.

The unlikelihood of gangs ever disappearing, brings up the question of how can cities, states, countries minimize the negative impact of gangs on their society? The first solution would be to reduce drug cartel. Prisons all across the nation are filled with people who misused drugs. Over 50% of all people in prison were convicted of some type of drug crime (Chandler). Enforcing drug laws, and monitoring drug cartel would lower the revenue coming in from drugs. Selling, buying, and reproducing drugs is a priority in over 75% of gangs across the nation (Gale 10). The war on drugs, a such a massive issue, hard to control. The elimination of drugs is a war lost, but the reduction of drugs is a more compliant subject. Gangs will decrease significantly when the drug cartel slows down in business (Swift 13). As mentioned earlier, police have little action they can take to be effective in taking down gang activity, but many states in the United States are beginning to talk of threats to be made. To intimidate gangs members (Loury). The police in Illinois and California, (home of the largest gangs in the world) in particular have stated a method of approach they will be taking:

Police would first identify members on parole or probation and compel them to attend a meeting. There the cops would deliver an ultimatum – the shootings must stop. And if they do not stop the consequences will be swift and certain, and severe, and punishment will be handed out not just to the individual involved in the shooting but to everyone in that individual gang. (Swift)
Police following through on this tactic of not simply punishing the shooter, but everyone associated with the gang will hopefully instill fear in gangs across the United States. The world is filled with a lot of evil. Whatever society can do to enhance our community and reduce the acts of pure evil will have immense benefits (Gale 7). Although it is not reasonable thinking, to assume gangs can be eliminated or outlawed, it is reasonable to do whatever needed to reduce the negative impact gangs have on society.

Gangs around the world are integrated into the communities family and friends live in. The people within these gangs are mostly motivated by money and fear to commit careless acts. These type of heartless crimes and murders are dangerous to mankind. The devastation coming from gang initiation processes is heartbreaking. These innocent children who have grown up without a loving guardian are adopted into a manipulative group called a gang.

The majority of their life after is stolen from the gang life. People are crying out to stop these dangerous groups and pleading help for these children who have grown up with a lack of parental guidance. Gangs will not disappear, but knowing more about their cruel lifestyle, gives the nation a voice to speak out against them, and create a healthy, effective solution to reducing the number of gangs. Hopefully knowing the causes of gangs forming, helps clear the mysteries within gang life and helps people see the effects they have on the world.

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