Gang Life

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William Breveard
April 6, 2010
English 101
Darren Cifareli
T/Th 11:10-12:30

G.A.N.G. L.I.F.E

Ghetto Star is a neighborhood “celebrity” known for actions such as gangbanging and dealing drugs (Shakur, Sanyika). For the past four decades gangs have populated the streets of Los Angeles; growing from 18 to 60 from 1972 to 1978, and from 155 to 270 gangs from 1982 to 1996. The bloods and crips in Los Angeles are predominately African Americans; with the exceptions of about four gangs which reside in Long Beach, Carson, Compton, and Inglewood and they consist of Samoan and members from Tongan descent. Gangs aren’t just an urban city problem but gangs have reached out to suburban and rural areas, which make modern day gangs an issue that can affect anyone in its path.

In the early nineteen-seventies late sixties a young man named Raymond Washington got together with several fellow kids in his neighborhood and organized a set called the Baby Avenues (aka Avenue Cribs). The name Crib chosen by the Raymond and his peers is were the word “Crips” originates from no one knows the actual reason people start calling them that but they soon adopted the word. In the year of 1971 the Avenue Cribs started to be known around the Los Angeles area as what we call today crips. Raymond Washington and his fellow peers looked-up and admired the Black Panthers, him and his friends wanted to preserve the aura of the Panthers, by creating the Avenue Cribs or Baby Avenues which were the first of their kind but not the last. They were like big brothers of the neighborhood protectors of their block to a certain extent, they wouldn’t let anyone come to their neighborhood and start trouble. Raymond and his Avenue Cribs originated from the Eastside of Los Angeles they were later known or actually given the title as the original crips. Gangs like the Avenue Cribs were being formed throughout the Los Angeles area from as far as Watts and Compton to Inglewood and the Westside of Los Angeles. Not just Black gangs were created in Los Angeles but Mexican gangs such as the notorious MS-13 were too, Ms-13 is one of the biggest gangs in the country. Ms-13 created by the children of Hispanic immigrants who left the civil war in El Salvador in the nineteen-eighties, their purpose of this gang was to protect themselves from rival Mexican-American gangs. Ms-13 has wide-spread from Los Angeles area throughout southern cities such as Charlotte, Durhan, and North Carolina where Hispanics are the fattest growing minority. The gang culture of Ms-13 has spread even as far out from Los Angeles urban and suburban areas all the way out of the country such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These gangs may have limit boundaries between each other in the city of Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean they stay between them. “Gangs are no longer just the problem of those who live in the crime ridden neighborhoods where the gangs thrive; they are now everyone’s problem” (LAPD).

Although people think of gang culture or the history of it is just a group of delinquent kids, gang culture is actually a highly structured social entity with hierarchies of power and authority to which gang members abide by. Gangs have been and will always be a [arty of our society, they have in one way or another been around for hundreds of years. A form of how gangs have been around is the example of pirates they can be considered an organized gang. Traditionally when you think of modern day gangs the Crips and Bloods are brought to mind and these two gangs can be dated as far back as to the nineteen-sixties. The gang culture is so deep on the west coast that plenty of families have generations of gang members living in the same residence. In the past five years in Los Angeles there has been 23,000 violent gang crimes, the following include 784 homicides, nearly 12,000 felony assaults, approximately 10,000 robberies, and just fewer than 500...
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