A gang is defined as a group of people who want to control some places in the cities. Every group has a leader, who gives his people any tasks. The group's activities are usually criminal or pose a threat to the community. However, they don't usually see themselves as the real threat but rather as a group that works to improve their community. They wear specific colored clothing, jewelry, make certain hand signals, use certain graffiti, and specific jargon. It's usually assumed that gangs are composed of only males who have most likely dropped out of school and are unemployed. Louis Rodriguez is the author of "La Vida Loca: Two Generations of Gang Members", and he writes about his and his son's gangbanging experiences. Rodriguez was a man who was trying to cut his son's bloodline. Rodriguez was born in Mexico. Then at 2 years old with family he immigrated to Watts. He was involved in a gang's band. This is because as a youth Rodriguez had a hard childhood. According to Rodriguez, "At age 9, my mother walked me to the door and, in effect, told me: Now go forth and work"(67). It means that his family was suffering from poverty. That is why his mother pushed him away from home. He began using drugs at age 12, so he almost died at 16 because of toxic spray. Rodriguez was kicked out of three schools and finally dropped at 15.
A lot of his friends were killed by rival gangs, the police, overdoses, car crashes and suicide. Then he moved with Ramiro from Los Angeles to Chicago to escape the violence.
One reason for teenagers joining gangs is to feel accepted. To understand why a teen joins a gang, you have to live in their areas and understand their environment. In gang neighborhoods, the majority of the teens may be in a gang. This is almost equivalent to a cool club, because those who are not in the gang are viewed as outsiders and members of the gang may choose to avoid them for not being part of their club. So, in an effort to be accepted and to be liked, many teenagers will join the gang. Most young people want to be accepted and want to be considered cool by their friends.
Also, gang activity may offer a feeling of being a part of a family that is missing in the child's home. The child becomes loyal to the gang's values, rather than those of the home. So, they are going to join gangs because gangs seems as a family. They may also due to the desire to feel like you belong somewhere. Moreover, if there are many gangs in an area, joining one of them may offer protection from rival gangs. This is because gangsters from rival gangs are often in competition and will kill each other for their specific gang . According to Rodriguez's words, “ If they murder, the targets are the ones who look like them, walk like them, those closest to who they are- the mirror reflection”(68). For example, in some areas lots of gangs which are always fight to each other. So, to survive you have joined one of them to protect yourself. Rodriguez didn’t mentioned that gang activity may attract people by media. The media has glamorized gangs in music, movies, and video games. This adds to the excitement associated with them. For instance, nowadays, rap is a very popular music, but it's cause bad effects for teenagers. This is because they see lots of money, good cars and guns with girls. They think that is true power in our world. So, they are seeking ways, that will lead to this type of life.
Rodriguez's own gangbanging activities were not a surprise for us. This is because at a young age he had to survive. His family was poor and his mother pushed him away from home to get a job. At that point in his life he recognized that he had to do something, but those thoughts were negative. He stepped onto path of war with life with others. That is why it was not surprised by this.
Gangs’ activities have negative effects that involve violence and danger, which develops fear in the innermost of families. If a kid is a member of a group of gangs, his friends, family members, relatives will be involved to the gangs’ activities too. Moreover, once they get involved to the gangs, so there is no way that they can be set free. As we known, gangs always function in form of a group, and the strongest person will be a leader that person use members’ family safety as their kryptonite to make them work for the group. Their safety will be like a slender thread faces a strong wind. The rest of their life has to live in the world of stresses and frightening. For the victims are killed by homicide, the pain of losing family member is overwhelming and must not go away immediately. A trauma like that certainly never is recovered for some families. They are not only facing with the loss of a family member, but also the loss of the financial supporter, family’s breadwinner, made the decisions for the family, and cared for their family. Children grow up without knowing a parent, and a wife or a husband had to handle with consequences. Those innocent people may have to face with a world of problems that they might never ever have faced with before the tragedy. This all because of cruel gangs’ activities. Furthermore, if kid is already involved in gangs, then it will cause several negative effects on society such as vandalism, racket, murder, and so on. A gang can be criminal or non-criminal society, but all levels of gangs always involves violence. Gangs and gangsters are the most major concern for citizens, polices and the neighbor’s government. They are going to destroy our society by scaring people, by giving a bad example for kids how to live a good and right life. Rodriguez believes that parents should keep kids out of gangs. He mentions one way to prevent kinds from joining in gangs. According to what Rodriguez says, "The best way to deal with your children is to help construct the conditions for free and healthy development of all, but it's also true you can't be for all children if you can't be for your own"(68). He means, that to avoid gangs' activities for your children, you have to create special lifestyle for your kids. For example, encourage them to do any sport such as swimming, tennis, boxing, judo, soccer, and etc. The second way to prevent kids from joining gangs is to change the place where you live. For example, society which surrounds us is very influence to us. Even you will not recognize that you already changed your habits, your lifestyle, your life. The society is playing a very significant role in our life. So, if you want to safe your children from bad effect of gangs, then you have to change your place where you live to another. I was born in north part of Russia. It was very dangerous region because its location very far from central of Russia. There was no police power only gangs and mafia. Also, there was too cold even sometimes when I closed my eyes for 5 sec then I couldn't open them because eyelashes stuck together. So, every district has one band and if you go to different rayon alone, then you will have a problem. Others might to take your money or even clothes sometimes and finally attack you. It is quite the same situation as in the Rodriguez’s life. He said that every district had one special band which terrorized others and fought with other bands. People surround me were so cruel and almost all of them were using drugs. I made a decision to go to sport club to do judo with some friend to be strong for protection. Also, my mother was working at police, and she always tryed to observe my lifestyle, my action in life. I think this played a big role in my youth, even though I didn't understand it. I did what I want, but I didn't hurt people. This is because at young age I recognized that it is not the right way in life, and every thing will be accounted for death.