Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Cult of Gangsterism

An Unholy War.

No eating pork.
No eating doughnuts.
No eating cake
No fish on Friday
If you must eat fish, break it into 7 pieces and recite the prayer.

No, these are not rules from an organized religion or a cult per se. But rather from several different modern gangs.

Rules, organization, and structure. Not a fraternity, social organization, or club. These are elements of many of our modern street gangs. Many of which do not refer to themselves as gangs at all. But rather as organizations. Some refer to themselves as political and or religious in nature.

From a Gangster Disciple personal web page:

What B.O.S. is......
It is voluntary association of men.
It is a system of moral conduct.
It is a way of life.
It is a fraternal society.
It is religious in its character.
It teaches 360 degrees of Pure Knowledge.
It is based on firm belief in Growth and Development, the Brotherhood of Man, and the spirituality of the Soul.
B.O.S. is a fraternal organization for men which furthers the principles of brotherhood. When a man joins the Brother's of the Struggle, he enters into an opportunity for personal development and character growth. It enhances his community, strengthens his family ties and extends his involvement in righteous endeavors. Men who are B.O.S. take great honor in their membership for many reasons, prominent among which is that they are part of a giant force dedicated to worthy purposes. Brother's of the Struggle is a system of living; it seeks nothing for itself but to make it's members wiser, better and consequently happier. B.O.S. makes good men better men.

We all need structure. Especially young people. Though they will protest our parental advice from time to time, deep down inside young people function better with structure and discipline. We all do.

When they don’t get it at home they will seek it out elsewhere. The modern gang has capitalized on this basic principle to the highest degree.

When a young person doesn’t know what tomorrow holds or where his next meal is coming from or whether or not tonight will be the night his drunken father beats him to death; fear becomes prominent. Without structure fear arises. Fear of the unknown.

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate to the dark side."
-Master Yoda from the Star Wars saga.

Structure, even structure in an antisocial environment is better than no structure at all. Structure restores some sense of control. And control and fear interact with one another in almost every conceivable aspect of human life. A loss of control brings about fear. Fear, as we see in situations of social chaos, leads most often to violence.

The most violent creature in the world is a cornered animal that is in fear of its life. Kids without a sense of structure (control) at home will seek it out elsewhere and sometimes in a gang. Though this structure often begins a destructive cycle of violence and increasing fear it at least initially “feels” better than having no direction or structure.

Gang leaders offer young people a lot of things. Money, jewelry, clothes, cars, women, and power. But the attraction of structure, a sense of belonging to an “organization”, is the underlying pull of gang life. Using religious symbols and or political ideology reinforces a sense of legitimacy. These things may also seem familiar to some young people. This sense of familiarity makes the lure of gang life all the more attractive. Yes, gang leaders and founders know how to work their respective audience.

The modern street gangs such as the Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples (also known as Growth and Development), or the Vice Lords call themselves “organizations” not gangs. They use legitimate sounding words to attract young people. Community Restoration In Progress? That’s one of the legitimate sounding names for Crips used by some gang leaders to sound more legitimate. To attract more young people. It is not uncommon for many of the modern street gangs to have “constitutions”, by-laws, prayers, creeds, and codes of conduct.

Most often when questioned by counselors or law enforcement young people in gangs will not answer “yes” to the question, “Are you a gang member?’ Because they are taught that their group is far more than a gang. They are a part of an “organization.”

There can be little doubt the adult gang leaders using children for profit know what they are doing. Like cult leaders, they pretty up the words, add in a little “brotherly love”, and mix it together with an undertone of fear, to bring in and solidify membership in at risk youth.

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