Saturday, February 25, 2006

This Isn't Your War

An Open Letter to Young Gang Members

I have worked with many of you for many years. Time and again I ask the question to young people locked up in juvenile facilities, “Since you have been locked up, how often has your ‘OG’ (gang leader) written you, called you, or visited you to see how you are doing?”

The answer has always been the same. “Never.”

After the adult leaders of gangs are through using you, they are through. Often the lives you have at home are no better…your families may not care or may not be able to be there like they should. You don’t deserve that. But becoming part of the gang, though it seems to be an answer, is only more abuse in disguise.

Another question I always ask to experienced gang members. You know the ones who go around and try and recruit new people in? I ask them, “If you had it to do over again…would you still have joined the gang?”

The answer has always been the same. “No”.

Why do you think that is?

Young people serve several purposes in the gang.

To make the gang leadership rich. (You do not get the majority of the drug / weapons money you make…the leadership gets the biggest cut….even though you are the one risking everything.)

To make the leadership famous. (For you Gangster Disciples…everyone knows who Larry Hoover is…but how many people know who you are? Yet you are the one risking everything.)

To serve their jail time for them. (Adults use kids to traffic drugs. Sell guns. To kill. Why? Because that way when you are arrested they can distance themselves from you. Claim they don’t know you. Manipulate you to use the “code of honor” as an excuse to let you rot in jail for their crimes. All the while they get richer, get the glory, and stay arrest free.)

To shed your blood for them. (This is their war. But they have you out there on the streets, fighting, killing, and dying in their place. You were drafted with the lie of love and brotherhood only to find a new source of never ending pain.)

Its going to get worse too my gang kids. Because a time is coming when some gang, maybe not yours, but some gang will play some role in a terrorist act. Maybe someone will get a bag of cash to drive a van somewhere. A van filled with explosives. Maybe someone will get paid a lot of money to kill someone political. It’s already been attempted…look up the Black P Stone Rangers also known as El Rukns. Look up Jose Padilla.

When that happens and the Feds tie part of this terrorist act to a street gang…the way law enforcement views you will change. If you think you are harassed now…wait until that happens. Gangs will be considered terrorist groups.

You know what they do to suspected terrorists right? You know you can end up in a prison somewhere were all those fancy legal rights you have now will mean nothing? There will be no TV. No nice meals. No phone calls or letters home. No lawyers. No sleep.

You may never be seen again. Ever.

So just be prepared if you are going to stay in the gang.

It is coming.

And when it does you will have a new war to deal with. You will become the same as al Qaeda and you will suffer their fate. It is a war that you will not win.

You should find a way out now. And get on the side that helps save lives rather than take them.

This isn’t your war…