Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Be all that you can be...gangsta

"...gangs are encouraging their members to join the military to learn urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods."
- Scott Barfield, a Defense Department gang detective at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

I'm all for second chances. A gang member who joins the military seeking a new life is I would think on a good course. However that is not always the case. In two articles I recently ran across the issue of gangs in the military is being addressed. Finally.

This is not a new issue. I remember seeing an article on such a thing as far back as the mid 90's.

But we are in the middle of a war now.

"The news about the military placing unstable soldiers back into combat
comes two weeks after the Chicago Tribune reported that the FBI announced
that it was investigating connections between US soldiers and gangs in the
Chicago,13319,96056,00.html area."

Some military officials, like their civilian law enforcement counterparts, are brushing the issue aside.

"Stoleson said he once reported to a supervisor that he suspected a company of soldiers in Iraq was rife with gang members.
"My E-8 [supervising sergeant] told me not to ruffle their feathers because they were doing a good job," he said."

"Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, did not deny the existence of gang members in the military, but he disputed that the problem is rampant -- or even significant. "

Others are not...thankfully.

"Barfield said a big concern is what such gang members trained in urban warfare will do when they return home.
He pointed to Marine Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, a suspected Norteno gang member who shot two officers with a rifle outside a liquor store in Ceres, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2005, before police returned fire and killed him. One officer died, and the other was wounded by the 19-year-old Raya, who was high on cocaine. Raya had spent seven months in Iraq before returning to Camp Pendleton near San Diego."

Not "significant" Mr. Grey???
When you hear of reports of MS13 clearing a house in the US like a trained SWAT team you had better pay attention. When you hear the story of the El Rukns, who in the 80's hired their services out to terrorists you had better ruffle some feathers. When you hear stories about Latin Kings seeking out people trained in explosives and urban warfare...well you better redefine what your idea of "significant" is.

Think about the situation in New Orleans. Imagine if the police officers pinned down by gangs and gunfire at night had been pinned down by gang members who were trained snipers.
I would consider that pretty significant too.

"A law enforcement source in Chicago said police see some evidence of soldiers working with gangs here. Police recently stopped a vehicle and found 10 military flak jackets inside. A gang member in the vehicle told investigators his brother was a Marine and sent the jackets home, the source said."

While I support any gang member trying to get out and start a new life...I fear that this is often not going to be the case. At least if the reports coming from Iraq are accurate.

I am all for "being all you can be".

Unless what you want to be is a gang member fully trained for urban warfare by our own military.

For more information on gangs in the military contact me at: