Saturday, May 06, 2006

Home of the Brave.

“ The only thing you respect is stupidity. Your whole way of life is bullsh*t! Macho is bullsh*t!”

“ But it's all I got!”
-From the movie, 187.

Do a search through some myspace sites or some of the related personal blogs. Search for kids who are in gangs and read their profiles. Over and over again under the site question saying: What are you afraid of? They answer the same…”nothing.”

What crap.

Those who yammer the loudest about how they are not afraid are the ones most afraid. This whole cycle of tough, bad, macho, hard etc…is all crap.

Every gangster I’ve known spends most of their time trying to convince everyone else of how tough and fearless they are. Not even realizing that no one else cares because everyone else is busy trying to do the same thing.

Like the movie 187 points out…it becomes painfully obvious. Being hardcore, being tough, being fearless is nothing more than a lie. And sadly for many of these kids it is all they have. Their home becomes a façade of bravery. It isn’t real.

Their parents didn’t protect them. Or weren’t there for them. Or were too busy with everything else to notice them. So they grew up afraid. Grew up being their own parent. And got sucked into a lifestyle of pretending to not be the one thing that they are the most, afraid. All the while trying to convince everyone of just how brave they are.

This doesn’t mean that these kids are weak or cowards. It means that they think all they have is war because its all they’ve ever had.

Imagine being 7 years old and knowing nothing but pain. 7 years old and feeling like you have no alternative but to join a gang. Not just any gang but one of the most dangerous gangs on the planet.

Imagine knowing nothing but fighting, anger, hate, and violence since you were able to remember. Family that is only there to help you learn to make war. Imagine fighting from the age of 7 to the age of 16.

Then at 16 getting pregnant. 6 months later losing your child because a bullet from a rival gang tore through your stomach. The rival gang member killing your child and your cousin because he “thought your cousin was trying to flirt with his girl.” Sound familiar? That’s what the war between the Bloods and Crips is said to have started over. But this is a different story. One where a little girl held her cousin in her arms as he died. One where she continues to watch her family spiral into an endless war of revenge. One where bravery is an illusion.

Imagine living with blood on your hands. Imagine knowing that joining the gang killed your child. Joining the gang and being in the wrong place at the wrong time made it where you could never have children again. Imagine seeing your loved one bleeding and dieing in your nightmares over and over again.

This isn’t a what if. This is a real story. And yet even with all of this hate. With all of the violence, bloodshed, and personal loss. This little girl grows up and refuses to carry on a legacy of death. This little girl grows up and lowers her flag. Not because she is disloyal. But because she is tired of living a lie. She has seen the truth.

Tired of living the lie of Gangsterism. She is braver than any of you still carrying guns fighting someone else’s war. If anyone has a right to seek revenge she does. But she isn’t. She has more heart than any of those OGs preaching the “loyalty” garbage on the street. She still has fears. But her bravery is in acknowledging that she has fears.

Her courage is in her willingness to reach out to you.

If you are in a gang and need someone who has been there. If you need someone to talk to, someone to listen…email her at:

She is one of the bravest people I’ve met.