Friday, December 01, 2006

pretending to live

They are not misguided. They are simply not guided. So they try and guide themselves. Some of them make it out, to a new life, to some semblance of normalcy. Most, sadly, do not.

Kids in gangs pretend to be tough. They pretend to be callous. Sometimes they really are. But most of them are not. They are afraid and fear creates aggression. Aggression of course is the fertile soil of violence.

Intervention programs often fail miserably. Because once they are in, getting out is never as simple as what you may read in a text book. It is never as simple as “taking deep breaths” to control your anger, or counting to 10. When you are being shot at, when you watch your friends die, when your parents don’t care, taking deep breaths is the least of your concerns.

It is almost impossible to undo the damage. Almost. That is why it can be so difficult. They guide themselves but they do not know where they are going. These kids pretend to be many things. So many of them are bright and intelligent. So many of them have such potential.

And generations of future doctors, social workers, or teachers have been murdered in the streets because no one was there to guide them. They live a life of lies. Lies of a future of glory in colors. Lies of brotherhood that is a brotherhood bound in blood. Lies of success on a street that will not remember them. They pretend and say they are okay. But they are lying. Lying to themselves.

And we are lying to ourselves when we think their problems are not ours.