Instead of doing good things for the betterment of society, modern day gangs thrive on violence and unlawfulness for whatever reason. When various gang members are caught, tried and sentenced to prison, they continue the gang mentality into the prison environment. Gangs are one of the biggest problems that prison personnel deal with on a day to day basis with incarcerated prisoners. Some of our nation’s most secure prisons have been developed with the gang activity as the main reason for the high security status.
Often, gang members are armed with all sorts of weapons and unfortunately if their weapon of choice is a firearm, they are not certified marksmen. They often injure or kill some victim who is not even a gang member of any kind. Oakland, Calif. is reminded daily of this fact with more than 100 gang-related deaths every year.
I guess gang members equate firearms and their possession to power. I wish we could start a gang that does positive things for the community rather than negative things. Drug sales are high on the list of things gangs enter into to gain money and wealth for their group in addition to theft and extortion of all kinds. The bottom line is that modern gangs are no good and thus law enforcement people are constantly working hard to root them out and arrest, convict and sentence these types to long prison terms to keep them out of our society.
Most people join a group or gang to have a sense of belonging. Modern gang members get a real sense of belonging when they are finally sentenced to prison and none of their fellows even come to visit them or even write letters to them. What’s the value of belonging to a gang now?
I would like to see a movement started at some level to reward positive gang activity. These gang members obviously have a degree of leadership, it just needs to be directed in a positive way. Wouldn’t it be great to see gangs flashing their colors and being proud of their positive accomplishments in building up our society rather than tearing it down?
Gang members in prison could be rewarded for doing positive things in prison to promote the peace and tranquility of those institutions, but I’ve been told that if they did that, other prisoners would think that those doing these sorts of activities would be considered as snitches to the administration of the prison and would be under a possible death sentence if the other gang members could get at that person.
Theoretically, if prisoners pursued the positive way of life in prison rather than the negative route, they could have a virtual country club existence while incarcerated, if the program were worked properly. The prevailing gang mentality will not allow for that to happen as the power of the gang would be lost. Ironically, it is lost anyway in the scores of years the various members lose to prison and, in some cases, even death.
There once was a man who led a gang of 12 men. They did nothing but good for all humanity and that gang leader’s name we have come to know as Jesus. Who says gangs can’t do good?
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.