Social Question

Aster's avatar

Are Any Towns Free of Gangs? What is Their Purpose?

Asked by Aster (19984points) July 10th, 2010

Seems like each month I hear of gangs in elementary schools in towns I remember as being Utopian. Are you safe in Your town?Where did gangs come from and what are they wanting to accomplish? Is there a solution to this societal problem or will it grow worse?

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6 Answers

Berserker's avatar

No young people gangs here, but it is overun by Hell’s Angels haha. I guess biker gangs are the modern equivalent to pirates, only on land and not at sea.

In Winnipeg there were plenty of gangs though, I remember some of the names. Deuce, the most ’‘powerful’’ one, ToL (The Overlords.) IP (Indian Posse) The Crypts, The Manitoba Warriors, The River Sisters.
All young people, and since Winnipeg is filled with poverty and life often includes abusive and neglecting parents, I guess maybe these gangs form so that some of these kids can find a place to belong, and end up causing trouble and fighting one another as a subconscious way to vent their fears and frustrations.
But maybe that’s not it, a lot of the members join from pressure, others have siblings in the gang and so naturally want to join, others are just messed up? I’m sure some of these gangsters have wonderful parents too, so it could be a lot of things. A natural affinity for rebellion? The need to stand out, be recognized, glamourize a fantasy or an idea, who knows.

But I’m pretty sure these gangs are created due to some severe form of social deficiency; education, community centers, poverty, drugs, things like that. I’m not a socialist I can’t say, but I get very sad when some people target gang members as the epitome of evil, and believe that these kids are worthless. I was always afraid of gangsters when I was younger and got beat up by these two girls from a gang once, but I still don’t think that finding ways to eradicate gangs based on the ideas that there’s no root to the problem other than the belief that these people are naturally ill intentioned is ever gonna work. We have to look further, I think.

I think the purpose they might serve is to remind us that there are other people in society, and that our actions shape things just as much as anyone else’s. Some of these kids need help.

I’ve seen organizations that tackle this problem, through trying to undo gangs by interacting with the members one on one, and trying to offer them alternatives; jobs, going back to school, stuff like that.

I’m not saying don’t arrest them; if you commit a crime, do the damn time, but I just don’t think that this alone will ever get rid of gangs, most especially when a lot of gang philosophies see arrest as something to be proud of.

Aster's avatar

@Symbeline Is it better to have Hell’s Angels because they get on motorcycles and leave? I think of most gangs as not having vehicles but maybe I’m wrong.
I remember when my daughter had her car stolen. She tracked it down, rolled down her window and yelled to them that the police were on their way (they weren’t). They pulled over, the doors opened, and she said she could not believe that many guys could fit in one small car. They just kept jumping out and leaped over a fence! This happened in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I haven’t heard of any gang issues here, just the occasional college kid or soldier getting drunk and doing something stupid. I agree with @Symbeline about why gangs seem to form. There are a lot of areas where kids have nothing to do. There are some communities that decide to focus on their well being instead of the well being of the youth in their area. In Dover, Delaware, they decided to tear down one of the 2 bowling alleys because it was close to the race track. They built a new hotel there so that the state could make more money on the race fans when they come to town. That bowling alley was always full on the weekends (as is the one remaining).

ipso's avatar

Humans are pack animals. There are always gangs. Whether it’s a church or a small business alliance or a lodge club – or a school sports team or Heathers’-esq girl clique. It’s basically natural, and how we function. So I don’t consider it a “social deficiency”, it’s actually socially healthy.

Crime of course is a different issue.

As far as inner city style criminal street gangs, it’s a very complex phenomenon, directly related to density and (I believe) a direct function of parents and family not engaging their kids in “positive activities”. If a kid has nothing more interesting and engaging going on, why would he not join a local gang?

You end up getting pack leaders, the culture drivers, who draw in followers but who are bad influences. That said, I believe crime is not influenced as much by other people as much as getting away with it and hearing stories of getting away with it.

You don’t fight gangs, you fight crime.

I think that falls down at the extreme though, where you get syndicate type activity.

Berserker's avatar

@Aster Biker gangs are a bit different. Such things as the Hell’s Angels are ’‘professional’’ criminals, into a lot of things like smuggling, extortion, stuff like that. They don’t have time to piss people off like young gangsters do, they keep to themselves and operate in ’‘discretion’’.
They will however, fight other gangs of all sorts for territory. That’s why we have no gangs in this town other than them, because they drive em all off lol.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In my small town there are no gangs. Of course we have no traffic lights, no turf over which to fight and many more seniors than young people.

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