The Subculture of Gangs - Why do They Abound? Cultural Capital, Camaraderie and Conformity.

It's nationwide and not in a cool ZZ Top song kind of way.
It's nationwide and not in a cool ZZ Top song kind of way. | Source

It's a New Jack nation.

Why? What can we do about it?

Gang membership has become such a standard of course in America as to have been glorified in popular culture mediums from film to music, magazines and even fashion.

This article will examine exactly what the attraction of the gangland lifestyle is.

The examination will illustrate that regardless of the gang in question, the factors that suck our youth in like a rabid vortex remain constant from biker gangs to urban street gangs and others.

While examining enticements, we will also cover social pressures and negative stimuli applied to individuals in a covert effort to get them into gangs.

Is it cool or is it a message?

These are tattoos from the Dlasthr Assyrian gang.  All of these have meanings.  They are not just cool art.
These are tattoos from the Dlasthr Assyrian gang. All of these have meanings. They are not just cool art. | Source

Why is gang membership growing at such alarming rates?

Why do you think the majority of youth join gangs.

  • I think they do it because they want to.
  • I think they do it because they are lonely.
  • I think they do it for a sense of power.
  • I think they do it so they won't be killed or have family hurt.
See results without voting

To understand the allure of gangs, we must first understand the types of potential members.

Gangs love to start recruiting soldiers young. Yes. I do mean soldiers.

Successful gangs are run simularly to military operations, large corporations even. What many consider all violence and crime has a good bit of thought and power behind it.

To really check it out, we need to understand that potential recruits fall into one of two basic categories. There are those guys and gals that want to get into the gang. Secondly, there are those that don't.

We must further understand that not all gang entrants have a choice.

Since gangs have been around, steadily growing in America for decades now, there is a significant number of members that are what is called "blessed in."

Basically, this means their parents had them initiated at birth or shortly thereafter. Many of these kids are marked and none have any choice in the matter at all.

What do I mean by marked?

These poor children are tattooed at birth or as very young kids.

Not until reaching adult status, if they survive that long and want to, can they have it removed.

Removal often comes with peril of death.

This is the art American children are exposed to most.

Art is really cool, fun to look at and many times soothing.  This art is also a glaring sign to those who know what it says.
Art is really cool, fun to look at and many times soothing. This art is also a glaring sign to those who know what it says. | Source

The kids are getting it, both those who join and those who don't.

Out of the mouths of babes.

The young man in the video above is a high school student. He points out how administrative policies and prejudices about gangs, justified or not, are hurting all students.

He further points out that in what is most likely a very typical American high school, two of his classmates are now dead due to local gang activity.

What makes me qualified to address this serious topic?

You won't find too many references floating around here but I am uniquely qualified to examine this issue.

First, as a behavioral science major with multiple degrees, I studied the topic extensively and did many a research project, statistical analysis and wrote more papers on the topic than you can imagine.

Do I agree with all the theories spouted by the textbooks?

Not really, though I will be using one theory that nails the heart of the matter. More to come on that in a bit.

More importantly, I have way too much real time field experience dealing with gang members.

I taught for 11 years in a Title 1 high school. Basically, that means more than half our students were dirt poor. Gang members outnumbered non gang members.

As a several year member of our school's crisis team, every time there was a serious behavior blowout, I was one of three people that got called out of class to deal with it. I've seen more gang violence than I want to remember.

During that time, I saw up close and personal just what the gang lifestyle is doing to many a kid as young as 14 and as old as 22.

I saw it through the eyes of the parents, the educational profession, the criminal justice system and society at large.

It's really not working out well for anyone, save those at the top. I met a few of them too. Smooth and scary are the words.

Lastly, when I first began my college career, I paid for it by bar-tending at a biker bar. I've partied with them, been friends with them, saw them at their best and at their worst.

Years later, it always struck me how similar the social dynamics are within motorcycle gangs and youth street gangs.

Gangs in Schools by Captain Mike Rudinski of the Hyattsville, Maryland Police Department

How many gang members are there in America?

While this question may seem pretty straight forward, actually, it's complex. First, we must consider how a gang is defined. That definition determines who gets counted and who does not.

Different studies provide different numbers as per usual in any such social aggregating endeavor. Further mud is added to the waters when one considers that some studies look only at street gangs, others at biker gangs, prison gangs, all types and kinds may or may not be included in the figures.

So, basically we don't have accurate information to start with but let's check out what's available.

Number quoted:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
1.4 million members
ABC News report
600 thousand members
Helping Gang Youth
1 million members

In your face or in the woodwork?

What percentage of your local school's student body population do you think is involved in gang activity?

  • Less than 25%
  • Less than 50%
  • Less than 75%
  • Way too many
See results without voting

Basically, it's a boatload of people. The number of gang members in America is larger than some nation's armies.

No matter what figures your going with, there's no arguing the fact that we are talking about a ton of young people here.

It's not just the young. Never forget, gangs have grown over the years not just in numbers, but also in sophistication. The folks at the top for most of the larger gangs be it street, biker or prison are adults. Kids are just the pawns, the soldiers for the most part.

Is that to say no kids run gangs? Not at all. For many local street gangs, minors are running the show. While we might like to think this makes them less dangerous, perhaps more easily reached, don't bet on it. Many of these so called kids are murderers, flat out.

When did this happen?

By the very definition of the word gang, they have been around a lot longer than they have been getting media play.

There were gangs of youths perpetrating crimes on the streets of New York back in the early 1900s.

In America, numbers have been blowing up since the sixties.

Interestingly, we can see the same escalation in several other numbers too, like divorce rates, women working outside the home, a declining belief in God and a decline in literacy among American youth.

So, what's the pull? Why are so many people joining gangs?

There exists three broad reasons that cover why people join gangs, young and old, male and female.

The three reasons we will examine apply to both groups of potential members, those that want in those who do not.

  • Cultural capitol
  • Camaraderie
  • Conformity

The first reason is one of cultural capitol. This is a theory developed almost 20 years ago by Phillippe Bourgois in his book, In Search of Respect - Selling Crack in El Barrio. Next, the last two reasons are much less textbook based, yet still applicable. They are camaraderie and conformity.

While it sounds a bit broad to really explain the phenomenon, it isn't. The big three here really fit the bill.

Let's look at this.

Money isn't the only thing that spends or buys.


What part of the country you're in determines how stupid you sound.

That saying is loosely paraphrased from the movie Smokey and the Bandit. What the character meant when he said it holds true to this day.

Different things have various meanings in other places, social settings and groups.

For instance, when a parent says something is bad, they mean it in a negative, don't do it kind of way. Often, when a teen says something is bad, they mean it's really cool.

The word fag in Europe means cigarette. In America, the same word is a derogatory and inflammatory word.

Coming from one environment and having to use the term in another without knowledge of the difference usually ends up making one look bad. In some cases, it even leads to violence.

First up, people join gangs because of cultural capitol.

Huh? What the heck is cultural capitol?

It's a very easy concept. Let's skip the over done text book definitions and jump to the essence of this idea.

Cultural capitol is exactly what it sounds like. It's capitol, a form of currency.

In this case, instead of money, it's the knowledge of how to interact, what's expected, how to succeed and have power within any given culture. Such knowledge includes all things ranging from language to fashion, morals to work ethics and even how work is defined.

We all have this. We do not all have the same form of cultural capitol.

Think of it this way, it's like capitol that only works in certain places. For instance, rubles and yen can not be exchanged for goods and services typically outside the countries they are the standard accepted currencies for.

I can't use Chinese money to buy a hamburger with cheese at McDonald's in Texas.

Similarly, cultural capitol is only good for anything in the cultures it comes from. Knowing how to survive in the hood isn't going to help you get a job in high society. Being the prime diva in your exclusive country club won't count one whit towards helping you survive in a biker bar.

What helps in one cultural environment hurts in another.

Most of us get the vast majority of our cultural capitol through the normal socialization process of growing up. Where we grow up dictates most of our capitol.

For instance, a kid that grows up in the backwoods of Mississippi and spends most of his time hunting and fishing is most likely not prepared socially for high tea with the Queen of England. Chances are high he will make some social mistakes, such as using the wrong spoon or not holding his little finger correctly that will make him look a buffoon.

On the flip side, the Queen probably can't hang with just a buddy or two in the wilderness for a few days with nothing but a knife. That Mississippi boy will have a blast and excell in the same circumstances.

It all comes down to fitting in where one is, pecking order and believe or not, jobs.

This guy would be well set for any interview in corporate America based on appearance.  He wouldn't last three seconds in the hood looking as he does.
This guy would be well set for any interview in corporate America based on appearance. He wouldn't last three seconds in the hood looking as he does. | Source
Chances are high this individual would not do so well in a corporate America job interview looking as she does now.  However, chances are high she do very well on the street.
Chances are high this individual would not do so well in a corporate America job interview looking as she does now. However, chances are high she do very well on the street. | Source

No one wants to feel like they don't fit in.

The more cultural capitol one has in any given environment or social setting, the better prepared one is to not only fit in, but to move up in the ranks.

Humans are social creatures. We tend to do many things in groups and no one wants to be perceived as being on the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak.

How does this relate to jobs and gangs?

When a young person with a boatload of cultural capitol in the gangland lifestyle, the drug subculture and such tries to move outside that particular group, they normally don't fit in so well in other groups.

Kids that grow up in gang infested places know the gangs from an early age. They don't know much else because they have little exposure outside the subculture they live in.

The only place the capitol they have does them any good is in a gang. Think of it as following the path of least resistance in regards to social and vocational venues.

Basically, it's human nature.

Labor force participation rates by sex since 1950.

Whose around to raise the kids?  Mostly, kids.  Think about it.  Even in school, kids outnumber teachers ranging anywhere from 25 - 50 to 1 teacher.
Whose around to raise the kids? Mostly, kids. Think about it. Even in school, kids outnumber teachers ranging anywhere from 25 - 50 to 1 teacher. | Source

Popular media and changing family dynamics have exacerbated this problem.

As more and more women have left the traditional role of staying home and raising children, more and more kids are socialized primarily through peer groups and popular media.

Media has a programming effect upon young people. Those who watch more of it are more prone to buy into the concepts promoted even though they can tell you it's pretend.

Fewer families stay intact. Increasing numbers of American children have no father in the home, no male role model to look up to as an example. Where do they look? They look to movies and their own neighborhoods. When one repeatedly sees that those who are the most successful are those living the gang life, it becomes almost impossible not to buy into the idea at a very young age.

We must remember the young base most decisions on surface level observations. When the richest, coolest, most powerful guy around is the local drug dealer, they notice no matter what we may say to illustrate how that reality is only part of a much larger picture.

The Big Lie; Family (uploaded to Youtube by Attorney General Ken Cuccinell)

Can you spot them?

What's the most dominant means of gang affiliation in your area?

  • Clothing - certain color or patterned shirts or jackets
  • Tattoos
  • Bandannas
See results without voting

Works like this are more common than not.

A memorial for a young man shot down by two gang members in Phildelphia.
A memorial for a young man shot down by two gang members in Phildelphia. | Source

Next up, people join gangs for camaraderie.

This holds true for all kinds of gangs and all ages of members to varying degrees. Cultural capitol either gets one in the group or admittance is believed to increase cultural capitol. While that is certainly appealing, it's not the only pull.

We have all heard the old saying there is strength in numbers. Nowhere is this fact illustrated better than in American schools and prisons. Think about the irony of that combination for a minute.

Prison gangs tend to be organized around race. Many a member joins for the perceived safety associated with being part of the group. It's a camaraderie not necessarily based on friendship, but on increasing what one believes will allow one to survive in that environment.

The same principle holds true for young people both in schools and neighborhoods. In places where gangs dominate, kids who do not join are marked as targets just by not belonging.

Schools often try to combat this with dress codes, not allowing students to wear gang colors.

It never works. They always find a way. I've seen stickers on shoes as signs of membership, certain color backpacks, a bandanna hanging out a certain pocket or knotted in a certain way, many, many subtle means of identification. Those who do not display said forms of identification are easily identified just by not having it.

One might think this is an easy fix. Just wear it, but don't join. It's just a sticker, a bandanna, a whatever. Kids have tried that. Kids have died for that. It's interpreted by the actual gang members as one of the ultimate sins. Posers don't live long.

Sugar and spice got upgraded to stone cold and lethal.

Most know better than to incriminate themselves.

We need to always remember two things when watching videos of gang member interviews. First, who wants to admit to committing crime on tape? It's a great way to land in prison. While many do, it's a pretty safe bet they are skimming the surface of a much deeper iceberg of bad.

Secondly, those who really want to move up the ranks, run the hood and rule the day will not be consenting to being interviewed. We are shown only the briefest glimpse, cleaned up and spun, just like any other interview.

It broke my heart.

While teaching in Texas, I saw something one day during standardized testing. I was on overflow duty, meaning babysitting hundreds who where not taking that particular test for whatever reason in the gym.

I caught two young girls in a corner having sex. They didn't like each other. They were not gay. They were entertaining the boys in the gang.

They were not upset, concerned or appeared unsettled in any way. They were so conditioned to such demands as to take it as a matter of course.

Camaraderie is a huge pull for girls.

Back in the day, females in gangs was kind of out of the ordinary. Sure, many hung out and partied, but they were not soildiers, not typically official members.

That has so changed. For females, especially the young ones, the pull of an automatic acceptance to a powerful social group is compelling.

We have all heard of the in crowd, the A list, the cheerleaders. Such mostly female comprised and run groups have been the pinnacle of social elevation for teenage girls for decades. Much of the reason these groups held such attraction was the exclusivity factor.

Girls know it's much easier to make the gang than the A list.

Not only do they get acceptance, a peer group to watch their back, and often a means to make money, but more importantly to many of them, they gain social elevation.

The numbers of gang members has increased in America to such levels that in many schools these days, some of these gang banging girls are more popular than the cheerleaders. What would have been called the A list back in the day lives in fear of them.

Make no mistake, these girls get into the violence, just like male youth gangs do. Be it an all girl gang or an inclusive one, the girls are fighting, robbing, selling and shooting right along with the boys.

It is of note to bring up that membership for females in a gang that is mostly male may bring social elevation for the individual outside the gang, but in the gang, she's a piece of meat to be shared and used.

Some girls do move out of that basic sex slave role. It's done through being the baddest around. If you meet one of these, know you are meeting a very dangerous individual, indeed.

Lastly, people join gangs to conform to perceived expectations.

That makes no sense. Society doesn't want people in gangs. This is just not true. Parts of society doesn't want this and parts of it do. The gang image and lifestyle created in popular media has portrayed a glamorous and exciting image. Sure, they usually show the danger but danger is often appealing to the young.

Many young think what they see on media is what is expected by society. When one sees the real people in one's life doing well emulating the gang portrayed media image as opposed to those existing more on the family programming side, one automatically gives more credence to the gangland image. It seems more real.

Further, for so many children growing up in areas containing high numbers of gang members, it is expected that they will join, almost as some form of a duty. For those born into a gang, there's no almost about it. They have no choice at all other than to run far away, die, or pay one heck of a physically high price to get out, if they are lucky.

Cash cows for biker gangs:

Manufacturing and distribution of crystal meth


Trafficking and transporting for other criminal groups


Sex slave trade

Assassination contracts

Hostage contracts/adult kidnapping

How to know if your child is in a gang uploaded to Youtube by Howcast.

The conformity side of gang appeal is a double sided coin.

While many a young person joins to conform to the expectations of his or her peer group, neighborhood, fellow students or family, many do it just for the opposite reason.


Kids love to rebel. Within the youth culture, rebellion is a form of conformity. It doesn't conform to what the perceived establishment wants but rather to the group expectation of behavior that separates it from the larger and more powerful society.

This typically applies to youth where gangs exist, but are not dominant by numbers. To a white bread American teen that gets it in their minds that rebellion is conformity to their age group, joining a gang looks really good. It gives them a peer group that by definition must be cool because it is the opposite of what they are told is good.

While many would like to think these children would be the easiest to save, start their own gangs and really do not know what they are doing, it doesn't work that way. These want to be members learn very fast and typically have a very large bank of information on gangs before getting into or trying to start one.

Frequent means of income generation by prison gangs:

Assassination contracts


Drug sales, manufacturing and distribution

Distribution of all contraband items in prisons


Thoughts on containment.

How do you feel about minors being held legally accountable for crimes committed in relation to gang activity?

  • I think the courts are laughable and contributing to the problem by slapping them on the hand and turning them out to hurt again.
  • I think minors are not accountable for their actions because they are children.
  • I think it depends on the severity of the crime in question. Murder, yes. Tagging a wall, no.
See results without voting

Lastly, the money end of things has to be taken into account.

While some join gangs because they want to be cool, have a peer group that accepts them, or because it's the lifestyle they know best, for others, it's just flat out a money and/or survival thing.

One of the main values in America, across subcultures, is the acquisition of money. For some, it becomes a desire for more and more with the money being used as a means of keeping score. For others, they need the money to eat. Either way, said individual is through joining doing their best to fulfill that need, to conform to that value or to find some semblance of conformity that used to be provided by the family unit.

So many kids are in homes with no love, sometimes no food, abusive or neglecting with nothing appealing to go home to. They know that's not the way it is supposed to be. Many use the gang as a substitute for the family support they are not getting or perceive themselves not to be getting. They conform to the expectations of the group that provides for their needs just like children raised in loving homes usually conform to parental rules.

For others, it's almost the exact opposite but has the same effect. Often, children from loving homes join gangs to make money to help support their families. Again, they are conforming to the expectation of providing for one's family the fastest way they think they can. This is seen a lot in young boys.

Favored cash generating options of female gangs:



Drug sales

Petty theft such as shoplifting

Assassination contracts

Cash generating tactics favored by youth street gangs:

Robbery - Stereos and such out of cars, car chopping, jacking.

Drug sales - This is one of the largest cash generating options utilized by most youth street gangs.

Extortion/Protection money - A simple strong arm tactic of pay me and you will be safe or don't and I'll hurt you.

Prostitution - As more girls join gangs, this continues to escalate.

While the appeal of joining is one thing, why gangs exist and are growing is a totally different matter.

Gangs exist because they are making a lot of folks tons of money. It's not just the members or even the often highly educated folks on top for the more established gangs. Its law enforcement, Hollywood, the music industry, fashion, counselors, community activists and the list just goes on and on.

While many of these groups such as law enforcement, counselors and sometimes activists work towards helping folks get out of gangs or in some way trying to curb negative influences of gangs, they still are getting paid primarily because the gangs exist.

Gangs have become so prevalent as to have become a huge part of our economy. When something generates jobs and profit for so many groups, chances are high it's not going away anytime soon.

If you found this article useful, please rate it.

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of The Subculture of Gangs

What can we do about it?

I'm not sure how much any one of us can do one a large, national scale. We can, each of us, help on a local scale.

  1. Volunteer your time and love a child. I don't mean in a sick romantic way. I mean provide empathy, supportive guidance, a shoulder and an ear, a meal, a pair of shoes, whatever they need that you can. Let that kid know you are there for them and stay that way.
  2. Get involved in your community. Know the graffiti of the gangs in your area and what each symbol means. Keep your eyes open for what they are saying. Work with local law enforcement by helping them identify new areas of gang activity.
  3. If you are a business owner, consider hiring some of these kids. Sure, they are rough but they aren't dumb. Many want another way. Sadly, they just don't see one. Spend the time to train them and show them how they can make a better life for themselves and their families.
  4. Be realistic with these people. Chances are high they will have to leave the area altogether to escape. There are several underground networks of caring adults that help move these kids, ex cons and others that want out. They also have folks at the other end to help them get set up when they get there. Help out.
  5. Stop feeding the media machine. As long as people are buying, media will be selling. Allow not such movies, music and media that glorifies gangs in any way in your home. Harder, but still so necessary, don't let your kids buy it. Contrary to the new way of thinking, parenting is not always about being friends but about protecting and raising.
  6. If you are a parent, really get to know who your kids hang out with. If they have friends in gangs, no matter how big the fights, end it. Do not allow these members in your home even if they look like an innocent little boy that needs a friend. He might be and you, as an adult, might really be able to help him. Your child is not in that position and is in danger by being near him.
  7. Join your local neighborhood watch. Many gangs continue to thrive through community intimidation. Take yours back. Find like minded people and stand up. There may be violence. There already is. Remember, a bully will abuse you just as long as you let him.

More by this Author

Sound off America and beyond. What are your thoughts on gangs and why so many people are joining? 20 comments

SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 2 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Hey, Poetvix, good to see you back. Your article kind of scares me. I live in a part of the country where I see nothing, hear nothing, do nothing, like the three monkeys.

I am aware though, by newspaper and other media. I have no idea what goes on in my "small" local school district. I stay away from events, just plain avoid anything relating to kids.

I see tattoos on girls, all kinds of piercings, very short dresses, and this is just by my visiting grocery and big box stores, so I'm pretty sure there's plenty going on.

Then of course there's the media glorifying just about anything that's...wrong.

My comment is depressing me, my friend, but I'm glad you are sharing this article.

Thank you!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Fascinating, and frightening, topic. We've come a long way since West Side Story, haven't we? Will we see an end to this anytime soon? Not a chance. Most likely, and this is just a gut feeling, it will increase. Thanks for the food for thought this morning....well done my friend.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ SubRon7 - So good to see you here. I've been gone for so long. I'm glad you are still around. Since we moved, I'm in a spot just like that. I hear the wilds and that works for me. Sadly, Texas showed me more about gangs and violence than I ever wanted to know.

It breaks my heart to hear about seeing the tattoos and such on the girls. I saw a bunch with tattoos on their necks of all places, beautiful girls that are now marked for life. The irony of not being old enough to vote and having already marked oneself in a way that is for life is so sad.

I have to admit, writing this depressed me! When I think about the violence about to come from all the gangs crossing the border as they inevitably tangle with already established gangs, I almost get physically ill.

So loving your statement, "Then of course there's the media glorifying just about anything that's... wrong." Truer words never spoken, my friend. The world's turned upside down in the worst way.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope God watches over you always. You are good people to me. :)

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ Billybuc - Oh, my, yes. A long way, indeed. I think you are right. I don't see any way it can do anything but increase since so many are having their needs met by the gang instead of the family. I hope I'm wrong about that but I don't see how it's possible.

Thank you for reading something so dismal this early in the morning. May the rest of your day be filled with more joyous pieces. God bless and keep you as always, my friend.

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 2 years ago from Arlington, TX

Welcome back old friend and your writing and analysis are welcome here.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ The Frog Prince - Thank you :). I read your article last night on ISIS being called JV by our so called leader. Amazing as always. It really struck me as odd how anyone who has led such a vocal charge against groups such as the tea party, Christians and conservatives could call a group that has beheaded people on film, laughed, danced and celebrated about it and then publicly broadcast it could be called JV when the administration has repeatedly called the other groups terrorists. If nothing else, it is indicative of where his loyalties are. God bless and keep you. Oh, before I forget, I just had to tweet that stellar article you wrote. I hope it gets you some much deserved traffic.

SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 2 years ago from eastern North Dakota

What do you mean by "JV?"

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ SubRon7 - JV refers to Obama's calling ISIS a junior varsity level group. Considering they have slaughtered untold hundreds, possibly thousands just in recent weeks, I'd really like to know who he thinks the A list team is. God bless, bud :).

SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 2 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Thanks, Poetvix! That must be one of his comments I've missed.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ SubRon7 You are most welcome as always, James :).

cesily profile image

cesily 2 years ago from Nairobi

Gangs are all over the world. In Kenya they control bus terminals, and charge businesses for 'security' in the slums.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Poetvix missed your hard nose hubs.. gangs now..hmm... It's funny I always thought youths joined gangs to become part of something.. I mean the gang symbols are everywhere.. police are now the biggest baddest gang in this country.. let me not go and ruin this wonderful hard hitting morsel of reality voted awesome

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ Cesily - Controlling transportation access, I bet that's making them a boatload on top of what I would call extortion money over here, basically the same thing.

Thank you very much for dropping by this long and depressing bit of social commentary. Hopefully, somehow, we can all find a way to fix the insanity.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ Frank Atanacio - It's great to see you! It's been too long. Just seeing your avatar brought back wonderful memories of scary tales, full of dark doings.

The symbols are so everywhere. You couldn't be more right. I don't know I would agree about the cops. Personally, I think they are way outnumbered, especially if we throw in the not counted big bads sitting on the border. However, I would say DHS fits that bill in a big time, uber, scary kind of way.

Thank you so much for dropping in here. Your comments are ALWAYS welcome! Missed you and God bless.

FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

This is a tremendous article. Gangs were a problem even back when I was a kid, back in the 60's. One of the things I thought of as not so good was the way some of the smarter kids were 'owned' by larger gangs, without their knowledge. They would be backed to the point that they thought they could do no wrong, and largely protected from outside harm. Sort of like family, but without the DNA relationship.

Did you note anything like that while you were teaching?

poetvix profile image

poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ FitnezzJim - Thank you for your comment. I have seen exactly what you are talking about. As crazy as it sounds, I've also seen gangs pitch in to pay for some of the big brains to go to college. It sounds good and maybe it is but the intent was for the gang to end up with a in house lawyer on the back end.

I find your association of gang and family most noteworthy. The gang has taken the place of family for so many kids, heck adults too. What can it say about modern life that the way we are collectively living is driving our children to the streets for what used to be found at home?

God bless, my friend and thanks again for the most thoughtful comment.

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FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

It is not crazy, it may be fundamental to the human psyche. Those abandoned by their family, or for some reason separated from their family, will development an attachment to those who offer moral support or who instill a sense of self-worth. Those who take advantage of that for their own ends (and some do that) understand that those they helped will be unwilling to 'forget where they came from', or 'bite the hand that fed them'.

Unless of course, the realize they were used.

Some suspect that even a President could be created in this way, although we have never seen any proof of the concept.

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poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ FitnezzJim - You have made my morning with this comment :). I see you saved the best for last. Juicy, juicy, juicy and the more I think on it, the more I think you have to be right and not even in a maybe kind of way. Proof? Perhaps, we do. It would be like a huge game of connect the dots w/out the numbers but most likely the world's most high stakes game.

I totally agree those without the connections, love, support and guidance traditionally provided by family will seek it elsewhere. What does that say about the chances of all those border kids sitting in detention centers with MS13 and ISIS right now while our government allows it? It's a safe bet their enrollment numbers are going up a lot faster than Obamacare.

This gets the Vix pick awesome comment of the month award! My head is spinning. How cool an article would that be connecting all those missing, sealed and never been released to the public dots? God love you!

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FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Well gosh Vix, if you liked that comment, and you like playing connect the dots, you will likely enjoy all seven parts of the 'The Time Travellers Dilemma'. For all the right reasons, it was written from a borderline insane point of view. Take notes.

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poetvix 2 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

~ FitnezzJim - Looking forward to the read :). Thanks for the tip and I will be seeing you there shortly. God bless!

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