Gangs get stereotyped, but they have their perspective on life

When people think about joining gangs and gang members, it’s usually a casual stereotyped story. It’s either for the “sense of belonging” or “companionship”. Many have heard that innocent teenagers turn to gangs whenever they want the feelings that the gang life can give them.

Experts usually say the same exact thing about the majority of people that join gangs.

“They prey on children who lack positive support system at home,” as stated on the website.

The statistics help prove that children join gangs for various reasons.  There were over one million juveniles involved in gangs in the U.S during 2015 with the numbers increasing every year, as stated on the website. That is three times more than authorities have estimated.

However, only two percent of the U.S. youth are gang members. Five percent of gang members have the highest involvement at the age of 14.

“I got jumped in while I was 13 and in middle school. The five girls did it for about five minutes, after that we started doing what our OG’s told us to. When we went out at night and I wondered, ‘Am I going to die tonight?’ ” an anonymous adult said.

Lots of teenagers join gangs looking for something, but adults have facts and explanations about why teenagers shouldn’t join them.

“Joining a gang while in high school really does limit the future and the outcome,” Ben Horsley, Granite School District communications representative, said.

But many people just stereotype gangsters that they see. There’s always an explanation behind why they did what they did and made the decisions that they made.

“I joined the gang, because I knew how it was. They were all around and they provided protection, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that you become more of a target once you’re in a gang,” that same anonymous adult said.

However, others have different reasons for joining. Whatever the reason, the expectations stay the same.

In gangs, there are a few main rules members follow — even when they’re not in it, yet. Respect, loyalty, and trust matter tremendously. There are other values that matter quite a bit, too, such as not talking and protecting other members.

“They’re your family, so you just go by what is expected of you. If you see one getting jumped, you jump in and help. It’s just the normal measures you go to protect them, no matter what the cost,” she said.

Gangs are a different type of family to some people, one that involves violence and life decisions. Once someone gets into a gang, there’s no way of getting out.

“When you’re getting jumped, they tell you it’s for life. There’s no getting out. If you try, you’re done. You can get beat up, shot, or even killed,” she said.

Gangs are an issue to be taken seriously, but many people fail to realize it.

“These youngsters are just being stupid. The decisions that I made while I was involved in gangs stuck with me for life. I remember the things I did like it was yesterday. There’s not a day I go by without remembering what I did,” that anonymous adult said.

Although being in gangs does involve violence, that’s not what it’s all about.

“People think that gangs are just about blasting others, but it’s about family. We used to go to the park to grill up some food and spend time together,” the anonymous adult said. “I talk to my other family about once or twice a year on our anniversaries or if there’s a big event going on in our lives,” the anonymous adult said.

“Gangs are only violence and death,” the anonymous adult said.