July 4th 1947 a group of 4,000 motorcycle gang members invaded Hollister, California. The chaos that resulted was sensationalized in a movie called “The Wild Ones” starring Marlon Brando. In 1957, at age 17, I quit high school and joined the “Yellowjackets”, one of the motorcycle gangs involved.
It is only by the grace of God that I am not in jail or dead. Many of my old friends were not so lucky.
As I drive around Dumaguete City; I am getting flashbacks. Gang signs are scrawled across walls and fences. My sister-in-law admits there are students at her high school claiming “Blood” ,”Arkno” and “Crips” gang status. I seriously doubt these “children” have any realistic idea of the sewer they are so eager to swim in. I doubt they have a clue as to the risks they are taking with their future and their very lives.
To local kids it is “cool” to be a “gangsta”. They want to flash signs and rap about “ho’s and bitches”. They want to wear the hip clothes and talk tough. In gang life the only thing “cool” is your body when it is laying in the morgue. Gangs murder on average three people every day, just in Los Angeles. These are not cool rappers on TV, most of them are cold blooded murderers. “Blood in; Blood out” is the motto of the largest LA gang. It means the only way to get in is to kill someone and the only way to get out is to die.
I can hear the local “wannabe” gangsta’s saying, “We wont deal drugs or kill people; we will just dress hip hop, rap and act cool. “ Let’s take a quick look at these cool hip hop rappers. Tupac Shakur is really cool; he is dead. You can also put Big L, Proof, Notorious B.I.G., Black Alex and Soulia Slim, on that same DEAD list. Then of course there are those in jail like Black Bob, Little Eva and Swift. I could list a couple of hundred others but you get my message. You can not “talk the talk and not walk the walk”. There is an American expression: “If you lay down with dogs; you get up with fleas”. If you hang out with “gangstas”, you will pay a price. How big a price depends on how lucky you are?
Those of you with sons and daughters flirting with the gangsta life; do something! When you ignore a problem it only gets worse and in gangs worse can be fatal. Remember, even alcoholics do not get better if they continue to hang with their old drinking buddies. Give your children “new” options, new challenges, and new friends. If you do not know what to do, seek professional help. Prevention is easier than the cure. Be an Everyday Hero and keep a kid from being an Everyday Fool.