Society would like to accept that children lost to
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Society would like to accept that children lost to gangs are from dysfunctional and uncaring homes. While in some cases this may be true, in many homes this is not the case. In Susan Horton\'s article "Mothers, Sons, and The Gangs" she speaks of three different scenarios of gang members and their families. Although the families had different backgrounds, beliefs, and techniques they all shared in common sons who were gang members. They are mothers who care but have to face alone the battle of raising their sons in a community lost to gangs.
In Horton\'s article we are introduced to three different families whose sons are involved with gangs. Teresa Rodriguez who still feels foreign and timid about the culture of America. Maggie Garcia who was raised in the same neighborhood as her son and believes that loyalty to the neighborhood is just and understandable. And Gayle Thomas Kary who because of financial struggles was thrown into the gang community and fought her best to save her son. And their sons whom are all minors living in a society pressured by gang affiliation. Although their homes had loving mothers their gangs had friends, bravado, acceptance, and a way of life. Studies prove that youth join gangs because of "low self-esteem and a stressful home life. A youth whose friends with gang- members and experiences peer- pressure to join. A youth with poor academic performance, a lack of alternatives, lack of positive support, a feeling of helplessness, and hopelessness, as well as very frightened youth who is intimidated by the gangs." (Yahoo, Lopez 29) Not all of these aspects are apparent in gang members but at least one is.
In Teresa Rodriguez\'s case her son at thirteen unbeknown to her belonged to the gang Sur 13. Because of his bravado he was shot and the family home has been victim to shootings ever since. Luckily the bullet missed his heart and he survived. Still he did not learn his lesson and claimed that he did not care if he died. Finally his mother threatened to send him to live in Mexico if he continued to go out. "he does not want that, so he stays inside." But that has not stopped him from dressing or acting like a member of the Sur 13. After the incident of the shooting Rodriguez also found out that all three of her older sons were part of gangs. She states \'"My 16-year-old threw away his cholo clothes right when he heard about his brother. He hasn\'t been with the gang since then. The two older boys are very repentant , but it is hard to step away from their pasts."\'(Horton 232) The past of the two older boys were not only hard to step out of but also proved to be hard to avoid.
It is not surprising that the thirteen year old brother joined the gang, after all his older brothers all belonged in gangs. Because of that the youngest child felt he had no other alternative, he had to prove his bravado. He too had to belong to something because his future was paved for him. His brothers were all able to blind their mother of their gang affiliations and even at 9 years old were able to stay out later and later. That fact served as an attraction and also a form of peer-pressure to join a gang. Also his father "had always left rearing the children to [the mother]" he did not have a strong ,active, male role-model. So, perhaps he felt as if he had no other alternatives. He lived in a community where gangs were prevalent, and his brothers were all gang members, and his father had nothing to do with raising or discipline. Perhaps he could have beaten the odds and raised above but it was easier to join them for there were no reasons why he should beat them.
Maggie Garcia also has a son who is a gang member but her view and approach to her sons affiliation is very different. Because she was raised in the same neighborhood as she raises her son in she understands how much the neighborhood could mean. She states \'"Here the neighborhood, it is family."\'(Horton233) She claims
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Crime, Criminology, Urban decay, Gangs, Gangs in the United States, Gangs in Canada
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