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Smile Now, Cry Later Essay

Gangs are becoming a growing problem within American society. “In 2002 more than 877,700 young people between the age of 10 to 24 were injured from violent acts, and 79% of homicide victims ages 10 to 24 were killed with firearms” (Youth Violence: Fact Sheet 3). Young people are turning to gangs as a way to solve problems in their lives, problems such as: poverty, home violence, peer pressure, forced them to seek for power, money, respect, protection or simply love on the streets.

the majority of gang members have been exposed or have suffered violence in their homes. When youths join gangs, social activities with friends, and school. Gang members tend to fall behind their classmates in school and do not try to stick around. They lost their motivation, interests and see school like a part of the problem and not like a solution. The majority of gang members are illiterate because they drop out of school at a very young age.

Most of them have or are related with drugs, which destroy their lives and their chances for a good education and better life. Teenagers are joining gangs every day, becoming a problem in ghettos, urban areas and neighborhoods. They can be found in about every city in the United States. One thing that all the gangs have in common is that According to Luis J. Rodriguez’s book, Always Running ‘’La Vida Loca or The Crazy Life”, “the barrio gang experience, originated with the Mexican Pachuco gangs of the 1930s and 1940s and was later recreated with the cholos” (5).

The cholos, one of the most prominent and violent gangs in southern California region, still attract more and more teenagers. Teens usually join gangs in an attempt to correct both the social and emotional problems in their lives. There are many complex reasons kids join gangs: the majority grew up in broken families without a father or a mother to look up to when everything went chaotic and family conflicts present. These kids have a very low-self esteem due to the poor family function. They join in order to find love and acceptance.

They see gangs as a surrogate, or substitute family, and they find in the streets what they don’t have at home. They also join gangs to gain power, money and respect eventually by getting into fights and killing each other. They often join gangs because they want to feel that they fit in somewhere, feeling rejected in more common situations due to their cultural heritage, religious believes, sex, or race. They join gangs as a way to protect themselves from discrimination, racism, prejudice, and to find acceptance among other members of the gang.

Gangs are one of the results of urban deterioration that’s why we see some communities more affected than others. Gangs are a violent reality that people have to deal with today because gangs are a direct result of human beings’ personal wants and peer pressure. These issues can be identify by looking at the way humans are influenced in society, because I truly believe there is good evidence to point the blame at several institutions including the power that the media has in our society, the government, drugs and our economic system.


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