Gang membership up 40% in the past three years – new FBI report
There are some 1.4 gang members in the US. 1,400,000. In the new 100-page FBI threat assessment, they state, ‘gangs are a growing threat in communities throughout the United States.’ But the question that I’m concerned about is… “why?”
Gangs are involved in violence and homicide, in drug and weapon smuggling. In some instances, they are forcing girls into sex trafficking. In an article responding to the FBI report, CNN tries to tackle the why question, saying that gang membership is increasing because of aggressive recruiting, poverty, and ethnic and cultural issues. And surely all of these things are contributing factors.
But the biggest factor and the one that CNN fails to mention?
When we take a closer look at the formation of gangs, we find the fatherless engine hard at work. In Stacey Peralta’s documentary, “Crips and Bloods: Made in America” he interviews dozens of former and current gang members. One gang pioneer, Kumasi, says:
‘The common thread throughout all these conversations, throughout all of our communities, seems to be the absence of a father, a male-figure, a father figure in the home.”
Kumasi gets it right.
Sometimes, no matter how loving a mother or grandmother is, the boy is pulled to the gang from his desire to enter the world of men, to find his home. But he hates and distrusts authority. He burns with fatherless rage. His heart is a mixed bag of rage and rejection, he desires both belonging and rebellion. So the gang becomes his family, the gang leader his mentor.
While thousands die every year, we continue to build more and bigger prisons. But we cannot possibly keep up with the rise in gang membership. While we try and fail, we witness the inevitable cycle of fatherless rage churn before our eyes. If we continue to focus on fixing the symptom – the rise of gangs and youth violence – we miss the real problem, why these gangs exist in the first place.
The rampant spread of gangs in our country is the direct result of fatherlessness.
Demographically speaking, the most reliable predictor of gang activity and youth violence is neither social class, nor race, nor education, but fatherlessness. No longer do we have to travel abroad to find war, America is making war on itself. (Excerpt taken from: Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story)