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Teen Gang Violence; What's the Cause?

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Teen Gang Violence; What's the Cause?

Teen Gang Violence; what’s the Cause?

“The youngster was murdered outside a basketball court at a public park beside a youth club in the Moss Side District of inner city Manchester. The victim has not yet been named. Police have not yet said how many times he was shot. Detectives suspect the boy was targeted in a planned gun attack. He is understood to have lived locally and attended Manchester Academy High School nearby. Residents close to the scene heard the shots last night as the youngster was gunned down. One onlooker, close to the boy’s family said �his family and we are very shocked. We are devastated.’ Police were called at 2:40 am to Ruby Street to find the boy lying dead after suffering from the gunshot wounds.”

This is just one of many violent incidents that happen everyday in our society, cold-blooded, gang-related murder. It always leaves us asking the one question “Why?” And we begin to wonder why 13-15 year old teenagers even get the idea to think or believe that they need to be involved in these dangerous activities and actually participate in these brutal and violent behaviors. I think that there are a few main theories that correlate gang violence to young adolescent teens. The following pages explain the causes of why I believe teen gang violence stems from lack of love, structure, belonging, power and status, acceptance, poverty, and even family traditions.

Typically, violent young teens come from homes where they’ve been alienated or deserted. And they turn to gangs when their need for love is not being met at home. Risk of being susceptible to gangs also increases when the community fails to provide sufficient youth programs and other alternatives to the extremely pressuring violent gang life. These teens are feeling that they are not welcomed into the schools’ after-school programs and extra-curricular activities such as sports teams, clubs, and social groups because they are viewed as outcasts due to how they dress and talk and who they hang out with. In certain situations, teachers are not encouraging students to participate in classroom activities or lessons. Even the teachers are labeling the troubled students as outcast and recluse. There is also the lack of educational motivation, discipline and structure that these young teens are missing from their lives, which ironically is void also from the teen’s home life. With the participation in after school sports and clubs, these teens can gain a sense of structure and discipline that in order to participate, must abide by. This in turn can teach the concepts of structure, consequence, and discipline to teens in a non-violent environment. This is very helpful in the harsh real world that we live in and can teach young teens that there can be serious consequences if real life rules are broken.

In addition to school and after-school activities, lack of money and wealth plays a major role in teen gang participation. There are less fortunate communities and poverty stricken areas in our society that our young teens are burdened with every single day. A sense of hopelessness can easily result from being unable to purchase wanted goods and services, such as the newest cell phone, the most recent fashion trends, or that hot new video game that just came out on the market. Young people growing up in poverty may find it more difficult to meet basic physical and psychological standards, which can lead to a lack of self-esteem. One way to get cash fast is to join a gang that is involved in the drug trafficking trade or in the black-market where stealing, robbing and even killing will earn you money, as well as respect. These acts give teens a sense of belongingness and it shows them that if they are committed to the gang it can and will pay off and be a dangerous way to make money, yet an easy way to get the things that he or she desires.

Although I have discussed numerous reasons why young teens join gangs, I think that the strongest most influential reason for a young teen to join a gang is to follow in the footsteps of a best friend, relative, or even a parent. These people are the strongest influences on a teen; they are supposed to be leading

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