Gang Markings

Gangs exist because parents fail.

By: Tim Bryce – Columnist News Talk Florida

I recently attended a couple of meetings on gang activity here in Pinellas County.  They were conducted by the county’s special prosecutors.  Although we do not have as massive a problem as places like Los Angeles or Miami, make no mistake, there is gang activity in beautiful Pinellas County (more in the south as opposed to north county).

In Florida, gangs are defined as three or more people with similar markings and plot to conduct illicit criminal activities.  No, the Masons are not on the watch list.  Not everyone who wears uniform clothing is a gang member, but this is what law enforcement is trained to observe.  They are also trained to look for certain tattoos and body piercings.

Tattoos are not just for decoration any more.  It is not uncommon to see criminal bodies totally covered much like Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man.”  Gang tattoos are more designed for meaning as opposed to artwork.  They denote membership in a specific gang, describe personal history (what crimes they have committed), the skills they possess (e.g., burglary, drugs, murder, etc.), and the gang’s history which evidently is very important to the gang members.  By depicting gang history, the tattoos represent a celebration of the gang’s past and cherished members, much like depicting a family member.

Click HERE for a sampling of gang related tattoos.

The only problem with tattoos, they are a convenient means for the public to identify lawbreakers, and for law enforcement to check criminal backgrounds.  Because of this, a recent AP report indicates the use of tattoos are starting to decline as gang members want to avoid being identified.

What is puzzling is why anyone would want to join a gang in the first place.  Gangs simply represent a surrogate family.  While the family unit has slowly deteriorated in America, especially among the poor, young people gravitate to gang leaders who assume parental responsibility and give the person a sense of purpose.  The military does likewise, but gang members start at a very young age, much too young to serve in the military.

Within the gang, the younger members learn their moral values from their leaders, something they never learned from their parents.  The more they identify with the other members of the gang, the more loyal they become and act more like a family.  Nevertheless, the rise of gang activity in this country can be directly attributed to the decline of parenting.

Consider this, music is very important to gang members, particularly Rap music.  This helps to build spirituality among its members.  Again, this is something lost in the family unit but enforced within the gangs.

If the moral values of gangs weren’t so evil in intent, gangs would be a great way to raise kids from broken homes.  Perhaps a younger version of military service would be more beneficial.  Something that would teach structure, purpose, and morality.  I believe we used to call them “Boy Scouts.”

Keep the Faith!