Friday, August 27, 2010
A majority of Mexicans say they have gangs in their neighborhood
According to Gallup data, more than half--56 percent--of Mexicans say they have gangs where they live. It's an ever-present aspect of Mexican life, and Mexican immigrants have brought the tradition with them to the United States. The number of Hispanic street and prison gang members in this country might total 500,000. Territorial competition is a common way for young males to show everyone they are men, not boys. In his own mind, a gang member thinks he is protecting the neighborhood from outsiders, protecting the ladies from those who would do them harm, and defending his honor through violence when another gang does something offensive. To a subset of Mexicans, this is a noble lifestyle lived by real men who take nothing from no one, but the truth is that it is a barbarism not tolerated in a civilized society. The country needs to select its immigrants more carefully.
UPDATE: By the way, one of the main reasons that teenage boys form gangs in the first place is to defend themselves against existing gangs. The Bloods, for example, organized to protect themselves against Crips. Numerous gangs in the Hispanic community are sociological evidence that their neighborhoods are dangerous (not that they're safe as some have recently argued). You don't see white gangs because white neighborhoods are generally safe.