Idle minds, active playgrounds
I know a guy who has lived a weird life.
When he was in elementary school he received several dozen state writing awards and was touted as the next great literary genius.
The kid spent his formative years growing up in what was considered the worst housing project in New York City, before his mother left his father and moved him to North Carolina.
The young man eventually went on to attend one of the more storied institutions in the country and represented his country internationally in two sports before a knee injury cost him his athletic career.
By the grace of his creator, the man eventually began associating with other individuals who helped him re-establish his passion and talent for writing and he eventually settled down in a small northeastern North Carolina community where he wrote for the local newspaper.
What is not in this story is the tattoo the man has on his left shoulder that displays his former affiliation with a gang.
The man was not just a member of any gang, but also a member of the gang, which federal authorities have determined to be the most influential and far-reaching gang in the United States.
As difficult as it was to remove him from the lifestyle and culture of gang affiliation, the man never lost sight of how and why he ended up involved with people who introduced him to the gang lifestyle to begin with.
Over the past couple of weeks, the man has read several newspaper articles about gang activity in the area where he lives and the plans local law enforcement and social groups have to address the situation.
The man wondered why nobody ever called him about gang related activity but then he realized why.
As the man watches, legions of so called experts in gang activity are preparing to descend on his region in an effort to do something about the escalating gang violence in the area.
The man wonders what gangs these people are talking about.
Are the rude and unruly children that attend school whenever they feel considered gang members now?
They used to be called dropouts.
Are the kids who’s parents were sent to prison by a judicial system that has become a the fourth largest business in the nation, and has redesigned its statues to best allow the system to turn a profit at the expense of the nation’s ghettoes considered gang members?
Maybe the 15 and 16-year-old girls who started having sex with adult men several years ago are being labeled ‘gang-bangers’ by the Department of Social Services nowadays.
Nevertheless the man doesn’t have to attend any event where the experts will be because he knows how kids get into trouble, gangs or not.
He knows how adults get into trouble, gangs or not.
The man knows that gangs are not the problem of America they are the result.
This experiment that we call America is rapidly coming to a place where some debts have to be paid.
The man knows that the so-called gangs in this region are many times just disenfranchised children whose parents have been incarcerated for little or no good reason.
Or children who come from homes where the parents received sub-standard education from some of these very same experts plan to speak to them about staying out of gangs.
The local educational system has been a sham and has failed the region’s children miserably.
Worst of all, some of those people responsible for failing your children, still work for the school system.
The school, the courts and the churches do the same things that so-called gangs have done and that is service their own.
If your manner of reaching out to troubled youth is to convince them that your way is the right way and their way is the wrong way then you are completely wasting your time.
These children have already watched how we all do things and they are certain that they do not want to be the minister who goes to prison for embezzlement or the judge or police officer who gets his or her kicks from locking black people up.
There is also very little chance of any of these children being influenced by some educator from out of state who knows nothing about local culture.
Today’s children are not gang members (even if they think they are) they are members of a new army; an army that has spent the past two decades arming itself physically and mentally.
If you want to retrain that army then you should direct your efforts at rebuilding your infrastructure to have activities that take this army’s mentality into account, because you will never, ever, ever, change the way they see the world.
You can change the world though, then it will look different to them and they might even respond positively.
Since I have been here I have watched an $80 million prison go up and even more local funds being put into building an apartment complex for out of state teachers.
That actually makes sense when you think about it.
All we have to do is continue to fail our children academically.
After they flunk out of school and start committing petty crimes we can let some local judge convince them to get their G.E.D.
Of course the G.E.D. will not allow them to do much besides get a job that pays so little that you end up committing more petty crimes and then the same judge can send you to the new $80 million prison.
Then, while you are in prison, your children can repeat the whole cycle, keeping both our judicial and penile system thriving.
Eventually the state will decide that there are to many prisoners for it to manage, so they’ll allow private companies to build prisons.
Of course the prisoners will work for those private companies at these private prisons, and because the children of the prisoners are destined to become new labor, every Fortune 500 Company in America will soon be looking to build a private prison to ‘help out’ the state.
Having said all of that, it appears that the biggest gang is the one hosting the seminar.
Or am I just tripping?