Thursday, July 24, 2008

Throwin' Up Gang Signs

Now I understand why it's so hard to learn proper gang signing.

From the New York Daily News:

"...Incredibly, parents "bless" and initiate their babies into violent gangs like the Crips and Bloods - teaching chubby little fingers to fold into gang signs even before the tots mouth their first words..."

Wow. I know my folks weren't in the bloods but maybe that's the kind of parental influence one needs in order to learn how to throw up gang signs effectively and efficiently? Kinda like learning salsa as a baby in Cuba by virtue of the fact that your parents like to listen to it...

New blood: Violent gang life is passed down from parent to child

A longtime member of the Lating Kings, here with his 4-year-old, says he wants to be a peacemaker and hopes his son follows suit. Newborn Blood, known as a Blood drop, is draped with beads and flanked by guns. Police later seized the pistols from the parents. The images as chilling as they are heartbreaking: An infant with a semiautomatic handgun next to each tiny shoulder. A child no more than a year old decked out in blood-red gang gear."They call them Blood drops, stains, rims," a former Staten Island Bloods gang member said of the nicknames gang parents give their children. Incredibly, parents "bless" and initiate their babies into violent gangs like the Crips and Bloods - teaching chubby little fingers to fold into gang signs even before the tots mouth their first words. Drive-by shootouts, murder and drug deals have always been a sad part of gang life, but recruitment from one generation to the next has become more prominent in the city where gangs only started showing their might in the mid-1990s. "We're seeing more children who are being exposed to the gang world because their parents are members," said Deanna Rodriguez, Brooklyn district attorney gang bureau chief. "This is part of their identity," Rodriguez said. "As long as they can remember, they've been part of the Bloods, Crips or the Latin Kings. This is what life is and they don't understand the concept of what life is outside that." NYPD statistics bear out the sad truth: There were 713 gang incidents in New York last year, up from 554 in 2006. While city officials estimate there are about 17,000 known gang members here, experts say the actual number is double that - not even including small neighborhood gangs.

The nation's three biggest gang cities are Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, said Arlen Egley of the National Youth Gang Organization. Some of the misguided parents think teaching little ones the gang life is cute. Others have learned the hard way. "My first child - he was only 6 months old when he got blessed into it," said King Ironman, a Bronx member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation gang. Then the boy was killed in a drive-by shootout. "The target was me ... he was only 2 years old," Ironman said. Although he says he hasn't been active for nearly 10 years and now tries to talk young people out of joining gangs, Ironman still "blessed" two more sons into the predominantly Puerto Rican gang. "Families have to do that to be part of the nation," he said. One son was blessed at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Morningside Heights four years ago during a quasi-religious ceremony. "It's like a christening," he said. "The priest holds the baby and we say our prayer at the same time. We have to have the window open and the baby pointed toward the sun."


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