Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Gangs, a way of life, for many, the only family they will ever have that can provide a sense of protection, security, income, and most important, love. Gang life is definately not the way anyone should be living, but without the support of a strong influence, the media, it may just seem like the only way that they can live. T.V, movies, radio and music all have profound effects on youth development; before the youth have established their own value systems and are able to make moral judgements, the media promotes drugs, sex and violence as an acceptable lifestyle. So if the media was more supportive in glorifying violence, than the people resorting to gangs and gang violence would be smaller.

The reasons for joining a gang are endless, here's a few just to give you an idea of how many there are: "love, structure, dicipline, sense of belonging and commitment, a need for recognition and power, companionship, training, excitment and activities, a sense of self worth and status, a place of acceptance, the need for physical safety and protection, and also because it could be a family tradition" (Coopertext), so the list goes on and on, but those seem to be the most commonly recognised by researchers.

The reasons for joining the gang may seem somewhat resonable, those are things that every person wants, and needs in order to grow up healthy, but after hearing the risks involved in joining gangs, it may not sound too good. "One of the risks is racism, when young people encounter both personal and institutional racism, (ie. systematic denial of priveledges) the risks are increased. A second risk would be poverty, a sense of hopelessness can result from being able to purchase wanted goods and services. One way to earn cash...