This I Believe

Jorge - Los Angeles, California
Entered on April 22, 2009

An Eye for an Eye

Mahatma Gandhi once said an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Gandhi said this in India when India was controlled by the British. Gandhi and the people from India did not want to be controlled by Britain. Gandhi wanted to use non-violent protest to gain India’s independence. The quote is true in my eyes. I’ve seen people get shot, jumped, and stabbed. I am 16 years of age and I all these incidents have happened throughout my lifetime.

I’m sure that many other people older and younger than me have experienced or witnessed this. In my neighborhood people die for the hood. I live in Cypress Park, a gang infested area where kids from the age of 10 years old are exposed to guns, sex, and violence. Rival gang shootings are common in Cypress Park. One person dies from a shooting from another gang, someone from the rival gang will eventually be shot, jumped, stabbed, or even killed. This cycle has been going on for centuries not only with gangs but with life. When someone murders a person, that person’s family members or friends want to find out who did it and harm them. This is like a human instinct everyone has. If you really think about it you are the same way. If someone harms or kills one of your close friends or family members wouldn’t you want to do something about it? I myself wouldn’t want anyone harming or killing my friends or family. Even though it is natural to want to get revenge, revenge through violence leads to nothing but more violence.

My old friend Alex, who I’ve known since middle school, was from a gang. His gang name was LxRaskol. When we were going to middle I didn’t know he was from a gang until Him and his friend Big Happy, who’s real name was Jorge, tried to persuade me and my friends to get in the gang. I didn’t want to get in, but they would bug me everyday about it. I finally told them I didn’t want to get in. They didn’t like it but they accepted it. After they were done with me, they looked for more recruits with our friends. There were about twenty of us that would hang out in middle school during lunch and nutrition. Some of my friend’s names were Manny, Erwin, Edgar, Alfred, Steven, Alex (aka LxRaskol), Big Happy, Joseph, Jose, Chepa, Ricky, and Gustavo. There were a couple of my friends who got in the gang. The friends that ended up getting in the gang were Ricky, Manny, Joseph, Jose, and the youngest, Chepa.

I watched all of these friends get jumped in the gang. It was harsh and brutal. The beatings they would receive from their so-called friends to get into the gang were excruciating. One jump in I remember was when my friend Manny got jumped in I saw him get beaten to the floor as I watched my heard beat faster and faster. My palms sweating, as Manny was beat to the floor. It was almost like they were beating someone that had harmed them or a fellow gang member. After they were jumped into the gang they would go writing, kick it and drink, or hang out with the so called “homies.” If you were in the gang and you did something the older members didn’t like, they would check you (punch you in the face), or jump you. This was being done by the members in the gang. Do you really think they are your friends if they do that to you?

When the older gang members check the younger ones for doing something they don’t like, the younger members grow fearful of the older ones. The older members are supposed to be an example for them and they are getting beaten on by them. This shows nothing. Older members shouldn’t resort to violence. Violence doesn’t do anything but grow hate for another person. After a younger member gets checked I’m pretty sure they grow angry and want to do something to the older members if the could. This isn’t setting a good example in other peoples eyes. But in gang members eyes this is showing there young ones discipline. My former friends from the gang are probably not going to live good live. Most of them will probably end up in jail, killed, or on the streets.

Gangs are gateways to violence everyone who is in a gang experiences a form of violence that leads to other violence whether it is with a fellow gang member or an enemy gang member. A reason for me staying away from this life is being successful.

I don’t see any of my former friends with good grades, nice cloths, or good jobs. I want to have a good paying job when I am older and not have to be worried about anyone taking my life with a bullet or a knife do to gang violence.