GANG PRIMER FOR PARENTS
GANG PRIMER FOR PARENTS
St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 8/11/1993; Josie Rogers
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Lawrence H. is a gang member. He’s pulled capers that could get him in big-time trouble, but now he’s disturbed. He sees graffiti on walls in gang neighborhoods reading, “R.I.P. (Rest In Peace) Black Males,” and he has a premonition that he and his friends will end up as nothing more than another statistic on another garbage Dumpster.
Lawrence knows some 12-year-old boys who are prepared to take out anybody. These kids carry baby Uzi’s tucked in their pants. “Most kids over 12 have or share a gun,” he said.
In St. Charles recently a gang member (Crip) got deliberately run over by another Crip (Rolling 60’s Crip). He is paralyzed from the waist down now.
Lawrence is sick and tired of violence. He wants parents to look out for their children. He believes kids join gangs because they’re lonely. He wants parents to see that their kids aren’t lonely. He wants parents to know gang language and gang lore so they can be on the lookout for signs that their kids are in gangs.
Lawrence says mothers need to know – not fathers, he says, because there are so few fathers about in the gang neighborhoods. “Any gang member in the world loves his mother,” Lawrence says. “The fact is: You only get one mother. Fathers – they could care less. Fathers try to get involved – they want a cut of your money. If a father is killed there is no remorse, but if a mother is killed – you see what they did to a brother who allowed his mother to get shot.” He was killed. “This is fact,” said Lawrence, “In the Murder Mob in St. Louis (about 300 members) only about five don’t have mothers. Over 260 don’t have fathers.
“I thought gangs were changing,” said Lawrence, “but drive-by murders keep happening, and innocent children get hit. The main gangs out in California met a few years ago and tried to put together a truce, and they made a tape, `Banging on Wax.’ This tape can’t be heard on the radio because of the strong language, but kids can get it at Sound Warehouse, Musicland or Camelot.”
Lawrence wishes parents would listen to the tape, “Banging on Wax.” He says parents should learn gang-talk. He advises parents to watch VCR tapes that portray gang-life. Some movies like, the “Boyz N the Hood,” “Juice,” “Colors,” “South Central,” “King of New York” and “New Jack City” could educate people to gang lore.
“Listen to your kids talk, listen carefully when they’re talking to each other. Ask your kid what his nickname is. Maybe you’ll catch him off-guard, and he’ll tell you.
“Go out in the neighborhood and look at the graffiti on garage doors, on abandoned houses and warehouses. Is your kid’s nickname there? He’s a gang member!”
“Mothers!” says Lawrence, “Gain knowledge in street – language!” Names for gangs include: Sets, Your Hood, Homies, Peoples, Cousins, Kinfolks, Dogs and Locs.
Among other gang terms are:
Punks – soft, runty “Mama boys.”
Marks – kids who want out (but if they get out they may be killed.)
Dog – a Blood gang member.
Loc – a Crip gang member.
Mercy – shoot but let live.
Break Yourself – run or you’re dead.
Typical Blood nicknames – Bounty Hunter, Breege, Shotgun, Loco, Redman, Hi-Low and Shorty.
Typical Crips nicknames – Rolling 60’s, B.K. Polo, Highlife, D. Loc (or C. Loc, L. Loc etc.), Big Man and Cousin.
Lawrence says that parents should realize that girls can be gang members also. The girls who stay in gangs are named “Sole Survivers,” and have to be unbelievably tough. “Hood Rats” is another term describing gang girls.
“All the gangs test your manhood,” says Lawrence. “The whole idea is RESPECT – I mean if you don’t get respect somebody’s going to pay. The Crips and Bloods often play dodgeball against each other with cars. The car to swerve first has a driver whom nobody can respect. If a guy won’t pass his ‘ho (girl) around to his relatives (gang members), he loses respect. If a brother doesn’t question somebody new in the hood (neighborhood) and doesn’t challenge him, then threaten him, and carry out the threat – he’s not worthy of respect.”
Lawrence says most people think gangs became popular recently. “Not true,” he says. “The oldest gang in St. Louis started about 1958. They are the Disciples. They’re kind of like the black mafia. Knowledge and protection are the two things they do. They know all about the street life business and drugs, and they protect their own. They don’t kill as much as the Crips or Bloods. Disciples earn points, have leadership and function kind of like the army. Disciples use the star of David as their symbol, but God doesn’t really come into gang thinking. Gang members don’t figure God would help them because they’re too far gone. They all know they would kill their own parents if asked to (to keep respect), and that’s too far gone.”
“Don’t believe your kid couldn’t be in a gang,” says Lawrence. “Being in a gang makes a kid feel wanted and needed. Most of the gang members are from lost homes – broken families or a home where when they go there, there’s nobody home.”