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Power Of Choice Essay

1703 words - 7 pages

One out of every 100 people is either in jail or in prison (Liptak). Seven million people are under correctional supervision, and one million are either in jail or on parole ("Bureau of Justice Statistics Correctional Populations in the United States, 2011 and Probation and Parole in the United States, 2011"). Despite this, the crime rate of the United States is the lowest it has been in 40 years; however, it is still relatively high. Crimes are “acts prohibited, prosecuted, and punished by criminal law,” and although crime is contextual, depending on the situation, and varying from location to location throughout different historical time periods, it remains prevalent in today’s society, ...view middle of the document...

More specifically, recruiting within socially disorganized neighborhoods and integrating deviant behavior into communities through initiation procedures, such as acquiring turf, are dominant tendencies of a gang. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the two bodies of work to analyze the effectiveness of Rodriquez’s perception of gangs to a child audience.
In the short film, World’s Most Dangerous Gang, the National Geographic Explorer discusses one of the most prominent gangs of today, Mara Salvatrucha 13. The southern California gang, commonly known as MS-13, originated in Los Angeles and is now a worldwide threat. Over a short period, MS-13 has invaded 33 states and 6 countries (World’s Most Dangerous Gang). In fact, Mara Salvatrucha 13 is growing more rapidly than any other gang organization. This organization is spreading like a virus; there are now over 10,000 hardcore, active gang members in the United States alone and over 50,000 worldwide (World’s Most Dangerous Gang).
In It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrios Story, the author and former gang member of East Los Angeles, Luis J. Rodriquez, tells the story of Monchi and the difficulties children face when involved with gangs. In the children’s book, Monchi is pressured to prove himself and join a gang by one of the newest members of the Encanto Locos’ Pee Wees, Clever. The Encanto Locos’ Pee Wees is a gang in Monchi’s barrio or neighborhood. Intimidated by Clever’s troublesome past, Monchi was not quite sure how to respond. Instead, he was more so relieved that Clever did not want to hurt him. Throughout the book, Monchi experiences several situations where he must decide whether to be involved with the Encanto Locos’ Pee Wees or to choose his own path free from gang activity.
Monchi was recruited by Clever to be a part of the Encanto Locos’ Pee Wees. Now, the issue at hand is why Monchi was recruited to be a part of the gang. There are currently 7 billion people living on Earth; however, gangs recruit only a select few and even fewer actually join. The fact that everyone is not permitted to be a part of a gang indicates that specific people are targeted. From the start of the story, it is revealed that Monchi lives with his mother and is absent of a father in the household. The onset of this detail appears minimal, but as the story progresses the inability to communicate with his father on a daily basis becomes detrimental to Monchi’s initial decisions and involvement with the gang. As an alternative, Monchi is left to discuss his issues with his uncle, Tio Rogelio. Nevertheless, Tio Rogelio and Monchi are not in constant communication with one another as a father in the household could be. Without a father in the house to discuss issues with, Monchi is at a disadvantage; he does not have easily, accessible proper guidance. According to Rodriquez, “young people join gangs: to belong, to be cared for, and to be embraced.” A family lacking of a father and or distinct...

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