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Comparing Gang Violence & Terrorism

Gangbanging has sometimes been compared to terrorism. Many people believe the two activities have common goals and results. On a basic level this is true: both of the members of these groups believe they are disenfranchised in some way, and in their frustration, they have turned to violence to obtain what they need. The following research will explore this premise, as well as point out where the two groups differ.

After the Los Angeles riots of 1992, many people tried to understand the causes of such violence and why young men join gangs. One of them was Jim Brown, the movie actor and athlete. He gathered invited some gangbangers on a radio show and gave them a voice. He found that they were desperate young men who expressed the hopelessness of their lives and explained exactly why lives of violence made sense given their reality.

After the radio show, Jim Brown continued his work with gang members, which often has been in the form of giving them money for necessities, such as a mother's day gift, baby medicine, or money for funeral expenses. He also meets with them to discuss their goals and needs. In these meetings, gang members expressed feelings of wanting to be loved. He also has found them work in his many business ventures, such as in his security business, his sporting-goods store, his independent film company, or his Amer-I-Can program.

Indeed, many people believe that gangs will disappear once jobs are plentiful for inner city youths. This is because gangs appear in the poorer neighborhoods, but to end gangs, the jobs will have to be created where poor people live. According to Jesuit Father Tom Smolich, at Dolores Mission Parish in Los Angeles, the city's economic divide is no different from the absentee land lord in West Virginia or in a developing country. The emphasis needs to be on local development. The people who own Los Angeles businesses do not live in the poorer neighborhoods, nor do the...

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