Tom Brechlin wants to give a personal public service announcement to parents no matter what city they live in.
How many of you have seen kids with their cool baseball caps, wearing them in a variety of directions? How many of you have seen your own kids or their friends posing with the crooked caps, sagging pants and hoodys, making what appears to be non-descript finger configurations? How many of you simply excused such looks as a “trend in style?” No big deal, right?
Except an article in the Chicago Tribune explains why it could be important “Prosecutor: Man killed because of the way he wore his hat”
Oh yeah, that’s Chicago, right? Everyone knows they have a gang problem. Let’s read what it says.
Jose M., 18, of the 600 block of Deepwoods, Mundelein, and Jose G., 24, of the 500 block of N. Carol Lane, Round Lake Park, thought that the tilt of Gabriel Gonzales’ hat indicated that he was a member of a rival gang, said Lake County Assistant State’s Atty. Ken LaRue. Gonzales was leaving the One Stop Food and Liquor store, at 1015 Fairfield Road at about 12:45 a.m., when Jose M. and Jose G. followed him outside and began flashing gang signs, LaRue said. Gonzales turned to run away and Garcia shot at him ten times, hitting him once in the back, LaRue said.
I should note that, first, that Gabriel was NOT a gang member. And Round Lake is a far northwest suburb of Chicago. A good 20+ miles outside the gang ridden Lawndale (Little Village) neighborhood in Chiacgo.
There are over 140 Chicago suburbs that have no less then 3 known active gangs in their communities. A quick example would be Naperville. Naperville was voted the second-best place to live in the United States by Money magazine in 2006. In a 2010 study, Naperville was named the wealthiest city in the Midwest and eleventh in the nation with a population over 75,000. Mmmmm, They have gangs? Yup! Latin Counts, Sin City Boys, Surenos 13, Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples and Satan Disciples.
So why am I writing this? It happens that one of the alleged shooters is someone who was a client on my unit 3 years ago. What came to mind when I read the article was the many times I’ve read responses to various articles here at GMP. Responses from the “cool” people who look at various behaviors and say it’s no big deal. But the reality is that, for some people, it IS a big deal.
Yeah, I guess it’s a big deal that some women wants to dress her small son in pink, or that a mayor wants to limit the size of soft drinks. But here is the deal, while many of us live in the comfort of our homes, there is a big bad world out there, one that many have turned a blind eye. When one of the wealthiest communities in the country has not one but six active gangs, ya have to take a close look at what’s going on.
People used to call me “over-protective” and that my kids would some day rebel because I had close tabs on who they were with, where they were and what they did. In my book, there is no such thing as being over-protective. That was my job as a dad and as hard as it was, I don’t regret any of it.
Did you ever wonder what the gang colors and symbols are? Of course, not everyone wearing the colors of their favorite sports team are going to be shot. But it’s worth taking note of the following. And parents who thinks it’s funny, cute, cool to see their kids gesturing with their hands, cocking their hats and something wearing something as simple as a hat with symbols — just look twice to make sure. In order to stop it, you need to see it.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Gang: The Crips in Los Angeles. The gang is associated with the color blue.
Los Angeles Kings
Gang: Latin Kings in New York. The notorious latin gang shares the same name as the NHL team.
Gang: The Bloods in L.A. The “P” in Phillies stands for Piru ( a set in the Bloods’ gang). The colors are also the same.
Gang: Vice Lords in Chicago. The gang’s colors are the same as the Bulls.
Gang: Folk Nation in Chicago. The gang uses Raiders as an acronym, “Ruthless A– Insane Disciples Running Sh–.”
Gang: The Bloods in L.A.and Folk Nation in Chicago. The Bloods use it strictly for color and the folks see the symbol as a logo similar to their five-point star.
Gang: The Bloods associate it with the color red.
Gang: Gangster Disciples in Chicago. The letter “D” stands for Disciple.
Gang: Almighty Ambrose Nation in Chicago.
It may be a style to you and perhaps it’s that simple for your kids but as Gabriel found out, for some, it’s serious business. Just like we know as parents to look for the signs of drug use, it’s important to understand the signs of gangs.
Photo by Phillip Pessar / Flickr