In the United States
of America as well as in many places throughout the world, tens of thousands of our youth are joining gangs. Peer pressure
and fear, or the hunger for meaning and purpose, or the desire to belong to something are irresistable forces that can, if
misdirected, pull young persons in the wrong direction. They could venture into a lifestyle they will later regret.
I wish I could take these wannabes, gangbangers
and roleplayers on a tour of my prison. They would see men who've been sitting in steel and cinder block cells year
ofter year, many never knowing if they're ever going to get out.
I would show them the before and after effects
of the criminal lifestyle. They will find men who have come to prison facing lengthy sentences. They will observe
how the years have taken their toll upon each inmate. Youthful looks have eroded. Black hairs turned to gray.
Strong bodies have bowed to weakness and old age. And the dreams and hopes these men had in their youth have long since
shriveled and faded.
Sadly the guys in gangs and adolescents who've
joined crime crews think they're so cool. But they don't realize the danger they're in. Getting busted or getting
killed seems so remote, as if it could happen to other individuals and not to them. How powerfully the devil traps naive
and malleable minds with the falsehood; "It can't happen to me!" Prisons and graveyards are filled with young
persons who believed this lie.
(c) 2005 David Berkowitz