Tuesday, May 31, 2005

gangs & armies

I was trying to explain this all to my teenage son the other day. Because I have had no small professional acquaintance with gangs.

Its all about fear and belonging, I said. Mostly about fear, but also that intense adolescent wanting to belong. The irony is, that once you belong, you are even more scared. With reason.

Its all about creating a closed world, a safe/dangerous world. And its also alot about dragging the world down, about creating viscious circles. The worse things get, the more you need a gang. Just look at any prison.

There is a reason armies like recruiting young men. Not just or even mainly because young men are fit and healthy. Its because young men can be induced to kill. To Believe. To Hate. To Do Anything for Status. The army is just a sort of more professional type of street gang, writ large.

What's really scary, is that the army has started to aquire a taste for young women (just like street gangs have, actually). Turns out that they have buttons you can push too, and that these days, they are willing to have pushed.

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