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Chapter 4 (Gangs, Drugs, & Violence)
As it unfolds in the whole book The Youth Gang Problem: A Community Approach bySpergel, the youth cause a lot of trouble in the streets of Chicago and the whole America. This is a result of the gangs that the youth form as well as drug abuse among them. In chapter 4, Gangs, Drugs, & Violence, the author discusses broadly how drugs and gang forming contribute to violence in the streets among the youth. The author digs deep into the street life, thus uncovering the inner details of these gangs. He also explains the reasons of their formation as well as their structure. Throughout the chapter, the author explains the effects of these gangs and how the use of drugs influences their operations. In the chapter conclusion, the author points out several ways that can be used to cab these gangs and the violence they cause in the streets. This paper seeks to explain the contents of the chapter 4, Gangs, Drugs, & Violence, as well as look into what can be further done to more fully address the issues that the author did not cover in this chapter. After reviewing the explanation of the author and the recommendations he makes, the paper will give other recommendations that can be used to cab the problem of gang violence. It will also include a recommendation of another approach to explain the problem stated and discussed in the chapter.
According to Spergel,in this chapter, the young people in the streets form friendship groups that eventually become gangs. At the beginning, these groups comprise people of the same values, and they fend for themselves as a group (Spergel, 1995). As time goes by, these group members start engaging in unlawful acts, thus becoming a threat to the community. They become enemies to the law enforcers and also to the whole community. Spergel argues that these groups start engaging in an unlawful act because of several reasons. To begin with, the members of these groups have no decent means of earning a living. To put food on their tables, they do things that endanger the lives of others. This reason of ganging up has faced a lot of criticism from other scholars. The critics argue that joblessness is not a reason for unlawful acts. They say that these gangs can engage lawful income generating projects. This way, these groups or gangs would not have to violate the rights of other people for them to earn a living. Spergel argues that the violence that these gangs extend to the members of the public is caused by their need of money and other material goods. Secondly, these groups transform into gangs so as to be able to survive the harsh conditions of the street life. In most cases, they have to fight against each other as they compete for territories. If these groups remain humane, they cannot withstand the hardships of the streets. Therefore, in response to their environment, they start engaging in unlawful acts. Lastly, the major cause of transformation of these groups is drug abuse. The members of these groups have drugs at their disposal. The use of drugs influences their conduct a great deal. Most of these people do drugs and deal in drugs. Therefore, their behavior is a result of drug influence. Drugs in the streets are easily available, and most of the gang members access them without any problems. In that case, the actions of these people are a result of the drugs they used and not sober reasoning. There are two forms of violence experienced in the streets. The first one is violence among the gangs. This is when a gang fights against a gang. This violence results from quarrels in the streets (Spergel, 1995). Since these individuals do not have a sober mind, they resolve their differences through fighting rather than diplomatically. This may result from debts of drug sales or power struggles. The second form of violence is when the gangs attack the community. This happens when the gang members want something from the community. Since they have no platform to ask for what they want, they get it from the community through violence.
Spergel has worked in fields where he experienced direct interaction with these groups. This work has also led to his wide study of gangs and violence. This means that Spergelhas adequate knowledge on the topic of his discussion. This makes his information reliable. According to him, the problem that is experienced in the streets can be cabbed. There are several ways of cabbing this violence. First, ensuring that there are no drugs in the streets would help solve the problem a great deal. Drugs are the most frequent cause of violence and other unlawful acts among the youth. The government and other concerned authorities need to ensure they curb drugs circulation among the public. Second, it would be important to educate the youth on the dangers of drugs and violence. This would help create a knowledgeable society. This knowledge is essential and will help people to stop engaging in drugs and violence. Lastly, Spergel recommends that ensuring the youth get adequate education and employment would help reduce the violence to some extent (Spergel, 1995). Some of the members of these gangs engage in unlawful acts as a result unemployment. Therefore, creating job opportunities would enable these people to earn a living through decent means.
The authors opinion on the topic is relevant in the present day. As for me, I agree with the authors argument. There is a lot of violence in the streets caused by the youth. This violence results from idleness of the young peoples mind. If these people get constructive projects and jobs to engage in and stop dealing with drugs, this problem could be completely solved.