The Effect of Gangs in There Are No Children Here Essay

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The Effect of Gangs in There Are No Children Here

Throughout There Are No Children Here, a continuous, powerful tension always lurks in the background. The gangs that are rampant in the housing projects of Chicago cause this tension. In the Henry Horner Homes, according to Kotlowitz, one person is beaten, shot, or stabbed due to gangs every three days. In one week during the author's study of the projects, police confiscated 22 guns and 330 grams of cocaine in Horner alone (Kotlowitz 32).

For the children of the projects, the pressure to join a gang never waivers. Quick cash and protection are hard forces to resist in a world of poverty and violence. However, the children's role in these gangs is inferior to
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Kotlowitz says that some of the members are very efficient at the technique of torture. Some members are "enforcers," young men whose sole purpose is to maim and kill (34).

As horrible as gangs are, gang members themselves believe that they are beneficial to inner-city society. A former Gangster Disciple, for example, maintains that gang life taught him a lot: "I grew up without a father and I turned to my Disciple brothaz for love. They knew exactly how to treat a brotha and were always there for me, through thick and thin" (Douglas 162).

Even though gangs provide a sense of support, the "values" instilled in members are horribly dangerous to society. Murders and drive-by shottings go unpunished more often than not in areas like the Henry Horner Homes. Gangs have become powerful enough that high-ranking members who are forced to face the law are protected by high-priced attorneys and investigators (163).

A former Disciple explains a typical way of handling the death of a fellow gang member in inner-city Chicago: ". . .visiting my brothaz in coffins, then going back and getting drunk, reminiscing about the brotha. Then a cold rage would come over me. . we'd all strap up and go into enemy territory and take care of some of them" (163).

Statements like this one are horrifying testimonies to the violence that is part of the Henry Horner Homes. According to

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