Letters to the Editor

When family, society fail — gangs meet a need

At one time in America, there existed a draft where at the age of 18 young men were drafted into the military. Much to do was made over the issue until the draft was eliminated.

Regardless of the stance on that issue, the one undeniable thing the draft provided was to teach discipline to young people even if they came from a home that had failed to do so. The military identification provided a sense of pride, maturity and a sense of identity in a “family” beyond that of their biological family. The military provided training and education to many who would otherwise not have gained it.

Many who speak of gangs, fail to recognize the same need for discipline, and “family” is met by a gang affiliation. Leaders, disciples, ranking order and discipline is invoked in a fashion that may be contrary to the way society would prefer it, but it meets the young person’s basic needs of belonging.

When adults fail to teach discipline from early childhood, or in a household where a parent is absent, and there is no draft or the equivalent, the gang offers that. It’s easy to recruit gang members when family and society fails. Teach parents how to parent, and you will reduce the lack of discipline and the need to find another “family” to accept them.

Carl V. King

Ocean Springs