In over my head.

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by thardey, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I've got a problem --

    A good kid, a friend of mine, is seriously getting pressured to join the local gangs.

    The main two gangs in the area are the established, the Nortenos, and the Surenos are moving in. This kid is Phillipino/Caucasian, but he looks latino.

    He doesn't want anything to do with gangs, he tried to live with family out of state, but it didn't work. Now he's back, facing the same pressures.

    He's not being lured in, so much as being strongarmed in. Since he's independent, he's attacked (physically) by the local gangs from either side, until he joins one. Most of the non-latino community here thinks that there are no gangs in the area, and it is true that most of them here are the washouts and the posers. But they still take themselves too seriously.

    I've earned his respect, and I know that, but I'm his Grandmother's pastor. He doesn't want to be "Grandma's Boy" and go with her to church, let alone be seen in public with her pastor.

    This is a world that I've never been around -- I don't know how it works.

    Any suggestions on how I can keep this kid from getting sucked in to a whole lot of problems?
     
  2. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    You have every right to be just as concerned about the wannabes as you do about the hardened criminals.

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81351

    How old is the boy in question?

    When you say he is "independent" does that mean he is unaffiliated with other gangs?

    Does he go to school? Work?

    I don't have many answers, but I think this will help those that are more knowledgable than I am.
     
  3. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    To be honest you have more to fear from posers then professionals, posers and wonnabes are always trying to "prove themselves."

    Well he's got one of three choices at this point and none of them are "good."
    1. Stand his ground and seriously hurt a few to make an example out of them, I mean this has to be real bad like tubes and ER beds bad...
    2. He can join one or the other...
    3. He can start calling 911 and telling on everyone of them, which will cause more problems & might put him into a have to revert to option 1.

    There is option four which is do nothing...

    Personnally, I'm leaning to option one. I had similar situation with a friend of mine who was 14 and was getting jumped by these 6 guys (youngest was 17 & oldest was 22). If I stood up for him they'd back down from me and jump later when I wasn't around. So I taught him some basic MA technques and explained to him he needed to show them he wasn't a "victim." After a few situations, he when to their house to get an X-box, $100 coat and some other stuff they stole from him & when they decided to "jump him" the last time. He took a baseball bat to them, 2 ran off and 4 got messed up.

    See here is the thing, in the above example I know it wasn't handled in the best possible way. That said, there isn't really a best possible way, he can't have someone protect him all the time & he needs to make an example out of the "alphas" to keep the "betas" in their place.
     
  4. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Especially true online, huh Ron?
     
  5. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Fighting back hard is a seductive tack to take, one that ticks all the 'Hollywood' boxes. But in the real world that can be seriously bad advice.

    Gangs may be full of hyeanas rather than lions but that doesn't mean that dishing out some whupass on them will do the trick - they'll just slink in when your back is turned and pull you down that way.

    Then you have the legal side to consider. It's ironic and wrong but an essentially law-abiding kid who goes postal under pressure to try and alleviate that pressure is more likely to end up in serious legal trouble.
     
  6. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Is it feasible to help him to move? It's drastic, but considering how high the stakes can be with gang membership it might be worth it. Even if he doesn't have family he can settle in with, there has to be some friend somewhere, or even social programs he can fall back on to help with the transition.
     
  7. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    He's 15, but he's tall, so he looks much older, around 17 or 18.

    "Independent" here means unaffiliated with gangs, and also losing friends who he recognizes as a bad influence.

    Since he just moved back into the area, the local school won't do anything with him, since he can't transfer the work from the partial semester, and pass the classes here this semester. It's stupid, but the school district here is in terrible shape.

    It's a bad combination -- he's just floating during the day while his grandmother works, and his mom is out of it. (drugs, abusive boyfriend, etc.)
     
  8. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    You and the family are in my prayers :asian:

    Does your city have a community policing office? Can you meet with an officer (without the boy) to discuss the situation? Keep one thing in mind though...the peace officers and other community officials may be struggling to determine what sort of activity is really happening in the area. My city, for example, has a reputation for being the worst in the state for gang trouble, yet when reading between the lines in some of the coverage in the paper, it is not clear to me whether the reputation is truly grounded in gang or gang-like activity (wannabes, intimidation, etc) or whether the complaints are grounded more in how a person looks (race, fashion, etc)

    Is it feasible for him to start a part-time job so he is somewhat engaged after school while waiting for his grandmother to return home? Does his school offer any sort of aftercare or after-school activities to keep him engaged?
     
  9. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    That's about all the options I see at this point, too.
    He's been very luck in that he's fought his way out of "disparity of force situations" (which is luck in itself) and doubly lucky that both the school board and the police recognized them that way. Once a guy in school pulled a knife (multiple witnesses), and once he was attacked by a guy in his 20's. (Cops confirmed that.) A couple of the cops know what his situation is, as well, but their hands are tied.

    On another occasion the thugs were standing in front of his house, challenging him to come out and fight, and this kid stayed smart: he armed himself with a knife, but never stepped outside.

    But I agree with Sukerkin -- he's drawn a boundary line, and will have to continue to fight to defend that, but going into the jackal's den will escalate things beyond what he can handle. For 98% of the day, he has no one there to back him up.

    What I'm looking for is a "hook" -- some way to get him busy in something healthy, so that he's not on the streets as a potential recruit. He does Young Marines, but that's like once a week, or less. Church isn't working, it's "not cool" to hang out there. And the local youth help organization (Youth for Christ) which is "cool" is right on the edge of the high school, and largely unsupervised.
     
  10. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    That's what we've been trying, and we just ran out of options.

    He's half-white, so he wasn't accepted in Hawaii, where his dad lives (also serious conflict with the religious views), he's half-Phillipino, so he isn't "white enough" for our racially divided community. (You're either "white" or you're Mexican" here -- nobody else, and no crossing lines). And the Mexican community doesn't like him, since he only "looks" latino. Any place we could send him to at this point would put him into the same situation, but without a support system.

    His half brother is younger, and is white/black, which in this community is easier, since on the surface we don't want to be "racist." (That is, blacks (African Americans, whichever) are accepted and encouraged here. Plus, the gangs here are racially motivated, and there are no gangs that would take him, even if he wanted to join.
     
  11. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Keep involved, and keep him busy. Work with the school counselors, and you may have a local/regional gang intervention program that can provide some tips. Also, make sure the staff of the Young Marines knows about the situation; they may have other activities available. The reality is that the gangs can put a lot of pressure on a kid -- but it can be and IS resisted successfully in many cases. Keep the communication channels open to you; can you get him involved in your martial arts?

    It sounds like the kid already has a strong support system; that's the biggest tool in keeping kids out of gangs. If they have family and community support, they aren't going to go looking for it from the gang.

    Do not try to have play one gang off against the other... all that will do is put him in a crossfire.

    FYI -- not only do you have Norteno and Sureno gangs in Oregon, you've got quite a few other gangs, including Bloods, Crips, and other similar gangs, and LOTS of white supremacist gangs.
     
  12. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Here is a PDF with Oregon's laws regarding employment of minors.

    http://www.obop.net/BOLI/WHD/CLU/docs/employmentminorsbrochure2009.pdf

    In a nutshell, until he turns 16, he'll be limited to working 3 hours a day on days school is in session, and 18 hours a week total, but this is still a fair amount for an after school job. Virtually all employers will also set up direct deposit so he will not have to be concerned with cashing a paycheck or walking around with cash. For obvious reasons, it may be best to avoid working at Staples or Best Buy...should he chose to do so, make sure he knows to change in to and out of his work clothes at work.

    He will not need a work permit, or written permission from a parent or guardian.

    Until he turns 18, he'll be barred from using hazardous equipment. For example, he can serve pizza but cannot drive a car to delier it. He can work in a grocery store, but not running the meat slicer.

    He will need sufficient documents for the I-9. If he does not have them, they can be easily obtained by contacting the school or appropriate agencies. I've ordered copies of my birth certificate from VitalChek without issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  13. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Well done, Carol on digging out the relevant legislation :applause:
     
  14. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    My advise is this, try to do everything but fight. When you its a fight treat it like a war.
     
  15. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

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    Carol, great point about getting the guy a job. You would be surprised how little a bunch of pack animals want to have to do with a working man.
     
  16. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Master of Arts

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    thardey,

    I really sympathize. Sounds like a good kid and you hate to see them swallowed up by the local gangs and see a good kid lost to that world.

    I think Carol is right to. Help him get a job. That will not only increase his independence and self worth, but give him some money so he is not temped or lured by gangs. Plus it keeps his mind busy!

    And maybe he needs a Walt Kowalski.

    Deaf
     
  17. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    That's a good idea, I'll see what I can do to help him get a job.

    I wish we had enough to hire him at the church.

    The good thing is that it's such a small community that he'd be able to ride a bike or walk to wherever he could get a job.
     
  18. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Best thing you can do is help him help himself. Guide him in helping him keep a good attitude, researching employers beforehand, speaking clearly and with good diction/grammar, carrying 2 pens to the interview, etc. The school may have resources, I was in a work program at my high school. If the state has an unemployment office in your town, I think he will get a lot out of sitting down with a counselor for a few minutes. They will likely have some materials there that will help him get his first job also :)
     
  19. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Eagle Point OR, where he lives, has a population of under 9,000. The whole city is 2.5 square miles.

    There are two banks, a feed store, a liquor store, a Family-run market, some restaurants, and a brand-new Wal-mart. No public transit, and a failing school system. There are literally only two stop lights in the town, and both are related to getting to Wal-mart. I think there are a total of 3 police cars in town. Two of which are always parked at the city center.

    It's about 15 miles from Medford, the city seat. Most of you woudn't qualify it as even a city -- really more of a town. There's no way for a 15 year old to get to work in Medford. So the only real jobs he's looking at right now are at Wal-mart, or as a dishwasher for one of the diners. In the summertime there's plenty of work bailing hay, but the rest of the seasonal work (mostly pear-picking) is done by the very guys that are trying to get him into the gangs to begin with. (Or at least their associates and family members.)

    As far as the "gang help" goes, it's the opposite of you, Carol. The media tries to play down the gang activity, since they don't want to glorify gangsters, and those not involved (basically all the white people) think that gangs are simply a joke here. It was only after talking to a detective in Medford that I realized how fast they are growing here, due to the availability of Meth, and the convienience of shipping it up or down the I-5 corridor.

    We don't have any "anti-gang" programs here, and certainly no help at Eagle Point. Sports are no good, either. Brendon had to quit football after he realized he had had a previous run-in with one of the coaches after he (the coach) used racial slurs against Brendon. (The wrong ones, to make things even worse.)

    Don't get me wrong, Eagle Point is a fine place to live, as long as you're a white, conservative, middle-class american.

    I think I'm the closest thing to a Walt Kowalski he's got. Or at least a Mr. Miyagi.
     
  20. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I admit that I am woefully ignorant on US social behavior of teenagers, but why is he 'on the the streets' anyway? I mean streets are for getting from one place to the other, not for hanging out all day.

    When I was his age, I was reading all day, spending time behind my game console, doing chores or doing other things people generally do in their home / yard.123
     

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