It has been said that street gangs exist to fill a void in the lives of their members. A gang member may feel a lack of love and support from his or her people at home. Statistically speaking, about 72% of African American children are being raised in single parent households. The emotional needs of many of these children cannot be met in the environment in which they are being raised. Therefore, many of these young men and women will seek to fill this void by joining a gang, without the wisdom and understanding to know (before it is too late) that there is no love in these affiliations because street gangs thrive off hatred, lawlessness, and despair.
In some cases, however, the street gangs seeking to draft new members do not allow a choice in the matter. For young men and women, especially young men, it becomes a matter of joining the gang in their neighborhood or suffer the consequences. Turf wars, drug dealing, and vigilantly justice are the driving forces behind these gangs. To be a member, you must be ready to participate in murders, robberies, and other crimes dictated by the gang leader.
The Tragedy of Lee McCullen
Humans are social beings. They can thrive in families or groups that provide a positive nurturing environment. Families that do not or cannot provide a healthy, safe place to raise their children are at risk for their children gravitating to gangs where they mistaken the camaraderie and attention that they get from other gang members for the love and companionship they crave.
Lee McCullen was just such a young man, who at the tender age of 22 was a member of a street gang in his neighborhood. But later in his life, he wanted out. He had decided that he wanted to leave the Chicago street gang lifestyle and the crime infested neighborhood where he lived to start a new life with his child and his child’s mother, Tiara Parks. Parks, who was the daughter of a Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy, had just been murdered a few weeks before McCullen’s death.
McCullen had planned to go to college, to start a career in order to make a better life for his family, but the odds were not in his favor. This was not the first time he had been shot. In 2014, he had been shot in the leg. Two years later he was gunned down on the streets in his neighborhood and this time he did not survive.
McCullen was featured on a CNN documentary entitled “Chicagoland.” The documentary dealt with violent crime in the city, on the streets, and in neighborhoods where young men and women like McCullen lived. See the NY Daily News for more information on this story.
The Entrenchment of Street Gangs Across the Nation
In certain parts of Chicago, street gangs have taken over entire neighborhoods, unimpeded by law enforcement. These neighborhoods are usually located in blighted areas overrun with unemployment and poverty. Street gangs that are entrenched in these neighborhoods rarely, if ever, venture out of these neighborhoods to enter the more affluent sections of town, partly because there are more police officers in those areas and partly because the street gangs may feel that they “own” certain neighborhoods and must maintain their presence there in order to protect their turf.
Street gangs are a plague on the social order of things. They are responsible for much of the drug trafficking and violence in our cities. They hold entire neighborhoods in their grasp and control these communities through fear and intimidation. Getting a handle on the street gang problem is very difficult because the communities where they thrive have grown to accept gang activity as the “norm” in their neighborhoods. This, coupled with the distrust of law enforcement and the judicial system as a whole, make these communities ripe for street gangs to take over.
Our law enforcement and judicial systems are confronted with great challenges on a daily basis. Sometimes there can be flaws in the system due to human error, but for the most part, they get it right. For those times when the system fails, we must have an experienced criminal law attorney on our side to protect our interests. If you or a loved one is involved in a situation that requires the expertise of an experience criminal law attorney who will be committed to protecting your rights, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a free no-obligation consultation.