Children involved in dangerous activities

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

The issue: Evidence of gang activity abounds in Selma.

Our position: We need to get a handle on this before summer begins.

An old-fashioned rumble occurred on Broad Street on Thursday between young people. Some wore red and some wore blue.

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The Crips began in Los Angeles in 1969 by Raymond Washington and Stanley Tookie Williams III. It aligns with the Folk Nation, and its membership is about 45,000 nationwide. Their colors are blue. Their sign is the six-pointed star.

We have signs of them or their wannabes here. Look on some of the vacant building here. Spray painted on them &8220;Crips.&8221;

They are enemies with the Bloods.

Bloods are identified by the red worn by their members. The Bloods once were individual gangs in Los Angeles, but as the Crips began to expand and encroach on other territory, some gangs joined together and eventually became the Blood family.

Most experts on gangs say there is no such thing as a wannabe. If a child believes he is a Crip, he&8217;s a Crip.

The wannabe label usually comes from police or school officials who doesn&8217;t want to say there are pure gangs in an area.

Calling thugs who battle in the street and wear colors associated with a nation wanna-bes give a community a false sense of safety. People believe they don&8217;t have to worry about anything if the high school kids are just emulating something they see on television.

Tell that to the residents who live near Selma High School. Some of them say they will go into their houses around 3 p.m. each day because they know a fight will break out.

Some of those in the fight on Thursday were school students. Others were not and came toward the campus after school.

This is disturbing.

If children do not feel safe, they cannot learn. If a teacher does not feel safe, he or she cannot teach.

If a school or the neighborhood around it is not safe, we must make it safe.

This gang activity is not a reflection on the superintendent of education or law enforcement or the mayor.

Young people join gangs for a variety of reasons; the same reasons they join the YMCA or Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts &8212; a sense of belonging and commitment, companionship, training, activities and status.

It is time for us to acknowledge we have a problem and begin to take steps to correct it.

The family and the community share responsibility for helping teach children. If police officers are needed outside the school at 3 p.m., then get them there. If training for parents is needed, let&8217;s see the program.

Next time, an annoying fight among 30 children might turn into something worse.