Fear of gangs???

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't even know which forum to post this question in but difficult child has repetitively told me he is scared for his life if he goes to group home because the big blow up last summer, when he and others were put in lock for 2 mos, was because a gang riot was held at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility and difficult child got stuck in the middle because he did something stupid- he stole the list of "code" and rules from the gang that started the riot against the other gang. He says he copied the stuff down and gave it to someone he trusted, who gave it to someone else, and it ended up in the hands of the gang he stole it from. And one of these people involved is already at this GH.

    Now, at first- before his story got this big- I thought he was just saying he feared for his life in this GH due to a gang because he was trying to get out of the GH placement. However, I know he's telling the truth about what happened over the summer because when he was in lock, the gang protection person at Department of Juvenile Justice talked with me to let me know what they thought happened and to ask if I thought difficult child had gang related info because he was trying to join one or if it was more likely that he'd stolen it. I never told difficult child about that conversation.

    I don't want to become paranoid about it, but I am aware that gangs (especially thse bigger, well known ones) will kill a person over stuff i would shrug off. And there's a big trial going on in this state right now with tons of police protection provided because a gang member murdered someone because- get this- the person was afraid of not having any gang affiliation so claimed he was a member of one when actually, he wasn't- so they murdered him!

    difficult child says the gang members in Department of Juvenile Justice have told him they'd take care of him "on the streets". He says he hides my phone number and tears off the return address on my letters and destroys it, that he's told staff in there, and the PO from this area- they trade off so he's actually only seen his assigned PO one time in person. PO is not taking this seriously at all. I do find that odd given that Department of Juvenile Justice has a HUGE gang initiatve, gangs are prevalent in this jurisdiction, and this state has a MAJOR gang related murder trial going on. I'm appalled that PO/CSU is blowing this off- but I don't want to be paranoid just because I'm an out-of-touch mom.

    I haven't mentioned this issue or difficult child's concerns in any of the letters I've sent out fighting for reunification and such but after difficult child's call tonight, I'm wondering if I haven't been taking this serious enough.

    What do you all think? Truthfully, I've never in my life met a person who's ever been in a gang- I guess I'm over that age where it was common or even heard of for my age group.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm going to guess it would depend on the gang. Some have a bigger rep to maintain than others.

    I dunno. I'd have to guess the PO ect is experienced working with the gangs and if he's not concerned given the details, maybe it's for good reason. I don't know who else you could contact, or what good it would do. I figure they'd just tell you they'd keep an eye out for trouble and drop it. (if that) But I don't know much about such things.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    There is nothing that you or PO can do. Any initiative on difficult child's behalf will increase the chances that he will be targeted. Out in the community (different than in any prisons) gang members stick with other gang members. They see each other as "family" and cover each other's backs. Although there are locations where they the bond includes violence for the sake of violence (like in movies with packs of kids roaming the street carrying clubs usually in highly ethnic neighborhoods) most function like a brotherhood.

    There have always been "tough kids" and "tough neighborhoods". I was blessed to grow up in an awesome City with great peers but even in those circumstances there were kids you "knew" to avoid and not mess with. In the CD family many have difficult child's that need to be avoided due to their propensity for short fuses or violence. There are many gangs where I live and I have been shocked in the past to find that I "know' gang members from my volunteer work in the schools, from my blue collar business and from friends difficult child has made. Violence, when demonstrated, is almost always against competing gangs and usually over drug deals or girls. There is no outward sign that these people are members of gangs and in my personal experience I have always been treated with respect. That's what made it shocking as I learned more about the sub-culture.

    Your difficult child evidently messed up in prison by overstepping boundaries. He will be out of that environment soon and he, and only he, can use that lesson to move forward to a peaceful existence. The kid he is worried about is not apt to take your difficult child on as a mission. He, too, is getting out into society and will be focused on what is happening to him and around him for his personal gain. If your difficult child concentrates on the positives in his life and leaves prison life in the past it's likely the other kid will ignore him. on the other hand if your difficult child brings it up to "bond", seeks approval from the gangbanger or "mouths off" then there is a good chance a fight will result. The only person who can determine their interaction is your son. PO involvement, parental involvement or "posturing by your difficult child" likely will trigger problems that can be avoided by focusing on his new life opportunities.

    I am sure that it is a frightening thought for you and may be for your son too. He will be the key player. How he charts his course will be the determining factor. You'll need to focus on the Serenity Prayer and "accept the things you can not change". It's part of your difficult child's history and he can change. Hugs DDD
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I just dont know. Can you go to the local police if they have a gang unit just to get more info?

    They sound like they are just bullying him but that is for normal bullies... for gang members??? Since they are not really locked in or supervised that well there (GH) I would pobably be nervous too.

    I probably made that lots worse, sorry..... you asked so I said it but I would rather tell you it is nothing etc. I just dont know.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sure that the local police are given information on newly released kids whether gang members or not but, if I understand correctly, klmno is concerned about one boy who will be placed in the same GH as her son. in my humble opinion there is no way to know what interaction may take place prior to placement. One on one in a shared home with futures to plan the teens likely will cohabitate in peace. Department of Juvenile Justice, the local police, the GH supervisors...and sadly the parents can't foresee the future. I also believe that exploration of local gangs will only intensify the anxiety surrounding his release whereas responding to any new conversations about his fears with positive reinforcement should make him feel less like a potential victim and more in control of his future. DDD
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The thought of calling the police dept to get some info crossed my mind, too, BUddy. It isn't being inside the GH together that concerns me- they will be going to public school together and any kid in the GH with gang affiliations will be getting back in the norm with other gang members. It isn't the GH placement that concerns me so much about it- it's coming here in general because they will run into difficult child whether he lives in GH, with me, or anywhere. Really, it's one more vote for moving out of this area altogether as far as I'm concerned.

    You didn't make things worse, Buddy- I'm one who prefers to know what I'm dealing with.

    I'm not sure about notification of rellease for gang members, but police are not notified of most releases, like difficult child's. Now, if there are rivals of gang members where there have been previous assaults- they do try to keep the people from being placed together, whether it be in a detention center together or whatever. That wouldn't apply here though because difficult child isn't in a rival gang. In that regard, he'd be better off if he was because they wouldn't put them in a GH together and would notify people of potential violence. The other situation I'm aware of when they step in is when a kid has been in a gang and is trying to get out of it and dis-associate from it, they try to keep that kid separated. Maybe these are differences in the juvie system- I don't know.

    Many of these kids aren't coming out of Department of Juvenile Justice planning a future- they are resolved they'll spend their lives in and out of incarceration and the number one thing to them is accomplishing something on their mind prior to getting back in incarcerations again. I know it's not what people want to believe, but they don't all come out determined never to go back and with conviction to have a wonderful life now.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I can totally see the point of moving on this one especially. there are so many things that are adding up. How is the job front going anyway????
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm still applying to what I find available, wwhich isn't a lot right now. What I have found is that gov had many cutbacks so the jobs that are available are open only to those who recently lost gov positions. When they open those up to others, I'll be able to apply to them as well. Right now, it's only a small percentage being open to the public for my profession.
  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Sending support I don't know anything about the gang situation, but I can relate to your fear, hugs.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    There are so many concerns and worries that you have to assimilate. Sometimes, I know, my posts to you sound a little harsh but my sentiments aren't harsh. I do understand alot of what you are experiencing and I'm really hoping you can focus on "what is" and not "what might be"..especially about things you really can not control. This is one of those situations. Only time is going to tell whether this issue is going to be an issue in "real" life. If it does become one then I'm confident you will do whatever possible to defuse the situation. on the other hand, you have more than enough on your emotional plate right now. No need to overload and no need to feed in on difficult child's concerns for the future either. You've come a long way and I am really hoping you don't relapse into high anxiety....that way you'll be strong enough should unexpected problems arise. Hugs. DDD
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I appreciate your concern but really, I'm not the neurotic sole you seem to think I am. LOL! There are and have been anxiety/stress/ptsd related issues, just like there are with many warrior moms here, but I'm not sitting here going into panic mode, especially over things that might or might not happen that I have no control over. Maybe it's just the communication thru the internet and having never met in person but it comes across like you think I'm so mentally and emotionally fragile that you are trying to protect me from mental demons by just wanting me to think about one little positive thought at a time because I could have a mental breakdown otherwise. I'm not quite that flakey- maybe not the sanest person in the world, but nowhere close to being that flakey. LOL!
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Well..DUH!..my friendly "sole"...LOL! I do have a bit too much protectionism in my nature. Not a good thing but then again at least I try not to hover. DDD
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do have some knowledge about the gangs in VA because of Jamie. There are some very serious ones up near Difficult Child...namely MS13, The Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings and various others. I really worried about them when he was working the gate at Quantico because one of the initiations into one of the gangs was to shoot a Marine working at the gate. Yeah nice.

    Billy used to see quite a few of the gang members when he was working at 7/11 up there. He said they really werent all that bad. In fact, he said he would rather have them in the store than some of the punk HS kids because they didnt attempt to shoplift. They came in and got what they wanted and left. They were actually quite nice to him and sometimes gave him rides home when it was really nasty out.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL!, DDD- thank you and no, you aren't hovering on me- we have worked thru a lot of miscommunication!

    DJ, it's one of those you mentioned but I really don't want to get into mentioning certain ones. They - not just this one but a few- are all over now. When they infiltrated the "nice" neighborhood and sd we used to live in, I was a little worried but not too much- probably similar to what Jamie described to you. I feel certain they were in the last neighborhood I was in but, as DDD kind of described, they never bothered me and I never bothered them.

    I think this situation is different with difficult child- I don't think this gang is known for forgetting a "trangression" from someone that has no protection from another gang. I am worried about it- I'm just not sure yet how worried about it I should be. I don't want to get paranoid over it but I sure don't want to go around thinking nothing horrible can happen to my kid, or won't happen, when I I see these kids with the gang tattoos and making the gestures even in visitation in a facility, I read the news, ....I think there is reason to be concerned. I'm not saying necessarily that I think difficult child will be killed within days of being released (girlfriend- ) but I think there could be trouble and he could end up in a bad situation where he either feels physically threatened, worried about being set up or whatever, and he's already said he doesn't know if he'd end up having to join the rival gang just to try to defend himself. I do believe he's honest about those thoughts and they aren't an excuse. He's never expressed interest in joining a gang andf my VERY limited knowledge about them does leave me thinking that many kids end up joining one to defend themselves from another one. I just want to get him out of HS- I have started realizing how when kids are in the lower and middle school age years, school is almost a safety net, but when they get close to 18, public schools (any of them) can be more of a hindrance and place of trouble. It's very hard for them to go about their own business when everyone who they are worried about will be there, too.Know what I mean?? Think of how different things would be for him if he was already out of HS, didn't have to go to a GH and live with these same people, etc. Not that life would be easy or that he could forget that any of this ever happened, but it seems like it would be a heck of a lot easier to go on with his own life.

    If I can get a job in another state, even if they made him go to a GH there, it sure would help. If he can keep his mouth shut to other boys in the system, no one in another state would know the previous stuff and more than likely, they would leave him alone, except for the typical squabbles or occasional fist fight.

    He's the one that brought this "fear" up and now he's gone to so many people in Department of Juvenile Justice about it, I am wondering if that's not going to backfire- I don't think some of those staff are knowledgable enough to realize that they have no business talking so much to kids in there about things they do- kind of like school teachers- some of them tell wayyyyy too much to kids and if you tell a teacher something, you can't always bank on no other kid finding out about it.

    My son just isn't very good about knowing when to quit digging himself in deeper. Yes, that's a facetious understatement!

    On a good note- I bought long johns today so maybe I can bring myself to stand out in line in the cold tomorrow morning for visitation since I haven't seen him since Christmas and his b-day was Thurs.

    And I got the microwave out of the box after organizing the kitchen a little better so I can have MW popcorn tonight and watch a movie! (the MW box is now doubling as an end table and printer stand.) The dogs will be happy- I got bones for them to chew while I eat my popcorn. I just have to remember to chew on the one "good" side of my mouth but I think I can do it.

    And I am pretty sure I have the used BR furniture sold to make room in the 2nd BR for difficult child- assuming he'll at least be able to visit sometime in the next few mos- or if I move again, it will be less to pay to move.

    So it's been a successful day...now if I can just decide what movie to watch.
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    To toss in my two cents (and that might be all it's worth), I'd be taking it very seriously and I don't think it's crazy to consider moving. If it's a large gang he ticked off I'd also rule moving to any major cities or close to them. I'd worry about him being in GH or school or anywhere near them. Yes, lots depends on the gang and the individuals involved, and if you're not sure of their forgiveness I'd be making plans to get out.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We dont have to have gangs to have death and criminal activity. The drug dealers are just as bad if not worse.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmm. Seems difficult child might need to stop yapping about it to staff. I understand his concerns.......but they might get more irritated at his yapping about it to everyone, than over what it was that he actually did. Know what I mean?? Sort of like rubbing salt in a wound and not letting it heal.

    And yeah, Janet, I hear ya.

    We lived in north dayton for quite a while. Rough neighborhood, gangs. No real issues except when the nice neighbor boy stood up for his big mouthed difficult child friend.......and I do mean big mouthed....next thing we know we've got drive by shootings and I'm training my kids how to hit the floor at the sound of gunshot. Honestly? Either they were really lousy shots, or they were just trying to put a scare into the kid......or maybe both. But up until then? We'd never had an issue. Drug dealers were a whole other matter.......not to mention some of the people they attract. ugh

    To this day if they hear gunshot or a car backfire, my kids face plant on the floor. lol Some things you just never unlearn.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would NOT dismiss this. The gang kids may be well behaved in stores and such but that is because they know if they get caught for somethng stupid their gang will be angry with them. They are not supposed to kill someone with-o permission from the top person in their area but that doesn't always stop them. They have LONG memories. I would push for the person making his "plan" (if there is one, which I just don't have faith in) to take this into account. But I can also see them using "gang activity" as a reason to keep him in longer, which seems to be what they want to do to flex their power. If difficult child thinks it is a big enough threat to hide your address, then I would trust him.
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah, there are several things about how difficult child has handled this that make me believe he feels it is not a neglible threat. And I think it's valid that the gang members who know he stole that info (supposedly all secret stuff) are not going to forgive and forget. That's a whole lot different than standing in a cashier's line at the neighborhood store and nobody bothering anyone else.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    K....I realize your fear here and I am sure that difficult child may have some legitimate fear but I am also wondering if he hasnt actually built this into more than what it actually was. I know how some gangs do pass some sensitive material around in prisons, and I am sure that maybe some of the younger ones could attempt it in Department of Juvenile Justice, but I would seriously doubt that the things that would have been on that paper would be of the caliber of what the prison gangs do.

    What you can do right now is to look up online which colors each of those gangs are known for and make sure he doesnt wear any bandana's or ball caps with those primary colors showing. Bandana's especially. Wife beaters and bandana's are the clothing of choice to show your colors.