Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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November 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Social Commentary

Who’s worse?

The likes of Ex-WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers and Bernie Madoff who robbed your parents blind?


The gangbanger who accidentally shot your kid or mom in a mall while running for cover from rivals?

The Madoffs of the world have no excuse because they had the world available to them. The guy who’s running for his life may have no choice.

All the thieving and looting of the economy at the corporate and governmental levels of society doesn’t help set an example. It’s not just 50 Cent (or other rappers), being idolized by gang bangers. Over and over one hears the example of “why should I work at a Wendy’s for minimum wage when I can get money, girls and cars by banging?”

And it’s a good point.


Even the gangbangers have lost their way because there is no more honor, just mayhem and mad dogs.

Something has to fundamentally change.

I watched Gangland last night because someone told me it had to do with gangs in the West Palm Beach vicinity (Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, etc.). Without getting into names (which isn’t the point of this post), the show was a terrifying one. Not for me personally, but for my parents and kids. We’re going to visit for the holidays and, well I’m definitely concerned.

I was considering moving to Florida but after this episode of Gangland, I’m going to think twice. My other choice was Northern Virginia but – surprise there’s one of the most vicious Mexican gangs there. In fact, I could go through every city and state from Arizona to “The Res” in South Dakota to Maryland and there’s an episode about some group on Gangland.

In this episode they showed footage of a mall shooting on Christmas Eve 2006 that was… grizzly and worse, took place not even 30 feet from an indoor playground where tots were playing. Just Google “Mall Shooting” + “Gang” – and you’ll see how many there are – all over the country.

Something has to fundamentally change.

If individuals are going to bang – let them – and let them sort out who’s top dog. If you’re tricking, selling or buying drugs or guns on the street – that’s what you do. As long as it doesn’t harm the kids.

Remember Stephanie Kuhen.  Let's Have Sweeping Anti Gang Education and Legislation Now.

Remember Stephanie Kuhen. Let's Have Sweeping Anti Gang Education and Legislation Now.

Maybe you heard about the “Wrong Way Murder” of little Stephanie Kuhen (the gorgeous little girl who reminds me of my own Sofia above), 3 years old because a car took a wrong turn coming home from a barbecue and meandered accidentally onto a gang street when they were boxed in and set upon by a horde. Had the bangers stopped to look, they would have realized – these were “civilians” and let them go.

Seeing her limp little body stretched out on the pavement – courtesy of Gangland – is an image that unfortunately is now burned into my mind forever. I always want to go and hug and kiss my daughter (sleeping or not), whenever I think of Stephanie.

Something has to fundamentally change.

On another episode of Gangland this was the code (meaning hands off civilians – it’s just honorable and right), for a large west coast outfit that believe me you heard of, but which their east coast counterparts ignore. When did it become honorable or fun to sucker punch an innocent passerby and set upon them with savage intent?

Let’s understand something.

These may be gangs but they certainly aren’t GANGSTERS. And in the true sense such as in the case of groups formed for a purpose incidental to a cause (riding motorcycles for instance), they certainly don’t qualify – except perhaps under the RICO statutes. What happened to the Mob and the mystique of the true gangsters like John Gotti in real life to Don Corleone on celluloid. There was at least a delineation between soldiers and civilians at a minimum and arguably honor at the other. The collateral damage just wasn’t as acceptable as it apparently is now with civilians routinely getting caught in the crossfire. We’re up in arms when that happens in Iraq. Why not here?

Which brings me to this point.

Let’s start in Florida. I call on Barack Obama and Governors like Rick Scott – the new Governor of Florida to protect my family. I ask them, in the name of Stephanie Kuhen, and on behalf of kids everywhere to form a joint Federal/State task force to develop sweeping Anti-Gang legislation that is part education, part prevention and part consequence.

Something has to fundamentally change.

Let’s start with these ideas:

1. Early and Heavy Intervention HEAVY in school.
Just like you have gym class – you have to complete one semester of anti-gang awareness. MANDATORY.

2. Make parents accountable.
If your minor child is out banging and you’re on public assistance, you are warned the first time. Then lose all Housing, Medical Assistance and Food Stamps benefits.

3. Your children are taken away from you and placed with Child Protective Services.
The only exception is if the parent asks authorities for help. Turning a blind eye is no longer acceptable.

4. Forced Military Service if convicted of a gang related crime.
A special camaraderie exists between soldiers that have experienced the hell of combat together. So let them put it to positive use and serve our country in Afghanistan or Iraq. I am against warehousing of prisoners.

5. Rehabilitation
Identify those prisoners who are looking for a way out of the gang life and move them to another state where they can receive intensive counseling, job skills and a second chance.

The one good thing about Gangland is that it almost always ends in the gang bangers being interviewed lamenting that they ever got into the life and enough times, channeling their charisma and time into educating kids about the dangers of gang life.

You’d be surprised how intelligent and creative many of them are.

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