Gangs Outnumber Police

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Larry King on CNN tackled the issue of gang violence on his program October 23, 2006. King gave statistics of a total of 708,000 state and local police against 731,500 gang members nationwide. Gang members now therefore outnumber the police in our country. Now what?The president, in his State of the Union Address last month, announced a $150 million, three-year program to target at-risk youths and discourage them from joining gangs. Bush put the First Lady in charge of the program.There are more than 21,500 gangs across the United States with about 731,500 members, according to a 2002 Justice Department report. Several criminologists claim gang membership is ballooning because of poverty and a rise in the country’s immigrant population, coupled with the emergence of international gangs in areas like Los Angeles, Chicago and suburban Washington, D.C.Though they are unable to give hard statistics, many law enforcement experts believe that gang activity is the leading contributor to black-on-black crime and a mushrooming illegal drug trade (according to Black America web).I know in Orlando where I live it is becoming quite common to hear sirens day and night in the city streets. Helicopters fly over my neighborhood nearly daily (in middle-class America) chasing criminals. University High School this week had a stabbing when two young men fought over a young lady whom they both liked.Earlier this year, an Indian young lady who attended my church was burned to death when she broke up with her boyfriend and he retaliated. What’s going on?Our nation’s leaders had best pay attention to the terrorists at home rather than chase Muslim terrorists abroad. With the absence of fathers in our homes, youth need role models and big brothers like never before.As one former gang member in the white supremacy movement told Larry King, he was transformed by Jesus. On the program he happily and wholeheartedly embraced the black brother without hesitation. Violence and hate is a matter of the heart. It is time we deal with the root of the problem and provide this younger generation the love and personal touch they are desperately crying out for.I have seen great success with inmates while working as a volunteer in Orange County prisons, but I want to do a lot more. Let’s come together and form an alliance to make a difference!