Are there any smart gangs among “criminal” street, biker, or prison gangs? No! But there are likely smart people doing dumb things within them. There could be smart gangs if a smart leader arises.
Many gangs are very well organized and disciplined. These are two crucial components for success at any enterprise. But they put these qualities to extremely destructive use. The problem is their values and goals are messed up.
Many current and former gang members say they became gang members for protection, comradery (or a sense of family), and excitement. What they get can be quite different. Then there are those who became gang members to feel courageous.
A truly courageous man does not need “backup” to be brave. Catch a gang member alone and you may see a person who is not so tough at all. A man or woman, who needs to be a part of a gang (club, fraternity, or any group) to be courageous, might just be a very fearful and weak person.
Here are the main objectives of gangs, especially in prison. At any cost to life or limb, maintain respect, territory, and racial division. What a waste of time and energy. What is it worth if most your members end up in prison, crippled, or dead?
I envision a brave, smart gang leader arising and changing their gang’s mission to fighting their true enemies: themselves and rehabilitation systems — whether street or prison. Not other gangs. Not the police. Not prison guards.
Self-teaching, education, and personal development would be the keys to defeating their enemies within themselves. These things would also be used to beat a poor rehabilitation program by creating their own. Or by taking full advantage of the program that exists and then building on it.
In regard to protection from rogue, unenlightened gangs, especially in prison, the smart gang would move from an offensive to defensive for physical attacks only. They would not waste their time and energy on absurd territory or respect issues.
Finally, I envision a smart gang building a highly successful, legitimate company. This would enable the smart gang to greatly improve the lives of their family, friends, neighborhood, and country. This would also produce immense genuine respect!
Smart gang leaders and smart gang members can become extraordinarily successful men and women. However, this can only be accomplished through inspiration and not fear, legitimacy and not lawlessness, and most importantly, integrity and not dishonor. The first gives you worldwide respect. The second gives you fake neighborhood respect.
Who will lead the transformation? Who has enough courage? Who will be the first smart gang leader to receive the Noble Peace Prize?