Violence Essay, Research Paper
Gang Violence in America
It was a brisk day in late Autumn, the ground masked by a blanket of red, brown,and yellow leaves. Jimmy Payne walked slowly, savoring the clear sky and cool, dry weather. Things were finally beginning to go Jimmy s way. He had been accepted to the University of North Carolina, and was on his way to tell his grandparents the good news when he rounded a familiar alleyway. He was too lost in thought to hear the shouts of violence and rage coming from the streets around him. A shot rang out, the bullet catching young Jimmy Payne square in the back of the head. He was dead before he hit the ground.
This story is fictional, but senseless violence such as this happens every day. Gang violence not only kills millions a year, but serves as a threat to organized society as we know it. Gangs are an infection that plague the streets of nearly every urban area in America, and is now spreading to rural areas as well. We cannot allow our cities and suburbs to fall victim to gangs and violence. There must be tougher legislation against
gang activity, as well as harsher punishments for gang related crimes.
Some people believe that enforcing these laws will mean an increase in taxes. They do not find this extra money worth spending on America s youth. Certainly, taxes are high enough already, but how can we afford not to provide for the well-being of the young people of America? The protection of citizens should be our foremost concern. America has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world. The citizens of the most powerful
nation in the world should be able to go out at night without fear, walk the streets of metropolitan areas freely, and most importantly, enjoy the liberties on which this great nation was built. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all crippled by gangs and gang related violence.
Others feel that stricter gun control laws, or even the banning of handguns, would be a better course of action than harsher laws on gangs. I beg to differ. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920 s did not stop it s sale, just as the illegalization of drugs did hot stop their use. The prohibition of handguns would serve only to take the power out of the
hands of law abiding citizens and give it to the gangsters and thugs. Just as gangs find a way to get drugs, they will acquire illegal handguns. Many people think that stricter laws on gangs would be in violation of our first
amendment right to assemble. I agree that the rights of the individual should be protected. However, all rights listed in the constitution have limits. The right to free speech does not mean that a person should be allowed to commit slander, just as the right to bear arms does not mean that we should be allowed to carry fully automatic assault weapons. The Supreme Court has ruled that conspiracy to damage or overthrow government is not protected by the first amendment because the government has the right to protect itself.
Nothing is more damaging to the United States Government than the senseless violence and breakdown in values brought about by gangs. This being the case, harsher laws against gang activity are well within the bounds of the constitution.
Gangs have poisoned American society ever since the years of Prohibition. Gangsters such as Al Capone dealt with prostitution, drugs, alcohol, and assassinations. Likewise, the Italian Mafia was a major threat to our country. Both of these eras have subsided to a new level of gang activity: less organized, more brutal, and worst of all , aimed at young people. Many gangs recruit new members from poor neighborhoods where violence is glamorized and illegal activity is viewed as the only way to get ahead in
the world. Because gang violence is aimed at teenagers, it is more harmful than any other form of organized crime in American history.
Gang violence is a problem in almost every free society, but it does not have to destroy as many lives as it does. The gang problem, in time, can be cured through tougher laws and stricter enforcement on gang activity. The fate of our young people, and therefore our nation, is at stake, We cannot allow what happened to Jimmy Payne shatter any more lives than it already has.