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Letters to Malik: WHAT IS TO BE GAINED OR WON BY GANG WARS?
By Jeorald Pitts
Preparing for war itself is an extremely easy thing to do, but in comparison with or to preparing for peace, war preparation seems that much easier. Where brains are required to establish and maintain peace, bullets are the only requirements to declare and wage war. Yet, when gangs are presented with a problem, war seems to always be the solution. So ask yourself, "Why is it that gangs seem to always take the easy way out when it comes to problem solving?" "How much honor should one have being a member of something that always takes the easy way out?"
Gang members neglect to ask one fundamental question: "What is there to be gained or won by these wars?" The majority of wars are fought to gain either: territory, money, oil, or to force one's beliefs upon another.
What is to be gained or won by gang wars? Not oil or not even land is to be won because very few, if any, gangs actually take over their rivals' territory. Gangs seldom, if ever, own any land. So in the event that one does take over their rivals' territory, in all actuality, nothing is really won. Money is definitely not being gained by these wars. We have all heard the popular saying, "Don't go to war unless you got your money right". This is because wars cost money. Guns and bullets cost money. Hospital bills for those injured and lawyer bills for those arrested cost money; not to mention the funeral costs for those who were lost in the wars.
Think about this: A gang member can kill 25 members from a rival set. In the aftermath, instead of their rivals surrendering or bowing down to them or their gang, they will retaliate. Even the weakest gang feels that theirs is the strongest, so they will retaliate to prove this. In that terrible, senseless act where 25 individuals lost their lives, not even respect was gained. So what, if anything, is being gained--besides filling up the graveyards and prison yards?
Bangers do not even have to be told what is gained or won from their gang wars. It is sufficient for them to simply seek to win or the desire to win even without them knowing what it is that the gang has to win, lose, or gain.
Listen, even if your big homies won't put you up on game, I will. Some of you are fighting in some of the longest wars in American history without a cause or end in sight. Even "Big Tookie Williams", one of the founding fathers of the crips--one of the biggest gangs in the U.S.--admitted in his book, "Blue Rag, Black Redemption" that because of immaturity and lack of political leadership, that he and Ramond Washington were never able to develop an agenda or cause for the crips. So in other words, they are rebels without a cause. A lot of gang members rush to be on the front line, but the only thing they are going to get by being on the front line is to be in front of everybody else to go to jail, get shot, or get killed.
Nobody ever wins any gang wars. All that ever happens is that one side loses more than the other. The true meaning of war is not how many battles you fight, but how many you avoid. So, I ask once again, "What is being gained or won by gang wars?"
Jeorald Pitts/Lil Tone Tone is author of the forthcoming book, To Bang or Not To Bang--A Book of Questions. Mr. Pitts can be reached at