Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
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crime shows vs. reality -- Hempstead gangs: a new book by Kevin Deutsch

Crime shows are exciting. But true crime is not. It is often the result of a process that degrades an individual's urge to make something of his life. The real crime scene is exciting only because it includes mortal risk and an enemy (other drug/prostitution "lords"). Other than that, it is a world in which personal growth is abandoned and a personal life vision is abolished.

     A criminal justice writer for Newsday in New York named Kevin Deutsch has produced a book that will be published on December 2, 2014. Its title is The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York's Bloods and Crips. An excerpt of it is available from Newsweek Global, Oct. 17, 2014, Vol. 163, issue 15.
     Deutsch gained up-close interviews with members of the Bloods and the Crips. In this excerpt, he specifically describes a portion of the village of Hempstead called The Triangle.
     My own neighborhood in Hempstead, Ingraham Estates, is about three-fourths of a mile from The Triangle. I have never seen any of the criminal activity described in Deutsch's book, although I have lived in Hempstead for 21.5 years.
     Not only does this tell me that it is possible for people to live quite unaware of the traumatic lives not far from from their own doorsteps. It also tells me (1) that an ailing economy spawns alternative and self-destructive means of income (drugs and prostitution), (2) this alternative income is gained at the expense of the people who supply it (the drug users and the prostitutes), and (3) Hempstead's ineffective school board has failed to give its students not only an education, but also access to college and to decent employment. Many of the young men that Deutsch describes are either Hempstead High School students or recent Hempstead High graduates.
     One gang leader that Deutsch describes is running a cocaine business in The Triangle. He is a man in his early twenties who has a degree in finance. He couldn't find gainful employment (so he claims) and now earns a lot of money running a very organized drug business in TheTriangle for the Crips. 
      As important as law enforcement is, law enforcement can never solve the gang problem. No, the gang problem is society's problem. America is becoming more and more stratified into poor and rich. Those with more money understandably seek to separate themselves from criminalized groups. Unfortunately, it is this very separation that leads to yet more resistance of gang members against a rejecting society.
     I'm not saying anything new -- yet I am saying what has to be said by many, for a prolonged period of time, if real solutions are to be enacted.


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