Several decades ago we began to lose our strong families. What did we get in return? One thing was Modern Street Gangs (MSGs). When a whole generation moved from the family farms and businesses to work in the factories in the cities, the children were left in a vacuum of idle leisure.
Youths from broken homes were left to run the neighborhoods and local gangs became their real families. Turf battles led to cycles of revenge and many dead bodies and broken lives resulted, as the new Crusaders Comic, Black Angel, shows.
New "businesses" sprang up, channeling marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc., into the culture. These eventually came together in mafia-level organizations linking not just neighborhoods, but whole cities and adjacent countries. Mexico is nearly a failed state because of the massive drug cartels feeding the gangland drug market in the U.S.
Mike Ramey is the Chief Instructor of 'The Gang Line`, a company that trains law enforcement and non-law enforcement clients in dealing with gang issues from a spiritual and criminal perspective. Ramey describes the evolution of the turf-war era of gangland to the evil octopus it has become: "The new chapter of the Modern Street Gang goes back to the year 2001 —the year the Twin Towers fell in New York City.
"Thanks to modern communications, an ever expanding Internet, and innovations such as Google, YouTube and Facebook, the gang member of today can recruit at will, cause havoc on a whim, and terrorize from the shadows. That`s why I have designated the gangs of today as 'Modern Street Gangs`.
"Their attitude, bearing, aim and recruiting objectives from the top to the bottom are aimed at making money by any means necessary. Unlike their predecessors, MSGs are criminal enterprises and are NOT ashamed to be associated with crime; be it 'blue collar` or 'white collar`. Gang members of today are equally adept at using a gun —or a computer."
They often view themselves in religious terms. They have drawn up "constitutions," using symbols and ceremonies from witchcraft, freemasonry, Catholicism, Islam and even the KJV Bible.
"The FIRST thing one should remember, a gang —ANY gang— is composed of individuals," says Ramey. They "...are not scared of judges, politicians, reporters, cops, or social workers. However, hit them with the gospel of Jesus Christ and it will DESTROY them."
And that is where the new Crusaders Comic fits in. In the story, Joey is out for revenge against a gang member who shot his mother during a burglary. Ex-gangster, "Peanut," shows him a better way: forgiveness through submission to Jesus.
The comic shows how Peanut fought his way to the top of the neighborhood gang, and lost friends and relatives to the violence. But his life was still empty and he was a sitting duck —a high-profile target, the focus of the revenge of rival gangs.
Along the way, ex-gangsters had shown him the way to salvation through Jesus, but he had rejected it until now. The rest of the story is his struggle against a heroin addiction, and the demon of revenge —to eventual peace in Jesus.
This is a true story of real men who lived in a real gangland. Those today caught in this cycle of tit-for-tat revenge will see themselves and understand Satan`s death trap —and Christ`s escape hatch to salvation and peace.
Many of the gangs are grouped by race or language and the story of the Black Angel is a good follow up for the line of black-art tracts and the Spanish language tracts already available from Chick Publications.
A Spanish version of Black Angel will be available in early 2014.