THE SLAMMER

 

I don’t get it.

 

Some members of street gangs, all of them fairly young, murder members of other street gangs. These amateurs are always caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.  If they’re 20 years old, and live to the average age of 75, that means they’ll spend the next 55 years cooped up inside a dingy building, in a 6x8 foot cell, with little or no daylight, where sloppy, institutional food is dumped on dented metal trays, where the only change of clothes is another worn out jump suit, where their days are marshaled by routine and littered with hours of crushing boredom, and where their lives are always in constant danger because some psychopath might not like the way they look or not give them respect they feel they deserve.

 

The only thing I can think of is that these wanna-be hit men believe they’ll get away with murder. That they can kill someone because they don’t like their skin color, ethnic background, or simply the people they hang with. These murderers think they’re invulnerable, despite the fact they’ll get caught, do time, and are delusional enough to believe they’ll have the everlasting respect of other amateur killers who’ll drop a dime on them the minute their freedom is on the docket.

 

I’m not naive enough to expect gangs to go away. As long as there are cops, there’ll be gangs. One feeds the other. Cops get bossy in tough neighborhoods, causing young hot heads to ban together for solidarity. Think the Bloods and the Crips Those infamous gangs exist because LA cops used young black men as punching bags, made bogus arrests on trumped up charges, and hassled innocent minorities simply because they were….well, minorities.

 

If you’re a gang member with a bug up your ass because some gang member from another neighborhood has the balls to roll down your street, I suggest you go to the drug store and stock up on bottles of organic chill pills. Using a .357 to teach someone a lesson for disrespecting you and the other cretins in your insignificant little band of gypsies will only give you a graduate degree to a much higher institution of learning. One with bars on the windows and doors that don’t open after you walk through them. There’s a reason they call it the slammer. The noise those doors make when they close will resonate inside your soul for the rest of your miserable, discarded life.