Inside Midlands Gangs: Read other viewers' comments
November 7, 2006 at 2:26 AM EST - Updated July 26 at 11:56 AM
BT, Columbia Very interesting article. i would like to hear more about how to get the chld out of a gang. Thank you.
CH, Kershaw I feel that the execution should stay, 18 years is long enough, there is alot of us who have had worst childhoods, (I myself) but we go on with our lives to make the world better, that's our choice. Even crazy people are capable of making a correct disicion. Execution is the answer, what makes his life better staying in prision, what's the difference. We have to stop being so lediant on crimanals and start making statements, that these things will not be tollerated. Then everone will think before they react. Even the crazy people.
w, florence,sc I teach middle school at Southside Middle in florence school district one. The only comment I would like tomake is that these kids that are involved and ones that are not know that the justice system is not tough on them if they are under age. There is no fear of police or jail because they know they will be released. Is there anyway to provide tougher consequences for gang activity regardless of age?
BB, Columbia Gangs have been going on since forever but people now want to do something about it. Im a student at RV and I really didnt like how our school was the main target for having gang members when so many high schools have gang members enrolled in their schools. I also feel that if we want to change something in the community, then we must first work on some of these households that these kids are living in. Some of these kids aren't being showed the love and attention at home so they turn to the streets. Then their parents want to get on the news crying saying how they have done everything for their child and they dont understand why they would turn to the streets. Come on now! What parents need to do is get their kids active in many activities so they won't have so much free time on their hands to join a gang.
KJ, It's not easy for people to get out of gangs because most of them got blessed in or jumped in but LOTS of people, mostly girls get f***ed in. Do you want then to put there lives at risk?
YM, Hopkins I think gangs bring a bad influence on our cities or towns they also put a bad name on the state.Thanks for your efforts to stop gang violence.
AT, Columbia I moved to Columbia in March of this year from NC. I have been in total disbelief about the Gang and Gang related crimes that continues to surface in the Midlands. I was speaking with my daughter (a college student) who always ask whats going on in Columbia. When I expressed to her the issues with Gangs she said "Don't the kids in South Carolina know" that Gangs are a thing of the past. They went out when 2Pac and Biggie smalls were killed. Thats just the view of one child who thought at one time that the kids in her teen years were trying to to duplicate the lives of famour music artist that rapped about street life and who was on top. I had to explain to her that the issue is so much bigger than that now. We discussed the fact that there was an increase in female gang members, and gang members were much younger than high school kids as well. We all I'm sure recognize this is a major issue that must be eradicated as the alarming number of crimes associated with gangs is increasing. The rencent crime rate in the Midlands is so high now that my guess is that many of the crimes are gang initiations. So the question is what do we do? We as a community have to have a genuine concern for the children that are associated with gangs and recognize why these children are being drawn to this dark world.
JG, Lexington It's time we wake up and admit we have a problem. I commend you for doing the story. It's a touchy subject. Do you give them air time and attention? I see both views as to why maybe you shouldn't, but I'm in a job that deals with gang members constantly, and can honestly say many of the parents are clueless. We have to stop this as a community. So Bravo for doing the story.
GM, columbia I see so many comments about parents stating how could you not know that your child was flunking out of school or staying out late at night. What were the parents doing some will ask. Then there is the statement that the majority of these kids join gang for a sense of belonging. Well, I don't believe that at all because what about parents like myself that have raised our children the right way had them in church on Sunday not sent them but took them. We do random room checks, closets, bookbags and whatever else they may bring into the home. They have a sense of belonging you have a mother asking how was your day or taking time to cook a meal to leave for them while you are working. Mothers that have worked 3rd shift so that they could be available to take part in any sports or other extra curricular activities that our children may want to be involved in. I see the main problem being peer pressure from kids that don't have disipline in their homes that don't hear the words I love you or don't stop trying because you can be anything that you want in this life. You can obtain any of the material things that you want thru working hard for it. We even tell them that drug dealers and gang members don't retire nor do they get social security when the time comes because they haven't put any into the system. We get out here and work hard and show our children what we acheive. My sons did well until they reached the end of middle and the beginning of high school. So called friends asking why are you playing the violin that is a white boy thing, did you want to go on that ski trip or did your moms make you go that is a white boy thing. Know matter how hard we try it seems that the peers have more influence than the parents do. You can't make these kids see that this gang thing that you belong to isn't a real family atmosphere. I have watched 2 of my sons be sent to prison and not once have any of the gang members sent them a letter more less a dollar. I see these young kids being killed then the gangs seem to come out to show loyalty going to cemeteries and other rituals, so does this mean that your child has to die in order for them to show respect to them. I would much rather be respected while alive for being the one that was able to walk away. To me what is more sad than our children being killed is the parents that allow these so call gang members come to the funerals talking about showing respect. Personally I feel that all of these little want to be gang bangers should be sent to Iraq instead of to jail they want to do drive bys or kill someone go over there...
cc, columbia I don't beleive that sheriff Leon Lott or our law makers are doing enough to stop these gangs.There needs to be tougher laws passed thatput these thugs away when they rob,steal,kill. I know men that do more time for being behind on child suport than these thugs that are dealing drugs to our kids doing drive bys carring stolen guns and car jacking.If you go to jail for child support you don't even get a bond but these thugs go thru our court system and they think it's a joke, because they know they will get bond and they will get a lawer provided for them amd they will be set free to do more crimes while they wait for their trail. I think when you are arrested for gang activity lock them up and throw away the key make these thugs be resonsible for their actions.
TB, Lexington My son is only six years old, but this kind of activity at the highschools scares me already. We definately need to do somethng as parents and as a community to stop all of this violence.
SF, Columbia via East LA Cali These so called gang members need to be put in a real gang enviorment like the gang territories in Los Angeles for them to see what a real gang consists of. Then and only then, I guarantee that they will rethink this whole gang affiliated mentality that they have.
AY, Columbia I am glad that WIS is reporting of the gang activity in Columbia. The gang members are younger now and are not afraid of getting caught, as they will be right back out of jail. I would like to find what law enforcement officials will do about that.
VS, Lexington I think that it is good that parents know what is going on in their childrens lives. Im sure that there is alot of gang activity going on in my school. Im nice to everyone, hoping that nothing bad will ever come to hurt anyone here in my hometown.Even if their kids are involved in a gang and they are trying to get out it is best if their parents know, its not going to make them love you any less.
SE, West Columbia I feel by placing GOD and proper disapline back into the classrooms would help cure these problems. The schools have no control over the students anymore. Old fashion rules and values always seem to work.
AS, Columbia I agree with everyone saying that you shouldnt of targeted Ridgeview High when the problem is all over South Carolina Schools.Only having Ridgeview students on the news makes Ridgeview look like a horrible school and downs everyone there who is doing what they are suppose to do. For those saying that the gangbangers are so dumb and they arent looking to educate themseleves well they are the ones who are making money and have a big influence in our neighborhoods and the kids who are looking up to them.Kids see the good things about gangs until they have to go on a "mission" to stick up for what color they choose. But by the time that happens its to late to get out. The gangs are getting military type weapons and you wonder how they get them. The gangs has members in our own Military.But yet people who are in gangs are so stupid. We need to realize that gangmembers and controling the way we live like the places we go to have fun. Gangmembers are so dumb but we cant figure a way to stop them. Signing off AS
A, gangs in the midlands are getting ridiculous...a cop should sit outside brookland cayce hs one afternoon when school lets out.
G, Orangeburg There are many reasons why young boys and girls want to have this type of security. 1. I can't get repect from my peers. 2. Parent Devoice 3. kick out of school 4. bad role model, trying to be what you can't be. And the list go on and on. I want you select five cities in the state of South Carolina. In each city select two rival gangs. On a survey form pose a question, "What was or were your reason(s) for joining this gang? The survey form should have a list of reasons and others they can write or check off. If you have 35 out of 50 gang members saying the same thing, I think that something we should look into. I'm not saying that this is the ansewer. but I am very concern about our young people. We are losing a generation of doctors, lawyers, engineers, skill workers and maybe the cure cancer and other diseases.
NR, Columbia The effort to eliminate gang safety in the midlands appears to be running circles around the issue. I remember riding the school bus and walking the halls with self-proclaimed gang members. I lived in and around their neighborhoods and witnessed their family life. The lifestyle is not easily hidden, and I find it nothing short of negligent that my high school peers were able to stay out night after night, shoplift, carry weapons and flunk out of school without their parents' knowledge. The unfortunate truth is that that is what causes children to seek out a gang family in the first place.. because they don't have a real one of their own. There's got to be a better way to fill the void - and keep the community safe.
jj, It kills me inside but some of us do believe that when you live by the streets you die by the streets! What are us kids to do when there is so much going on and we don't really have anyone to talk to? Some mentors say "yhea I'm here for you", but that's just a way for them to get inside of our heads and then criticize us! Some of us is hard to break down barriers when you've lived a sheltered life since when you could remember.
jJ, I'm really starting to get afraid of walking to my bus stop in the morning, or my mother coming in late from work. It's not just gang members it's crazy a** people in general! I shouldn't have to be in fear of my life, but I am. I know people in gangs... and they're not bad people, they just make some bad choices in life and fall short on reality. They all need a wake up call if you ask me. It's not your homeboys or homegirls that will be visiting you at prison, but the people that you continuosly hurt- your family, the one's that really do love and care about you! I just hope that they all wake up before it's all a little too late! Most of them are way too inteligent to be doing this to themselves. Too many of our youth is throwing there lives away to the streets... someone needs to take a stand and actually say that's enough, it is time for a change!!!
CC, Columbia Craig, I would just like to say that I am absolutely disgusted that you would use Ridge View as a prime example of gang violence. If anything, it is a bad example because I believe it has been one of the least active places for gang violence in the district. I am a student at Ridge View and I am also a member of the Scholar's Academy. I feel completely safe at Ridge View and I never feel threatened by any kind of gang activity. This view that you portrayed of my high school was very biased and insulted many in the staff and student body as it has been a hot topic this week. Everyone is very upset with the way that WIS has portrayed and targeted our high school and we feel that we deserve an apology. Gang violence is prevalent everywhere, not just Ridge View. It was extremely wrong to target RVHS, especially when I feel that the school has not been the exact "hot bed" of gang activity in the state...
tw, columbia i think its very important this information is being given to us. yes we think its ridiculous but these are our children and if we don't know what really goes on outside our homes how can we control this. good job craig.
LK, West Columbia It is a shame what towns and cities are experiencing with gang violence. There is no work ethic in these people, there is no desire to further education. The only thing they're focused on is hurting others--and whoever gets in the way. It is sad, and it is very disappointing to know that these people could have so much for their futures--but seem to want so little.
PD, camden Craig, I sent my comments at the begining of the week and after reading some of the others I was so shocked I had to write in again. First of all, for those parents or who ever you are making comments on you bringing these issues out about a paticular school or area is crazy.Get a grip.. I think Craig was just using that as a example. Use common sense and don't get so defensive. This is happening every where. Instead of people feeling like "oh you pointed out our school or our area, being ridiculous, you should be glad some one is taking notice on whats going on in your community and schools and do something about it..Instead of bashing Craig for his report you should be thanking him for bringing this attention to this situation..Keep being defensive and try to keep it on the down low and gangs will take over your community and no one will be to blame but those of you who just want to put the blame on other people or issues instead of listening and trying to do something about it..
hb, columbia this something that is not going to happen getting people who dont come to you out of gangs im a gang banger who wants out a would love to do speeches for you guy's in the midlands but to want your child out of a gang first put them in djj for a month and see if they still want to bang second when your child say he/she is going to leave give them a designated time to be in the house. I do understand that parents want their kids out of gangs but do you ever stop to think that maybe you are the reason your kids are banging. Accusing them of stuff you haven't seen but be leave sometime you should follow your kids on were there ging and checking their cell phones for weird looking names with numbers in place of letter ex.(bla5t)or for sent or received textmessages learn to observant and if you are the parent who say that you dont want to be strict then you are basically giving them the right to go gang bang. There are still some that are not going to think "oh not my kids they were raised better than that", but when that gang mentality sets in you gone have hel to pay. Peace
VP, Elgin I just watched this section. I just had to comment on the email from Richview High; this email is absolutely ridiculous. My son and me talk about this problem alot. He tells me that gangs are all over the schools. My child knows things about drugs he should not know. Why? Because they are selling it at school. I understand that this is a much bigger problem than only one school, but please don't make it sound less of a problem then it actually is. I thread the day my other boy will have to go to Richview [next year]
GK, Lexington, SC Mr. Melvin; My husband and I live alone. Our children are grown. We have never turned a deaf ear to our community. Not having children in school to be concerned about, what are some things we should be on the look out for in regards to the gangs and gang activity. I am out allot alone, does this make me a bigger target for a gang related crime? Any safty tips you may can research and offer other than legally carrying a gun myself?
JC, Columbia I agree that a gang problem exists. However, I was very disappointed that you felt the need to name a specfic school in your report when it is clear that the problem exists in every school. Interviewing 3 or 4 students from only one school and showing that school on TV was very biased reporting. I don't think it was necessary to your story. You did a disservice to the over 1600 students at Ridge View High School who, daily, make good decisions and make a positive difference in the community. I believe you owe them an apology.
N i think we as the coummity should try to stop this bad activie called gangs!! It must be stoped for us to have a better future for the next gentration!!
JM, Columbia I dont like how ridge view was portrayed yall should be a shame at how yall pick out 1 school especially a nice 1 like Ridge View
CH, Hartsville, SC This feature has been very informative and somewhat scary. I teach high school and my students are very interested in seeing the programs. I plan to download each video and show them next week to my classes. I hope the website will allow me to do that. Good job, Craig!
NG, Northeast Columbia Dear Craig- I must say that I am extremely disappointed in actions taken against active "gang members". My brother was assaulted by an active "gang member" in front of his high school earlier this year. The deputies that showed up did not even write in the report that there was gang activity involved with the incident. When the assalant and his friends returned a week later (to assault someone else), my brother called the police to come out...it took Richland County officers nearly half an hour to show up to arrest an active "gang member" who had already left the scene. Why did it take so long for police to show up, when there was a school resource officer across the street at the high school?? Are we REALLY taking the initiative to crack down on "gangs" in the Midlands???
LM, Columbia Having the gang members, disguised or not, on air gives them attention and credibility. You could do the same story without giving their 5 minutes of fame. I think everyone would agree that there needs to be more proactive options in place rather than reactive. It's the same as prisoners. We spend so much money housing, rehabilitating and educating offenders. Why not spend those dollars up front in providing resources to prevent the need and or desire for the crime in the first place?
CS, Columbia I just wanted to thank WIS for doing this report. I am the mother of three children ages 14,13 and 11.Gangs became a topic of discussion in our home around 6th grade when my boys would come home talking about the different gang hand signs. We live in a neighborhood where it is not uncommon to see groups of young people gathered on the street corners. My children will tell me based on the colors they are wearing what gangs these kids are members of. I work full time and have little time to attend community meetings. I thank you for bringing this report into our household. We have been able to discuss the topic better. Before it was kind of like asking a yes or no question because I knew so little. Now we can discuss certain aspects, what is scary to me is how much my kids know. This is something they see on a daily basis!By being better informed I am better in touch with them. I honestly didn't realize the severity of this issue until your report. Thank you for opening my eyes.
NR, im in a gang and i want out how do i do this please tell me on the seven o'clock news thanks
SZ, Columbia In light of all the gang-related deaths and activities in the news lately, I think that all parents, grandparents, guardians, anyone with a connection to kids, should attend at least one of the many "information" meetings that are being offered to gain more knowledge about gangs and just to know what signs to look for. There may be signs in your own home and you not know it.
RL, Columbia This can best be summed up by "we have looked in the mirror and seen the enemy and it is us." Where is the "outrage" in the black community with all these black on black murders and violence? Where are "leaders" of the black community? Where are I.S. Leevy Johnson, EW Cromartie, Anton Gunn, Senator Daryl Jackson. Tamika Isaac Devine, etx...? Where are they? Why do they not step forward and address this issue?
JM, Lexington I went to Irmo High School for 2 years before moving to Lexington. While I was at Irmo I could see ,right in front of me, the gangs growing. Anything and everything will set them off. Most gang members are hurt or have had many problems in their youth. Gang members think being in a gang gives them some authority over others and also the right to flip when people speak down upon them somehow justified by their past hurt. I was in calss one day with a folk; I had no clue. Some of my classmates were talking about the word "Doughnut" making jokes and just blurting the word out. I was unaware that this word was derogatory towards my classmate's gang. After class the gang member choose me to come after. I was hit in the eye and in the head a couple times before I moved back and got away. I did not fight back. I could have been shot or stabbed. I did not know he was a gang member until the administrators told me his reasons for fighting me. It is crazy these days. Why are schools openly dangerous? We need a class called "intro to gangs" that will teach students what not to say to prevent them from getting seriously hurt or killed.
SG, COLA The problems with gangs is with parents. It used to be parents and teachers were the authority. Now with lawsuits and whatnot the teachers don't have any authority which results in loss of control and suggestive morals. I think that the education system is too involved with higher education and not enough support with K-12. Teachers have a college education and most of them know right from wrong better than the parents. Limit parents authority over teachers. No one works on teachers behalf but claim their for education. I've known several that have been excellent role models, and mentors but have quit to make enough money to compete with their peers and avoid problems with parents running all over them for disciplining their child. My suggestion... Decrease scholorships, increase teachers salaries and give them back their schools, and mainly BACK UP OUR TEACHERS!!!!!!
SS, columbia I am a 44 year old man...and a gang member, have been most of my life. I have four kids, and do instill goodness and respect in them. I greet all people with a smile, hold doors open for people...treat everyone as I would want them to treat me. Am I violent? Only when the batteries go dead in my tv remote...that puppy hits the wall...Do I kill people? Hell no, never have, probably never will. The good Lord gave me a sense of humor, so instead of being disgusted, I am more or less amused.---What kind of gang member am I? I ride a motorcycle...Sundance 1%er SUPPORT THE WARLOCKS MOTORCYCLE CLUB
kd, columbia I am not a native of the Midlands. However, it puzzles me how residents of Columbia. Yell Gangs. First of all if Residents stop babying thier children and hold them to be accountable citizens. That would help if there is a Family function and that young family member is strongly suspected to be a gang member. Then they aren't welcome to the family gathering. Also I realize how challenging it may be for single household members. If they would enforce accountability from clothes to their childs friends. That again would be a great start. A child living under someones roof. That child does what is told of them. If they can't follow the house rules put them out. Again the clothes it isn't cute to see any one showing their underwear,Clothes hanging off them. Safety reasons how can they move in a safe manner. Again the parents are the primary point of contact. If you as the parent disapprove of that child that lives in your house hold put them out.Again a jail thing from the sixties. That was when the jails didn't have jump suits. However for safety reasons they didn't allow belts. Parents make your children aware of that history. Law enforcements I am sure there are laws concerning proper attire. Issue citations holding the parents accountable with their child. School Officals stop playing games. Go to uniforms which again will show who goes to school to learn. Freeing up a lot of resourecs quickly. Gangs or do you mean unruley Children. Driving privillages to curfews can be put in place. Holding the parents accountable alone with their children. Again Racketering laws perhaps can be leveled against alleged/known members of these gangs. The community meaning all residents can be more proactive and settle this matter once and for all. However it appears that the citizens like playing games with juvenile delinquents.
SJ, I do not like your gang coverage. I realize there are gangs everywhere not just Cola. I just do not see how giving these people what they want, validation, is going to solve the problem. This is really making me reconsider your station as my source for responsible news reporting. I question the accuracy of the "folk" girl's allegations of all the shooting that is going on in Midlands High Schools football games, I mean really..... how truthful did you think that really was? This just serves to validate her self esteem issues by using your station as a platform for her delusion. Sorry, I usually like most of the reporting, this I am afraid could have been more well served if more solutions were offered.
KD, west cloumbia I would relly like to know more about these gangs in the west cloumbia area
DL, Columbia, SC Craig, I don't think your segment on gangs gives the viewing public the right impression concerning Ridge View High School, where I serve as a teaching member of the administrative team. I can assure you that Ridge View is a safe, orderly school to which parents can send their children knowing that they will receive a high-quality public education. We know that there are problems outside in the community that find their way into the school, but when our kids are here, they are in a safe, friendly, secure, and orderly school where the taxpayers are getting their money's worth. We believe in firm discipline and in real academic achievement. We have one of the highest Advanced-Placement pass rates in the state, an excellent state report card every year, and a superb complement of winning athletic teams. I want parents to know that they can send their kids to our school confident that they will be safe and productive!
sm, Hopkins, sc i think that wat yall are by putting all the gang information on the news is good because i have been asked to be in a gang but i was like no thats ok but for people who said yea they need to know what big of mistake they are making in thier life so i appreciate yall on wat yall are doing very much!!
LM, Columbia I would like to know why the people that are involved in gangs are not being charged under the RICO act? The law charges motorcycle clubs as well as other organized crime members, why not these gang members?
JH, Columbia, SC It's so sad that these young kid's don't realize that RESEPCT is not given, IT IS EARNED! And their actions will never earn them respect, only despisement. If they want respect, clean up their act, join the US Marines and then they will have everyones undieing respect.
DS, Irmo Craig, it is good that you are bringing this topic to the limelight so we can tackle it. This problem should have been admitted years ago! But, I think you are bringing sensationalism to this topic that it does not need. Giving gang members air time is a big mistake. Putting bandanas on them like cowboys from the wild-west does nothing but make them feel or people think they are tuff when that is not always the case. Iâ€™m with WLTX on this one, their policy makes a lot of sense! Focus on those who have gotten outâ€¦focus on the families affected by gangsâ€¦ focus on the law enforcement Officers who are doing so much to help combat this problem. Please do not put these guys on TV with their symbols, graffiti, and gang namesâ€¦they do not deserve that attention.
TM, Columbia I do not think all gang members are bad. I know people who are in rival gangs and get along. I know at least one person in Blood, Crip, and Folk gangs. It's not all about shooting, smoking, killing, etc, it's more about protection and making friends. Some people are out of control, but not all of them. Just because a person is in a gang does not mean he/she is a troublemaker or bad person. People make gangs, not the other way around.
EB, Columbia i know their is a major problem with the gangs and almost every night you see something on tv about some child doing something at school. Does Richland County have a list of all the the illegal things done in each school? if so is this a public list?
MS, Columbia I think this is a serious problem. Im 14, and I see alot of this at my school. The teachers know it, but they do nothing, I dont get that.
kt, columbia im a gang banger im a folk but my mom doesnt know either like yall said in denial
SJ, Columbia I wanted to thank you for the information that you are giving to the public. Parents and Grandparents need to know this infomation.
BF, Anaheim Ca. 92805 Here some advice; when parents find out their sons or daughter belong to a gang they should do some investigating, and once they find out who the members are, then parents should investigate who the parents are of that other gang member; once you have this information, parents should joined together with law enforcement, and media, be a part of a sting operation, and bus all the parents over to the location where gangs are said to hang out, and deliver a message to each and everyone one of them by the mouth of two or three witnesses in this case they will be family members, and make it clear their gang, and their members are finished in that community. Parents must follow up by parenting their children, because law enforcement are not paid to baysit your children; however law enforcement can assist parents in inforcing curfew laws and gang inhancement ordinances without filing charges against these children later on in the future jeopardizing their chances of leading a productive life by working and paying atxes and giving back to their communites...Nothing is free when you owe so much.
MG, I would like to commend you on having the courage to do this story. We as a community better wake up and take this seriously. We can not all move in a gated community and put our heads in the sand and pretend itâ€™s not happening. There is something seriously wrong going on with our young people if this is what they are choosing. There are other options out there and we need to help them find their way.
MD, Orangeburg As a professional working with adolescents, the gang issue is one that is becoming more prevalent in our communities and one for which there is no easy answer. The root issues are generally a lack of parental supervision, love and acceptance that reinforce a need for belonging. Gangs provide that, albeit in a dysfunctional way. Gangs are a community problem resulting from a lack of a coordinated plan to provide positive alternatives for kids to get a sense of belonging and engage in pro-social activities. Communities need to invest, both time and dollars, to help young kids feel connected to their community and adults. Until we decide to spend money on preventative efforts we will continue to spend far more amounts on prosecuting and incarcerating these young people. This approach does nothing to treat the problem, only make it temporarily go away while the child is at DJJ and help the child become a better criminal. It's time South Carolina becomes proactive vs. reactive.
JD, Columbia Please don't stop here with this story because I see and feel that these kids can be helped somehow. What can we do, enough is enough... I want to understand more about the gangs. I don't understand the concept and thinking they have. I kept hearing them us the N - word and that word just doesn't mean anything to them. Thats sad.. Please do more stories about this..
BK, Manning Thanks for covering this issue. This is an informative article.
LM, Columbia Craig, I would like to commend you on a job well done. I feel that what you are doing will making a difference in many peoples lives. My child is in elementary school, however these segments have geared my husband and I in directions of discussions with our child regarding that peer pressure at school. Life for our kids are soo complicated now. Keep up the GREAT work and remember that regardless of what you do someone will have somethig negative to say about. Once again, thank you.
pd, camden The blame should lie with the parents. regaurdless of where you came from or what you have been through it is a parents responsibility to know where their child is and what they are doing..My son, a 16 year old at Camden High School is a great kid..Do I know this by him telling me this? No, I know because I speak to his teachers and coaches as well as follow through with him. He says mom I'm staying at a friends tonight...Do I say okay? No, I say I need to talk to a parent to make sure. My child could lie and go anywhere. But as a parent it starts with me. It is my responsibility to follow up and behind my child. If any parent says I want to beleive my child even after that child has demostrated bad behavior, getting in trouble etc. then that parent is a idiot..I honestly beleive it is lazyness and not wanting to follow up or behind your child..Parents step up to the plate. Take responsibility for your kids before it is to late not only for them but for other peoples children.
kb, Elgin Wow reading these articles on gangs, I thought we were safe. Do we have any ideas on how to control this and give these children another direction? Heres a thought since "gothic" and "colors" and all these other forms of groups are allowed in our schools and school events. Then why can't we bring God back into the mix? How long has God been taken out of schools? Think about it, probably when all this other junk started coming in. I pray for my children, I try to show them how to treat people nicley and with respect. I try to teach them that this time here on earth is not all about them. I think it's time for all parents to at least devote your evenings (yes every evening) to your children. They are young people who are easily influenced. Obviously! My gosh 4th grade, 6th grade.... Young ladies and young men need to learn how to be respectful and polite. Every single one of these "children" that have went down the wrong path can be saved, how badly do the parents want them saved? Sit down with your children and have a conversation with them, and take it further than "how was your day?" Really have a deep conversation, you can learn alot and you can be more informed. Talk and Listen! I hope we will help these children.
LR, Camden I commend Craig Melvin and WIS-TV on having what it takes to take on a challenge such as this one. Gang activity is growing rapidly right in our back yards and we are all still in denial. It is time to wake up and get our kids back in line, I am speaking from experience when I say it is vital that we know where are kids are and what they are doing at all times. We have to regain control...NOW before it is too late. I make my son sit down with me and watch your segment and then we talk about what was aired. I need to know what is going on inside his head. What is he thinking? I am a young parent and it is a hard job but we can't give up on our children. They are a gift from God and we have to cherish every moment that he gives us. You are doing a great job, Keep up the good work and God Bless.
RC, Columbia I think the report on gang activity is extremely important. The community needs to be aware and not pretend it doesnâ€™t exist. I teach at a high school in Columbia and see it first hand. I wish the young people involved would see that this behavior is really no different than terrorism. It saddens me to think some youth of today think that lifestyle is the best they deserve-they can't see the good they can contribute. Most kids I see are pretty decent, and it seems they are missing something in their lives. Being a parent myself, I see how crucial a strong family bond and what a difference that can truly make
CP, Columbia I have a question. How many gang members are homeless? More responsibility needs to be placed on the individuals that 'harbor' these type of individuals in their homes. If an individual that is NOT of school is allowed to remain in their parents homes, RENT and OBLIGATION FREE, then how are they to progress onward to adulthood? It seems, the parents need to let go, and let life take charge. There are NO HOMELESS GANG members. I wonder why? Stop allowing your adult age individuals to stay with you FREE. Make them accountable for their actions, or society will.
BL, Chapin We are really having a problem with the shooting of innocent people due to these gang members and it's only esculating. I feel that everyone of them should be arrested. They shouldn't be allowed on the streets getting away with the things they are doing. My god they are teenagers with no common sense. One states he got in a gang because of a learning disability? Why not try to overcome the problem instead of turning into one. All of them state I've always gotten in trouble, they have rap sheets it's time to stop letting them out of jail. It's obvious that they do not want to lead a normal life and don't value human life so why allow them on the streets to take it. I know I sound harsh but these shootings over off of leesburg road are getting closer to where I have family memebers and when they are afraid to come out because of this violence it's not right. Most of my family members over that way are retired, they have worked all of their lives to finally be able to relax and enjoy what they've earned not have this taken away from them due to people who have no idea of how to earn something they just want to kill and take and that shouldn't be allowed. The talk about respect yet they show none to the people they are hurting. Alot of people who live on that side of town are retired who expect to live their lives in quiet neighborhoods with no problems and now these problems have moved here from other states and taken this away from these people. I fear for my mother who is 85, she walks her neighborhood three times a day walking her dog, this is what keeps her healthy and alive what if this is taken from her? That's not right she has worked hard all of her life (she is a retired RN, who still helps people all the time) to get where she is and that's how all these other people feel also. If we become the state that won't tolerate gangs and show proof by arresting every one of them and not letting them out of jail we'll set an example to others not to move here. Please do not mention my name to anyone or print it anywhere as I stated above my mother is 85 and my dad passed away four years ago, I don't won't anyone bothering my mother because of my opinion. Thank you.
GW, Columbia Excellent story!
PW, Columbia Craig, keep up the good work. Know this can't be an easy story to do but it is something that everyone needs to know about.
bh, gadsen, sc 29052 Craig, I really do appreciate all the infomation on the Gangs in the Midlands. We don't no what our kids are getting into this day and time. I think gangs are a big problem for every community. The more we can learn the better off our communities will be. I just hope and pray the gangs will turn to God for the answers. Thank you so much
lk, columbia I think that it is the media. When you have rappers that glorify their gang lives it makes it interesting. It is very frustrating that innocent people and children are dying. It is not fair to the hardworking people of columbia that can't take their children to the fair or mall without fea r of getting shot, robbed or killed. The people need to be protected we need to enforce a curfew. We can't allow the gangs to take over!!!! Police involvement in schools, resorce officers, medal detectors, random drug checks whatever it takes. People are going to leave businesses are going to leave. WE need to be safe in our on homes
SL, West Columbia Thank you so much for working on the gang topic. I work at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School and deal with students who have become involved with gangs. A lot of the parents are in denial that their child is involved with gangs. They will say they are just "wanna be's". My comment to the parents are "wanna be's" can be more dangerous than an actual member because they have something to prove. I really appreciate all you are doing to help educate the public. Let's hope everyone is listening and not saying "not my child".
dj, cayce you should not give any gang or so called gang member any coverage. and if you do you should exspose them as a threat to the public.
EC, Columbia I know about project gang out, but I would like to know if there are any more programs out there available to parents
BW, Craig, I wanted to commend you for an interview well done. This very personal interview reminds me of the one you did on the prison situation a year or so ago. You've come a long way.. job well done.
RC, Columbia I have watched bits and pieces of your segment on Gangs in the Midlands and I want to commend you for getting the message through to the community. However, it is not just the parents who may or maynot have taken a blind eye. The community and the Church has taken a back seat to helping to raise these children. These children are looking for something or someone that acts like they care. We have abandon these children and basically said that there not my problem. But they are our problem...they are our future. They are self destructing before our eyes and we are turning our heads. We all have to come up with solutions to combat these problems. It takes a village to raise our children. When I grew up, the school, community, church and your parents took an active role in our rearing. We have lost that. It is time that we wake up and get back to our old values. We need to create programs out here that promote self worth, self esteem and show them how to care for themselves and others. It is time for us to put aside our need to keep up with the "Jones" and start focusing on our children. It is also time for us to stop focusing on self and focus on children who need us.
TR, Hartsville Craig, I appreciate you bringing the gang information and situation to the forefront of our collective conscience. I would like more information on keeping innocent victims safe from thhe gang memebers who approach them to join the gangs; for instance, is it really safe to say no to a person in a gang if approached? Once again, thanks to Craig and WIS.
jg, pelion lock up all gang members that you can find put them in a large cage let them kill each other so maybe innocent people want get hurt or killed because thats all they want to do is harm innocent people and every time you find another one put them in that pen that will stop alot of drugs and sinceless deaths to our innocent decent citizens every one has the decision to be or not to be in a gang
CM, Leesville Why are yall doing nothing but broadcasting information about gangs? If GANGS are using local broadcasts as a way to gain fame and recruit members, why are yall putting them all over the news? Is WIS-TV in support of the gang activity in the midlands? I am a student and have to deal with a minor gang problem. At Batesburg-Leesville High School, we have been very blessed that yes there are known gang members in school, but we have also been lucky that there has never been any major violence. If local TV helps gangs to survive and spread/thrive, then i as a student that has to deal with gang activity am asking you to quit endorsing it everynight on the news, and furthermore, it isnt the citizens jobs to stop gangs. That is what we have trained ARMED policemen for. civilians do not need to be fighting to stop gangs and gang activity, because people would get hurt. i dont agree with yall having the members all covered up on TV, and i especially do not agree with the videos of the members "stacking" (throwing up gang signs). having been gang affiliated at one point in my life, and also having seen friends and lost friends to gangs, signs shouldn't be put on telivision. just as the segment the other night stated, disrespect is a major no no, and many signs that i have seen on the segments could be taken offensively to some people. i understand that point of the segments on gangs is to inform, but i feel that yall have taking it a step to far. i as much as anyone else would love to say that there is no gang activity or existence in the midlands, but there are gangs here, and i feel that yall need to quit broadcasting them so frequently.
JS, columbia Craig, thanks for informing south carolina on the gang problem in the city/state. My comment is, if the law would let the parents whip/beat their children at home when it's needed, the children of today would better. Talk to your children explain to them what is excepeted of them as children, be respectful of yourself and respect other as you would like to be treated. Give them tasks to do on a daily basis, check after them to be sure it's done everyday, make them responsible. Children do not need their space in the parents house, children need chores to do daily. Read the Bible, give them a book in the Bible monthly to read, have morning prayers, some children have never their parents pray, teach them the way you were taught or the way you know is right. If he/she needs to be whiped, do so,now if he/she has marks all over their bodies, so what? Maybe that mark/scar will remind them that you do not do or say this/that whatever it was that you did. But with the new laws,they say you can't beat your children, (not in my house) I build this house, not jack,and my children know this and so does their friends, and their friends love to be at my house, and often say "I wish my mother was like your mother, talking to my daughter, and I correct them and tell the children, your parents call the shots as they see them and I do the same here, but I spend time with my 2 and we have fun, but I am in charge, not them. And the children know they use the law againist the parents and all the parents can do is go to work and take care of you and let the children rule them. Well not in my house, ask my children. Parents are afraid to put fear in their children, the children put fear in the parents, put fear in your children at an early age, not when he/she become 10 and up, start early, when they understand the word 'NO'and mean what what you say, use a voice of authority when talking with them. Each parent has to do this, not just one. I was a single parent and I worked, never on walfare, my children went to school everyday and I worked everyday for the exception of vacation 2wks a year. I laid down the rules and if they were broken, you got it! But it starts at home, not with the teachers, the teachers can help, but the ground breaking begans at home.
AA, columbia i think that this story was an excellent illustration of what we all can agree is a problem in our state. the real question is what do we do about it. i have read through the comments posted earlier and they all sound good for the most part. i have a totally different point of view. i don't feel that gangs are problems, however some of the activities that take place by some gang members is the problem. operating from that premise i think that we would be more advantageous as a society if we focused on these activities. the word gang by definition refers to a group of people who work together and socialize regularly. by definition we all at some point have been or either are in a gange (everyone) frats/sororities, political parties, religious organizations, i could go on. we have exhausted funds and manpower on gangs and monitoring suspected gang members, and this has not been very productive. in addition to what everyone else said about mentoring programs, responsible parenting, increased education.... i think it would be helpful to identify the "leadership" of these respective gangs in an attempt to deter the violence often associated with gangs. similar tactics have been done with a great degree of success in larger cities,i.e. (LA, Chi) i think that this would be helpful. in closing i think the article was done well. prayerfully we can find a solution to this situation.
sj, lexington These punks have no clue what the meaning of respect is. Some one should give them a dictionary with a slap upside the head.
LH, cola,sc I get totally disgusted when i hear these gang members talk about disrespecvt.They do not know the meaning of respect.If they knew the meaning they would not be in a gang disrespecting themselves.I look on the as lost souls who have no sense of direction,no goals in life,and a disgrace to society.They need have only 2 things in their future and they are jail or the graveyard.You would think they would know this by now
SO, Columbia Gangs are not new. We all grew up around individuals that were loyal to their neighborhoods. What is new is there identification with well known national gangs. Teenage violence is not new. Many of these individuals would still be involed in some type of deliquency due to lack of empahsis on education, environmental apathy, and poor economic oppourtunites in their immediate area. The problem of gangs cannot be addressed or dealt with, until we deal with all of these factors. Disrespect is merely the factor that ignites violence. Nobody, including those not in gangs (i.e. the general public), likes to be disrespected, and violence often the result when those involved are not affiliated with gangs.
DG, london I feel that you are giving these 'gangsters' too much publicity. There's a difference between awareness and advertisement.
SS, Cordova We live in small town outside of Orangeburg and the gang activity here has increased considerably.No matter where you go in the Orangeburg area you see graffitti every where.Even in the neighborhood we live in. I grew up here.It was never like this until 2 years ago. There have been breakins, shootings, and so on. The authorities here says there is no gang problem, their just wantabe's. Well, I say wantabe's are the same as gangs. I think the goverment need to pass a bill that anyone that is in a gang should be caught and sent in the military to fight over in IRAQ.Since, they want to kill each other and the incident bystanders. Even FAT DADDY gang member pretty much called themselves DOGS. Fighting over territory. Well, I look at this way eventually people are goingto get fed up with these gangs and start dealing with it themselves if the goverment dont step in and look and realize there is a problem and do something about it. Gangs are nothing more than domestic terrorist and need to be treated as such. Citizens need to come together, standup and fight back. Let these gangs know we are not goingto put up with it.
BS, Columbia The first series of Gangs in the Midlands was one that I hope the Midlands was tuned in to. It is unbelievable how our teenagers and even pre-teens get sucked into a lifestyle as that. Parents, please grab a hold of the upbringing of your children! Well done Craig!!
KJ, Columbia, SC I am very disappointed in WIS-TV for giving these gangs and gang members publicity. That is what they want!
JF, irmo I wouldn't o to the legnths of saying that this is phenomenal journalism because the emphasis is placed upon the wrong thing. I am a gang member who back in august was involved in a story that was big in the midlands for a couple of weeks. I believe that what people fai to realize is that the gang itself is not the problem at all. It is certain people within the gang. As gang members we are not instructed on the ways of being a criminal. We are not instructed to ro everyone and shoot anyone who opposes. There are certain people in gangs who do have that mentality but there are just as many people with that mentality that are not in gangs. Take the recent murders that have occured here in the midlands, not ONE of them were gang related but strill gangs are the topic of conversation when it comes to violence and crime? That is outrageous. I believe that the medie outs enphasis on gangs because this is the first time that they can find a common ground in criminal acts. If a murder is a gang member, a tresspasser is a gang member, a robber is a gang member, or a person who is caught with weopons is a gang member, then they will deem the gang as the causefor the crime and ignore the fact that CRIME IS EVERYWHERE. People are crazy and as long as there are people in this world, there will be crime whether gang related or not If a group of boys decide to rob a bank, they are going to rob the bank whether they are in a gang or not so it is wrong to label the gang tself asd the negative thing because Im going to tell you rifght now, yes Im in a gang but Im not going to rob anyone or shoo anyone for that matter over something as stupid as a disrepect word. I will fight if someone hits me but I make legitamate money and I am a college student and there are many memebers in my set who are the same. The violent initiation process is simply a way of enforcing discipline; if yu ave to fight to get in something then you will most likely not abandon it. But overall I feel that it is wrong to put uneducated assumptions of gang life in the media and portray ALL gang members in a negative light becuase that is what is scaring the public. Not the gangs.
lr, west columbia The story was presented in a very sympathetic light by WIS almost like gangs are clubs or fraternities showing tight shots of sad faces belonging to gang members. And how gangs are their families, their nurturers. Where were the tight shots of the victims that these hoodlums committed their crimes against and their sad voices and comments of what is was like to be victimized by a gang? The story was one-sided and attemped to humanize these criminals and make viewers feel sorry for gang members. I didn't have an idealic upbringing, come from a broken home and went to school with some pretty rough characters myself. But I chose not to be a victim and feel sorry for myself and hurt other people because of how I was treated during my childhood. While not perfect, I made a decision to follow a straigher more narrow path and make a better life for myself. WIS needs to balance this continuing drama by including the victims and their experience of how the criminal acts of gangs have affected them.
ws, irmo I love watching these type a news reports you do.I hope someone like you can have an impact on these young lives. Do you try to counsel them in any way. Stay safe, I'll say tuned Wendy
RT, Irmo Craig, I sincerely believe that our children are crying out for parents to spend time with them and point them in the right direction. Many kids have parents that are trying to keep up with the Jones' and in order to do this they are working two jobs. How much time do you think is left for them to spend with their children. Very little. Parents are so busy trying to give their children everything that they didn't have a child, that they are forgetting to give them what they did have (a sense of family - belonging to a loving family). Kids today make the decisions in the home. I still believe in the old way of raising kids, what a parent says goes, but giving the child the opportunity to give their point of view.
SS, Columbia I bought a house in an Irmo neighborhood 6 years ago. I live by a railroad track. Since I moved in, I have had nothing but trouble in my neighborhood. Kids just hang out in the neighborhood and at times I have noticed them smoking what appeared to be pot. When I first moved in, things were stolen out of our back yard. In the past 6 years, I have replaced 3 windows and currently have two broken from rocks and one from what appears to be a gun shot with a pellet gun. My house and cars have been vandalized by kids throwing rocks from the CSX railroad tracks. I contacted the railroad police at CSX and was told that this was a Lexington County problem. I have had numerous, too many to even recall, reports written and have contacted the Lexington County Policy Department. I attended an area crime watch meeting and listen to everyone in the meeting, there appears to be a lot of gang activity in the Irmo area. I think your story was good. It's good to know what sets these type of people off. However, I did not do anything for them to make them think that I disliked them or disrepected them. I felt like I was a white lady moving into a neighborhood where I was not wanted and my neighborhood is a mixed neighborhood with blacks and whites. When the kids throw rocks, they are usually in a group and they are young black kids. I finally got in touch with a resident deputy in the area and she has adressed the issue with the kids and their parents. But I still have the cost of replacing the windows and now I have to replace the siding on my house where I have over 40 broken areas on one side of my house. My parents would have beat my butt and I would have been made to pay for the damages that I did, if this would have been me. These parents do not seem to be concerned with the damages that their children are doing or the activities that they are involved in. I think that the parents should be made responisble for their childrens activities but in my case, the parents have nothing (can't even pay for the damages that their children have done) and don't seem to be concerned. I would like to see more information about gangs and would like to see that they be punished to the fullest for the crimes that they have done.
RB, Columbia Quit putting these juvenile delinquents on television! In their minds they've made the big time by you doing that and you're inadvertantly helping their cause, whatever their cause is, by doing it!
RC, Forest Acres It infuriates me to hear the way these misguided individuals talk about being disrespected. Respect is EARNED, not handed out like free cheese. You sow disrespect, you reap disrespect. You live a disrespectful life, you die a disrepectful death. Period.
ap, Gaston I just don't understand, there are kids in our neighborhood, that are gang wanna be's. Why would anyone let there child be out after dark carrying a stick with red paint on it. They keep our children who live in our cuddlesac from returning home, by beating them up. Seven and eight year old children being beat up for just playing. I don't get it. Why aren't the Official's doing something about this. Why as Citizen's aren't we allowed to do something about this?
mm, orlando It's about time that gangs were exposed in the Midlands. I lived there for 18 years and Sheriff Metts was outspoken about them while all the time Chief Austin refused to acknowledge they were a problem. I have seen the signs for more years than i can remember, all over town. Now they are imbedded in the 'middle-class' area and still people want to look the other way. I got to see the results of the gangs in DJJ and it is not a pretty picture to paint! We need to try and at least get a handle on the problem because it was overlooked for to long to stop it now. After your own children belong or become victims, it's to late.
AA, Columbia "Fat Daddy's" analogy about dogs says it all... they are all animals and need to be "put down" like every other viscious animal is.
KD, Columbia Our community needs to be educated on the seriousness of gangs. We are offering a Gang Awareness Presentation at my church this Sunday at 1:00 pm. It is open to anyone who can attend. That's 1:00 at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 1416 Broad River Road in Columbia. Our youth group (YHOP) is sponsoring this. Peace,
EA, Columbia This is outrageous. I believe these children know this stuff is wrong, so it is time for the community to fight back. I think gangs should be treated like terrorists. They incite fear, they make us change our way of living in order to be safe...the same as international terrorists, but these are community terrorists and should be treated as such!!!
TG, Blythewood I, for one, am thankful that you are willing to do a story like this, not to give the gangs a voice, but to educate us, who may become victims. We recently saw a program about a prison, and how the prisoners still live in gangs within the prison walls. They showed the fights, the signals, the weapons. There would be a whole lot less of them in there - that our tax dollars are paying for, if they would let them just kill each other in pri, son when they decide to act like animals and fight. It goes over in to our streets and communities. If our laws would allow these punks to be tried as adults, send them to prison, without parole and if they are sentenced to death, complete the sentence, no appeals. I'd bet that it would influence how many of them would steer away from gangs if they were held responsible for their behavior, and knew they would be executed for it. It's a lame excuse to say they did poorly in school or come from a bad background. Those can be overcome. They say they want respect? Respect comes from within, and from parents teaching the kids, from the cradle about working hard for what you've got (sol, ve the illegal immigration problem - put these punks to work digging ditches), respecting your elders and others, and respecting life, itself. Make them work physically hard - so at the end of the day, they're too tired to commit crimes, and they can feel good about earning a living, not getting a handout or taking someone else's hard-earned living. Give teachers the authority, don't allow children to destroy classrooms, and for heaven's sake, reform the welfare system! Put limits on women to not have more children, if they are already on welfare, give them a time limit to get off (and get a job, or two like the rest of us), and don't let them buy processed food and junk with their foodstamps. Good nutrition also goes a long way.
LH, cola,sc I get totally disgusted when i hear these gang members talk about disrespecvt.They do not know the meaning of respect.If they knew the meaning they would not be in a gang disrespecting themselves.I look on the as lost souls who have no sense of direction,no goals in life,and a disgrace to society.They need have only 2 things in their future and they are jail or the graveyard.You would think they would know this by now
MS, Manning What ever happened to the bill that passed labeling ga, ngs as terrorists? We need to treat all gang members like the rabid animals they are and put them down. Then we'll see how much damage they can do to our society when they are six feet under.
DA, Columbia I'm 20 years old. I used to be a blood here in Columbia. I'm still friends with a lot of the people I use to hang out with but I realized the outle, ts to being in the gang. Prison or dead. Now I'm in college, I work at a top management consulting firm in Columbia, SC, and am bettering my life. There's more to life than gangs. Almost everyone I know realized that you have to grow up and get on with your life and did it in high school and middle school but want to do something with their lives. You want to fight someone for disrespect them do it because they say you are stupid when you know you aren't, or they say you are ignorant or really disrespect you not for them stacking and saying certain things. I admit hearing certain words from when I was in a gang I don't like but I'm grown and I know thats in the past.
PG, COLUMBIA This may seem a little extreme but I'm sick and tired of hearing about innocent people dying because of these childish thugs that want to have a tough reputation. I say put every gang member you can find on a football sized field surrounded by concrete walls along with their weapon of choice and just let them kill each other off. That way, they solve the problem and only the trouble makers get hurt in the line of fire. No innocent by standers get hurt due to the stupidity of these thugs!
MM, Cayce Those Giving Publicity with Anonymity to criminals should be charged with crimes against society...obstructing justice by way of dangerous media rights...gang veterans and new member wanna be criminals having no respect for the law and law abiding citizens while proudly showing no remorse for the killings should never be used for a media ratings story...you and w.i.s. are giving the criminals exactly what the want...how and why did you sink to that depth...your obsession with hollywood and the vain reality shows have clouded your moral judgment maybe...if this gang thing dont get you another award...find osama and respect his wishes...if you feel disrepected...sick your new found friends...i sure hope this is a joint undercover effort with the law enforcement to starve the criminals and not feed...
TW, Orangeburg I am really glad that you are doing this story. This is something that is very real in our communities and anyone who believes that it's not should get their heads out of the sand. When my son was in the 6th grade his father and I discovered that he too was being pressured to join a gang at his school. That was a very scary time for all of us because we did not know how involved he may already have been. Luckly his father and I caught it in time and we moved him from that particular community. Not to say that the problem will stop there with any child that is involved or thinking about becoming involved with a particular gang. Parents must communicate on the regular with their children. I don't care what is going on in your own life personally you have to be aware of what your child is doing, who there friends are and by all means TALK AND LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN!!! I don't care if they don't say no more than two words back to you. Make them aware that you do care about them and what is going on in their lives. The biggest recruiting method that these gangs use is non-family involvment. They brainwash these children into thinking that their families don't care about them and that they will protect them from all harm and that is the biggest lie ever told. I urge all parents to stay in your kids business and TALK TO THEM!!!
CC, Columbia I think that your idea is GREAT, but instead of allowing the gang members to glorify their sets and showing us how to throw up gang signs , let them tell us the main reasons why they joined the gang. Our children are not getting the love and attention they crave so they are going to get any kind of attentio that they can get and whether it's fasle love or not it's still love. We should all focus on how we can join forces and create a plan to bring our youth from all this negativity, back into a loving, positive community.
sm, columbia This article is so disturbing. I have two daughters 17, and 20 that I am so terrified for. Not at becoming gang members, but rather at becoming a gang members target for what ever reason. I am not sure why it is so hard to find these gang members, and do something about them. Why is it that they are repeat offenders and still out in the public? My children are afraid to speed for fear of the consequences, and yet we have children on the street shooting, robbing and raping and getting away with it with no remorse. I think the "respect" issue is appauling. You do not get respect, you earn it. what has happen to our world?
JW, Lexington, S.C. I can appreciate the thorough and objective manner in which Mr. Melvin reports on this growing problem. However, no one seems to want to address the root cause of the popularity of gangs. NO TRADITIONAL FAMILY UNIT. Recent statistics (NPR-Sept. 2005) showing the number of black children born out of wedlock is nearly at 70% nationwide suggest the bigger problem is too many baby daddies running amuck. If respect is so important to this segment of our collective society, I suggest they begin to do it the old fashioned way, earn it!.
RG, , Columbia Phenomenal journalism! Thanks Craig for exposing us to the dangers of gangs in the Midlands. Like any sensitive topic, some people will oppose you or chastise your actions. In this case, competitive new , stations (WLTX) have aired negative ads to detract viewers from the truth. As a community we must be aware and aggressive in our fight to protect unruly disregard for human lives. This fight is must be waged on all fronts, from the police, to the media, and most importantly, it must addressed in our legislature. The General Assembly must enact laws which create stiffer penalties against gang violence and appropriate more funding for police to combat these organizations. The only difference between al-Qaida and gangs such as the Crips, Bloods, and Folk Nation is that gangs are all around us. They are at our high school football games. They are at the mall. They are on our highways. They are at our schools. They are in our families. Craig, thank you for taking a stand against this real threat to our community. We could continue to ignore the problem. Or, we can take a stand. Hopefully your story will be a catalyst for change.
JM, Cootville Killing over "disrespect"?!?! Just shows the ignorance of these people and that they had no guidance growing up. Some people should never be allowed to breed. Sad commentary on our society today.
FS, Hartsville Reading this gave me chills. I guess it should have made me angry at how these young people lead their lives. I actually am saddened for them that their lives have taken this direction. It breaks my heart that obviously the root of the problem is that these kids are starved for love and attention and this is the only way they know to get it.
RT, Columbia Soooooo....if the gangs don't like to be disrepected and this triggers retaliation in the form of violence, then what constitutes respect to them and from whom do they get it outside of the gang???? What is the competition about and why must they commit crimes against those who are not gang related. To gain respect from the victims? Craig, pose these questions and we'll find out the real purpose is not group identity, its individual identification. But each member needs to know that in order to break the poisonous bond.
RS, Bishopville We need tougher laws against violent crime no matter of age. We need tougher law enforcement and not give just a slap on the wrist. We need tougher judges to see to it this happens. The law enforcement needs to be backed up by these jugdes. We need less laws protecting criminals and more laws protecting victims. We need to put paddling back in the schools and back in the homes!!! When we start making a stand against the laws the government has put in place protecting these little punks(for being under age), that is when you will see a difference in South Carolina and the United States!!
SB, Camden Craig, I look forward to more of this series. I believe it long overdue. As a high school teacher, I have seen just the tip of the iceberg. I have seen three of the gang workshops and even learned something new last night in your report. I didn't know about the doughnut reference. Keep up the good work and be very careful.
CL, columbia gather them up , give them new colors and guns then send their lovely respectable butts to iraq. let them find out what it means to really fight for respect. if by chance we dont get them shipped out in time to prevent violence, then charge for the crime that occurs; murder is murder, not involutary manslaughter etc... if an example is properly set, and they choose to do the crime, take the punishment even if its a needle in the arm. mercy is before the crime when we know about a problem we can help with. once the gun is fired, you are now an adult offender. close the door, turn out the lights. its all over now but the crying.
HB, Hartsville Loved the story. One observation....The kids today whether they are in a gang or not, use the gangs "respect" attitude and carry it over into the schools and other parts of their lives. As a teacher-I see it every day. The kids will fight if you say something wrong or they don't like. They are getting this from their "gang" buddies, even though most of them are not in gangs.
DJ, Columbia I like Craig's story. It was very informative. The story really was an eye opener. I also like the idea of not airing the gang activities on TV. I think that the gang members should be sent over to fight in the the war. The troops can come home and be with their families.
MH, Lexington The crime rate will only increase with time. We need to support our law enforcement in this battle to regain our state. 10 years ago when word hit about the Bloods and Crips coming to columbia, many agency's did not take it serious enough. Richland county police department started a anti-gang task force before most departments over 5 years ago. for a while the lexington county sheriff's office only had 1-2 officers on this task force. Sheriff metts waited to long to act. We need better equipment and more officers. i am willing to pay more to get more specialized officers on the force. i will only get worse. I honestly believe when the state stepped in and stopped parents from disciplining there children the way we were disciplined 20 years ago, that is when the kids got out of hand. When are we going to be able to spank our kids or punish them instead of time out. If we do we lose our kids to DSS and the system. When and how can we control our kids when the kids know the parents cant do anything because all they have to do is call the police and say my mom or dad spanked me. Is the state willing to do our job for us after they kill rob or rape someone. because they don't know when a parent disaples a child it is to keep them out of jail
hc, chapin I saw the story. Very good journalism. Very scary subject. Sheriff Lott needs all the support he can get, along with other law enforcment, to curb this cancer on our community. And the parents, ignorance not being a excuse, should be in jail right along with their kids to end up in jail. No exceptions.
NL, Columbia Why are you giving the gangs this free publicity? They thrive on stories like this. Why can't WIS do what WLTX did
TN, Columbia Putting gangs in the news has let us South Carolinians know how serious the problem really is. Thank you WIS10 for keeping our State knowledgeable on the gan, g growth and the violence from gangs. People that put WIS10 down for airing this information are the stupid ones that end up hurt.
BM, Jefferson South carolina need stiffer penalities pertaining to gang members. We need to go after the leaders once one of their so called soldiers commit a crime hold the leader of that so called set accountable the hands of one is the hands of all
CW, West Columbia I think being in a gang is dangerous. In my opininon it seems that gang members have no reguard for others. They too easy to take someone's life. I have a friend thats a gang member, but she doesn't just commit crime or murders just to do it. She told me joined simply because she wanted to "belong" and she wanted to be part of a group. She told me had she realized what she was getting into, she would have never done it
LS, Orangeburg Craig what your doing is commendable and will need the support of every responsible adult to support and convey that this behavior can't be tolerated in any neighborhood.I seriously believe Craig that until we come up with a place to put these kids to rehabilate them in possible military camps because like it or not they are our future and our future leaders lives and wellbeing is in jepordardy.Many more innocent kids and adults will fall victim.More education for adults to know the signs if they suspect their teens.
CF, Saint Matthews It saddens me to think that gangs are taking over our communities. That these children (and I do mean children) are ruining their lives by joining these gangs. I pray that they'll realize the danger and disappointments this will cau, se them and their families. Gangs are dangerous and we need to be more aware of the signs ourselves to protect our communities. Thank you WIS for these type stories that help awareness to this ongoing problem with gangs in our towns.
TD, W. Cola. this is a irresponsable story why give this poser a platform to brag,sherriff,lott says this only incouarges recruitment! GOOD JOB CRAIG NOT!
KS, Columbia Great piece!!! A lot of our youth is like a Lost Tribe without guidance. Most have no sense of direction and we fail them at a very early age. The school system does not have the resources, Mentoring programs are nonexistant, too many churches are concerned with how many members they have, a lot of fathers are not taking responsibily, a lot of mothers are not taking responsibility, police department limitted resources (however they can sit on Forest Dr. allday looking for people speeding when up the street is one of our worse areas of crime is down the street Gonzales Gardens), most of us who are educated or knowledgable enough do not have resources and etc. Maybe you should do a piece on quality Mentoring programs in the area of Columbia. We have turned into a group of people that are afraid of our on people (children) and the adults that behave like children. How do we get our Pastors, Police Dept, Educators, Community leaders and Govt officials together to really address this issue? If it takes a Village to raise a child, the Village leaders need to take responsibilty. Out of all the negativity that has occurred due to gang involvment and activities, we can still take a page out of their books and that's the ability to get Organized. I commend you on a very great piece, but I also challege you to utilize your platform as a means to assist with our Organizing!!!
Ag, Columbia This story was great my friend. We all need to understand that this is a serious problem in our communitites. These gangs must be a concern to everyone in this state and we must have leadership from our lawmakers in addressing this problem. We must have state level leadership to help loca, l communities to protect our children, families and communities from the scourge of gangs and gang violence. I am the only candidate in House District 79 that has a plan to address this issue. The time is now for South Carolina to stand up to gangs and stop them from attacking our children and paralyzing our communities. We must develop bold, new and comprehensive approaches to addressing this problem. These bold new approaches must include hard and swift prosecution; community programs, parental involvement and most importantly new political leadership that is willing to acknowledge the problem and take action to stop it. I believe that I am the best candidate to help our communities address this titanic problem. Regardless of who wins on November 7th, letâ€™s hope others will stand up against these gangs, because I know I will.
T , Midlands I really like you show, Everyone wants to put down what you have done, but if it wasn't for WISTV 10 showing this, Everyone would still think they are just a lot of wantabes. Keep up the good work and educate the public. The people out there that think this is back probably wants to hide the fact that South Carolina is infested with gangs and the politics want to look the other way. Goverment in most counties cant seem to find gangs. Yea, well most of them just don't want to look back to the public. To the agencies in South Carolina that have come out I take my hat off to them, to the rest, do you really care about your community or are you worried about your pockets. WIS TV 10 I thank you for this news.
CF, Columbia I really think if you at TV 10 would realize that the more you spread the news about gangs,,,,the MORE intrest it generates.Does it take a rocket genius to see how you at TV 10 want news to be out front by doing stories about gangs.How can you think that putting gangs in the news is a good thing.Let me say this,,,,think about the trouble in schools you at TV 10 kept anouncing,,,and look what happened? Yuo think that the people in your coverage area are stupid? Look at what TV 10 is doing,,,,putting ratings above the safety of others.Remember,,,as you were taught ,,,,allow a small thing to happen and TV10 makes it sound like the world is ending.I can only say,,,TV10 News is NOT on my tv,,,,,you go figure ,,,,Something my Dad said,,,the more you stir stink,,,the worse it smells,,,,leave it alone the smell goes away.
WM, Denmark.SC I've watched many of the TV court shows and I have seen parents being sued for their child's criminal acts.If the KKK can be sued for their hate crimes acts,what about the gangs?
BC, West Columbia This coverage was what I was hoping the media would portray. I would like to see more interviews with gang members. The comments from the gang members is evident that we need more moralities in our society: which voting no to the marriage amendment, will only create more gangs(confused children). Quality education for all school age children should be mandatory: You don't quit until you get it. We do not need more ministers and churches. We need more volunteers in our schools and help with extra curricular healthy activities. We need more state funded career centers. WE NEED TO RAISE OUR CHILDREN WITH LOVE AND RESPECT AND TO KNOW THAT WITH GOD YOU WILL SURVIVE AND WITHOUT HIM, YOU WILL FAIL.
JC, Elgin I think that the piece,while interesting, was not an appropriate piece of journalism. People need to be informed, but your story served to, give gang members a platform in which to spread their message. You could have just as well left that part of the story. I am sure that these kids are sitting around tonight giving each other "dep" for making the news. The thinly veiled disguises allowed observant viewers to spot people they knew. I spotted one young person that I know well. I believe that person is not a "legitimate" member of a gang- though this is not much of a relief. Please be more responsible in your reporting and stop glorifying these thugs.
BR, Elgin I'm a 15 yr. old female and to me, all this gang violence is sick. i wonder everyday why so many kids decide to result in bad behavior. i know it cant always be from home. i think that maybe that there is no one really listening to these kids. they probally feel that their parents dont love them or dont think they're even there because some adults are too busy trying to provide for the family.some kids might be even afraid at school or are always are picked on at school and this might be a reason why they join these gangs. i think that this is one area as productive citizens should step in and try to make a difference. the biggest solution i can think of is to talk and find out whats bugging these kids. let them speak and you listen. Inside these kids or even adults i know there is a good caring person deep inside each of them. Iknow we, as a communitie that we can find a solution and explanation. NO MORE VIOLENCE!!!!!!
AF, Columbia The report was introduced as a means of educating citizens on gangs and gang violence. However, as I watched, it seemed to only offer gang members a platform to promote their gang activities, secret handshakes, initiation practices, etc... It's safe to assume that your report will ultimately increase gang participation.
ES This gang violence needs to be STOPPED!! I am an elementary school teacher, and I can see this violence is even affecting the very young! If it is a part of their young lives, it then becomes their beliefs in the future! Someone needs to stop this, !! Punish those involved severely! PL I wish you would stop interviewing gang members on t.v. Your intent to educate the public is great, but I feel your doing it the wrong way. You make them feel important by interviewing them and puting them on tv like that. encourge your public by haveing community meetings things like that. Please stop I'd hate to stop watching you!
TT nice job, i think it's great that you put these guys on TV and make them feel like they are getting their respect. maybe that will encourage more young people to get involved and get some publicity. I would imagine some of the other gangs are feeling a little disrepected by not appearing on your TV show yet...maybe a drive by or two will get them on TV too, then wow, think of the respect they'll have. again nice job, hope you get the ratings bump you deserve for your ballsy street-tough interviews. just hope no one gets killed for your little "look at our hard-hitting "i'm in a leather jacket(with a tie)" tv show. you seem like the smartest guy on local tv, i'm surprised you would think this is a good idea. i'm with WLTX on this one
DF Good evening, I followed your story on Gangs on television tonight-excellent journalism. Would you be interested in talking about your series on the Urban Scene. Would love to have you. Please email me back and let me know.
MH, Columbia People join gangs partly due to a weak family life and lack of association.They should get involved in sports,church activities, or just get a job and contribute to society.Most people in gangs will end up being career criminals/thugs.
MS, Columbia What a lot of people who are not educated on the gang life fail to realize is that GANGS REALLY AREN'T ALL ABOUT GUNS AND KILLING.I know some gang members who basically are striving for 1 thing and thats green.They might be down for life but they know at the end of the day the only things dat makes sense is dollar signs. That's the real reason gangs we're really started up.To get that money,but nowadays you have the YOUNG ones that feel that every place they go they have to make there presence known by screaming their set call or throwing their set in the air. THOSE are the ones that have made walking around columbia everyday a scary walk not knowing if you might get hit wit a bullet for looking like someone.I'm one of the people who isn't DOWN with a set because I have friends in each gang in columbia and hell the people i know show love and respect to each other because their all tryna get money and aren't tryna see each other in a casket.But to the people who think you can STOP gangs,hate to tell you but you can't because like MS13 popped up outta nowhere it can happen again.The most we can do is add a harsh punishment to any crime that even resembles a gang type of action,because it's to many SOFT THUGS out here now that think if they end up on richlandonline.com that they done did it big knowin they can be out in hrs or days.But honestly the violence might not stop unless we really start making people serve their sentences they are given.You can go to the SCDC website and see so many gang members in jail for SERIOUS crimes but be out in a yr. and a half.I know 1 for a fact who has threatened to shoot me before who had 12 charges and he was only given 4 yrs for 1 charge and is only serving a yr. and a half and he will be out in 2007.Come on the state is teasing people with sentences.Age really shouldnt matter at all because if you we're in you're right mind when you commited the crime then you should serve they ACTUAL sentence you're given.Not be out in a yr. off good behavior.Since when can you get a burglary charge and get 10 yrs. but shoot in a dwelling and get paroled after a yr.The state needs to stop being scared and throw the books at people and THEN you might see some change in some of the actions going down because i dont care who you are,when someone tell's you that you could face a long time just off being affiliated with a gang then you really start seeing things a little better cuz jail really aint the place to be ESPECIALLY if you're young and had a chance to do something with you're life.
KC, Columbia Graig, I just wanted to commend you on such a well informed story (gang). Parents needed to see that document. These are our young brothers and sister. I am always asked the question, who is the blame? Where is the brake-down. If you think of the value system. It is different today then it was 25-30 years ago. What I try to get the young adults to realize is that we are killing off our own race. You think back many years ago when the KKK was active. The behavior is no different then their. I have a 18 year old son, my heart skips a beat when I hear of a killing and the person has not been identified. We need to get back to that village of raising our children. As parents we need to react to the early warning signs with our children. This is not something that happens over night. We Stop getting upset with the teacher when she/he calls your house to inform you about your child misbehaving in class. We need to be more active in our children education. Parents need to make the time for their children. Most of the gang members I talked with says, they were looking for a family, for support, for love. These are the things you should receive from your family. I ofter tell the parent, , all you are doing is saving them for the judge. We need to put our pride aside and except help. We need to stop making excuses of our children and get them the help that they need. Again, keep up the good work.