How not to study a gangbanger

Some professionals don’t use common sense. One was a woman who wrote a book on gangs. To learn about them, she drove around a hardened l7 year old gang member named Faro, who had 60-year old ‘graveyard eyes’. (She didn’t think to set conditions about weapons or risks).

During the ride they pulled up next to two other youths, and Faro said, ‘I’m gonna look crazy at ‘em. You watch what they do’. He did. The other driver glanced over, his eyes widened for an instant with fear. Then he looked away. Faro giggled. When the signal changed, the other driver sped off and turned the corner.

The author asked to see the look Faro gave and saw a nightmare face. She asked him what would have happened if the other driver answered the challenge. Faro said they would have gotten into it and he would have killed him. He had a gun in his shoe. A gun?!!!! She was shocked and didn’t know why. (Does someone have to tell her?) She felt betrayed and was angry. He said if you come into this neigh­bor­hood, you can’t get angry if it gets too real for you. (Nonsense, but she agreed.) He went on about how young people gangbang as they have nothing to live for. (Nonsense.) Gangbanging is a chance to get even with those who hurt your family. (That’s stretching it.) That, if the people you love most are dead, you might as well be dead. (Not really.) That after seeing so much death, you want to die so you don’t have to see any more. (Not necessarily.) She didn’t challenge any of this. (Why not?) She accepted his reasoning, criminal behavior, and immaturity. (Why?)

This is typical of many people who study crime or go into social work. In their rush to show compassion and understanding, they don’t use common sense.