Archive for August, 2010
Creation from nothing says that humans are contingent and fundamentally unstable. Part of the definition for contingency given by the OED is “the condition of being liable to happen or not in the future; uncertainty of occurrence or incidence.” This is the condition that all creatures find themselves in by virtue of their created status. As Athanasius puts it, creatures made out of nothing do not have the capacity to sustain their own existence. All humans have needs that must be met by sources outside of themselves. We must eat, have shelter, and enter relationships that form and shape us because we are social animals. In all of these ways, we depend upon something outside of ourselves to stabilize our lives.
Last week the “Crime and Justice News” reported new findings from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). According to the report that a growing 27% (approximately 5.7 million) of public school students say that their school is both gang- and drug-infected; about 46% of the students report that there are gangs in their schools.
As an urban youth worker in Boston Massachusetts in 2005, I learned that each street or neighborhood is a “hood.” A “hood” is the equivalent of what we call “gangs.” There are the organized gangs as popularly known such as the “Bloods,” “Crips,” “Latin Kings,” MS13 Gang or the “18th Street Gang.” As 18th Street gang is named after a “hood” or 18th street in LA, MS13 is named after La Mara, a street in El Savador and 13th Street in LA. As noted here, even widely known gangs are named after street names or comprise of people in designated “hoods.” Teams of youth organize themselves to “watch each other’s back” to protect and to support each other. These teams lack constructive leadership and often veer into the abuse of substances and criminal activity. They often feel neglected by the national system and even by their own families. They often feel more loved and accepted by their own peers than from family and national support systems such as schools, and the justice system. Read the rest of this entry »