L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur

L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur

Kody Scott grew up in South Central L.A. during the nineteen-sixties and seventies, soon after the creation of the Crips. Raised in poverty without a father, and a full family raised solely by his mother, Kody Scott led the stereotypical “ghetto” life, a poor and broken home. However he does not blame this on his own personal decision to join the Crips while only eleven year’s old. The allure of the respect and “glory” that “bangers” got, along with the unity of the “set”(name for the specific gang) is what drew him into the gang. Once joined, he vowed to stay in the “set” for life, and claimed that banging was his life. After many years of still believing this, he eventually realized that the thug life was no longer for him, and that gangs were a problem on society and the “Afrikan” race(page 382-383).

In his book “Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member”, he tells of his life story and how he came and left the gang life. For thirteen years he was a member of the Eight Tray Gangsters, a set of the Crips, and throughout the book he explains, sometimes in full detail, the life he led while in the gang and his many times in jail and prison. These life stories he tells, include drive-byes, shootouts in supermarkets, parks, streets, houses etc., fist fights, group beatings, kidnapings, doing drugs, selling drugs, car-jacks, amputation, robbery, friend’s deaths, enemies’ deaths, being shot, knife fights, police abuse, jail riots, jail rapes and any other part of the gang life possible. Now if possible, imagine that this all happened within thirteen years, and to a teenager. These crimes, more specifically the brutal ones, are what got him his nickname “Monster Kody”. None of this really affected him though, until when in jail, he was converted to a Muslim, when he changed his name to Sanyika Shakur. However, it took him a while to realize that what he was doing was wrong and it was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Although he now realized this, it wasn’t because of religion really, but more for the survival and advancement of the “Afrikan” race, as he was now becoming more and more politically and morally conscious(page 277). After coming and going out of prison, he was struggling between the two lives he was trying to lead, one as a banger and the other as a leader for the “Afrikan”...

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...left the gang life behind in order to raise his family in a safer environment and also to settle his conscience down and feel better about himself. In conclusion, Kody Scott a.k.a. Sanyika Shakur, used this book as a tool to help let society know the dangers of the gang life, and possibly some advice to help prevent gangs from growing and spreading, and also to prevent his past from becoming somebodies future. Which is best summed up in his last paragraph from the book in which he states:

“How do we come to grips with the fact that this thing has gotten way too real, out of control like some huge snowball running down a hill, threatening to smash and kill all in it’s path, including those who originally fashioned it? Time is of the essence, and every thinking person with a stake in life-especially those involved in the fighting-should put forth an effort, something more concrete than a “media truce,” to deal with this tragedy. The children deserve to have a descent childhood where they live. They shouldn’t have to be uprooted to the suburbs to experience peace. We cannot contaminate them with our feuds of madness, which are predicated on factors over which we have no control.”

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