Gang lifestyle offers no hope
Mar 14, 2013 | 1909 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was disheartening to see the loss of one of our own young people last week when 20-year-old Patterson resident Eddie Hernandez died from a gunshot in south Modesto.

Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies say his death appears to have been gang-related, and Facebook profiles that mentioned Hernandez indicate that he was either involved with or affiliated with the Norteños.

As we conducted research this week in an attempt to learn more about his life, we were shocked to see West Side youths blatantly promoting the gang lifestyle on social media sites. Patterson residents could be seen donning gang colors, flashing signs and boasting about drug dealing, binge drinking and wishing violence against their enemies.

It was a painful reminder of the culture of death and hopelessness that pervades a relatively small but significant portion of our community. Many of these teens and early 20-somethings obviously had poor role models.

Local programs, such as the Police Activities League in Grayson and the Patterson Teen Center, are making a dent in the problem by offering positive activities for our youth, but they cannot take the place of good parenting.

Churches, schools and nonprofits can also do their part by offering hope and mentorship to those who cannot see a better way.

But youths also have to take it upon themselves to steer clear of trouble. Hernandez already had a criminal track record when he was killed by gunfire last week — he served time for an assault in 2011. While his friends certainly will want to honor his memory, they should do so by learning from his mistakes.

Gang involvement ultimately leads to imprisonment or death. We would hope our young people would instead choose life and the betterment of their community.
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May 09, 2013
Agree! The only statement in your article that puzzles me is that in your research you were "shocked". I have been here for 20 years and have known for a very long time that we have a huge gang problem. Many people blame it on the bay area transplants that brought this life style with them. Although there may be some truth that, the gangs were here long before Patterson growth. For years our city officials and schools denied a problem. We are now witnessing the result of this denial. Sad.

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