How did you deal with gangs when you encountered them?
With respect. And I’m talking about Gangs, not warlord followers that are sometimes called gangs. There’s a lot of pressure from law enforcement to eliminate Gangs, but many of us ask the question, where are these people, kids and adults, going to go? Gangs are families extended into nations within nations and across nations. Gangs have their own laws, their own territories. They provide homes, parents, brothers, and sisters to those who have none. They provide a structure instead of emptiness. As far as violence goes, who am I to criticize violence? I can say that violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority flows, and I understand that more than most.
When we had to operate within a gang’s territory, I asked permission from the highest Gang Leader who would talk with me. When we had to deal with a Gang Member who was involved in a heinous crime, I always asked permission of the Gang Leaders, and sometimes they would deliver the perpetrator to us. When they denied permission for us to access that person, we respected that decision and observed that frequently they handled it themselves within their own justice system.
I treated Gang Members with respect at all times, I always did what I said I would do, and I never betrayed that trust. Gangs are here to stay, and maybe they have a lesson for all of us: Family matters, family is important.
Are you a gang member?
No. I’m not a police officer, either. I am neutral. I respect Gang Members, Gang Leaders, their principles, their laws, their territories. I have never had a duty, or orders, to eradicate gangs, and many police officers I talk with don’t either. Gangs are beneficial to their members, and frequently to the people in territories they control, lowering crime and providing a social structure. However, the means used by many gangs to extort protection money from legitimate businesses is an illegal method of obtaining income. As the American Mafia evolved into legitimate business, perhaps the gangs will find that even more profit can be made by establishing legitimate insurance businesses.
Sometimes uninvolved people are killed and wounded in Gang combat, and there are other problems, so I’m not saying that Gangs are perfect. But Gangs have the same kind and number of problems in various degrees that societies in all nations have. Are their bad Gang Members? Of course, and oddly enough, there are about the same ratio of bad guys in Gangs as there are everywhere else. Bad guys are universal, they exist everywhere there are people. Bad guys show no genuine respect to anyone and they have followers sometimes called ‘gangs,’ but those are not the Gangs I’m talking about. In my experience, Gang Leaders do an efficient job of handling their bad guys under their Gang’s code and laws.
Was Chapter Ten, Dodge Car, about fighting against gang members?
No. Lots of people ask me that. These particular bad guys had stolen legitimately owned firearms and ammunition from people in several communities in that area, some of whom were gang members. Being a gang member is not illegal in this country. Committing crimes is, and in chapter ten are focus was stopping one group of bad guys from collecting arms for illegal international arms trade.
Did a gang member ever help you or your teams?
Yes, several times, and we have helped Gang Members return to their families when they were stuck out of their country, and in other ways just as we did with non-gang members. In one instance I was wounded in a Gang’s territory in an action that had nothing to do with the Gang that controlled the area. A Gang Member and his family helped me get healthy enough to egress. It took a few days of their help, feeding me and caring for my needs, until I was ready. I thanked him and his family, and he told me, ‘You’re welcome, but do not come back.’ I never did.
You sound like you are pro gangs. Is that your position?
I’m neutral about Gangs; I’m pro people, justice, and kindness. Gangs exist out of necessity. Gang Members deserve our respect until they prove otherwise, just like everyone else. Gang Leaders I have dealt with have been logical, fair, and provide justice within their nation-state second to none. In fact, I find that the justice system within the Gangs I have had contact with is superior to that of the United States and many other nations, where people seem to be able to do just about anything they want if they pay their lawyer and politicians enough. Don’t try that in a Gang!
There are a few recent parallels in major nations. For example, in Franco’s Spain, you could do anything you wanted to do, amass any amount of wealth you wanted, if you didn’t violate specific laws and boundaries. Did he have a secret police that did incredibly violent things to those who crossed the line? Hell yes. But the rules were clear and unchanging. If you didn’t cross the line, you could live a peaceful and productive life. Spain under Franco was on my short list of places where you didn’t have to carry a gun all the time.
I worked a few cases in Las Vegas, NV, USA, and talked with some of the senior detectives there. One of them told me that he missed the Las Vegas that was run by the Mafia because everything was clear. He said, ‘You could ask a Mob Boss about a bad guy you were looking for, or anything else. He would tell you about it, or tell you he couldn’t talk about it, and that was that. And they cleaned up after their own bad guys, making our job a lot easier.’ These beneficial dictatorships are rare in the major nations of the world today, but they exist in the best Gangs that have strong leadership.
Will you identify the gangs or gang members you worked with so we can interview them?
No, I will not. That time was spent building understanding, honor, and respect between us, and it is not open to anyone else.