“Shit. These younger niggas ain’t got no rules,” said the Ole’ G, “They don’t listen to nothing or no one. I had a little nigga from my hood step to me [challenge him].”
There is a notion that the Ole’ G’s (original gangsters), having made a reputation for themselves, can control neighborhood youth. In the early 1990’s, they banged for turf, street corners, and blocks to sell crack like penny candy from a mom and pop shop.
But this new generation of gangsters is not the same. “The adrenaline rush is like a high,” a young dude said, pretending with his finger to shoot a gun, jumping back and forth from behind a building as if he was shooting and dodging bullets.
When we sought a truce between the Plaza Park and Square Street gangs, we talked with everyone who was gang-involved; but we intentionally invited Ole’ G’s to the meeting with the Square gang.
The Ole G’s were my age and older.
I knew them.
And they knew me.
Back in the days, I purchased marijuana from a few of them.
They hadn’t left the park for many reasons; they can’t get a job because of their criminal history or they’ve dropped out of school.
Some still sold drugs to survive while others used them to survive.
We depended on the Ole G’s to take the truce back to the playground to share with the younger dudes.
And they did.
A researcher said there was a 56% reduction in firearm-related offenses in the Park and the Square.
Then one day an incident happened.
One that was very similar to what had first fueled the feud.
Two girls from the Square were walking down the street when they were approached by the younger Plaza boys.
The Plaza boys bullied the girls, calling them “bitches.”
About thirty-minutes later shots were fired.
The police swarmed the streets for shell casings.
And just like that, after three months, the Plaza and Square truce was over.
There wasn’t anything the Ole’ G’s could do about it.
Our hope was that they could use their street credibility to hold the youngest accountable.
But their creditability was like a bad check written.