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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

17 year old girl was shot and killed on the front lawn of a Muldoon home

17 year old girl was shot and killed on the front lawn of a Muldoon home. Neighbors tell the Anchorage Daily News that this residence has been a persistent problem for loud noise, underage drinking and other problems in the area. Even that night, multiple calls by multiple neighbors were made to Anchorage Police complaining about the noise, traffic and drunken juveniles wandering around the neighborhood. News reports now tell us that the shooting was gang related. An early morning dispute between rival gangs led to the death of a 17 year old girl who was caught in the cross-fire. This tragic event leaves many of us in disbelief. We need to understand how this was able to happen, so we can prevent it from occurring in the future. It is certainly justifiable to question the actions, or inactions, of a few different groups. First of all the house in question is reportedly owned by AHFC; it is a low income rental unit with what are supposed to be strict rules regarding loud noise and illegal activity complaints. Neighbors say that they have made complaints to AHFC about chronic problems with the household, but feel that they have fallen on deaf ears. Equally questionable are the actions of the parents. Presumably these parents allowed their teenage children to leave the house dressed – frankly – like prostitutes at all hours of the morning. When did this become acceptable parenting behavior?However, the larger issue is that of the gang problem in Anchorage and how we, as a community, are going to combat that problem. In recent years our city has come out of our state of denial; however we clearly have not done enough to address the issue.Gangs are an interesting dilemma. They are well organized and enforce their rules mercilessly within their organizations. They understand the laws and consequences and plan their activities accordingly. Dan Fagan recently mentioned on his radio show that when he reported on gangs he learned that they would recruit the younger members for certain crimes because when caught, their sentences would be lighter. This strategy is a cleverly devised plan to minimize the cost of the crimes for these organizations. Gangs recruit at risk adolescents who feel a need to belong to something greater than themselves. These kids generally do not have a strong parental presence and often lack the self esteem necessary to make the right decisions. The sense of belonging given to them by the gang is the self-esteem boost that they have been looking for.
The History Channel series “Gangland” recently featured Anchorage and brought to light, for many, how serious our gang problem is. Masked men within well organized gangs – armed to the teeth – running ruthlessly throughout our city. We learned from the show that Anchorage gangs are mostly subsets of the “Crips”. They point out that gangs in Anchorage are not territorial, which is a nearly universal characteristic amongst gangs elsewhere. However they are certainly as capable of being ruthless and bloodthirsty as one East Anchorage family learned in the most difficult of ways.


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