Sucked into the Wrong Crowd

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Author's name withheld
Birmingham High School

Her name was Gabby. She was my closest friend. It was she who introduced me to the gang scene. Before I entered this unknown neighborhood, I never thought such negativity and cruelty could be in one place.

Me and Gabby met in the sixth grade. We were never really close, though. Two years later, in eighth grade, I found myself claiming her as my best friend. We hung out every day, all day. Anywhere I was, she was. Anyone she knew, I knew. We were pretty much inseparable, you could say.

I was pretty much at her house every day, having a blast and meeting new people, until one day I noticed I was meeting the wrong people. As I was sitting on the couch in her living room, three different guys asked me where I was from. What the heck did that mean? Chillin' with them more and more, I soon found out.

As months went by, I began hanging around on Whitnall Highway. To you or me, this is just a street, but to them, it was an everyday lifestyle. Everyone who had no type of love at home or was under the influence would be there. Gang members, graffiti artists, potheads - I think you get the point.

Although this was the most dangerous place I could be, it felt like home! I felt safe, was accepted, and found love. I guess you can see I was trapped just as much as they were - physically, mentally and emotionally.

So here I am on Whitnall Highway, caught up in a few different problems. Getting in trouble with the cops, eager to start smoking and drinking, and having this  "I just don't give a $&%^#&" attitude. I'm sucked in as deep as possible, and I'm not even sure there's a way out. I've been with people who could be charged with grand theft auto, murder, vandalism and much more. But how could I possibly leave my second family and homies?

One day we were all cruisin' and saw someone from our rival gang. In the blink of an eye I heard two thumps, six bullets, and one siren. "Book it!" Those were the last words I wanted to hear.

I soon realized that hanging out with the wrong crowd wasn't worth it. Losing all my friends (close friends at that), failing all my classes and being illiterate, and talking like an idiot was now over. I wasn't raised this way, so why live like this?

Sure, looking back, I miss them, but I don't miss the violence at all. And if you're wondering what occurred during the two thumps, six bullets, and siren, let's just say, rest in peace, Gabby.

© 2008 L.A. Youth, the newspaper by and for Los Angeles Teens,