He traction his red baseball lid around, brim forward, and pulls a red bandanna up end his mouth and also noseThen he wheels around and also points a long-barreled handgun at the challenge of a reporter. “This is exactly how we perform it,” the says.Red — it’s not his actual name, or also his real street name — is demonstrating how a Bloods corridor soldier might face a competitor member of the Crips. He is not making use of his actual name because talking come a reporter around gang life can not be cool v the leaders of his set.In his 20s, Red has looked into the barrel that a gun before. He’s to be shot and also stabbed but has lived to tell his tale.Banging for about six years has actually its hazards. For example, there are two methods to sign up with the Bloods.“You placed in some work or friend shoot the 31,” Red says.And what is ‘shoot the 31?’“Everyone in her Blood set, friend fight anyone of them because that 31 seconds,” that responds. “Everyone, all at once.”If that sounds tough, “putting in some work” isn’t necessarily easier.“You have the right to go on a robbery or something,” Red says. “You make certain you lug something ago to her Bloods, choose an offering.”Starting earlyFor Red, the Blood life came early. He was in elementary school, if the gang member who carried him in remained in his 20s however “from mine ’hood.”“He had actually the flag (red bandanna) in his pocket and I inquiry him about it,” Red says. “He said he was Blood.”Red claimed he “got genuine deep right into it” and his recruiter told the the “good things, yet he didn’t tell me the bad things.”“It’s like the Army,” he said with a map of a smile. “They tell girlfriend the good things (to authorize up) however not the bad. That told me you get respect from world in the neighborhood. You obtain your own crew.”Young and impressionable, Red admits that fantasized about being a member of the gang and thought it sounded good.While he didn’t want to say exactly whether he “put in some work” or “shot the 31,” Red became a Blood, acquisition the oath and also making the pledge required of every members. What is the oath and also the pledge, Red wouldn’t say.“It’s different for every set,” the said. “It was how the initial OGs (founders) walk it. Your OG (Original Gangsta) teaches you and also you teach (new recruits).”Never aloneSome specialists who research street gang society believe young members are attracted in because they are searching for a means to belong to a team or family. Countless come from broken homes.The Bloods to organize in a framework that sounds practically like the military. You enter as a soldier and also work your way up with the ranks of five levels the generals.After that, the company becomes almost mob like. Like organized crime underbosses, the Bloods have a “Low 0-20 “and a “High 0-20.”’In the Bloods, the duty of Godfather is well-known as the “Big Homie.”There is even an “Elite Team,” a team of enforcers who keep technique in the ranks.“The large Homie is the reason we’re right here today,” Red says. “He’s the founder of our set.”Once you’re a Blood, Red says, you’re never alone. In his words, “We ride as a family.”If you want to work-related your way through the ranks, you job-related for the family. Specifically, you occupational for her Homie.“This is what you cursed to do,” Red says. “If the big Homie speak you go carry out this, (you perform it). He says go bang out, it is what friend committed you yourself to, friend bang out.”Banging outIt’s what Bloods do. Though also Red admits “it’s type of crazy.”“Banging out is violence,” he says. “It could be v a baseball bat, it can be a gun, it might be a cutting. You’re placing in the work.”The violence is usually directed at members of various other gangs or at world engaged in criminal task that would placed cash in their pockets that a Blood could take away.“I might have a knife top top me one day and bang out,” he says. “I could have a gun on me one day and also bang out. I might pick up a brick and say, ‘Let’s bang out.’ ”Asked if he has actually used a knife, a gun, a baseball bat and also even a brick to assault someone, Red smiles and also says “Somethin’ prefer that.”Banging the end is one means to lug money or various other things the value, normally drugs, ago to the family. That can happen as a home invasion or top top a street corner.Crips or other neighborhood gang members room all fair game for banging out. However you never ever bang out on one more Blood.Homage come the HomieWhile banging out might have a particular allure for some Bloods, it’s no the only means to impress your Homie.“Certain human being put a many money (into the gang),” Red says.Usually that’s done by “getting a house.” A member rents a home or apartment and also the gang provides him with drugs to sell.“They offer you some weed and also you market the weed,” Red says, “The soldiers carry that money earlier (to the big Homie) and that money buys an additional house.”The 2nd house might deal cracked cocaine, a more rewarding drug than marijuana.“It’s all around dollars,” Red says. “If you bring money in, you obtain respect.”Money come the huge Homie can also translate right into something of worth for the soldiers.“Maybe Homie will go out and also he’ll buy girlfriend a auto or purchase you some chains,” Red says. “You obtain a car, you get ice, the (women) love you.”And when a Homie, always a Homie. Also if a leader decides to “fold his flag” and leave the gang, the doesn’t prevent reaping the services of the gang.“You still contribute to him,” Red says. “I gained love because that (him). Girlfriend love him because without him, over there wouldn’t it is in you. Friend still Blood at the finish of the day.”Living the dreamUltimately, Red says, being a Blood is around achieving the American dream.“Money, power, respect, who don’t want money, power and respect?” that asks. “You obtain bling, (women) and also cars. Whatever you want in life.”If you increase high enough in the gang, say come to be a large Homie, you can even live the dream behind bars.“You (the huge Homie ) can get anything you want,” Red says. “If (the Homie) desires a stereotype in jail, he’s gonna gain a stereo, top top the street, in jail, (the strength of the Homie) the don’t change.”Want to recognize if a huge Homie is behind bars? Look at the members that his collection on the street.If your flag hangs from the chain on your pants, they’re reflecting respect for a jailed leader.Wearing the flagOnce a Blood, you constantly wear her flag (red bandanna). You never ever fold the in public, even if you’re challenged by another gang, prefer say the Crips.“You never ever hide her flag,” Red says, “even if that way taking one ass whooping. It is what it is.”Flagging also helps recognize gang turf. If you see a many red flags, you’re more than likely in Blood territory.“Don’t step on ours territory and also we wont step on yours,” Red said. “But if you execute (step on our territory), we will **** girlfriend up.”As he sits with a reporter, Red hold his flag in his hand. The strokes it choose a collection of prayer beads.Maybe, he’s doing that because he might not be flagging lot longer. Red is reasoning of urgently his flag.“I obtained my reasons,” he says, there is no saying precisely what they are. “People room thugging the end there, it’s difficult to it is in by yourself.”Yet, he states if he were to accomplish up through someone — a young boy favor he as soon as was — that wouldn’t rotate him away from the gang life.“I’d describe (Bloods life), but I’d tell him the an excellent and the bad,” he says.
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“But if he wants in, I’d say, ‘Follow me homie.’”Contact reporter rick Pfeifferat 282-2311, ext. 2252.