Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2227 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American

Counterterrorism has always been a top importance for the FBI, but nowadays, it is the Bureau's superseding mission to prevent acts of terrorism before they happen. This determination is achieved by the Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters and transported out by every single separate field office, resident agency, and legat. The Headquarters are usually providing a team of analysts that are working to put together fragments of information that is being gathered by the field offices. Headquarters also have the job of administering a national threat warning system that permits the FBI to instantly allocate significant bulletins to law enforcement agencies and public safety departments. "Flying Squads" deliver particular counterterrorism experience and knowledge, language capabilities, and analytical support as needed to FBI field offices and legats. However, in this paper it will discuss counterterrorism and its affiliation with MS-13 and Gangs in American.

Definition of a Gang

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The description of a gang is basically a group of persons utilizing a unique name and distinguishable marks or symbols who demand a territory or neighborhood as their own (Edgar 94). Gangs have become a part of American culture ever since the start of our country. Beginning with top-secret societies like the Free Masons and developing into violent street gangs for instance: the Crips or Bloods. The development of gangs has been impulsive and is rising quickly. People dreaded the gangs of the nineteenth century, nonetheless the gangs of today model a much greater threat (Edgar 91). These kinds of gangs have endangered the streets of America for too long. Gang movement has been snowballing more over the past few years. The FBI in counteracting are coming up with new ways to make a strong attempts to minimize or even stop gang activity across the country by having curfews, having more kids in extra curricular activities, and having ex-gang member's talk to youths.

Term Paper on Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American Counterterrorism Assignment

Youth involvement with gangs can begin as early as grade school starting at 7-11 years old. "Recruitment, or conscription, begins at eleven years of age" (Sanyika, Shakur xii). Roles of leadership in street gangs usually aren't formally recognizable positions. These positions are addressed by a gang member who demonstrates or puts in enough work at a given time. Most gang members are made up of males ranging from adolescents at the age of 7 to adults of the age 30. Gangs aren't sexist at all they allow women to partake in the killing, stealing and other acts of crime that males take part in. "Although both armies are predominately made up of males, there are many females involved in fighting" (Sanyika, Shakur xii). Some women pioneers as you would call it, have an even stepped into the gang culture creating their own separate gangs or sets. Some women have built up a reputation or rep so massive they too, can be honored with the title of Original Gangster "OG."

Gang Background

Gangs today have destroyed our cities with crimes varying from ones as minor as graffiti all the way up to murder. They are now complex criminal organizations which deal in weapons trafficking, gambling, robbery etc.…(Feinstein 1). One problem leading to gang activity is there is no parental involvement in ones life. Many people who join a gang live in single-parent households, have little contact with their fathers, and seek a sense of belonging (Kelly 2). Marcus Alexander said, "I was feeling lonely and if you're by yourself you feel vulnerable. They were like family, so they had my back." When Alexander became a member of the Crips gang; he was not getting along with his mother and was not speaking with his father (Kelly 3). Only if parents would step up and take care of their children and care for them maybe this stuff wouldn't happen.

Youths join gangs for different reasons around the world. They join gangs because they have a need for power, their friends are in a gang, they feel neglected, and others protect them in the gang. Physical abuse by parents may edge their kid into joining a gang, poor parenting has consequences; these consequences lead kids to become sociopathic gangsters (Egendorf 20). The camaraderie and the excitement of gang life, has been driving a recent jump in gang membership across America (Kelly 1). Many gang members have joined a gang just to get power and respect from their peers. Peer pressure is one of the most influential predicaments a youth might encounter (Egendorf 32). Friends, classmates, and family members who are already in a gang, may pressure a person to join a gang. Just to please the people that is doing the pressuring he or she gives in and joins the gang with out regard to the consequences.

Most gangs are created to form a sense of power and control. All types of problems are presented to the youths of today growing up in major cities. Before being so eager to jump to conclusions, we must learn to try to understand these problems, or we will never find a solution to them.

Gang members are out there trying to find a family that some never had. It may not seem like much to you - an abandoned house or a park - but it becomes a place to call their own. It's easy to say "why don't they ever leave the gang," but many of those teenagers won't leave until years to come, if ever. Gang life becomes the only thing they know. Everyone wants to feel needed, and in those blocks or areas, they feel needed.

The gang life in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York are considered to be the most notorious. Why? Because their history is so violent, and a steady ongoing process. The African-American and Hispanic gangs are the prime target of the media network and the more publicity they receive, the more they develop.

America's Most Dangerous Gang: MS 13

Bloods, Crips, Folk, Vice Lords, Latin Kings are names that often cause alarm and fear MS-13among the gentle people of America. Now a gang is emerging on the scene that causes members of these notorious gangs to fear or at least have second thoughts about venturing onto the wrong street. La Mara Salvatrucha is a well organized and very violent, very brutal gang born in El Salvador. It is more commonly known as MS-13. The MS-13 gang, aka Mara Salvatrucha 13, is one of the most violent, dangerous gangs in the United States - and one of the most organized. The MS-13 gang has cliques, or factions, located throughout the United States and is unique in that it retains is ties to its El Salvador counterparts. With cliques in Washington DC, Oregon, Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and several other South American countries, the MS-13 gang is truly "international" and on the verge of becoming the first gang to be categorized as an "organized crime" entity.

Gang members, who sport numerous tattoos on their bodies and faces, wear blue and white colors taken from the El Salvadoran flag. Their membership is estimated to total over 36,000 in the Honduras alone. Members typically range in age from 11 to 40 years old. Their progressive increase in violent activities and careless disregard for the law (threats and attacks against law enforcement officials is common), has made them the most feared gang in the United States. MS-13 criminal activities include drug smuggling, gun running, people smuggling, hits for hire, theft, drug sales, arson, and of course, strong arming the locals. Their wide-ranging activities and elevated status has even caught the eye of the FBI who recently initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members netting hundreds of arrests across the country.

The Mara Salvatrucha gang moved into the Los Angeles area in the late 1980's as immigrants from El Salvador began arriving in the city. The early Los Angeles MS-13 gangs sought to protect El Salvadorian immigrants from the ruthless LA gangs. As with many gangs who's original intent was to protect others, the gang soon came to prey upon the Salvadorian community themselves. Once profits were recognized, Mara Salvatrucha cliques began to spread across the United States at an alarming rate. By the 1990's, MS-13's reach had spread across the country and had planted its roots deep on the East Coast. The early cliques located on the eastern coast were independent and not well organized. In the early 2000's, the gang hierarchy changed radically when leadership for these newly unified units, came from as far away as California and El Salvador. Cells continued popping up all over the country.

FBI and Counterterrorism

Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI have taken note of this gang have issued advisory memos to their personnel to be cautious. The Border Patrol has been directly targeted by this gang because they slowed down the "people smuggling" along the U.S./Mexican border that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American.  (2012, January 13).  Retrieved March 1, 2021, from

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"Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American."  13 January 2012.  Web.  1 March 2021. <>.

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"Counterterrorism: MS-13 and Gangs in American."  January 13, 2012.  Accessed March 1, 2021.