A National Geographic documentary portraying the grisly lifestyles of the gang members of two of LA’s deadliest gangs: Bloods and Crips. The progression of the two gangs from their inception to the modern day has been documented and vividly depicted.
Raymond Lee Washington was just fifteen when he started his own gang. They named themselves the Crips. Washington was young when he started out but he had a penchant for leadership and fighting. At that time his reputation grew because of his fights with other gang members and his gang expanded with new members who gravitated towards this young hoodlum who fought so well.
“His name was Washington and he was a general. “ – Raymond Cook, Eastside Crips.
Washington dreamt of creating the biggest gang in LA and he had the will to make that happen. In 1971 he forged an alliance with the West-side gangs. The Crips moved about with canes in their hands and the victims of their attacks described them as walking like cripples or Crips and that is how they got their names.
The rise of the Crips was sure and swift. The number of neighborhoods they represented grew steadily and they saw a steady rise in their ranks as well. The problem of gang violence escalated in LA. In schools the young hoodlums were suspended, expelled and then shifted to different schools. This turned out to be very counter-productive as the gang members then spread their influence in and around the new school district.
The spread of the Crips was met with little resistance as rival gangs gave up against their strength of numbers. But Tuemack ‘T’ Rodgers, founder of a West-side gang called the Black P Stones was furious when the Crips came onto his turf. He called upon the neighboring gangs and they made their own alliance to combat the rise of the Crips. They called themselves the Bloods because of the red clothing they wore to distinguish themselves from the Crips during gang wars. This gave rise to a rivalry that would rock the city of LA.
The rival gangs both grew in numbers during the 1970’s and the Bloods who were heavily outnumbered had to equip themselves with firearms to hold their own against the Crips. This led to an amassing of weapons by both side. It was an arms race inside LA. In 1974, Raymond Washington is jailed and he looses belief in the gang that he created.
Now there was a new generation of gang members in both gangs who were more ruthless and armed with powerful weapons. It led to LA becoming a more dangerous city for gang members and the innocent bystanders.
The murder of Washington after his release from prison sparked a civil war within the Crips gang structure as Crips from different areas went to war against each other. This wreaked havoc on the Crips organization.
But violence was not the only problem facing LA because of the gangs. Crack cocaine made its introduction and it changed the whole game. It brought in a large infusion of wealth into the gang culture. The gang members made a lot of money peddling crack on the streets and the gangs took up the distribution. This changed the medium of income and allowed them to afford better weapons.
The shooting of an art director in an upscale part of LA horrified the city dwellers and made them realize the danger that was prevalent within their city. They demanded action and the LAPD chief came down hard on the gang-controlled area as a result and started making arrests by the thousands. The gang related activity ceased for a period of time. But then the police officers were accused of brutality and discrimination against the African American population. The innocent population was also harassed by the police and finally the LAPD had to yield under the pressure and relieved some of the tension and relaxed the pressure on the gangs. This led to a resurgence of the gang activity.
In fact the Bloods and the Crips both united in their protest against excessive police force and protested violently in the streets again. The gangs declared a truce and it still remains. The gang violence was lowered. But the membership to both the gangs is now at an all-time high.
Watch National Geographic Channel – Inside Bloods And Crips LA Gangs – Turn off the lights
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