It is estimated that there are around 21,500 gangs in the United States. Evading law enforcement, striking fear into citizens, and participating almost exclusively in criminal activities, eliminating gangs is not a small task. The statistics are chilling; gangs do not appear to be going out of style anytime soon.
“Kill, Rape, Control,” that is the motto of one of the most feared transnational gangs: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Members of this gang are located across 42 states, and numerous countries. Hidden in plain sight, they may not even be hiding at all, as they are known for their brazen actions—they could even be lurking in your hometown.
Members first came to the United States between 1980-1990, fleeing their home country of El Salvador during a gruesome civil war. They soon formed MS-13, claimed small towns and cities as their own, and have been wreaking havoc ever since, with no sign of slowing.
Gang life is not for the faint of heart; their average life expectancy comes in at around 35 years, due to the extreme unlikelihood of encountering health care and lack of utilization of modern medicine.
Most easily identified by their tattoos, Virginia attorney Greg Hunter stated: “There’s a tattoo MS-13 members get—three dots in a triangle—that signify the only three destinations in life for gang members: prison, hospital or the graveyard.”
10. Treatment of Women
Just as we have recently seen women being unexplainably attracted to join terrorist groups such as ISIS on their accord; similar instances occur within MS-13 as well. To most of us, it is unfathomable to envision ourselves falling prey to the seduction of a gangster, for some women it’s a reality. The young women who get suckered into this life are those who have no place to go, are naive, and are without family. Maybe it is partly fantasy, derived from what we see depicted in the movies: the bad boy suddenly changed by love and leaves behind his life of crime. This is most certainly not the reality that the women of MS-13 face.
Their track record speaks for itself. A well-known story is that of Brenda Paz, MS-13 member turned informant. Her tale began when she was a young girl as she ran away from home to start her endeavors in gang life. Years later she was detained by the police, where she was then convinced to testify and serve as a witness against her fellow gang members. It was only three weeks after she slipped her witness protection that her mutilated body was recovered by fishermen. “The system failed Brenda, and she failed herself. I just hope we now can do better for kids like her because of what we learned from Brenda.” Va. attorney Greg Hunter said.
Objects to be used and discarded is an accurate description of this gang’s treatment, or lack thereof, of women. In an interview, an El Salvador native, Rev. Gerardo Mendez recounts that gang members would kill “his woman” for the most minute reasons. He describes it as Neolithic.