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Deviance in Gangs

             Quite often in our day-to-day lives we hear the word "deviance", but never truly know the concepts behind it. It is not a complicated term although it is one with many theories behind it giving a vast variety of interpretations of just what deviance is and is not. Questions arise as to its relativity. Of course, no one can proclaim deviance is not relative, as deviance is behavior that does not follow common perceptions. An important sociological concept states that people conform, or perform to societal expectation or norms (Brown, 1965). Conformity provides order in the society. Thus, when someone is doing something that the rest of society find unacceptable, or out of the ordinary, he or she is considered deviant.
             In 1996, a young boy named Michael Ortiz joined the gang that called themselves the Latin Kings. He was only thirteen years old and had been recruited by other local Latin King members since he was the age of eleven. Since that early age of eleven, he had always felt a strong attraction to gangs and wanted to join a gang like the Latin Kings. They had numbers, were powerful, and could intimidate any of your average day-to-day citizens. However, the Latin Kings not had a rivalry with other gangs in the area, but their biggest rival was society itself. Society frowned down upon the Latin Kings in every negative aspect allowed. They were viewed as teenage criminals who should be locked up or would either kill themselves. The problem was that as long as they recruited young boys at an early age, the gangs would never die (Sanders). Though there were a few positive things that Michael surrounded himself with, the majority of the things the Latin Kings were extremely deviant in society's eyes.
             At the tender age of thirteen, Michael was running around the town of Rockford, Illinois spraying graffiti with his gang symbols and colors anywhere he could find a building untagged.

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