Jimmy's Story

When my best friend Alex told me he was thinking about joining a gang, I was shocked. This was the guy that had everything going for him. We both grew up on the same block, and had the same struggles to face, but Alex never seemed phased. He had the best grades in our high school, he was the star soccer player - people idolized him and everyone knew he was going to win a scholarship for that sick left foot! Ever since we were little, Alex did his own thing and never changed to be like anyone else. So when he told me about this gang thing, it didn't seem right.

I guess things hadn't been too easy in Alex's home. His dad was laid off a few months back and having a hard time finding work. His mom was working two shifts, but it wasn't enough. Alex said he needed to do something to help, or they would lose their house.

Alex was invited to a party by this guy on the block - he knew it was being hosted by a local gang, and that these parties were nothing but trouble. But this guy told him there might be a chance to talk to someone about a job, so he went.

Alex told me that the party was something out of a music video - big crowd, lots of cute girls, and everyone wore the freshest gear. The gang put on a good show for my best friend. See, Alex didn't need the girls or the status - he had all of that on his own just by being himself. But the gang told him that he would get big, easy money if he ran some jobs for them. That was the one thing Alex and his family needed that he didn't think he could get any other way. With school and soccer practice taking up most of his time, Alex didn't think he'd make much $$$$ with an after-school job.

A few days ago Alex told me that he's going back to finish some sort of "business deal" with one of the guys. I asked him if he was serious about getting involved with this gang. He said he would only be gang affiliated, which wasn't that bad. He said he wouldn't be hurting anyone, that he was just going to do some "runs" for them. But even though Alex says he won't be in that deep, I know he's putting himself out there with a bunch of ruthless guys who do some messed up things. I know they won't care if he gets caught doing these "runs" for them. I know these "runs" are not harmless - he'll probably be delivering drugs or weapons that will hurt someone, and who knows what might happen to him if a run goes bad.

Alex's entire future is on the line, ya'll. I have to say something that will help Alex change his mind before it's too late.

What should Jimmy do next?

  Talk to Alex about his future - if he gets arrested for running drugs or weapons for this gang, there's no soccer scholarship and no big ticket jobs. He'll be the first in his family to get to college, and he can't give that up.
  Tell Alex that his parents would feel even worse about their situation if they knew he was joining a gang to help out. Jimmy might want to talk to his own parents and get their advice, since Alex has always been like a son to them.

  Jimmy and Alex have been friends for a long time. He should tell Jimmy that he does not want him to get hurt, arrested, or killed while he's running stuff for these guys.