Ross Kemp is Legend!

The third series of 'Ross Kemp On Gangs' has now come to a close on Sky 1. In this post I want to communicate my general admiration for the series and talk about some of the issues it throws up about the reality of the world we live in today.

If you are not familiar with 'Ross Kemp On Gangs' it follows Ross Kemp as he travels to different countries around the world to examine serious issues surrounding gang culture. Ross gets into some sticky situations as he tries to discover the truth about gangs are fighting about. Possibly the most dangerous parts are when goes and meets the gangs themselves and interviews the gang leaders. For instance he has members of the US gangs Bloods, Crips and the Latin Kings. Some of the other countries that have been featured in the series include Brazil, New Zealand, Jamaica, Poland and of course the 'good ole UK'!

With this show Ross has managed to totally revive his career. Many people know him as 'Grant' from Eastenders but after that Ross Kemp did not really hit home any of the shows he did. I guess he decided to chuck in the third rate ITV cop dramas for something with a bit more balls and the 'On Gangs' Series is definitely that! The show won a BAFTA in May 2007 for best factual show.

Having watched the series, it really has opened my eyes to the issues that people face around the world. In my mind it seems to be same issues that come up over and over again whatever country it is or whatever gang it is. Firstly it is that of economics, when there is a large gap between rich and poor the less well off understandably get angry when they have to struggle to make ends meet. Seeing as there are limited resources they have to band together for protection. The gang problem arises when you get lots of people banding together like this and competing for scarce resources. In many cases there are little or no job opportunities for these people and some may come from broken families. For them the gang is all they have and they will defend it at any cost. This may be difficult for the average person to understand until they have been in the situation themselves.

Secondly, they seem to be in an environment where there is deep seeded political or social instability. In the case of Kenya there has been history of political uncertainty leading to people of different tribes having difficulty asserting there collective identities. Again a gang provides this identity, philosophy, structure and pride for these people. Also Politicians and other people in authority, who seem squeaky clean in public, are manoeuvring situations to there own ends and perpertuating the problem.

Thirdly, Greed and Power are two powerful motivators. The gangs compete over who controls the territory, money, drugs, prostitution, rackets, etc. In all gangs some people are leaders and some people are followers. The leaders all want to be at the very top and followers all want to know they are following the right leader. This can be the case for men especially who are attracted to power, competition and high status.

It is very sad to see the number of disillusioned, angry and frustrated men in these gangs (though there are many women too) who would kill members of a rival gang in a blink of an eye. In my opinion they become this way because there is no positive outlet or role models for them and everyone wants to express themselves. I am not condoning the terrible acts of violence that they perpertrate. A lot of these are unspeakable with no regard for human life and quite often innocent people get caught in the crossfire.

I cannot help thinking though that in a different environment these 'gang leaders' might have been successful career and business people if they had chosen this path or given the opportunity.

The gang problem is something that has to be addressed by Politicians, Police, Community Leaders and public at large. People have to be provided with viable alternatives to joining gangs through appropriate education and interaction with positive role models.

Anyway well done to Ross Kemp and the other people behind the show for bringing these issues to our attention.