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Family Focus Night teaches parents, kids about gang activity

NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David recently asked 400 eighth graders if any of them knew a drug dealer. More than half said yes. That's just one fact that startled parents at an information session at Myrtle Grove Middle School Tuesday night. The program is part of a series of meetings at New Hanover County Schools that is opening up the eyes of parents and kids to bad behavior going on close to home. Adrian Herd and his wife happened to stumble upon Family Focus Night with their grandkids while at Myrtle Grove Middle School for another event. Herd was happy they did. He said, "I walked away with more knowledge about gangs here in Wilmington than I thought I knew before." Herd's granddaughter Shiniqua Bunting is in sixth grade at Myrtle Grove Middle School. She said, "It taught me a lot of lessons. It influenced me and encouraged me and stuff." District Attorney Ben David and District Court Judge Rebecca Blackmore were among the presenters. Blackmore was encouraged by the turnout. She said, "Parents were listening to what was being said and asking questions and wanting to understand the kinds of things that their kids are being exposed to." The presentation included pictures of what parents need to be looking for to recognize gang behavior as well as drug and alcohol use. Judge Blackmore said, "It is always an eye-opening experience for many people and you have no reason to know these things unless someone shows you." That was certainly the case for Adrian Herd. "I was naïve about the symbolic terminology," he said. Family Focus Night was a success for Herd and his family.

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So I have lived here my entire life and watched this "gang" topic surface over and over. There *are* dangerous gangs in Wilmington of Latino decent, and over on the Creekwood side of town. They are localized to their own areas. These are actual gangs. Now onto the wannabe gangs. The little middle class kid who has satureated himself to deeply in hip hop fantasies. These gangs are real in essence, but far from the orginization of a real gang. The problem is, one of these "kids" out of sheer stupidity of false dreams and distorted fantasies would probably shoot you much faster while they are leaning on the support of the other four members of the gang. Loose in theory but real in life, these wannabe gangs are more of a danger as they claim no turf. Funny enough the story mentions the Monkey Junction area. Back in high school, when Players was still the hang out at Carolina beach in the early '90s, a group of wannabes from Montery Heights apparently watched "Bangin in Little Rock... A gang story" one too many times on HBO. They group of friends while not involved in any crime except for bullying, put their dark blue bandanas on their heads and proceded to hang out an the McDonalds in Carolina Beach thus lovingly earning the name "McCrypts"... These "gangs" featuring the middleclass likes of what hip hop would never accept will never go away until the parents start taking a more active and caring approach in these kids lives. THAT is where the end to this nonsense begins.