Story Seemed Like an Ad for Gangs

Your article entitled "Gangs Broaden Turf and Violence" (June 9) leaves me angry because of the positive attention paid to the individuals who chose, of their own free will, to be a member of a gang. Simply put, your "recruitment article" for gang membership lacked only one thing--an application form.

While gangs have, unfortunately, become an element of our society today, in my opinion we should denounce their existence. Expounding upon gang members "throwing signs" in front of a graffiti-covered wall (a city park wall) is most offensive. Through your article, these youths, portrayed as carefree and smiling, received a most generous type of publicity they do not deserve. Yet at the same time, in the same edition, you buried a positive, upbeat article on reformed gang members receiving their high school diplomas while serving time in juvenile detention camps.

Please do the public and the communities which you wish to serve a favor by restricting the positive press you give to gang activity, gang membership, gang names, gang signs or other gang-related or gang-inducing publicity. We must all work together to combat this problem and the media must play an important part in this fight.

FRANK SCHILLO, Mayor, Thousand Oaks

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