"You are the first person i have came across that somehow found out what a cholo thinks when someone walks on 'his sidewalk.'"

From: Kreeper69 (Kreeper69@aol.com)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 15:03:05 EST
To: Richard Geib (cybrgbl@deltanet.com)
Cc: Kreeper69@aol.com
Subject: gangs
Organization: AOL (http://www.aol.com)

i am a gang member in northern califas. i was looking 4 reaserch on my gang when i came upon your story. my rival is 18st i belong to the 3rd biggest gang in the usa and we originated in Hollywood NHL & WHL SUR 13, it has been tough 4 me to deal with my dreams and nightmares. that is what caught my attention in that story you wrote. i just did a year and a half for my hood and regret ever joining but i am in 4 life "por vida en La Mara Salvatrucha" thats what my homies tell me. its fucked up in my hood where i live and you dream about getting out since the day that you recignize where the hell you're at. you are the first person i have came across that somehow found out what a cholo thinks when someone walks on "his sidewalk". if you ever think about writing another story like this one you should take it to Barrios Unidos. this is a non-profit organization that helps gang members.............if it touched me it will touch them.....

............STRIVING TO SURVIVE................................


      Dear Mr. Kreeper,

      I am glad to hear my story touched you; and I appreciate your kind words to me - more often the e-mail I receive from gangsters is threatening in nature. Even from your short e-mail, I can see the struggle taking place inside you. But, I swear to you Mr. Kreeper, you are free to pursue any path you want in life. It certainly is not written in the stars that you must live and die a gangmember, despised by society.

      You mention that you just did time in state prison for your "hood" and are in your gang "for life" - even as you have nightmares and have wanted to get out ever since the day you properly recognized what you had done. I will simply put the question to you then: Why don't you get out? I suspect you would answer that joining is "for life" and it is about commitment - the good of "La Mara Salvatrucha" being more important than any one person. I would beg you to take a step back and think about to what it is you are devoting your life. What precisely are your fellow homies asking from you? Do they ultimately have your well-being in mind? Do they love you enough to let go of you?

      As I have gotten older, I have seen many of my best childhood friends start careers, get married, move away to better jobs, building families with their spouses separate from me. We used to see each other everyday and share nearly everything, but our friendships have changed over the years as we have matured and pursued our disparate paths. Not that we are any less friends - to the contrary! But we have given each other the freedom to say "good-bye" at least temporarily. This, of course, involves some degree of pain and loss. This is adult life.

      I say this to you because I can tell you are not some wannabe trying to make a reputation for himself in haughty adolescence. If you have been in prison, you know what that is like. You know the streets. You have learned a thing or two about life. But we live in a wide and wonderful world well worth knowing and in a rich country which rewards hard work. I challenge you to do something to improve your life and make yourself worthy of happiness as opposed to nightmares. "When you cannot be just because of your nature," advised the Puerto Rican sociologist Eugenio Maria de Hostos, "be so through your pride." This life is what you make of it.

      Few are the gangmembers I have met that deep down are happy in their lives. More often, they seem trapped and resigned to their fates. Yet if we humans feel ourselves trapped, it is often because of limitations and restrictions we place on ourselves. I am no different, and have made a list of behaviors I want to change in this new year of 1998. And if your homeboys really love you for who you are and desire the best for you, they will let you go if you ask them for permission. But ultimately you and nobody else makes the decisions as to how you will spend your days.

      As one who has taken the time to empathize with the life of a cholo, I wish you all the luck in the world as you strive to survive. And I challenge you to e-mail me in one year and tell me you have taken concrete steps to avoid a future possibly spent rotting in some prison cell for decades or lying on a piece of sidewalk nobody owns as you watch your life's blood run out of you. It is up to you.

      Very Truly Yours,

      Richard Geib


"I don't feel it's useful to urge Kreeper to give up the gangster life."
"Chicanos need to be who they are: our job, as Chicanos and non-Chicanos, is to encourage GROUPS of young Chicanos to find maximally beneficial and productive forms of authentic cultural expression."

Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 20:00:45 +0530
From: "a. eduardo" (edolo@ibm.net)
To: Richard Geib (cybrgbl@deltanet.com)
Subject: gangs
X-URL: http://www.rjgeib.com/biography/hollywood/response5.html


I am a 17 years old and I am a member of LA MARA SALVATRUCHA they call me muneca and I am the head leader of the girls>When I read your story it really touched me but when I see how my homies get shot and killed it makes me get revenge and nevedr leave my homies.I always try to change I grew up in a christian home and at the age of fourteen I started leading S.S.L south side locas M.S I wish there was more people out there encouraging the youth to get out of all this,thanks for trying


From: "R.D." (rd@COMPAQ.com)
To: "'Richard Geib (cybrgbl@deltanet.com)
Subject: Mara Salvatrucha
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 01:03:52 -0500
MIME-Version: 1.0 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.1960.3)

Dear Mr. Geib:

My name is Anthony, and I'm 19 years of age. I know that probably to you am a kid, but if you give me a minute or two, I could tell you a little bit about what this kid has seen in his short life. I hang around with MS 13 for over four years in Los Angeles and here in Texas. I cant tell you exactly why I did, but all I know is that it felt good!! for a little while until I started seen the real thing for example; drive-bys,planing of drive-bys,jail,death and homito's getting hurt. To make it short, I started seen what you see now, and with the help of some people I manage to step out of that world of Gangs. now I am a believer of Christ, and I preach the gospel of Christ to young people in and out of Gangs, well that is my story hope you enjoy it.