YOUNG DAYS DANGEROUS TIMES
"In this country young people are like the dawn, they do not last long" -Roque Dalton
Nowadays is a menace to be young in El Salvador, the country is living dangerous times due to the gang violence which has had an impact on society for decades, specially in teenagers and young adults. The majority of gang members being their gang life at a very young ager some even before reaching their teens, other young Salvadorans decide to join the police force as a way to fight the unstable social situation caused by the gang war or simply because it becomes a good paying job and for that youth who is not part of a gang but are living in/or around neighborhoods overrun by the gangs, they are constantly hassled by gang members or the authorities, sometimes loosing their lives jut because thy come from a neighborhood controlled by the rival gang. The police force and military has a significant number of officers who are under 30, when patrolling the streets of the different neighborhood which are considered “red zones” have adopted the stop and frisk practice, they are accused of being involved in extrajudicial killings and sometimes being members of death squads targeting gang members or those who affiliate with the major gangs, creating an unsympathetic feeling in the communities. El Salvador is most dangerous for the young having one of the highest murder rate in the world for ages 15-24 years old including young adults. The three major gangs Mara Salvatrucha – MS13 and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios and Barrio 18 Sureños, cause most of the violence, with an estimated 55,000 gang members but when including everyone who is related or involve in the gang activities, these include family members, friends and helpers such as the ones nicknamed “postes” (lookouts), concluding that there is a bit more of half a million persons involved in gang activity. It is a chilling situation since the majority of persons being victims of the gang war, whether gang member or not are young and the prisons are filled with gang members who began their sentences either after turning 18yrs old or after officially becoming an adult (21yrs old). The youth of El Salvador is being lost to a wave of violence which has claimed the tens of thousands victims including the more than 11 thousands persons gone missing in the past decade, once again the young being a large percentage of those missing persons. The youth can’t roam around the neighborhoods, city streets freely and even thousands of students have dropped out school due to being in danger of being a victim and loosing their lives. The country is losing a young generation who can be the future of the country, the youth that can take turn the country around and lead its way to a fully developed and modernized country. The young are living dangerous times, constantly fearing being the next victim.
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