What’s Life Like For A Detroit Gang Member? ‘You Get Accustomed To It’
DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Quaminique Macklin, 16, is old hand with a gun. He got his first in eighth grade.
The west side Detroit gang member came to Charlie Langton’s Talk Radio 1270 studio Friday morning to give an insight into his life and the lives of others just like him in Detroit, as the city seems to explode with random violence that has cost the lives or health of nearly a half-dozen innocent bystanders in the last few weeks.
Macklin was joined in the discussion of gang life by anti-gang worker Thomas Jackson from Detroit 300.
“My mom always told me you surround yourself with people just like you,” Macklin said. His father was murdered when he was an infant, and he just had a child himself. He said his gun is unregistered.
Macklin is an aspiring rapper and unemployed, tattooed high school dropout who says, “Music is my life, when I was locked up all I did was write and that kept me going.”
You don’t want to be locked up again do you? Langton asked.
“No, all that’s going to change,” Macklin said. “I just worry about my life getting took, being a victim of the streets, that’s just how it is…There’s a lot of stuff going on. A lot of people don’t know how to deal with it.”
He said of the gang: “It’s more like a family, a brotherhood, we got each other’s backs…From their perspective they think we go around causing a lot of trouble… It’s just a lot of stuff that comes with it.”
Langton asked him how he’ll change his life.
“Hard word and dedication,” Macklin said, “Getting a good job, moving out of the state, there’s a hood everywhere you go.”
Does he know where he’ll have dinner that night? “No,” Macklin said, adding that it doesn’t worry him.
“When you live a certain way you get accustomed to it, it don’t seem as harsh, I’ve been doing it so long, it just seems like life to me
Marcello from Detroit called in to say, “This young man can be saved, you can tell. He’s on the borderline of really wanting to change his life. He just needs some guidance, some good people in his corner…You’ve got to get away from negative people..I think he can really be saved.”
“Thanks for giving me a ton of support that I really need,” Macklin said.
Dr. Alonzo Richard Fleming Jr. called in to say his father was also murdered in Detroit, and his uncle was murdered to keep him from testifying in his brothers’ homicide.
“Approximately 20 or so close friends have been murdered in the city of Detroit,” Fleming said, adding that he wrote a book on the source of the “energy of murder.”
“I issued a warning to Detroit that this violence was coming…The streets don’t change. There’s a reason why the streets don’t change …An environment of murder and slaughter has been cultivated,” Fleming said.
What is the source of the problem? Langton asked.
“We have a completely rotten culture, from the church to the activists … The whole thing has to be wiped out,” Fleming said.
Joe from Detroit called in to say, “I had a guy from Chicago, a career criminal, tell me he moved to Detroit because Michigan abolished the death penalty… I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I know if I do, they won’t take my life.”