Many of my colleagues and friends asked for whom I was writing Into the Abyss.
I initially started to write is as a means of collecting my thoughts and
impressions when my field research was over. As I wrote, however, my goal
changed. I began writing it for whoever had an interest in gangs. And,
realizing the power of the Internet, I included links to over 2,800
gang-related sites on the Internet as each related to one or another of the
topics I was writing about.
If you're the parent of a child
who might be getting in trouble, I wrote this book for you. If you are a
mentor to a child or adult in trouble, I wrote this book for you. If you are a
law enforcement officer or commander, teacher, faith community leader, social worker, community activist, criminal justice student
or criminologist, social planner, politician, legislator, or businessperson and you want to know more about gangs - I wrote
this book for you.
I wrote Into the Abyss because I want to share with
others what I learned about gangs, the neighborhoods and communities in which they reside, and
the way in which our society is dealing with them. Most importantly, I wrote
this book for people who
are interested in doing something constructive about the gang situation - for people who
will take an active role in their community
by addressing the core
problems which cause gangs to form and youths to join them.
Because Into the Abyss was written for such a wide audience, I have
written it more as a personal account of what I learned about gangs over the
past three years than as an academic tome.