Hidden America: Chicago Gang Members on Tough Street Life

Part 2: Four Chicago gang members explain why they joined a gang and why it's hard to get out.
3:00 | 10/19/12

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Hidden America: Chicago Gang Members on Tough Street Life
Day and night, in chicago, you can see them on the street corners, mostly young men, patrolling their territory. That's a little north of us. Reporter: Late, on a friday night, we're with ameena, the daughter of a notorious gang lord who has now become an anti-violence advocate. She shows me every ordinary place on this corner is a kind of mortuary. There have been 18 murders in this neighborhood in the past year. And as we said, in these houses, all around, children who just want to grow up but live in fear. I'm scared. I like to be the president. I want to be a police officer. I want to be a doctor. Reporter: And no child ever said their dream was a future lost inside a gang. Puppet, from our town hall meeting, said he wanted to be a paramedic, but joined at the age of 13. I didn't have a father, really, at home. My mom was always working. Reporter: He's been stabbed in the head, shot seven times. Doctors once declared him dead. This is my family. Might not mean a lot to you because you don't know where I'm coming from or to other people but someone who lives the life i live, it means a lot to you. Then walk over here to the living room. Reporter: He takes us on a tour of the trap, gang headquarters. Some people don't have the nowhere to go, so, this is the only place for them to when it's cold outside. You can look right here, it says sex room. Obviously, either for sleeping or for bringing women right here. Reporter: In another part of town, jessica, a member of the black disciples, tells us she's attending church, trying to start community college. Her father was in a gang, her brother, best friend was killed after school two years ago. I wish that it was against the law to have a gun in the city of chicago. Reporter: And then, there's dre. The reason I joined the gang, because I felt no love in the crib, I didn't feel like nobody paid attention to me, so i joined the gang to make my name well known and do something, just -- make my name known somewhere. Reporter: Dre says he's trying to be like a dad to his younger siblings and protect them. You have to be smart out here. You got to keep your eyes peeled out here. Because you will be gone off this earth. Quick. In a hurry. Anybody can shoot me down today. I might not even make it today. I can do anything. I can draw, I can cook, I can fix things. I'm good with playing video games, I'm good just doing anything. Reporter: And dre says it's a kind of hell, for victims and their victimizers. This don't make me happy. You think I want to stand on the corner and sell drugs to other black folks who destroy my community for some petty ass money? Help us. Help us try to be better. Give us opportunities to do things what we good at. Give us something to do that's positive. Reporter: Back in the room, the mood is shifting. They argue about whether having a job could have made a difference. Nobody has a job out here. All these kids sitting out here on the streets. You go to suburb areas, you have a lot of people putting their kids , football, baseball, making sure their time is occupied. Reporter: What did you dream of being when you were 1 ye2 years old? A lawyer. Because of the life I chose, i had one, not being one. Reporter: At one point, the man known as mr. Blast, whose arrest record includes attempted murder says, he's giving ceasefire a try. Everybody up in here got talent. You can put these guns down and let's go with what we got. Let's go with our talent. You think it's going to be real easy to put down the gun? Raised to be a man. Time for you to step out and show you a man. Reporter: Man enough not to shoot bystanders, including children. They agree, it is now. Just crazy. If you in the way, it's just like, oh well. It is what it is. Our generation is, like, messed up. And every day I walk out of my house going to school, I'm in fear of what could happen to me, not knowing if I'm going to make it back home or not. That eat up my soul every day. Reporter: And the night after our meeting, this man, pacman, encounters rival gang members who shoot him six times. Yet pacman says he has a very different hope for his son. Hopefully my son is going to be the president. You know? Got to keep your head up. That's it. Keep your head up. Reporter: When we return, if you think it seems without hope in these neighborhoods, see what happens when ralph and julian and grieving mothers and community leaders enter this room. We're going to talk about how

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":17523925,"title":"Hidden America: Chicago Gang Members on Tough Street Life","duration":"3:00","description":"Part 2: Four Chicago gang members explain why they joined a gang and why it's hard to get out.","url":"/Nightline/video/hidden-america-chicago-gang-members-tough-street-life-17523925","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"default"}