Sunday, March 01, 2015

“The Triangle” by Kevin Deutsch – War of the Invisible Men

The Triangle by Kevin Deutsch - book cover
Many of us know the Bloods and the Crips as being two opposing gangs, identifying themselves by the colors red and blue, respectively. We know they have made life rather difficult and dangerous in a number of areas, especially the socioeconomically underprivileged ones, and continue to be a rising threat to all who live besides them.It has actually come to the point where it is an international phenomenon, and you can find the Bloods and Crips separation happening in major American cities as well as small European villages.

It is something that deserves to be studied and understood, which is what led Kevin Deutsch, an investigative journalist, to spend an entire year living in the Linden Triangle, an area infamous for the ravages of the Bloods vs Crips war, and then give us a review of all he has come to learn in his book, The Triangle. Basically, the book details Deutsch's experience living in that place, most importantly focusing on the people themselves. The personal, first-hand observations are largely complemented by interviews conducted with a whole variety of people caught up in the conflict, and those include over two hundred gang members, their friends and families, drug addicts, law enforcement agents, social workers, and many more. In other words, Deutsch seeks to provide as clear and complete a picture as possible of the brutal way of life that is happening right under our noses, one where rape and murder are part of the daily routine.

To begin with, it is a shame that there aren't more works of literature focused on addressing the very real issues that tend to become invisible to us from one day to the next, mainly because we are not personally affected by them. Perhaps it is because the topic of gang warfare is one that's been hammered down incessantly everywhere from the media to schools and even various types of entertainment, but it certainly is under-explored when it becomes a question of diving beneath the surface and seeing things from the perspective of those who are caught up in the dead center of it. Just for the fact that The Triangle manages to communicate to us those perspectives we've been neglecting so much, it already deserves a whole lot of praise, but as you can guess, there is much more to it.

If you are searching for a realistic, accurate (as far as I could tell, anyways), and moving account of what life is like in the Linden Triangle, look no further. We really do get to see what it's like for the different types of people who are caught up in this whole mess, and the many stories they have to tell bring about laughs and tears in equal measure (okay, maybe leaning a bit more heavily towards the latter) and help us to remember that the place is very real and exists with real people in it, rather than just being some imaginary element we can distance ourselves from.

Kevin Deutsch

Kevin Deutsch

Personal site

Kevin Deutsch is a criminal justice writer for Newsday, whose previous places of employment included New York Daily News, The Miami Herald, The Palm Beach Post and The Riverdale Press. His main topic of interest is that of journalism on the subjects of terrorist, drug trafficking and street gangs, with his first book, The Triangle, focusing on the latter of those.

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