In a piece published with the NY Times by John Eligon, a group of journalists spent several weeks with gangs of Chicago to get a better understanding of what it means to be in a gang and what creates the perpetual cycle afflicting areas of the city.

There were often days of boredom, punctuated by bursts of drama and bravado. Gang life means animated debates over whether the guys on the next block meant to insult you or not. It means worrying over how to make enough for your next meal or your next high. And it means mourning the loss of loved ones, retaliating in their honor, yet wanting the cycle to stop.

Following the perspectives of various gang members and supporting these anecdotes with statistics, the journalists give support to an issue many wrongly summarize as “typical hood occurrences.”