When I observe what is happening in my city (Montreal) and other cities worldwide, I worry that our streets are becoming unsafe. The phenomenon of street gangs is not new, but it is becoming more prominent and more present in our everyday lives. We read about it, we hear about it, the situation is increasingly problematic. I wish to discuss this phenomenon because fights between rival gangs always lead to violence. I feel triggered by all this violence because, as we know, it often begins with uncontrolled impulsivity. This kind of behaviour frightens me.
As you know, I have ADHD, and one of the symptoms is impulsivity. When impulsivity degenerates, it often leads to violence. I have received several testimonies from parents who tell me how their boys, some of them younger than me, drifted into delinquency, and one of the reasons is the lack of impulsivity control. It is not the only factor that can lead to delinquency, but it is an essential factor. A broken family environment, uninvolved parents, and poverty are also other determining conditions towards this path. I shared this anxiety with my father. He tried to reassure me; and told me that if we keep track of our goals, the tendency to be impulsive will diminish, and delinquency will seem a lot less attractive. As I have already mentioned, many conflicts in the past have involved my mother. They have been particularly aggressive; often, insults transform into threats. Intense and aggressive interactions such as these are probably similar to the interactions gang members have with rival gangs.
A conflictual family environment, a feeling of abandonment, a culture of violence, the lure of easy money can be enough of a temptation for young people with ADHD to join gangs. The gangs will then instrumentalize our impulsive behaviours and use our distress to their benefit. I have this fear, too, that if I do not control my behaviour, I may also be tempted to join criminal organizations. However, I also hope that if I have the humility to recognize my tendencies and become aware of them, it will determine my willingness to change or keep control of my destiny.