The Dream Shattered: Vietnamese Gangs in America

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The Dream Shattered: Vietnamese Gangs in America by Patrick Du Phuoc Long

This book was written by a Vietnamese counselor that worked with numerous Vietnamese offenders in juvenile correctional and rehabilitation facilities in Santa Clara County, California. Mr. Long detailed the lives of these offenders and the effects they had on their families and the community.

I did not like this book at first, yet I continued to read it. Then I had to really ask myself why I did not like it. And I had to admit to myself it was because I saw a lot of the way I used to think and see the world in the stories of these young offenders. Many of Mr. Long's wards blamed their parents, the pressures of excelling in school, peer pressure, and the allure and glamour of the gang lifestyle as the reasons for their criminal behavior. I was the same exact way for many years. It made me uncomfortable when these kids glorified their gang lifestyles because I was able to identify my own warped thoughts and beliefs.

After much thought and reflection, I feel a deep sense of sadness for many of the kids and their families in the book. I know the path my choices have led me down, and I wonder what happened to many of these youths. There was a lot of anger in these adolescents, as there was in me, and they caused a lot of hurt and pain to their parents, as well as to the surrounding communities. All stemming from choices that were fueled by a sense of not feeling loved, hopelessness, and a lack of purpose or direction in their lives. It makes me really question what I could do to help the new generation of kids to not follow down the same path that I did.

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