Chapter

Dodging the Morgue Rule

Robert Brenneman

in Homies and Hermanos

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753840
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918836 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753840.003.0004
Dodging the Morgue Rule

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A popular slogan among Central American gang members is, “¡Hasta la morgue!” or “All the way to the morgue!” Although the phrase has multiple meanings, it is used both by insiders and by onlookers to emphasize that gang membership is a lifelong commitment with “no way out.” Still, many have tried to leave, some successfully, via migration, conversion, or when a local gang cell or “clica” falls apart after the death of its leader. This chapter examines the reasons why some gang members grow tired of the gang and seek to leave despite the high costs and risks associated with deserting. For many gang members joining and participating in the gang, while providing access to certain resources, can become a source of further shame and risk. What feels at first like a family—a haven in a heartless world—often ends up feeling like prison.

Keywords: gangs; morgue rule; Clicka; shame; deserting; Central America

Chapter.  13780 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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