My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King by Reymundo Sanchez

Written under a pseudonym by “Reymundo Sanchez”, the book My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King” is an autobiography of a man who tells about his life of crime.  The book became a medium of confession for a man who confirmed crimes such as robbery, rape, and murder.

Sanchez grew up in a life surrounded by violence and of being the victim before turning into the offender.  At five, he was raped.  At thirteen, he was introduced to sex by a junkie thrice his age.  He grew up as a battered child by his mother and stepfather, where drugs and alcohol became his solace.  It was during his teenage years when he started selling drugs and using sex as a trading instrument.

He eventually found himself joining the “Latin Kings” composed of mainly Puerto Rican members.  They sell themselves as protectors of the Puerto Rican community, but ironically victimize mainly Puerto Ricans in the process.

Life as a Latin King

When Sanchez joined the gang, its founders and senior leaders were either dead or in prison.  Left with other young members who came from the same poor, socially impaired and violent homes, he was exposed to a life without discipline and control.  They lived by stealing and drug dealing, and where his lifestyle swung between the streets, the gang’s clubhouses, and the gangbangers’ apartments.  This lifestyle meant that his existence revolved around drugs and a lot of violence.

Starting with membership, neophytes undergo a three-minute beating.  More beatings follow after that, which happens for whatever excuse can be found to have them.  Externally, there were gang wars to worry about, where anything can be a reason to start the fights.  Spilling blood becomes something normal for them, where gang members cause ruckus in the neighborhood, whether they hit on enemies or innocents.  The more violence caused, the more members were rewarded with notoriety, drugs and sex. Having committed crime prior to joining the gang, Sanchez did not have blood in his hands. His life of crime progressed after joining the gang, elaborated in the book “My Bloody Life”.

Joining the gang also meant that they left the personal life they once had, as well as the communities they were once a part of.  The gang became all they had.  This is the same reason why gang members becoming obsessed with their gang was almost a given.  The more they cling to the gang, the more their desire to protect it became, and the more twisted their life became, shaping them into the gang members of today.

The Law of Conspiracy vs. Street Gangs

Given the details of Sanchez’s narration, law enforcement’s weapon against such happenings lie in the “law of conspiracy”, which anchors itself with the notion that criminals together are more dangerous than having them acting by themselves.  This notion was affirmed in Sanchez’s book where his life was a telling evidence of how his life as a criminal worsened, as well as how gangs operate among themselves. Unlike organized crimes, gangs such as the Latin Kings hit where they feel like hitting.  Most of the times without any rules and no justifiable reason.  There is no fear of the law, where getting caught is nothing but normal.

Although the law of conspiracy can limit the growth of the gangs, the law is also limited where evidence of conspiracy is concerned.  Law enforcement is unable to make a move for suspecting members in terms of crimes that have not yet been committed.  Unless gang members plot and plan to do something illegal, they cannot be charged for breaking any law.  In “My Bloody Life”, reasons to becoming a gang target is further elaborated, including trivial things such as hand gestures, the color of one’s clothing, etc. can become a reason to fear for one’s life.  “My Bloody Life” explains the “what's and why's” of life in neighborhoods where gangs like the “Latin Kings” exist, and why people from these communities become endangered, whether they are merely surrounded by them, and more importantly, when they join a gang.