Tattoos Are Art, Not Gang Symbols

Jeremy Parks
Spare Change News

People with tattoos are not always in gangs. It’s a form of art. People use this to express their feelings and how they live their lives. I have four tattoos, and three are religious tattoos. The tattoo on my back is for all the brothers I lost when I served in the army rangers.

People use tattoos to remember loved ones, to express what music they listen to, or for nicknames that people call them. Some people have tattoos of their company logos. Gangs use tattoos to show who the leader is.

People who listen to Insane Clown Posse (ICP) are classified as gang members. This is false. ICP followers are just people who like ICP’s music, and they are called family. I listen to ICP and I’m not a gang member. We just gather and listen to music. We are labeled as gang members because since ICP sings about killing people, the wrong people get the wrong idea. We are misunderstood. All we want is to be seen as a family. We all have tattoos, but we don’t do crime. We just hang out and listen to music.

Tattoos can be wonderful ways to express who you are and what you believe in. You can use tattoos to express how you feel or what your family’s heritage is. You can use tattoos to make family trees.

I got my Jesus tattoo before I went into the military because I wanted Him to watch over me and my fellow brothers in the Army Rangers. I was deployed in 2001 and I didn’t come home until 2009, we fought in Iraq in the War on Terror. My fellow brothers had Jesus tattoos too, and we all thought we would be safe.

When you get a tattoo, it is permanent. You need to be sure that when you get a tattoo, it is the one you want because it stays with you for the rest of your life. People have tattooed loved ones on their bodies like their moms, dads, sisters, brothers, wives, and children.

I do a lot of thinking when I get a tattoo. You can get landscapes of the ocean or of the dinosaur period if you want. You can get states and other things if you want, your favorite food, or movies – if you want it, a tattoo artist will draw it for you. Be carful what you get because certin gangs get certain tattoos. So do your research before you get one. It will help you from getting locked up by accident because cops just look at the tattoo, not the history behind it. Your tattoo should be what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get it because they don’t like it. Tough. It’s your body. Remember that. It’s your tattoo– make it your way.

When you go to a tattoo shop, you need to make sure you find out how long they have tattooed and how long they have been in business. Make sure the needles are not used and are in packages. Tattoos are a wonderful work of art, and they tell stories of your life if you let them.

JEREMY PARKS is formerly homeless and a member of the Guardian Angels.

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