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There is a belief, popular amongst gun control advocates, that teenagers and young men shoot people because of misplaced machismo. You can certainly find plenty of ballistic braggadocio in rap music. But the plain truth is that armed gang bangers are motivated by the same thing that motivates all human beings: the fight for resources.

Gang bangers use guns to gain and protect turf. Turf equals money. Drugs. Sex. Cars. Respect. Safety. Etc. If gang bangers weren’t using guns to make a living, they’d be using . . . boxing gloves?

That’s the idea behind the Guns Down, Gloves Up movement. Which is gaining traction in the Jacksonville area, as witnessed by this rap video and article at

The movement encourages young people to get aggression out during [unsanctioned] boxing matches to deter gun violence.

Already in 2017 more than a dozen shootings have been reported in Jacksonville [Florida].

“So we just reached out to the artists to see who all wanted to be a part of this movement to put an audio to the visual,” rapper Boo Deezy Take it Eazy said.

The artists and members of the community came together at a boxing gym on Saturday to film a music video for a song that backs the movement.

In the rap song, you can hear a little kid saying, “Guns down, gloves up.”

Seven rappers in Jacksonville wrote their own lyrics for each verse.

“I didn’t realize how much it has impacted the city but I’ve heard so much about the whole movement before I was even involved in it,” Slimm Baby, one of the artists, said.

Other artists include Wizzle, Lil Duvy, Polo Bryant, Jiggaman35, and Kuban Blake, who all said they want to use their voices to make an impact.

“It’s a blessing to be a part of something positive and have a local radio station show us support,” Kuban Blake said.

So I guess the first rule of Guns Down, Gloves Up isn’t guns down. It’s you always talk about Guns Down, Gloves Up.

Anyway, while there’s nothing wrong with channeling youthful aggression, frustration and boredom into supervised physical activity, this “movement” solves nothing. Because when gang bangers get down to business in the ‘hood, it’s business as usual. Know what I mean?

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    • It’s already getting them what they want, no luck required. Publicity. Of course it won’t stop the criminals who are responsible for 85% of violent crimes, but I very much doubt that was ever the intention.

      • Definitely has gotten them publicity with *ME*! I will not be stopping in Jacksonville during my next trip through FL. Just cruise right on by.

  1. How is it that none of these people after all these years have no idea whatsoever why gang members are killing gang members?

    Sure, if two otherwise good kids have some beef maybe a few rounds in a ring can squash it. Take two rival gang members fighting over a city block and there’s no way in hell they’d let anything go for less than blood.

    Fisticuffs as a solution is trying to Norman Rockwellify the problem. It’s a lie and it won’t work. A great way to siphon off your share of government and NGO money but a pitiful waste of time if you’re really looking to keep homicidal idiots with lead-stunted IQ’s and no moral compass from killing each other.

    • God made men. Sam Colt made men equal.

      Gloves up only works if you are an aggressive, fight loving male. Many perfectly acceptable young men, myself included in my youth, do not want to fight but may be forced to fight. That does not make the match-up equal.

      There was a policy in PE class in my high school that if the coach caught you fighting the combatants would be gloved up and put in the ring for 3 rounds. This became quite the sport because the bullies would wait for the coach to come around the corner before pretending that some poor kid had just knocked him down. The result would be a sanctioned three-rounds of the bully beating the crap out of some poor outclassed kid while the coach watched.

      The greatest value of a handgun is that no matter how small or timid or peace-loving you are, you become at least a reasonable match for any criminal or bully.

    • You speak as if it’s only “gang bangers” carrying guns. Most people read things and think it’s the truth when you hear about shootings in these urban areas. Gangs, gang violence. That’s so far removed from the truth, sometimes it’s just a dude with a gun who don’t give a s**t about another’s well being. Him by himself solo or a dude’s pride took over when he was disrespected. It’s not always bloods, crips and all that BS. Easy to pass judgement when or comment on these things when you’ve never been.

      P.S not saying you just this article in general.

  2. I went to a fight once… and a hockey game broke out… (BaddaBoom)

    But seriously, does it make sense to take a bunch of aggressive young folks with authority issues and teach them how to fight more effectively? And does every kid get a trophy even if they loose?

  3. Uh yeah the fakenews media brings us the new movie “Fistfight”. About a big mean black man(Icecube) having an afterschool fight with a little white dude. Sure…Having been attacked by more than 1 big black man I’m no longer the big,strong,fast and fearless guy I once was. Now he gets a bullet,knife or a pepperblast. Real men stay alive…

    • If physical mano-a-mano combat was all it was about we would not have a long history of people inventing ever better and more effective personal weapons from clubs up to .50 S&W. Getting into a fist-fight where you are out-classed by either aggression or skill is a painful and useless experience. (Been there, done that.) Showing a weapon and having a really big bad ass turn and run for the hills, now THAT’S a win.

  4. Having something for kids to do and somewhere to do it is a good idea. Planers put a lot of people in a small space with nothing for any recreation or physical activity then wonder why there are problems.

    It won’t help with existing gang members but might help stop some younger people joining

      • Here’s an idea: we have the youths’ fathers teach them how to box. As a follow-up, their fathers could teach them how to fish, fix cars, build a shed, even (gasp) shoot a gun. You could fill a lot of evenings and weekends with this kind of stuff. Never mind, it was a crazy idea.

  5. I was standing at the walmart gun counter recently when I struck up a conversation with what can only be described as a small mountain with arms. I am 6 feet and 250 and this guy flat out dwarfed me. Well he felt the need to explain to me how HE had no use for guns because (and I’m paraphrasing) his fists were always good enough for him. I explained that, as long as the other guy was also using fists, he was probably correct, but once the other guy goes for a gun you’re SOL. He then said that if that happens then God has decided it is his time to die. Not wanting to antagonize an obviously anti gun hutt I left it at that and we parted ways, but to this day I cannot understand why being beaten to death (or having to beat someone into mental retardation for that matter) is preferable to shooting or being shot.

    • Sounds like an ironically insecure man. Any adversity in life he feels that he can handle it head on. If not, then death is the acceptable, no make that preferred outcome. Or perhaps his psychosis is more attributable to pride. Either way, guys got issues.

  6. I am past sick and tired of this crap that “Real men settle disputes with their fists.” That doesn’t work when one of them is 5′ tall and weighs not much more than 100 pounds while the other is a foot and a half taller and three times as heavy. Boxing organizations have weight classes to deal with such disparities. The streets don’t.

  7. Kevin
    Two parents, stable home etc are the best thing. But if kids have nowhere to play and be kids you will always have problems

    I grew up with a 300 acre back yard plus 2000 more up the road and probably walked every piece several times. Adults seem to under estimate how much energy kids can have.

    • I hear you, but given the choice between an intact family and lots of land, which would you choose for your children? I’ve not read the statistics, but if you polled inmates at the local graybar motel, I’d bet anything that the vast majority grew up in a broken family and/or with lots of drug and alcohol abuse. There are probably as many exceptions as there are not, but its a huge, huge problem when the male role model a young kid looks up to isn’t the guy who comes home every night to his mom, but is a local thug instead.

      *We* love an easy answer to a complicated problem, like setting up a boxing program to promote, I guess, fistfights over gunfights (great couple of choices, by the way). But there is no easy solution for a cultural breakdown, the normalization of the conditions that underlie our problems is the opposite of what we need.

    • Were you underprivileged then? Here in NEMontana any piece of ground of 640 acres or more is horseback(or motorcycle) territory. I grew up in the saddle with a Ruger Bearcat on my hip. Many here still do. Not much on horses anymore though…
      Its all quads and snowmobiles now. Kinda sad.
      “I never met a woman who was half as reliable as a horse…”

  8. Kevin
    I agree
    One of the most depressing things I did for work was back in the 1980’s was checking / fixing low income housing with 13 year old single mothers and 15 years with two or more children living by themselves

    No hope for the children

  9. real men have opposable thumbs.

    so they can shoot guns. and drive tanks. and build nukes. and lift weights. and pull off armbars. but more importantly, so they can build shelter, make clothes to protect themselves from nature, mass produce food, and produce written language so that they can organize.

    animals fight without tools, because they are dumb and wild.

  10. Using a ‘fight for resources’ theory doesn’t explain why some people manage to make it out of the projects without getting in the game and others don’t. It’s more complicated and society matters- even the tiny micro-communities that form on blocks.

    Providing a group of people to hang out with who aren’t looking to score is useful. One way to do that is to appeal to the masculinity of young men via things like boxing. It’s not really about ‘aggression’ but it’s not useless.

  11. An additional part of the violence is that they just don’t value human life. They’ve been called – and treated like – trash for their entire lives and that environment shapes them.

  12. Kenneth
    Horse, motorbike and car. Plus a lot of walking when I was spraying weeds or hunting

    Plus the larger place went to the ocean almost to the ocean with mangrove swamp so you had to walk

  13. It is laudable to try to divert young people from criminal gangs, but as long as there is demand for illicit stuff, scumbags will show up (from somewhere) to provide it.

    Realistically, the only way to crush demand is to educate–nay, indoctrinate children to run the other way.

    I can definitively say that the effective LAPD officer assigned to my school as part of the “Just Say No/Dare” program is why I ran the other way. There was plenty of supply to run away from where I grew up.

  14. A fight for resources is part of it, yes, but to discount a toxic self-image and an intolerance for any perceived disrespect would be to oversimplify things by a wide margin. This “Guns Down, Gloves Up” thing seems like an incredibly stupid idea for sure–that’s a given. But there are no easy solutions here, really. Gang members in these communities will kill over a tiny slight just as easily as for turf or revenge. The problem is parenting and education. And I don’t even mean parenting with two people, necessarily, though assuming both parents are good parents, obviously that’s ideal. What I mean is that it takes proper parenting and a good education to get someone to realize that disrespect, intentional or accidental, is not an excuse for violence.

    The general attitude in violent gangs is that doing something like killing someone for disrespecting you makes you strong. Unless something can be done to quash that attitude in your child before a gang gets hold of them, you’ve already lost. These people have a completely different standard than a normal person for what’s considered “reasonable behaviour”, and no amount of cutesy songs and watered-down fight clubs are going to change that. It takes time, and it takes money being put into resources for these communities. Both are in short supply.

  15. I suspect this is another side effect of movies on people who are ignorant of firearms and armed confrontations. A lot of these folks think suppressors are truly silent, that a shotgun blast at point blank will send you flying, that guns can be fired full auto for a minute and not run out of ammo, and so on. Likewise, they think when faced with someone with a gun or fists looking to start trouble that they’ll transform into Jason Bourne and knock them out no problem. It just doesn’t work that way.

    A gun isn’t a magic talisman that wards off danger and injury. Same goes for martial arts training. Those slick moves won’t stop you from getting shot, stabbed, or beaten to death by a determined and ruthless criminal. Using your brain, and the eyeballs strapped on to that brain is your best bet to avoid such a confrontation in the first place.

  16. Might be a way to vent/redirect aggressive energy for some kids but there will undoubtedly be “rematches” in the streets for others. Meanwhile, the primary issues, such as cultural decay, remain too sensitive to address seriously.

  17. The term gang banger gets thrown around waaay to loosely with the far right crowd. What you don’t know is the youngster’s these days generally aren’t even “gang bangin” anymore. What you see today is unguided youth with no loyalty to anyone but themselves.

    I support these type of programs. Anyone who’s been in their fair share of fist fights will tell you sometimes after the dust settles you can find an understanding with your rival.

  18. Guns Down, Gloves Up is the greatest idea ever in the history of the world!

    Let’s challenge ISIS to a fistfight and settle our differences like men!

  19. Boo Deezy Take it Eazy, Wizzle, Lil Duvy, Polo Bryant, Jiggaman35, and Kuban Blake.

    For some odd reason, I can’t take any of these people seriously.

  20. It goes way beyond activities. Even though studies show recidivism is reduced when youth are engaged in community service and employment, the biggest obstacles that remain are environment and drugs. When a youth comes from a single parent household, where even that parent is not present these kids are screwed. That and marijuana. These kids aren’t enjoying an occasional joint, no they are smoking 2-3 blunts a day, the end result being that they cannot get a job past fast food.

  21. They didn’t once say that this would curb gang violence. I don’t even know where you pulled gang violence out of this. I’m surprised most you aren’t saying “back in my day…(blah blah blah) we just we exchanged blows with an old chap”. I don’t see how you can’t be 100% behind this.

  22. Uhh you do know that there are and have been many pugilistic street gangs right? The bloods and crips in their early years(early 70s) were just that. There are hard heads in every community.

    If they could spark a trend which could ignite a cultural shift in the way these aggressive hard heads solve their differences, which don’ts result in people dead or serving life sentences because of gun violence it could only serve to benefit the community as a whole. Plus, there’s very little if any collateral damage from street fights and they have the opportunity to grow up to look back and laugh at this later in life.

  23. I’m sorry but wtf What type of gun violence is prevented by boxing gangs won’t box over territory. Most issues or problems have an aggressor. If we talk teen or school shooting it’s a picked on kid getting fed up with life. Depression sets in. Tired of bullies giving them shit. Do we solve that kids problem putting them in a cage with gloves so the kids beat down becomes a public show case How did the focus switch from stopping violence to starting it If I punk a kid out of his shoes and he comes back and shoots me. Yea ya know a life lost is tragic. But what type of life was lost and how valuable was it if I just spread chaos. Do I have legit rights to the shoes if I beat the kid in a ring. 🤔. Is our beef over a girl. Is she mine if I beat the kid in a ring. Somebody plz tell me what beef is solved this way Without a Neanderthal animalistic approach. How the hell does this garbage make any since anywhere but the hood 🤦‍♂️. It’s embarrassing

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