Tattoo machine > Info Center > Gangs & tattoos: a brief history

Gangs & tattoos: a brief historyTattoo machine

Throughout history, tattoos have often been a symbol for belonging, whether it be to a tribe, biker gang, club, or even in some cases gangs. These of course, aren’t the majority any longer as there are many good people getting tattoos these days. There are some huge differences in the way the majority of prison, or “home made” tattoos are preformed, and the sterility involved.

Gangs and clubs uses tattoos for a plethora of reasons, some will have numerous tattoos, while others may only have a couple. Some may have symbols to identify their members, tattoos of things such as a tear drop, or a spider web under the eye represent prison time. It is fairly popular among members to tattoo their names in large letters so that rival gangs will become intimidated. Though gang members get these tattoos to represent their membership, some people will get them just because, this of course can be a VERY dangerous thing. There are records of prison inmates removing un-authorized tattoos from a non-member by skinning the tattoo from a persons flesh.

Though tattoos have obviously become more acceptable in the majority of people, and aren’t just for prison inmates or gang members, not too many people are willing to get facial tattoos, or tattoos upon their hands which are practices common among gangs.

One of the key differences between your main-stream tattoos, and prison tattoos are the machines, and as said above the sterility. Most home or “prison” tattoos are done with guitar string, or whatever else they can find that would be sharp enough to penetrate the skin. This, of course is a VERY risky decision on anyone’s part. The “needles” are not one-time-use, often times they are used over, and over again without ever seeing a means of sterilization. Often times, the ink for a home tattoo is mere pen ink, again a very risky thing to do. Any person who partakes in this behavior takes the risk of contracting HIV, and hepatitis.

Not only is it a risk to your health, there are many other down sides to these tattoos. They normally at best last a maximum of a few months before bleeding out into the surrounding skin. If the tattoo isn’t cared for, or the ink formulated properly the body can reject the tattoo easily.

I can’t seem to stress enough, tattoos need to be preformed by a trained professional! The equipment that is used by a professional tattoo artist is meant for tattoos, guitar strings are meant for guitars, not for spreading disease. Tattoo artists will , and should take care in the sterilization process of their one time use items. You stand a much smaller chance of catching anything from even the biggest slum of a tattoo shop, than you would during a home tattoo. Take care in the decisions you make, they will effect your life, not just the here and now.

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