People, get ready, there’s a train a comin…
Yes, people, get ready, because surely the world is coming to an end when children are committing the kinds of crimes they have been lately. The Bay Area has been inundated with shootings, assaults and all manner of crimes committed by young people. In Vallejo, a 15 year-old boy shot an ice cream truck vendor, an elderly woman in the chest. Thank goodness, she survived. Why did he shoot her? He was trying to rob her and because she didn’t speak English, he thought she was trying to resist. Some more Vallejo kids beat up a city worker. There have been various other incidents, kids committing crimes, often with a gun. But the end all be all occurred this past Sunday when three teenagers entered a Richmond church and shot and injured two brothers, also teenagers.
A former gang member said, “They have crossed the line.” What gives? Ministers are calling for a summit on what to do about the crime and young people? I don’t mean to be cynical, but they have done this before. It is said that these young people are in pain. They haven’t had proper parenting.; they don’t have role models. Frankly, I am tired of the excuses. Shooting in a church? Where are the boundaries? Like someone said, they have no boundaries. The corner church just as well the corner store. The aunt and uncle of the kid who shot the ice cream vendor appealed to the public to not judge their nephew. He has had a hard life, going from foster home to foster home. The father of the boy who assaulted the city worker said he wanted to make sure his son was treated fairly and he himself was killed by violence a few days later.
So, what is the solution? What can be done? I have no answers. The things that used to work; community involvement, parent concern and more policing are not available. Often these kids are raising themselves because of the lack of parents or neglectful parenting. Women are raising young men alone but that is a whole other blog. The situation in Vallejo with increasing violence is tied directly to that city’s bankrupt system and cutbacks in the police force. In my city of Oakland, I’m told there is more policing but they are still having side shows, doing donuts and crazy antics—a young woman was killed about two weeks ago when a driver lost control of a car. In fact, that young woman herself had been involved in taping a violent assault in a hair salon.
I don’t know what the solution is and I do not expect any quick answers. I just needed to vent and I have access to this space to do just that. While things are bad, there are young people who are doing phenomenal and positive feats. I hope to bring those stories soon.
February 18, 2010