St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks ongoing teen gang attacks just reflect a heartless society that would foreclose on a mortgage
- 11/1/11, "Editorial: The 'knockout game' and the spirit of the times," St. Louis Post Dispatch Editorial
Roving bands of teenagers slugging people just for the hell of it? That takes us into "A Clockwork Orange" territory.
Then you've got the city's mayor and his police bodyguard happening upon one victim lying on a sidewalk outside a public library branch and the mayor suggesting that 13- and 14-year-old kids arrested for the crime be charged as adults.
You've got a police captain talking about a "trend of sub-human behavior [that] defies predictive analysis because the attacks happen in different places, on different days and at different times."
In the last 15 months, police said, seven such attacks have taken place in neighborhoods around Tower Grove Park and South Grand. There were incidents in 2006 and 2007 in Carr Square and Dutchtown. There may well have been
- other assaults not tagged as "knockout" incidents or that went unreported.
It has reached the point that it has triggered an all-out response by the St. Louis Police Department. Top investigators and a special police squad have been assigned. A prosecutor has been designated to focus on the cases.
Predictably, some people who work with young people point to a lack of recreational opportunities and quality education programs. Mayor Francis Slay, who rolled up on one victim on Oct. 21 just in time to see his attackers saunter away, is enraged at the thought.
You can provide all the recreational programs and quality educational programs every day," he said, "but ultimately each and every individual has a personal responsibility to respect each other and saying they're bored is not an excuse,
- it's a cop-out, and that's a problem in and of itself."
Police have arrested six kids, five boys and a girl, aged 13 and 14, in the Oct. 21 incident. The mayor said he'd like to see them charged as adults. This seems a tad excessive. One of the few things that Missouri does better than most states is juvenile justice. The kids, and society as a whole, probably would be better off in the long run if Juvenile Court Judge Jimmie Edwards keeps jurisdiction.
Reporter Denise Hollinshed of the Post-Dispatch talked to some kids outside of Roosevelt High School, one of whom acknowledged
- that he'd taken part in the "knockout king" game.
- "You don't know them,
- so why care about hurting them?"
That's a chilling statement. It reflects an almost sociopathic lack of empathy.
On the other hand, the more you think about it, it perfectly captures today's zeitgeist,
- the spirit of the times.
Why not foreclose on homes without giving the homeowners a chance to work out their mortgages? Why not let 50 million people go without health insurance? Why not tilt the table so all the money runs down to one end?
- You don't know them, so why care about hurting them?
It's not like you punched them in the head." via Gateway PunditTweet Stumbleupon StumbleUpon