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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Not one word?

That's to anyone who has not yet weighed in on the youth homicide problem Greater Miami (and no doubt a lot of other big metro areas) is dealing with now.

It's a serious issue, and one I know is not unique to South Florida.

Give me some feedback folks. How do we get kids to stop killing each other over BS? I once covered a murder, in which the would-be victim accidentally stepped on the shooter's girlfriend's new shoes. I say would-be 'cause the shooter had horrible aim, missed the shoe-scuffer, and instead struck and killed a 12-year-old girl, sitting in her grandmother's home nearby, minding her own business. Insane. How do we convince them their heroes in the music biz are mostly phonies, who no longer live the hard street life that they brag about in song? How do we convince them that getting shot or locked up really isn't all that cool?

In case you missed two posts ago, I wrote about the issue in Wednesday's Miami Herald.


  • My uncle is exec. director of this program:
    which has had some amazing success in Chicago and other areas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:03 PM  

  • I have the gout...

    By Blogger Crashtest Comic, at 8:48 PM  

  • CtC, I have to admit I couldn't have been more caught off guard if you'd said you had bubonic plague.

    I thought gout was old news, cured, whatever. Show's how much I know about (foot diseases?).

    Has nothing whatsoever to do with preventing stupid people from committing murder. But it is fascinating in a weird way, fascinating like the car accident you try not to stare at when driving by on the highway.

    Good luck w/that.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:46 PM  

  • Good Question.

    So why do these kids feel they 'need' to carry guns in the first place?

    Low self-esteem? Inability to express themselves other than by acts of violence? 'Everyone else does'?

    How to persuade them it ain't cool?

    Give them something they CAN achieve to boost their self esteem (oh no, takes time & money). Teach them to express themselves verbally (same, plus it can be too like school).
    Gun control? *Ducks!*

    Try getting through to the rest of society (particularly those at the top & the trend setters) that there is more to life than money?

    I dunno, but when you've found a way would you mind exporting it over here (UK) too, cos we have knife crime & gun crime, & kids (& other people) just having guns is on the increase.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 4:17 AM  

  • Listen,

    It is the every day slights that the blacks folks get. I know as a white person who recently moved to Miami, i get slighted every frekkin day by the miami radical right wing cuban immigrants. So the anger builds, builds and builds. And what will happen, the last snide ass cuban will say something smart for the last time. And boom. What is sad it everybody will say wow, John beat the crap out of a innocent cuban, just because the cuban smarted off to him, how silly. Well not exactly, i was an rubber band that just snapped. That cuban was the last one to give it a pull.

    I dont think it is a very good analogy to equate my experience with cubans, and the racist and bigoted every day slights that the black recieves. Nevertheless, Burnett that is why i think the murderous climates premates some in the black community.


    Good luck to your blog. I just discovered it on infomaniac. I will stop in from time to time. Us "real" Americans have to look out for each other in Miami. Not many of us left.

    By Anonymous john longfellow aka lou dobbs, at 10:01 AM  

  • bronchitikat put it well. It's like the little boy and the dike-there are so many holes to plug, how do we do it? The kids are failed by so many institutions. The schools do nothing to instill self pride or worth-they are allowed to act out without having to answer for what they do.Their home environments are a mess-even if they're fortunate enough to a parent who is involved, many many times the peer pressure takes first seat and the parent is left trying fight against it. As someone said, unless we can get the trendsetters and power figures to step up and make a stand, we're going to have a tough time.

    By Anonymous dogncatmom, at 10:37 AM  

  • Thanks for commenting folks. Talking in and of itself won't fix the problem, but maybe it'll help make more people realize we all have to fix it or we'll all end up suffering for it.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:27 AM  

  • How about blacks taking some responsibility for the violence in our own communities. Let's face facts, this is where this type of crime typically occurs. Sugar coating sh*t don't make it less stinky.

    As a black woman, I want other black women to stop having babies with every Tom, Dick, and Daquan that smiles at them. Remember that it takes a man to help raise a man, so choose wisely. Things happen, but not 2,3, and more times. Start beating your kids and stop trying to be their friends. They'll have plenty of friends but only 2 parents.

    Stop making excuses for bad-ass kids. Lock them up. Send them into the military. But don't substantiate(sp?) the stupidity by giving reasoning to it. Like that kid that got kid at the boot camp. His parents were punks or he wouldn't have ended up there in the first place. I read an article in Essence about him that states they considered punishment taking away the cell phone. How about whooping his ass like a man since he though he was one?

    My son is 7. If he steps out of line he know I or my husband will come rain down on him like a GA thunderstorm.

    By Anonymous Tonya, at 3:29 PM  

  • Tonya aka Queen Latifa wrote: Start beating your kids and stop trying to be their friends.

    Yah, that is the spirit, beat the crap out of your kids. How bout being intelligent, and using your mind, and not your fist. Violence begets violence. You sound like you actually "listen" to George W. Bush speeches.

    By Anonymous john longfellow aka lou dobbs, at 6:05 PM  

  • Queen Latifa? Longfellow/Dobbs, I appreciate how passionate you feel about your opinion, but calling names in that fashion hints a bit at the same kind of racism you seem to disapprove of. A woman who says she's black offers an opinion you don't like so you refer to her as "AKA Queen Latifa?" Not cool.

    I welcome comments, agree with me, disagree, agree with other readers, disagree, whatever. But that kind of name-calling doesn't sit well w/me.

    That being said, Tonya I'm glad you shared your opinion too. I may not be a fan of beatings, but I get your gist. When I got but so out of line as a kid, my folks handed me a spanking or two. And I turned out no worse for the wear. Can't say that I'll apply the same punishment to my kids when I have 'em. But that's another blog posting. Still, you say you're black. Wouldn't matter to me what color skin you claimed. I'd just caution you not to make broad generalizations about everyone who looks like you. That's not sugar coating. It's just real. Example? "The black community" isn't killing kids in Miami's central city or any depressed neighborhood out there. I don't know of any "community" that singularly pulled a trigger and committed murder. Individuals commit that act. And those individuals, regardless of what "community" they come from, need to be put out of commission for their acts. Asking people to come up with fixes for the juvie murder problem isn't sugar coating. Your cure would probably work for everyone in a perfect world, but it hinges on the assumption that we can make all parents behave responsibly and attentively toward their children. We can't. Some parents of misbehaving kids are triflin'. So we can expect their kids to catch a strain of triflin'. But until those kids reach a certain age at which we can hold them fully responsible for everything they do, then part of the blame lies with their parents, their home training (or lack thereof, etc.). All the socioeconomic issues that might have contributed to their parents being triflin'? Again, another blog entry.

    And since we can't make parents give good home training, the second best thing - even if we want to write off the bad parents (and I'm not saying we should) - is to find ways to help their children break the cycle and not repeat the parents' mistakes.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:18 AM  

  • *** Sarcasm Alert ***
    I don't know. Target lessons perhaps?
    *** Sarcasm Alert ***

    But seriously, there are no simple answers. I'd like to see more youth programs such as Big Brother, where young men who lack father figures may have a better chance and perhaps not find themselves threatened by accidents like stepping on ones shoes.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 11:26 AM  

  • I think you guys need to get out a lttle more. My husband works in law enforcement. He has worked with juvenilles and now adults. Trust me when I say it is 'the black community' supporting this triflin mess. No one says anything until a child gets shot. No one. When police attempt to investigate other shootings in the area, eveyone clams up. No one knows nothing. Period. James, I have lived down here my entire life (25 years). It has never been any different.

    Now they're outraged over this? What about when Ray-Ray got out of jail and was hustling dope on the corner? They condoned it by not speaking up and condeming it. Period. Sherelle has 5 kids by 4 different men and no one calls her on it. I am using stereotypes as examples but this could be said for others.

    Why is it that Liberty City and Overtown have churches on every corner but the worst crime rates and schools in the county? What were the civil and religous leaders doing from within to make it better? How many have afterschool programs, how many actively try to reach out to the community, how many make sure there is a representative at every meeting that relates to the community?

    My husband fought to get through college. He lived in the Edison school district but went to a magnet school b/c he knew he wanted to be more. He didn't let rappers and media phonies define him. We have scrapped together a middle class lifestyle at 25 (me) and 26 years old. We live in a nice area in South Broward now, but our first apt. was in a not so nice area of North Miami. We made a real effort to get out of their for the sake of our son. Not doing so was not an option; whatever needed to done would be so he could be in a better environment

    You say what can we do if they don't get home training? That's the thing....home is where it all begins. The type of positive reinforcement necessary to counteract is no longer available to the people who need it most. Teachers can't even raise there voice to students without a parent telling them where to go. Neighbors don't want to piss off the parents of their neighbors' kids by calling out a wrong when they see it. This is what makes kids act accordingly.

    I talk to my son. My first line of defense with him is taking away priveleges. Then, if my point doesn't seem to be made, I will spank him. But never without why. But I truly think today's parents are trying to TALK TOO DAMN MUCH!!! A child only needs so many things explained. Sometimes it needs to be done "because I said so."

    James, I understand what you're trying to say. But you don't have kids and that makes it difficult to explain. Outside forces almost never replace or repair parents' influence on their children. To ask that to happen without 1st addressing the trifling parents is like trying to try to bake a cake without first mixing all the ingredients.

    As to violence begetting violence...bullshit. I know kids who grew up with peace loving parents who are the worst school yard bullies. Smart corporal punishment can be a useful discipline tool. My man was a juvenille PO so I think that we'll continue to use what's working, as he's seen what doesn't firsthand.

    By Anonymous Tonya, at 12:09 PM  

  • Tonya, you said it all. And after more thought I agree with you in that we - members of the black community - have to fix problems that happen in our neighborhoods and not wait for anybody else to fix 'em or even offer solutions. In that regard, you'll get a whole-hearted Amen from me. My caution about the generalizations is more an "educational" thing. While I agree understand all of what you're saying and agree with much of it, there are those out there who would twist your words, take them out of context and use them to condemn all black folks. I'm just saying, I'm a member of the black community, but I'll be damned if I take "credit" for helping to cause the problems that are plaguing these neighborhoods. I dare say you are not the cause either.

    Hey, I worked 60-plus hours a week turning wrenches in a machine shop all through college to pay the bills. I didn't come from a bad or rough background, but I appreciate the concept of coming up with my own solution and not sitting on my thumbs for someone else to recommend something.

    So maybe it's semantics, but I believe you and I are on the same page.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 8:16 PM  

  • Hello there. Just wanted to mention that you've posted the wrong link here. It goes to the ministry article in a previous post, which itself features a dead link.

    Thanks, in any case, for a very interesting blog!

    By Anonymous Yvette, at 6:55 AM  

  • We are. I say generally 'black community' because no matter what, that is what will be seen by the outside world. I, like you, am not condoning anything. People call me all sorts of names from sell-out to Republican ;). I will call people on their wrongs, whether they choose to listen or not is their decision. They can never say no one ever told them, ya know.

    It is semantics, as I was definitely not referring to those actively trying to make a change. We are definitely on the same page. I'm just pissed off b/c this cycle continues to present itself. We (blacks) have something like this happen. We rally, talk, and cry. A few months later, same s**t different day.

    I keep my son active. He is in boy scouts. I serve on the parent committee. I go to PTA meetings and back to school nights. My daughter will have the same opportunities. Why is there no boys and girls club in these communities? Why are there not large #s of kids in boy scouts or girl scouts, where they can learn pride, discipline, and community service? Why aren't the 300 black churches (making up a #) start effective crime watches and build a POSITIVE relationship with the police instead of waiting until something goes wrong to lash out at them?

    Just a bit to think about.

    By Anonymous Tonya, at 9:47 AM  

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