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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, July 10, 2006

Unpopular Post

I probably won't win any friends with this one, but all the news coverage lately about juvenile murder victims and what the city, community, families, etc., could/need to do to curb the violence has made me wonder when everyone's gonna start addressing the fact that most of the people murdering these juveniles in senseless acts of violence are juveniles themselves.

Kids killing kids.

Sure, more cops on the street would be nice. But they prevent a percentage of bad acts and catch a percentage of perpetrators after the fact. They don't fix broken people. And the kid who thinks it's OK to shoot another kid over a harsh look, a scuffed tennis shoe, or a misplaced wink at someone else's girlfriend or boyfriend, is broken and has deep, deep problems. Whether mentally or spiritually I do not know. But I do know they're the kind of problems that no amount of extra cops or government programs will directly help to fix.

I covered crime for four years before moving over to features and pop culture. And I went to hundreds of murder scenes over that period, in a city that was averaging more than 120 murders a year. I even had occasion to interview dozens of victims' and perpetrators' families, as well as some of the perps themselves. And I never met a young killer whose behavior was affected over the long term by the number of officers patroling his neighborhood or the depth of the after school programs available to him.

The men whose crossfire killed a 9-year-old girl in Miami last week? Knowing that more cops were around might have prevented their shootout. But more likely it just would have delayed the incident, till they thought the coast was clear. What would have definitely prevented the shootout though? Those guys behaving like they had some home training and not solving their differences with guns.

I'd like to hear what parents are gonna do to help change the mindsets of such young people who feel so hopeless and care so little about their own lives that they put no value on the lives of others.

Until it becomes routine, like eating, walking, and breathing, to some of these young killers to value other lives as much as their own, random, senseless murders of other kids will keep happening.


  • I don't disagree with you at all; what you're saying is true.

    You know what I do for a living, and from that vantage point, I see a lot of problems that have nothing to do with the amount of cops out there. Kids are indeed broken, very deeply so.

    By Blogger Tere, at 8:21 PM  

  • I'd like to think that some broken people can be fized. But I know there are some who are permanently out of commission. The kid (yes, 19 year old kid) who shot my friend on the LES last year at point blank range was out on parole for another gun related offense. He shot her after mugging her, her fiance, and two more of my friends. He's broken. He's going to spend the rest of his life in prison and he'll always be broken. I just wish he wouldn't have broken so many other people along the way.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 8:22 PM  

  • I think that it's a 3 part problem:

    1. The specialification (yes, I made that word up) of Society; we're raising a society of special people. Everyone's a "winner", everyone is a "special, unique snowflake", so by being special, you are afforded "special" privledges. Like, not having to wait in line, ect... you can see where I'm going with this. What this causes is a generation of people that do not know how to interact with other humans, and can't begin to understand the concept of human decency.

    2. The Sissification of Society; where by, no one knows how to "square up" one on one anymore. When I was a kid, if you had "beef" or "static" with someone, you went one on one. You either gave an ass whoopin or took one, and that was that. However, as the sissification progressed, that scenario ceased to be. It became where either someone's friends would jump in or come after you later on, blahblahblah. Now, these lil pansies are scared to death to take an ass whoopin, but have no problem pulling a trigger.

    3. LACK OF PERSONAL RESPOSIBILITY; nothing is ever anyone's fault, it's always "someone else's" fault. It's society's fault that my your kid is a scumbag, it's the educational system's fault that you kid stupid, it's the video game's/TV's fault that your kid shot someone. There never seem to be any consequenses for people's actions.

    News Flash:


    Everything you say and everything you do is a concious choice. With those choices come consequenses; some are positive some are negitive. That's life people.

    Your kid is a scumbag, drug dealing, gang banging thug. It's not society's fault, it's not the system's fault, it's not "our" fault. It's his/her and yours.

    I'll step off my lil soap box now.

    By Anonymous B, at 8:32 AM  

  • Don't blame me for the spelling and grammatical mistakes, blame publik skool edukashun.

    By Anonymous B, at 8:36 AM  

  • The real problem is that there is no badass in each neighborhood who controls all the punks. Used to be there was a Tony Soprano type guy in every town or neighborhood who laid down the law to the young thugs. They wouldn't do stuff out of fear for their lives. We've worked so hard to put all the bad guys away, but you need bad guys in times of crisis. Civilization doesn't come from reason--it grows out of the willingness of some of society's citizens to make it a personal responsibility to eliminate its most violent and dangerous in order to have peace. Civilization, therefore, is born in death.

    In North Miami, the kingpin of whatever underground economy is there (drugs are a cliche, but that's really the only one since gamblers and tricks kind of have their legal outlets) needs to take over the streets and the cops need to give that person a pass for a minute to clean out all the young jits. In every metro area, you have a rash of violence when the leadership of underground econmies is in flux. It ends when one person or group controls the trade and has the street cred to settle disputes amicably without resort to government institutions (i.e. courts). Nobody makes nothing while the streets are hot. Right now, somebody is ready to solve North Miami's street problem and get paid. Let that person do it for about a year and then quietly take them down.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 4:10 PM  

  • Unpopular?

    Heck, your post should've been featured in the column on Sunday instead of Leonard Pitts'.


    By Blogger Robert, at 5:41 PM  

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