Crime reporting has not been my primary beat during my nearly 35 years of journalism but I have written my fair share of stories that seriously bothered me following their completion and publication. However, I don't think I have ever encountered a police incident that upset me more than the recent report of a rape of a 14-year-old girl by three juvenile boys.
I didn't come close to reporting all the sordid details that were listed in that police report. However, reading that sordid incident nearly made me sick to my stomach. I recovered long enough to become very angry.
Episodes like this happen almost on a daily basis in places like Memphis and Little Rock but not in a small town like Helena-West Helena. It is an incident that should never have happened. At this point, you probably think I am going to start pointing fingers and pointing out the failures of the system. Well, there is certainly plenty of blame to go around.
However, sooner or later the finger must stop wagging in the face of the courts, police and schools. The old African proverb that Hillary Clinton so proudly quoted several years ago, “It takes a village to raise a child” is only a half-truth at best. The real heart of the matter is that a village cannot even begin to help raise a child if the parents are not willing to do so.
Parents cannot and should not expect schools, social agencies, after school programs, churches or grandparents to raise their children. The buck stops at momma and daddy. It's time that parents are held accountable for the actions of their offspring.
Too often today, youngsters come into this world as the result of the irresponsible action of two people that all too frequently are no more than children themselves. If these children's children don't have loving grandparents they soon become dependent on welfare programs and even before they become a teen themselves they take to the streets.
Our schools and social agencies cannot right the wrongs that have already been done to these youngsters in the home. In many cases, parents hinder the process because they fail to discipline the child at home and often refuse to allow the child to be disciplined elsewhere either.
Society as we know it is not going to be able to survive much longer without the necessary punishment to alter this type behavior. We are currently reaping the seeds that we have sown having become an undisciplined society.
This is a serious problem and something has got to change.
What happened to the age of innocence? What's wrong with letting a child be a child?
When I was the age of these youngsters I wouldn't have understood what was reported from the mouth of babe's in this police report. And certainly no adolescent this age just few short years ago would have carried out such a dastardly act against another child.
Page 2 of 2 - Somewhere along the way we've trashed our children.
There are some excellent programs that are desperately trying to take our children back from the streets. It will work for some but not nearly enough. You can give a child all the after school programs available but it simply doesn't replace going home to a mom and dad that truly care about their well being.
Have we created a generation of little monsters? Are we afraid to walk our streets, sit in our front yard on a summer evening or let our daughters go to public place without being worried about being shot or physically attacked?
Nothing and I mean nothing is going to change until parents decide once and for all to instill some family values within the hearts of their children behind the four walls of “the home.”