Tuesday, May 31, 2005

We've Failed Our Babies

During the holiday weekend, a 9-year-old girl stabbed her 11-year-old playmate to death over a ball. Quite frankly, the reason is completely irrelevant. The issue, and it is an issue, is that our children are becoming more and more violent. And, it's not limited to Black children either. All children are becoming more violent and turning to violence as a solution to the simplest of problems.

I'm stunned. When the wife and I heard the news, we both went silent. And then we just said Oh, my God. Not like omigod, an oft-abused colloquialism, but Oh, my God, hear this cry. And cry we did. I've talked about how some kids are out of control and need a foot in the behind, but this just floors me. What in the name of all things holy would possess a child to grab a knife and shove it into another child's chest? And, in my research for this piece, I've read that this was not the only taking of a life by a child, but one of THREE. In one incident, a 17-year-old boy strangled his father to death in a fight, and in another, a 12-year-old girl strangled her mother.

We've failed our babies. That's it. Our children didn't ask to come here, and I want to scream that every time I see some mother, usually poor and/or a person of color, and usually young or too young to have had the first child, yelling at or bullying her kid(s). You just couldn't say no, or you just couldn't make homie wear a condom, or you didn't have a choice for whatever the reasons were (abuse, sex for money, sex for drugs). Too many of us have our heads in the sand, or our priorities in the wrong place. We work too much or we have no work ethic whatsoever and spend what little money we get on material things or escapism. We were poorly educated, so we're unable to understand the value of education, and I'm not talking about college, necessarily. Trade school works too. Too many of us are the second and third in a line of substance abusers. Too many of us don't spend time with our kids and allow television and video games to raise them. Too many of us were too young when we had children, and aren't but a moment away from childhood ourselves -- how does a child raise a child except to appeal to their own childish needs? What else would explain the high placement of TVs and video games, both stationary and portable, in low-income homes?

I'm not placing the blame for violence in our children on video games. If you wonder about the role they play in our kids' lives, get on the 'net and do some research. A few token voices complain about stereotypes in video games like Grand Theft Auto, or that fight game that pits rap and sports stars against each other, but for the most part, we say nothing and say "it's just a game." And then we see children act out in extreme games. Our kids are desensitized. Blood and gore doesn't make them squirm like it made us squirm. Our parents were freaked out when a beheading was shown on television during the Vietnam War, but we routinely see bloodied victims in footage from war-torn areas of the globe. Video games may not be the reason kids are killing each other and killing their parents, but they're not harmless. Neither is matter-of-fact war footage, or parents who prefer to turn the tv on for their kids and leave them in front of it for hours on end.

We've failed our babies, and may God grant comfort to the families of the dead. May God have mercy on us all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's time for you to write for a newspaper. Good stuff!

5:35 PM  

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