When a 12 year old kid is arrested with a gun, you can’t blame the child. It’s the parents’ fault.
The child police took into custody Tuesday night after finding him in a West Side alley with a handgun in his possession deserves our compassion. But more than that, he needs help — because his parents aren’t doing their job.
There is so much about this situation that we do not know. We don’t know his mom and dad, and we certainly know nothing about their lives. We don’t know what his home environment is like, whether he even had a hot meal last night.
We don’t know why he was hanging out in an alley at 8 p.m. when he should have been inside perhaps watching TV or reading a book before getting ready for bed. All we know is that he should not have been out there alone, and that his parents should have been paying closer attention.
Police received multiple calls from neighbors in Lawndale about someone in the alley with a gun. When police arrived in the 1800 block of South Kostner Avenue, they found the kid. And when they searched him, they discovered the weapon.
Thirty minutes later, they located his mother. The child was charged as a juvenile with unlawful use of a weapon. The mother went free. Perhaps she should have been charged with neglect.
The child told police that he was in a gang. That’s not surprising, though. Gangs have recruited kids much younger than that.
When parents don’t do their job, gangbangers step in to take their place. And kids tend to do what they’re told, regardless of who is giving the orders.
The sad truth is that this isn’t the only armed child walking around Chicago. And he’s not the only one mimicking what he sees around him.
A friend shared a disturbing video with me the other day, of three young boys walking down a Chicago street exchanging foul language with a man trailing them in a car. They are between the ages of 9 and 11, but there were no parents in sight.
“Stop filming,” one of the boys says as he and his friends walk casually on the sidewalk.
“I’ll beat your a–,” the man yells back from the car.
“I’m BD,” one of the boys says, referring to the Black Disciples street gang. “My daddy will beat your a–.”
After more profane exchanges, one of the boys reaches into his jacket pocket.
“Look, he got a gun!” the man in the car yells. “He got a cap gun.”
“It ain’t no cap gun,” the boy yells back.
The men in the car all laugh, filming it all for social media.
At one point, the man in the car said, “I’ll blow them Chuck Taylors (gym shoes) off his a–.”
As the boy walks closer to the car, the men see what appears to be a handgun in his pocket. Police would later say it was fake.
“Show ’em the joint,” the man says, promising that he will delete the live video from social media. “Show ’em the clip.”
The boy pulls the gun from his pocket, smiling proudly as the men in the car show their approval.
“Y’all good,” the man says.
“BD!” the man says.
“BD!” the boy answers, flashing a gang sign as he walks away.
Police said they located the parents of the children and recovered the replica firearm. No charges were expected.
We should be thankful that it turned out to be a toy gun. But the episode should still make us uneasy. These young kids were acting like gangbangers, and the men in the car were encouraging and reinforcing that behavior.
Perhaps after this, their parents will step up and act like adults. If not, I fear what might happen to these three young boys in the future.
Let’s not stereotypically condemn them to a life of crime. It is possible that they can get on the right track all by themselves. But chances are, without intervention, they will end up in trouble.
We’ve seen that happen in Chicago too.
Late last month, police said a child as young as 6 years old was involved in a robbery in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side.
The youngster approached a victim on the street around 8 p.m., pulled out a silver handgun and demanded money, authorities said. When the victim said he had no money, the child ran. There is no indication that he was one of the boys in the video.
None of these kids were born bad. They’re simply exhibiting learned behavior.
If parents don’t teach their children how to behave properly and become productive citizens, then gangbangers are more than willing to teach them how to become criminals.
Article Org: chicagotribune.com