By now you probably know that a teenage boy was beaten to death in Chicago earlier today by two groups of other teens who were fighting each other - allegedly a gang dispute, but jointly turned on the victim when he unwittingly wandered into the middle of their rumble.
Now, Derrion Albert, a good student and church-going kid with absolutely no reputation for violent or criminal behavior of any kind, is dead.
Over the next several days, good people in Chicago will March, ask police for more patrols, and ask the city for more $$$ to help fund programs to save the kids from themselves. People will also say the violence must stop, but they will say it in a way that mimicks the dissipation of smoke in the open air: that plea will go nowhere, because it will be aimed at no one in particular.
Yeah, communities have to turn on criminals. But this kind of mind-numbing violent crime, involving perpetrators as young as 17, won't stop until communities also turn on parents who allow their children to raise themselves and who don't compel their kids to behave.
That's right. Parents. The four knuckleheads in custody in Chicago for killing Albert didn't lose respect for human life this morning. It's been building for some time, and probably because no adult relative or guardian got in their faces and told them to straighten up or else.'
PS. If you're considering leaving a racist or borderline racist comment on this post, don't bother, unless you have newly discovered scientific evidence that there is a cause and effect relationship between skin color and behavior. If you don't have that proof - that color causes certain behavior, then swallow your prejudice and face this fact: this crime was (allegedly) committed by four young men, not every other young man in this country who happens to share a tan with them. Hell, I look like 'em. But I look like the victim too. Chew on that.
PPS. I wonder if I'll hear from the readers who wrote me on Friday to say they care less about human victims of crime than animal victims, because human victims ask for it. Hmmm, Albert's family would no doubt be thrilled to hear that enlightened view of the cycle of life.
Follow me, please: http://twitter.com/jamesburnett.