Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fear, Apathy Make Violence `the Way It Is'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fear, Apathy Make Violence `the Way It Is'

Article excerpt

THE CRIME WAS bad enough.

Police said a 14-year-old girl had been shot by a 17-year-old boy because he thought she belonged to the Crips street gang.

Something surely worth dying over, right?

The girl, Anna Jaree Satchell, was shot while she and others were at an apartment in Wellston. According to police, an argument broke out over whether Anna and a friend were members of the gang. At that point, they say, the 17-year-old pulled out a long-barreled gun and shot Anna.

That in itself is enough to make one cringe. In fact, Anna belonged to no gang, her mother said.

But there was something else in the news story last week that made me stop chewing my Cheerios. It was in these paragraphs:

Satchell (the mother) said she doesn't care if police catch the killer - "It won't help me and it won't help Jaree" - and doesn't see any end to teens killing teens.

That's just the way it is, she said.

Fortunately, police ignored her apathy and made an arrest in the case.

The silence over too many teen-age and young adult murders these days has reached the point of being deafening. Murders happen and no one sees anything. No one hears anything. And - perhaps worst of all - no one is outraged by anything.

Part of the problem is that too many people sit back and say "that's just the way it is." They accept things, without a willingness to fight back. In effect, that's just the way it is until someone stands up and decides that's not the way it will be.

So many people - adults - seem to be more willing to give up on kids than I've seen in a long time. Phrases like "You know how kids will be," or "I just can't do anything with him" are uttered more and more.

When parents aren't willing to take responsibility for their own kids, it makes it harder for anyone else to deal with them. It often leads to teen-agers carrying guns and committing all sorts of crimes with them.

The rest of us have to take responsibility. And that means calling the police when we see or hear trouble. Some folks are so afraid of "getting involved" that they hesitate to call police even when they're robbed. That behavior, in my view, is just as irresponsible. …

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