The first three days of 2024 all brought me close to homicides or attempted homicides. I am no stranger to traumatic events. And at work, I deal with violence, death and drugs on a daily basis.
Both homicides seem to just be footnotes in the news, with no real depth of any sort of coverage, and the extent of information I know far exceeds the information provided by the news. The double homicide I was able to watch happen, appeared to be committed by a group of 6 teenagers who appeared to have 2 handguns.
Students are involved in fights daily in Buffalo and other cities. and I hear about stabbings or other weapons involved in these fights on numerous occasions. In one case I watched the students fighting, and a car pulls up with their parents and handed them weapons. In another case the gang of students broke into a residents home and hit them with a hammer. In both of those incidents, the police were already on scene trying to disperse the students. But the large numbers of them, meant they were not deterred by the police presence. The Buffalo Library closed it's doors for a period of time last year due to the excessive violence of high school students causing problems. Numerous other facilities are not allowing students on the premises. Sometimes this results in confrontations between the entitled students and the business owners or employees.
I know that the police officers are getting tired of the 'kids'. Many aren't taking extra shifts meant to help boost police numbers during school let-out time, as the cops don't want to deal with this problem which they can not do anything about. And that is fairly accurate. There as so many protections for juvenile offenders that unless the charge is going to be homicide or attempted homicide, the likelihood of any charges sticking is quite low. So as an officer why bother attempting to bring anyone to 'justice' when it just puts you into a position of being spit at, and wrestling with a kid who is disrespectful and a liar, just to eventually hand him over to his parents with no recourse for his or her actions. I know I wouldn't want to put myself into that situation.
So this is part of the problem. And it is a problem that occurs all over the country now. The laws are so protective of kids that they know they can get away with anything. So crime rings target and use the kids to carry out their crime, while supplying the kids with drugs and money. Every day I would watch the same group of kids roll huge blunts and smoke them when they are supposed to be in class. Where are they getting that much pot? These are 13 and 14 year olds!
So I think part of the solution is the need to get tougher on juvenile crime. Remove the whole thing where childhood crimes get erased from their record at 18, and allow the police to actually charge minors with crimes, and send them to detention centers or boarding schools again. I guess that is a pipe dream however. This is a world where criminals have more rights than their victims.
The other driving force behind a lot of this youth violence, I believe is social media. You have all these kids on Facebook, and other sites, being exposed to sex and violence at such a young age, and also being expected to know how to socialize and interact with others - and learning it all on social media behind the safety of a screen. That when it comes to a face to face encounter, shit can get out of hand. Humans needs to learn how to socialize from adults before they should really jump into a community and begin socializing on their own.
There is a great story called Lord of the Flies which shows what can happen when kids form their own social structure and attempt to reason without adult guidance. And this is a big part of the issue. Because kids can go on social sites and friend each other, and that seems great right? Parents have some 'control' sure, but the echo chamber that is created in their social circles and feeds is an echo chamber of minors who are all attempting to pretend they are adults. Very often there is no guiding force within their social circles of adult figures who are respected enough, that when they step in and attempt to offer adult guidance that the kids actually take notice.
I noticed the other day that now even Uber is offering a service for Teens. As a teen you can get an uber account and get a ride from point A to point B in a strangers car, without any consent needed from a parent. Of course the parent still has to pay for it tho. This is absolutely nuts.
These days, how can a parent even be held responsible for their children's safety when there are so many avenues that children can take to bypass their parent? And most of those avenues are provided by corporations which target and cater towards children when they really aren't supposed to be?
My opinion is that it really should be up to the parents to ensure their child does not have devices which allow them unrestricted or unmonitored access to the internet. Heck I still believe that school work should happen with books and pen and paper. None of this giving out laptops or tablets. Because honestly, kids know how to bypass the lockouts on those devices. Just because the kids need to be 'cool' or accepted in their social circle at school, and need to be on a specific messenger to talk to their friends, is a bullshit reason. Telephones still exist - they can be used to have a vocal conversation with friends. How about going to a friends house and knocking on their door? There is no reason a kid should have 24/7 access to a group of other kids over a messaging app, especially without parental monitoring.
If the parents are shown to be incapable of being responsible for their children, then the state should board the children at boarding school if the parents can afford to pay for it, or boot camp if the parents can not afford to support their children.