Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Halloween Incident

Reading the news of the convictions of nearly a dozen young black kids in Long Beach, California (the Halloween incident) where three young white girls were badly beaten, one unconscious, one a fractured jaw, all I find is reactions from the parents of the convicted children of anger and outrageous indignation over what is happening to their children. What is missing is the remorse that is essential to correctly place the entire judicial process into the appropriate perspective. In the best of all words, the adjudication of guilt should be the first step in the healing process. That is, I did this to you, I have been determined to have done this wrongly, I have hurt you badly and I must now be punished for what I have done. Then the important point. I am sorry for what I have done. Only then can both sides can move on with their respective lives in a positive manner. The present situation is even more compelling because it involves children and the reactions of parents to obvious wrongdoing of their children. I long to see the reaction of the parent who says my child has done something wrong and this is an important point in his/her life for I have always raised my child to be responsible and to recognize that there are limits to conduct beyond which his/her acts bear consequences, some of which may not be pleasant. Until parents, black or white, begin to acknowledge that children must be held accountable, the point of punishment is lost and the function of the judicial system serves only as a warehouse or storage system in which its inhabitants do nothing more than nurse their unacknowledged wrongs and perceive of themselves as victims, a sense imbued by their parents and friends . It’s a major problem.

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