Saturday, August 24, 2013

Negligent parents, lawbreaking kids by L.Z. Granderson

A detail in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Shaaliver Douse by a New York Police Department officer earlier this month has been stopping me from grieving his death.
The tragedy happened around 3 a.m.
Why was a 14-year-old boy out that late without his mother, Shanise Farrar, who called the shooting an assassination? Or his aunt, Quwana Barcene, who said the bloody gun police say was found near his body was part of a coverup? Where was the supervising adult who should have been with a 14-year-old boy walking the streets of New York at 3 o'clock in the morning?

"I'm not saying that he's the best one, but he's my angel," his grieving mother said.
Her "angel" was a suspected gang member who police say was chasing and shooting at an unidentified man when they encountered him. Her "angel" was arrested last month for attempted murder of a 15-year-old. Her "angel" left their apartment around 8 p.m. and she had no idea where he was until the next morning when detectives informed her that her son was dead.
I want to mourn for her loss, I really do.
But as callous and as heartless as this sounds, I just can't get past what awful parents she and the boy's father were. Children may be born angels, but with all the temptations out there in the world, it takes work to try to keep them that way.
I'm sure the three teenagers suspected in the death of 23-year-old Christopher Lane -- killed because they allegedly were bored -- started off as angels. But who, besides their parents, would call them angels now?
As a newspaper reporter, I covered and was around a fair number of crime scenes involving juvenile delinquents and few things bothered me more than listening to their parents. Crying, ranting, proclaiming how great their children were despite being kicked out of school or previous run-ins with the law.
That's not to say kids won't be kids. Of course they will be.

Which is why it is vitally important that parents be parents.
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