Parenting is not a spectator sport. It is not something where one can sit back, chill out, and just let it happen.  Real parenthood is a 365 day a year, 24 hour a day job that comes without instructions, yet even the lowest of mammals does it more successfully than some human beings.
The death of Deonta Dewight Mackey, 16, has been the subject of many conversations I’ve had recently.  
Deonta as you recall, was the teenager who pulled a gun on an off duty Cook County sheriff. He was subsequently shot and killed by the officer during the holdup. Initially I was one of the people who cheered upon seeing that a criminal had gotten his comeuppance.  I watched the long version of the security tape that showed not only the gunfire, but had the perpetrator lying on the ground.  Twice during the entire episode, the robber tries to get up and can’t.  
Later upon learning that the robber was 16, I re-watched the tape and it caused me to change my opinion.  
This time I saw Deonta as a stupid kid lying on the cold, frozen and dirty ground of the filling station dying.  
I saw him try to get up but he can’t do it.  One last time he tries with all his might and he still can’t do it, so he lies down with the knowledge that he is “a goner.”
I began to wonder what was going through his mind.  All the other times he had robbed people, holding the gun at them and threatening to take their lives, he had probably taken delight in their mortal fear of him.  
Now he was the recipient of the same sort of violence that he had committed. And to him, what was funny when he was behind the trigger has an entire new meaning being in front of the trigger and now the beneficiary of several bullets.  
I also began to wonder about the kind of parent that rears a child who becomes the real-life, modern day “menace to society.” My curiosity was abated when several days later, his mother Tonia Stevens gives an interview.  She admits that her son was out doing wrong, she isn’t mad at the cop for shooting him.  She basically says her son got what he deserved because of his behavior and his decision to let “peer pressure” influence his decisions.
Now many a person applauded her honest assessment of her child.  
I however wasn’t one of them.  In my mind, there had to be something wrong with a mother who raises a criminal.  From birth to age 3 or so, a kid is getting his basic verbal skills together.  From 4 to 6, a child is learning to do simplistic thinking.  
From 7 to 10, a kid is learning elementary logic skills. From age 11 on, a kid is growing up and his mind is still maturing, yet there is no such thing as “wanting a child to go straight” as she stated in the interview.  She ignores the fact that her main job as a mother should have been “guiding her child” in the way of being straight.
It is very easy for parents who haven’t done their jobs properly to claim that they have done all they could.  But proclamations don’t equal reality. If Deonta had gotten a scholarship to Harvard, all the accolades in the world would be given to his mother.  
Yet when Deonta turns out to be a criminal, many don’t want to hold his mother to any level of scrutiny or acountability.  And that bothers me.  Because Tonia Stevens admitted that Deonta had got caught up in the juvenile justice system beginning at the age of 11 (an age where her level of control over his behavior should have been 100 percent and then some.) Plus that age was only when he got caught and not necessarily started his negative behaviors.
So her not taking responsibility for her role in his actions is at the highest level of self-denial and irresponsibility.  If her Facebook page is a reflection of who she is as a person, she is as self-absorbed as she is in self-denial and motherhood doesn’t rank up as high a priority as getting her hair done or doing selfies.
There is something very wrong when a teen makes gang signs standing behind his mother for a photo.
It is time for the black community to take a deep look at ourselves, how we raise children and what we continue to tolerate.

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