I am well aware that the majority of black folks are not shooters, thugs and killers. So it is understandable why I still get horrified when that kind of activity goes on. Even more disturbing is that it is no longer those in their late teens making the headlines, but rather those in their mid-teens. 

If there is an image that will forever be embedded in my mind, it was the security video of Deonta Mackey getting shot by the off duty officer whom he tried to rob at the gas station. The image of Deonta lying on the ground and then attempting to use all of his strength to get up and collapsing back down while his life drained out of his body should be mandatory viewing for all parents, accompanied by their children, 10 and older, as a reminder that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” 

In the recent murder of Demario Bailey by alleged killers Deafro and Tarik Brakes, Isiah Penn and Carlos Johnson, the great aunt of the Brakes brothers told the media, “They were not raised like this.” But in today’s world we no longer get to see or know who these parents are and if they truly did “raise them to not be like that.” 

With children and their parents having a variety of last names in a single household, the background of the families that these four perps came from is an unknown factor. I do understand why the media focuses on Demario as he was the innocent victim. But where is the media with the guts to begin to focus on the other half — the irresponsible half that produces young people who care so little for human life that they can shoot someone over a coat? 

I wonder if I tried to get those same four boys the day before Demario’s murder to go into Goodwill to buy some clothes if they would have had some very unkind words to tell me: like where I should go and how I could get there. I asked my favorite young person for his opinion and he told me “No.” Why buy when you can steal! 

Just before Christmas, on Saturday, Dec. 20, Jawaad Jabbar and his two 16-year-old friends went to the mall in Dayton, Ohio to buy the new limited edition Jordan gym shoes. They must have arrived too late to get in line to get a pair, so Jawaad decided in a “Deonta Mackey moment” to pull a handgun on a customer who had purchased his shoes. Jawaad experienced his “Mackey moment” when that shopper who held a concealed carry permit and his own gun pulled it out and shot Jawaad dead. 

What is most astonishing in the Dayton case is that Jawaad lived with his father. Far too often, we are told that the thugs in our communities are what they are because they lack a father figure in their life. The other astonishing thing is that one of his companions lived with both his father and mother. The father of that accomplice to the robbery, Derrick More, about how he had given his son money to buy the shoes. He too said, “My son got around the wrong guy. He wasn’t brought up like this; he wasn’t raised in the streets.”

I wish I had the answer as to why some of our young people choose the criminal route. But what I can say is this: A parent’s job is to parent. It is not to be a buddy. It is not to think that the job of raising a child is over at 15 or 16 or even 17 years of age. Talk, talk and then talk some more to your children. 

As mine recently told me, “I did listen to some of the things you said.”

CONTACT: westside2day@yahoo.com | www.arlenejones.blogspot.com

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