The recent surge in carjacking has had children as young as 10 years old participating in it. When those crimes also include a gun, it is way beyond time that definitive responses should take place. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have the crop of politicians who are brave enough, morally convicted enough, or have the right kind of gray matter between their ears to call for solutions where the perpetrator has to pay a stiff price for their actions.

Using very young juveniles to participate in criminal activities is nothing new. More than 25 years ago, the name Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer, 11, was shocking headline news. Today, the more common average age for young black criminals is 15. The question we as a community need to answer is no longer why the juveniles are doing it, but rather what price is everyone involved having to pay because of those juveniles’ involvement in adult criminal activities?

I, for one, point my finger primarily at the parents. I will never forget the 15-year-old who got shot in the far northern suburb trying to steal a car. His mother went on television and professed to the world that she knows her nephews like to steal cars, but the homeowner shouldn’t have shot her son. Therein lies the foundation of the problem.

We need legislation that makes the parents and the entire family pay a price when a juvenile is involved in a heinous crime. Like that of the recent killing of a retired firefighter. The first alleged suspect was a 15-year-old out of Chicago Heights. If I had my way, for a minimum of 72 hours, the custodial adult and the child would be locked together in a cell. One cot and one chair. It would be very interesting to note who gets to lay down to sleep and who has to sit the entire time. For some of these kids, being locked up with their parent might be the longest time the adult in their life has actually spent with them in ages.

Next we need to get social services involved in a forensic evaluation of their family. Blaming the child has to be balanced with a true understanding of why the child was out there participating in a crime. A thorough investigation by social workers, psychologists, and others into the family’s lifestyle, finances, history, food purchases, etc., that will not only put them under a microscope initially, but keep them there for a minimum of one year should be part of the price the entire family has to pay.

Currently when kids get involved in a crime, and with so many last names being in the family, it’s pretty much a hidden piece of news. But with new legislation, the consequences of the juvenile’s actions will affect everyone living under the roof with them. And let that not just apply to juveniles. Anyone harboring criminals over age 18 under their roof can also be subject to that same sort of invasive scrutiny into their lives. Certain folks need their business minded by others. Something has to jump start the heads of households to become just that. The head! 

The need for the return of accountability for one’s actions that includes consequences is real. It is not a sin or a crime for black legislators to begin to offer law and order legislation to fight what is sadly right now a predominantly black problem!  The United Negro College Fund motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to lose,” is more accurate than ever, as we lose and waste young minds to criminal behaviors.