I wrote two columns in the early part of 2019 concerning the Jussie Smollett case. In my first column, I professed how his story didn’t pass my sniff test. Polar vortex, -50° wind chill factor, and this wealthy young man decides to walk to Subway for a sandwich as opposed to Uber Eats or DoorDash.
I wasn’t buying it then and neither did the jury buy it now. I celebrated the guilty verdict because it hopefully will set yet another precedent that when you lie about an incident, especially one that would be labeled a hate crime, and waste the limited resources of law enforcement, there will be consequences and punishments.
My viewpoint was the exact opposite of many over social media. There are a number of black folks who were quick to claim that his trial was a waste of time, money, and how his hoax should simply just be “overlooked.” I commented and juxtaposed the stories of the numerous men who had been released from prison having been wrongly convicted because of “hoaxes” by others. I hope his sentence is more than just community service and should also include a substantive financial penalty.
Speaking of financial penalties, when are we going to start holding parents accountable for the actions of their underage children as they go downtown acting like damn fools? The recent news story of a 12-year-old girl getting shot at Millennium Park brought out a lot of initial anger and vocalization about, “Where are the parents?” Her mother took to the airwaves to explain the situation. I found it interesting that they did not give the mother’s age which is pretty standard in reporting. The mother kept referring to how her daughter was spending time with her half-sister. The narrative being framed was that this half-sister was of a responsible age. I jokingly guessed on social media that the half-sister was probably 14. I was wrong. It turns out she was 13!
Major questions never asked or answered are “How did these young people get down there?” Disgustingly, some parents have been driving their kids down to Millennium Park and dropping them off. One father even proclaimed that the kids went there to have fun. His daughter chimed in that the police should have better training on how to interact with them. Really? The police are not down there to babysit those kids. As a society, the more we hold parents unaccountable for the actions of their children, the more we take away their responsibility to parent and raise a child.
Anyone who’s been reading the news will know that a substantial number of carjackers have been young people. As young as 11. And that kid was a serial carjacker. I am calling on our legislators to implement some comprehensive new laws for the Juvenile Justice system. These young children need psychologists. Their family needs social workers who will inject themselves into their daily life to make it uncomfortable for the parents to get away with the behaviors that have been occurring.
We have an excused-filled society, and we are seeing the unintended consequences as a result.