by Kerry Dougherty

America has a problem. And I’m not talking about the police or racism or a political schism as wide as the ocean.

I’m talking about parents. Rather, the lack of parents.

In recent weeks the nation has been shocked by a series of horrific stories about kids being killed — by the cops and by each other — and we blame everyone but the people responsible for these children:

Their parents.

Take the case of Adam Toledo, for instance. He’s the 13-year-old who was shot and killed last week by a Chicago policeman who was pursuing him and a 21-year-old man through a dark alley at about 2:30 a.m. The two were suspected of shooting at cars.

Protesters claim Adam dropped his gun just as the officer shot him. They’re demanding Derek Chauvin-like consequences for the policeman.

But here’s the question we ought to be asking: Why was a 7th grader on the streets of Chicago at 2:30 a.m. with a handgun?

Where the heck were his parents? According to news reports Adam may have been involved with the Latin Kings street gang. His nickname, apparently, was “Lil Homicide.”

Lil Homicide’s mother has been all over the news insisting he was from a loving family and was not a neglected kid who sought sense of belonging in a gang.

Really? His nickname says otherwise.

Then we have the tragic case of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant of Columbus, Ohio, who died Tuesday when she was shot by a police officer as she was about to plunge a steak knife into another teenager.

Her mother has been crying about what a loving child Ma’Khia was and how she “promoted peace.”

There are problems with that. First, the girl was clearly trying to stab another girl when she was killed. That’s not what most of us think of as peace promotion. Second, she was in foster care, so her mother had lost custody of her, signaling that Ma’Khia likely had a deeply troubled childhood.

In the end, she had a short, tragic life. Horrible.

Then there’s Nyaira Givens of Cincinnati. On Monday she was stabbed to death allegedly by another 13-year-old during a fight.

Luckily, it wasn’t a police officer who stepped in and ended the altercation with deadly force or we’d have riots and marches.

Then again, maybe we ought to be marching. Against people who have children and let them run wild. Against parents who are too busy or strung out to care for their sons and daughters.

Against parents who don’t teach their kids respect for authority or for themselves.

Against parents who don’t know or care where their children are and who don’t monitor their friendships.

Get control of your offspring, America. Their anti-social, violent and disrespectful behavior too often ends in tragedy.

Their own.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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11 responses to “Where Are the Parents?”

  1. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Deflect #1

  2. Great post. And now we have the girl stabbing people and various thoughtless people, from Valerie Jarrett on down (or up) post that police should not be armed and allowed to shoot people trying to stab others.

    The problem of America is not racism but 1) welfare systems that lead to fatherless families, and 2) failing schools that are exempt from parental/consumer choice and control.

    The latter are actually the biggest engine of racial (and class) segregation in the country, as people rightly spend all the money they can to buy (or rent) in the safest and best school district they can afford, in order to protect and educate their children.

    And all the while the people who claim to be “anti-racist” round up poor brown and black kids and sell them (their lives and futures) to the National “Education” Association in exchange for campaign donations.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’ll go along and agree that part of the problem IS parenting. No kids should be roaming the streets at 2:30 am in the company of someone else carrying a gun.

    But, we have kids having kids also. People in their teens are having kids and those kids in their teens having kids didn’t have fit parents either.

    Not sure how you blame the welfare system for that. The reason “pop” is in jail and not present is they got jailed over drug possession or similar – not welfare.

    And kids who have no choice but to live in low-income neighborhoods end up going to schools that are nothing like the schools in more affluent neighborhoods.

    As long as our neighborhood schools reflect the income demographics of the neighborhoods – kids born to poor parents don’t have much of a chance to escape.

  4. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    I don’t always agree with you, but you nailed this one. Great post indeed. Lil Homicide – really????

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Washington, DC is considering removing School Resource Officers from public schools as part of the city wide police reform effort. The SRO’s are actually not part of MPD but an agency of the school system. In a recent public hearing many SRO’s, teachers, parents, administrators, and students came forward with positive stories. My interaction with SRO’s in my career was a good one as well. Not all, but most SRO’s are very caring, look after those who are lost, and prevent/deter serious crime that threatens a positive school climate. SRO’s are allies and strong pillars of social institutional support. Isn’t that what we need in the absence of adult parenting?

  6. While in Wyoming 13-year olds continue to work on the family ranch — with rifles in pick up gun racks or in a saddle scabbard and with little parent supervision. Interesting dichotomy

  7. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I don’t like to blame the victim, but I have to admit that my first thought, like Kerry, was: Why was a 13-years out in the wee hours of the morning with a handgun?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I agree. But, then the “parent” may not be what any of us think a parent should be either – a product of generational poverty where folks have terrible educations, have kids and things go to hell in a handbasket – literally – and the kid running around at 2:30 in the morning with a handgun – is not an aberration, it’s the way things are in that life for those who live that life.

      1. This is the personification of the result of the Democrat’s failed six decade long $15 trillion war on poverty… it was predictable. Avoidable, but predictable.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Nope. You’re talking about poverty that is still endemic even though somewhat mitigated and it’s caused by terrible educations of kids who grow up lacking the education the economy requires.

          How did this happen? How did kids of kids who grew up still not get decent educations? Uneducated adults make terrible parents.

          1. “Uneducated adults make terrible parents.”

            A perfect example of faulty generalization.

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