Hailing from the land of Cleve has never been a problem for me, and even today it's not but recent media reports have me wondering if I have been transplanted to the Wild, Wild, West. About ten days ago there was a tragic traffic fatality in downtown Cleveland. A suburban couple ventured into the city to see The Lion King in celebration of the wife's birthday, but tragically she was run down by a stolen vehicle driven by a 13-year-old before the curtain even had a chance to rise.
Adding to the tragedy is the emotional outcry from the community and the underlying theme of race. You see Mrs. DiGiorgio, the victim, was white and the four suspects are all black males. Yet when writing about this story everyone has tap danced around the implications of race only stressing the need for an increased police presence, a louder voice from the Mayor and an end to lawlessness.
When I first heard about the crash I, too, was outraged because another human being had died senselessly. I, too, called for tough punishment for the 13-year-old driver. During a conversation shortly after the crash I implored "he was grown enough to steal a car, and run from police so he's grown enough to do adult time in jail."
This young man's actions and those of countless others like him leave a bad taste in my mouth because when all the dirt is done somebody, usually a mother, sister, aunt or grandmother with a tear streaked face laments "He's not a bad child. I never had any problems out of him, he just got mixed up with the wrong crowd," or something along those lines.
My question becomes "how did he get with that crowd? Where were you?" Over the years I have learned to give some slack to some parents who really have attempted to steer their children on the right path but for whatever reason "ManMan" was just destined for criminal activity. But many others have left their children to raise themselves while they either struggle to survive or live their lives as though they are childless.
Much attention has been given to the violent crimes that are taking over our streets, but all in all I still don't feel unsafe in my home. I still freely travel the streets of Cleveland - some worse than others without tensing up and fearing I am going to be the next victim, but I am real concerned about the lack of values being taught behind the closed doors of the homes I pass.
When we as a society return to what I call "Basic Home Training" we should begin to see a decrease in some of the lawlessness that is permeating our communities. Beginning as toddlers we set boundaries and rules that we carry on through elementary, middle and high school and just maybe we would have a different culture of young teens walking the street.