Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is this really the kind of thing that after-school programs can fix?

Another story of violence in Chicago involving students. When giving back makes you want to give up

Lured by tax breaks, a cop moves his family from Hyde Park (sort of the Obama's neighborhood) to a disadvantaged area of the city. Regret ensues. A female bully started in on one of the sons.
"She was bullying, pushing him, knocking his papers out of his hands," the mother said.

"It went so far that she even spit in his food."

Last Tuesday, the bullying came to a head.
'He is going to require plastic surgery'

On his way home from school, the teen was attacked by a 17-year-old boy he didn't know.

The attacker allegedly acted at the command of the female bully.

"She got a group of kids to follow my sons as they walked home from school," the mother said.

"She whispered something to one of them, and the boy immediately ran up to my son and punched him in his face."
The actual attacker - who is not a student, and has a criminal record - hit him so hard it broke the kid's nose and eye socket.

The mother says the kids need after school programs.
"I don't know how young kids can be so hateful and malicious."

This mother describes the mood in her neighborhood as "angry."
Sure, after school programs would be good, but it goes much deeper than that. The hatred of success (the brothers in this story were described as smart and nerdy) is not going to be fixed by basketball or basket-weaving. That is a cultural issue that I don't think government can touch. Except in a negative way.

Anyway, the cops - even though the victim was a cop's son - were ready to blow this incident off as no big deal. (Assault so severe corrective surgery is required is apparently a common occurrence in Chicago.) The kid's mom - knowing the system since she's a cop's wife - struggled to get charges brought against both the girl-bully and the attacker. Both are charged as adults.

Could the average parent negotiate the bureaucracy? Would the cops listen? I doubt it.

So can government do anything constructive? After decades of "helping out" and monetary incentives that encourage all kinds of things not envisioned, the streets of Chicago are beginning to resemble a lawless third-world country. Even Obama's popularity hasn't changed that.

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