Op-ed on Black Lives Matter offends campus. Now what?

A controversy at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University is symptomatic of an increasing reality. Commentary and opinion in journalism is declining as a roadmap to a healthy exchange of ideas.

A conservative student at the liberal university, Bryan Stascavage, wrote a commentary for the Wesleyan Argus newspaper critical of Black Lives Matter.

The article was partially built on a chant from a Twin Cities Black Lives Matter march last month. In it, Stascavage insisted the movement is under the control of extremists and is not a productive movement.

Perhaps. But that doesn’t explain Black Lives Matter rallies from cheering after an officer is killed, chanting that they want more pigs to fry like bacon. That wasn’t one or two people. The movement also doesn’t want to be associated with looters and rioters, calling them opportunistic. But it is plausible that Black Lives Matter has created the conditions for these individuals to exploit for their own personal gain.

I warned in an article last semester that a movement that does not combat its own extremists will quickly run into trouble. The reasons why are now self-evident. If Black Lives Matter is going to be the one responsible for generating these conversations, then a significant portion of that conversation needs to be about peace. They need to stand with police units that lose a member, decrying it with as much passion as they do when a police officer kills an unarmed civilian.

Smith does have a point, though. An organization cannot be labeled based of a small percentage of their membership. There is a reason why so many have shown up to protests across the country: there is clearly something wrong, and wrong enough to motivate them to exit their homes and express their frustration publicly. That is no small effort. The system is clearly failing many, and unfortunately they feel like they will only be listened to if their protests reach the front pages of the news. And so far, they are correct.

Not surprisingly, the commentary generated plenty of heat. Supporters started a movement to shut down the newspaper.

So the newspaper’s editor, Rebecca Brill, apologized for it, and surrendered to demands that an editorial be run on the front page.

… we acknowledge that the way in which the op-ed was published gave the writer’s words validity. First and foremost, we apologize for our carelessness in fact-checking. The op-ed cites inaccurate statistics and twists facts. As Wesleyan’s student newspaper, it is our responsibility to provide our readership with accurate information. We vow to raise our standards of journalism and to fact-check questionable information cited in articles, including those in the Opinion section, prior to publication.

Additionally, the piece was published without a counter-argument in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement alongside it, and this lack of balance gave too much weight to the views expressed in the op-ed. We should have addressed the unevenness of the Opinion section in Tuesday’s issue prior to publication. In the future, we will carefully consider the context in which articles are published and work to represent a wider variety of views, even if this entails holding off on publishing a particular op-ed until we have appropriate material to run with it.

Representing more diverse views, backgrounds, and stories in The Argus is a goal we set for ourselves last semester, and while we have made progress in our coverage of student of color events, we still have a long way to go. Though The Argus is completely run by volunteers, its staff is and has long been primarily white.

We recognize that because of this and in light of the Black Lives Matter op-ed, students of color may not feel comfortable or welcome writing for The Argus. Moving forward, making our spaces available to all students will be our top priority, and we want to enthusiastically encourage students of color to contribute to all of The Argus’ sections and to use The Argus as a platform to share their experiences and opinions.

“It’s unfortunate that the Argus was so quick to backpedal on its stance of providing a multitude of varying opinions, and returned to its habit of placating sensibilities,” a reader responded. “Being diverse in your opinions isn’t easy. You’re going to have to step on some toes. It’s a shame that it couldn’t take the heat.”

Editor Brill, appearing on NPR’s “Here & Now” (not carried by MPR), today said she agrees with the “core of the petition,” which notes the editorial staff is white and does a poor job of covering events involving students of color.

“It’d be impossible to ignore the intense pain the op-ed caused for the community,” she said. “At the end of the day we don’t apologize for publishing the op-ed because we believe everyone has the right to their own opinion. But we put our fellow students in a really difficult position and that was hard for us to grapple with.”

Meghna Chakrabarti of “Here & Now” said what’s at risk is dialogue on college campuses.

“Debates can raise intense emotions, Wesleyan president Michael Roth wrote in a blog post this week, “but that doesn’t mean that we should demand ideological conformity because people are made uncomfortable. As members of a university community, we always have the right to respond with our own opinions, but there is no right not to be offended. We certainly have no right to harass people because we don’t like their views. Censorship diminishes true diversity of thinking; vigorous debate enlivens and instructs.”

“The biggest problem with treating this as a freedom of speech issue is that this speech actively silences other speech,” countered a member of the senior class in the post’s comments section (which is well worth reading, by the way).

“The solution to offensive speech is more speech,” said another.

  • BReynolds33

    “I warned in an article last semester that a movement that does not combat its own extremists will quickly run into trouble.” Indeed, ask the two major political parties all about how their radicals are in check and would never, ever be allowed to lead in a poll. Ever.

  • John O.

    I assume everyone involved got participation trophies too, followed by orange wedges and juice drinks. /endsarcasm

  • Jerry

    I’m a little unclear on what was so “offensive” about this guy’s opinion article. As far as I can tell, he agrees with the central message of the black lives matter movement, but criticizes the way that message is being conveyed. Are the students at Wesleyan really so hypersensitive that they experience “intense pain” when somebody writes an opinion article criticizing a political _strategy_? Or have they gotten so used to seeing the world in binary that they conflate any criticism of the black lives movement with racism, and then get offended at _that_? My money’s on the second one.

    • Paul

      ****CONTENT WARNING: TRIGGERS****

      Welcome to the brave new world of trigger warning campuses.

      See that content warning up there? It’s the new bubble wrap for every college age child.

    • Well, according to the editor, he misrepresented facts. His argument looked sound to me; but twisting evidence does not make a good opinion piece — and reflects badly on a newspaper if it’s allowed through.

  • Khatti

    Put the munchkins in the situation where they have to walk this “trigger warning” stuff into a real courtroom. Let’s see how well their bovine byproduct holds up before a real judge.

  • Joe

    I feel like only the second paragraph of the editor’s response is problematic. The first just says the newspaper should fact check op-ed’s. Which seems reasonable. If I write in an Op-Ed for the Strib that is filled with lies and false stats, are they obligated to print it out of journalistic integrity? I don’t think so.

    The third and fourth paragraphs say the paper has done a bad job with outreach to students of color and that they need to do a better job. Seems a reasonable admission to make.

    The second paragraph is the one people seem to take issue with. But newspapers do that all the time. The Strib consistently puts out op-eds in pairs, one on each side of an issue. For the Wesleyan paper to say, “maybe we should have done that,” doesn’t seem crazy.

  • Gary F

    The precious little snowflakes, today’s college kids, can’t handle any diverse thought. Please don’t challenge their belief system as part of a college education. Coddle them more please so they won’t know how to handle themselves in today’s competitive world.

    • Paul

      Feelings are the new reasoning.

  • Fred, Just Fred

    We needn’t wonder what side Bob falls on, but I wonder if silencing dissent is a universal trait of the left.

    • Gary F

      Have those kids read Orwell or Bradbury? Or have they burned those books too?

      • Paul

        They were stored in the memory hole.

    • tboom

      Nope, a flaw on all fronts.

      No matter how noble or ideal the cause, no organization operates with perfection. Nobody should close their mind to constructive criticism. Unfortunately in these polarized times we come to expect any criticism offered will be destructive, and react as if that is what we are receiving.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        It just seems to me that lefties immediately silence opinions that make them defend their positions. I don’t see that as much in conservative groups or media.

        I can’t think of a more effective tactic to destroy the credibility of an idea than to isolate it from scrutiny….I think the global warming crowd is beginning to understand that.

        • boom

          I guess we’ll just have to disagree, seems to me dismissing opposition opinion is the key strategy from all quarters.

    • The right just libel dissenters and lie about the facts.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Not that I agree with your premise, but are you suggesting that a lie, open to discussion, discovery and correction is worse than enforced silence?

        • I was reacting to the overgeneralization — obviously don’t agree with your premise either! — but the basics, to me, are that lying, libel, repression, etc. happen everywhere in the political spectrum. It’s not a competition; they can all be “worse.”

          At the moment, it’s hard to silence people because the internet has so many places to post; the real danger is that there are very few places to listen.

          At the same time, most people don’t seem to care much about finding out what’s “true,” so a lie does repress. And when the most common source of information for one’s community decides to keep some voices out, obviously it’s horrendous (and very typical, “freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one” is a very old adage.)

          Short version: I’ll try for more civility, but no political view has the market cornered on meanness.

  • crystals

    In all the rage of silencing opinions and slamming of today’s college students as special snowflakes, I think the most important point has been missed. This happens because of a lack of diversity in who is making decisions. When you have an editorial staff that is all white and a newspaper staff that is primarily white, you’re not in a position to critically think through and analyze what you’re putting out in the world and the reaction that it is going to get from people who are different from yourself. Maybe if there had been people of color or anti-racist white folk, in this case, on the editorial staff they would have talked about having a counter op-ed or fact checking or maybe they would have still run it as-is, but it would have been an informed decision they could stand behind and explain. The problem that it sounds like that conversation never happened.

    That, to me, is the BIG problem facing this paper (and many more like it). Instead of bemoaning the fate of our nation, maybe let’s start with the concrete that we can do something about: how can we recruit more talented people who bring a whole range of identities into journalism, and how can journalism welcome them, listen to them, and evolve so that it’s a place where they are willing to stay.

    • Fred, Just Fred

      “When you have an editorial staff that is all white and a newspaper staff
      that is primarily white, you’re not in a position to critically think
      through and analyze what you’re putting out in the world..”

      I don’t know that I buy that completely, but it may be true. But in order to get your opinions heard, you have to put yourself into the mix, and I don’t see that happening enough with minorities.

      As an example, how many minority opinions are reflected in this comment thread?

      Protesting has it’s place, but it is the day to day dialogue that wins hearts and minds…not shutting down state fairs.

      I am in agreement that the police treat black people more harshly; in fact, I think the police are out of control. But I have a hard time joining the cause when the loudest voices are those of people who have other agendas, and those who choose poorly the personalities they rally around.

      I also think no progress can be made as long as the black community, or at least the loudest of them, continue to shun the voices among themselves they desperately need to hear…voices like Senator Tim Scott, and Ben Carson that have uncomfortable but valuable messages. No progress can come without introspection.

      And certainly, no good can come of censorship.

      • Speaking as a social movement historian, you’re both right and wrong. Right in that your criticisms are legitimate; wrong in that every movement goes through various phases, for lack of a better word. Inexperienced people can latch onto a hero and refuse to hear anything bad about that person; opponents therefore try to find some flaw, any flaw, which will turn the supporters off. (Read the story of J. Edgar Hoover and his attempts to blackmail people by threatening to reveal their affairs. He knew the flaw did not have to be relevant to the content.)

        The solution which works the best is to help people understand the difference between the idea, the person, and the material constraints — and consider all of these when coming to their own conclusions. The country as a whole is moving to “troll culture,” where lying and personal attacks are considered the equivalent of evidence, and each person is taught that his or her religious belief can be considered inerrant compared to anyone else’s. We can’t last as a democracy long under these circumstances.

    • iceberg

      “When you have an editorial staff that is all white and a newspaper staff that is primarily white, you’re not in a position to critically think through and analyze what you’re putting out in the world and the reaction that it is going to get from people who are different from yourself. ” If that is true there is no reason for people with different backgrounds to interact. The statement is no different than saying that people who live in poverty or a part of a minority group shouldn’t be heard on topics where they haven’t experienced the opposing side. Subjects like law enforcement policies or institutional racism. This is the intellectual framework of bigotry and it is used across political spectrums and by people regardless of race or income. It is unfortunately the most common method of public argument and one that is always destructive.

      • crystals

        I have no idea how this is the conclusion you reached from the words I wrote (that you then quoted).

        • iceberg

          Fairly simple. You stated that because a group of people are white they are unable to think critically about how their ideas might be viewed by others who are not. If true for a group of whites it is just as true for all other groups based on race (or any other shared characteristic which separates them from others). The people who would rather shout down opposing view points and use arguments like yours are fundamentally destructive no matter what their intentions. The editorial in question was thoughtful and well presented. If there were facts which were incorrect than any counter should focus on that. An attempt to shut down the paper or put political pressure on it so they would admit some sort of fault where there was none is small minded bullying. It is about projecting power rather than advancing the discussion. It isn’t any better than any case of people simply pushing for power rather than acting in a civil and respectful manor with one another.

          In the end those actions made more true the editorial they were deriding. If groups don’t police their own closely they can quickly become little more that shouty mobs with no real point or value. Protest in an of itself is worthless, and when actions which are simply disruptive overwhelm the message they become destructive to their own cause and society in general.

  • During a February 2014 on-air discussion about “Gangsta Culture” with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett (Google search discussion), Bill O’Reilly intelligently and compassionately talks about America’s expanding National Epidemic of Child Abuse & Neglect, aka Poverty, that for decades has deprived countless children from experiencing and enjoying a safe, fairly happy American kid childhood.

    Besides O’Reilly and Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, how many Americans are addressing this topic that is at the core of most all the issues and social problems many Americans of African descent are today experiencing?

    Black Lives Matter; Take Pride In Parenting; End Our National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect; End Community Violence & Police Fear

    Speaking At The Eulogy For The Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney, President Barack Obama said:

    “Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate.” (Applause.)

    Video Excerpt from Obama Remarks Search YouTube: /watch?v=2T_GwYI7MnQ

    With all due respect to my American neighbors supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, I believe your cause would better serve all Americans if your organization were to honestly, openly and compassionately address the National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect, aka Poverty that for decades has deprived untold numbers of depressed children from experiencing and enjoying a safe, fairly happy American kid childhood.

    I strongly suggest members of the Black Lives Matter target communities that have embraced The Street Culture Baltimore Mom of The Year Toya Graham desperately struggles to keep her son from embracing.

    In his 2015 Grammy award winning Rap Performance titled “I”, Kendrick Lamar writes, “I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent.”

    During a January 20, 2011 LAWeekly interview (Google search) Kendrick, born in 1987, the same year songwriter Suzanne Vega wrote a song about child abuse and *VICTIM DENIAL* that was nominated for a Grammy award, he told the interviewer:

    “Lamar’s parents moved from Chicago to Compton in 1984 with all of $500 in their pockets. “My mom’s one of 13 [THIRTEEN] siblings, and they all got SIX kids, and till I was 13 everybody was in Compton,” he says.”

    “I’m 6 years old, seein’ my uncles playing with shotguns, sellin’ dope in front of the apartment. My moms and pops never said nothing, ’cause they were young and living wild, too. I got about 15 stories like ‘Average Joe.'”

    It seems evident to me Kendrick identified the source of his depression, the roots of poverty, the child abuse/maltreatment that prevented him, his brothers, sisters, cousins, neighborhood friends, elementary and JHS classmates from enjoying a fairly happy, safe Average Joe and Josie American kid childhood.

    Seems the adults responsible for raising the children in Kendrick’s immediate and extended family placed obstacles in their children’s way, causing their kids to deal with challenges and stresses young minds are not prepared to deal with….nor should they or any other children be exposed to and have to deal with.

    It seems evident to me these PARENTAL INTRODUCED obstacles and challenges cause some developing children’s minds to become tormented and go haywire, not knowing OR NOT CARING ABOUT right from wrong…because as they mature, young victims of child abuse realize their parents introduced them to a life of pain and struggle, totally unlike the mostly safe, happy life the media showed them many American kids were enjoying. RESENTMENT

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but if I was raised in Kendrick’s family I would most likely be silently peeved at my parents for being immature irresponsible “living wild” adults who deprived me of a safe, happy childhood.

    Though like many victims of child abuse, most likely I would deny my parents harmed me, seeking to blame others for the pain my parents caused to me.

    I wonder how little Kendrick and his classmates reacted when their elementary school teacher introduced the DARE presenter and they learned about the real dangers of drugs and how they harm people, including their parents?

    In a Oct 25, 2012, LAWeekly interview (Google search) Kendrick talks about being a SIX-YEAR-OLD child who was not able to trust and rely on his mom…essentially he speaks about being emotionally abandon by his own mom.

    Growing up during the 60-70s I listened to virtually ALL American music artists of African descent writing songs admiring, praising, respecting and loving the maternal half of our population.

    I am curious to know if members and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have wondered why for the past three decades, many popular American music performers of African descent have been characterizing the maternal half of our population as *itches and *hores…essentially less than human creatures or people not worthy of respect?

    Honestly, I have a feeling most BLM supporters don’t have the strength or will to face the truth about who is responsible for filling our prisons with depressed, angry, frustrated teens and young men who were victims of early childhood abuse and neglect at the hands of immature teen girls and women who irresponsibly begin building families before acquiring the skills, PATIENCE and means to properly raise a fairly happy American kid who enjoys a Safe Fun Street to play in.

    Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke offers sound advice to all Americans, “Fix the ghetto!”

    I’m with Sheriff Clarke. I believe we also need to re-examine society’s child protection and welfare laws.

    I am hoping when camera technology proves its mettle in protecting police officers, as well as identifying officers who require further training or officers who have no business serving the public in a LE capacity, we will use that same technology to protect children by monitoring the common area of homes in which caregivers have established a track record for failing to properly raise, nurture and/or supervise their children.

    Especially in communities with higher crime rates where kids are more often exposed to some/many depressed or “living wild” neighbors with a mindset for lawlessness.

    Recently I watched a video that saddened me as well as enlightened me when I learned child welfare investigators test the hair of child abuse victims for “ambient” exposure to drugs.

    Holy smokes, the numbers were critical. At the least cameras would expose signs of intoxication in homes identified as requiring extra care to prevent children from being emotionally and or physically harmed.

    If we do not take affirmative action to protect children, “the ghetto” will continue to thrive, fueled by poor parenting, resulting with depressed kids maturing into depressed teens and adults who often vent their angers and frustrations on their peaceful neighbors, instead of the person(s) responsible for introducing them to a life of hardship, pain and struggle.

    This video depicts horrific examples of men who were victims of childhood abuse and neglect, conditioning a young teen to embrace the criminal, anti-social ‘Street Culture’ Baltimore Mom of The Year failed to protect her teen son from…not to mention representing the fear peaceful people living and WORKING in the community experience knowing depressed, angry, unpredictable teens and young adults need to vent their angers and frustrations for being introduced to a life of pain and struggle by irresponsible, “living wild” single moms and/or dads.

    Search youtube; /watch?v=C3ChOLiJa8k

    This is a recorded act of criminal child abuse, maltreatment and violence against…”A little girl, catching a cool breeze from an air conditioning unit in the yard, was blindsided by another child about her same age, who had evidently had some practice with fighting fierce. The small victim wasn’t alone, as there were plenty of nearby witnesses, who could have protected her but didn’t because they were too busy recording the brutal beat down and encouraging it.” | Written By Amanda Shea

    hxxp://madworldnews[dot]com/video-little-girl-gets-beating/

    With all due respect to my American neighbors of African descent, the oppression of humans that led to racism and slavery has largely been replaced with a new form of human oppression that impedes and deprives many American children from experiencing a safe, fairly happy American kid childhood.

    #TakePrideInParenting
    #EndChildAbuseNeglect
    #ProtectKidsFromIrresponsibleCaregivers
    oooi

    • crystals

      Have you ever actually spent time with parents and children living in poverty and/or advocates for Black Lives Matter or do you just read articles and watch videos about them on the internet and judge from afar?

      Because knowing folks and living in communities myself, I think your characterizations of fellow human beings and assumptions about what they do/don’t do as parents is far worse and more dangerous to our country than the BS you’re accusing them of.

      • Paul

        How is shutting down the marathon helping any families out of poverty?

        How is letting your highly autistic kid out of the house to, with your knowledge, stand on rail tracks, with head phones on, not child abuse? (edit, on further consideration, that behavior is a no-lose situation for the family, kid gets maimed/killed standing on the light rail, and it’s a settlement from the city, kid gets taken in by cops, it’s a settlement from the city)

        How is shutting down the green line helping their community? Taking more money out of the city budget to run buses in place of the light rail seems like a great way to have more money for the community.

      • Take Pride In Parenting; End Child Abuse & Neglect; End Community Violence & Police Fear

        crystals asked a relevant question, “Have you ever actually spent time with parents and children living in poverty and/or advocates for Black Lives Matter or do you just read articles and watch videos about them on the internet and judge from afar?”

        Hi, Crystal. Early in my police career when I was assigned to the Brooklyn community Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter raps/writes about attempting destroy by selling poison to people living and working in his community, and rapping about engaging in extremely harmful anti-social behaviors designed to protect his drug operation from rival gangs in adjoining neighborhoods, a few of my training officers advised me to be prepared to experience “culture shock.”

        When I asked what is meant by “culture shock,” I was told, “You’ll find out.”

        I did find out what “culture shock” is, though it was not a culture of violence and harmful anti-social activities many were insinuating I would be shocked by.

        The aspect of this Brooklyn, NY community that shocked me to the core was witnessing children being emotionally scarred by a “American Sub-Culture of Child Abuse/Neglect” that Kendrick Lamar raps and speaks about some twenty-five years after I first witnessed the “American Sub-Culture of Child Abuse/Neglect” that today CONTINUES emotionally damaging many developing children and their communities.

        I personally witnessed the emotional trauma and physical pain a young, neglected, unsupervised, Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter is responsible for causing, and its aftermath, leaving a community populated by mostly peaceful people fearing for their safety on a 24/7 basis, which are the hours Shawn’s crew/gang were selling community harming substances.

        During the twelve years I served this community I met hundreds of peaceful people who were just as shaken, upset and deeply disturbed as I was by the daily displays of violence and other anti-social activities mostly caused by teens and adults who were victims of childhood abuse and neglect.

        I was lucky, at the end of my workday I could leave the community, returning to a more peaceful residential community where concerns for me and my family’s safety were significantly lower.

        However, virtually all of my civilian co-workers, mostly loving, competent moms living in this community were not as fortunate. They were burdened with stresses and challenges my parents did not face to any significant degree.

        The added stresses and challenges my peaceful co-workers faced was preventing their children from being negatively influenced by abused, neglected, unsupervised children being raised and nurtured by immature, “living wild” teen moms and young women who irresponsibly begin building families before they acquired the skills, maturity, PATIENCE and means to independently provide for their family of developing children.

        I have a feeling most Americans would have been just as shaken and disturbed as I was when witnessing on a daily basis children and teens being abused, neglected and unsupervised, which often resulted with them venting their anger and frustrations on their peaceful neighbors.

        This video depicts horrific examples of men who were victims of childhood abuse and neglect, conditioning a young teen to embrace ‘The Street’ culture Baltimore Mom of The Year failed to protect her teen son from…not to mention representing the fear peaceful people living and WORKING in the community experience knowing depressed, angry, unpredictable teens and young adults need to vent their angers and frustrations for being introduced to a life of pain and struggle by irresponsible, “living wild” single moms and/or dads.

        Search youtube; /watch?v=C3ChOLiJa8k

        This is a recorded act of criminal child abuse, maltreatment and violence against…”A little girl, catching a cool breeze from an air conditioning unit in the yard, was blindsided by another child about her same age, who had evidently had some practice with fighting fierce. The small victim wasn’t alone, as there were plenty of nearby witnesses, who could have protected her but didn’t because they were too busy recording the brutal beat down and encouraging it.” | Written By Amanda Shea

        hxxp://madworldnews[dot]com/video-little-girl-gets-beating/

        Crystals, with all due respect to you and my American neighbors of African descent, the oppression of humans that led to racism and slavery has been replaced with a new form of human oppression that impedes and deprives many American children from experiencing a safe, fairly happy American kid childhood.

        #TakePrideInParenting
        #EndChildAbuseNeglect
        #ProtectKidsFromIrresponsibleCaregivers

      • Crystals, I’d like to share one of my experiences in dealing with a child who was suffering from depression that apparently resulted from frustrations and anger he felt toward his mother.

        I try to calmly relate my experiences providing uniform and investigative police services for more than a decade to a Brooklyn, NY, Rap Hip Hop influenced community.

        Though I am told my writings are not always sensitive. I apologize if my frustrations seep into the my accounts of personally witnessing child abuse, as well as how abuse/neglect adversely impacts the lives of developing infants, toddlers, children, teens and their communities.

        I am processing a mid-teen I arrested for stealing food and fighting to keep it when he got caught.

        I called his mother before speaking with him, when she arrived at the precinct I escorted her to the juvenile detention room, where the teen went-off on her, sharply criticizing her for ignoring him, for ignoring his brothers and sisters, blaming his mother for the situation he is in.

        The kid was in tears as he verbally pummeled his mother, suggesting she did not love any of her children and the only reason she had them was to collect welfare to escape living with her own crazy, drug addicted mother.

        I stood there numb, watching one of the most heartbreaking and disturbing, yet insightful moments I ever witnessed in my career. The kid had a mental breakdown venting what I assumed were years of built up frustration and disappointment.

        Appearing unaffected by her son’s torment and outburst of emotion, his mother did not protest her child’s accusation, nor did she seem concerned about his fragile condition as she left the interview room “for a smoke” while he was still sobbing.

        What do I say to this kid?

        How do I deal with a kid who rightfully or not believes he is not loved by his own mother?

        What are his perceptions of me as a person responsible for protecting and helping people, yet I can’t help fix his problems, instead I arrested him?

        This mother who apparently raised an emotionally abused and maltreated child said she was going for a smoke and never returned, abandoning her child, leaving him in the care and custody of the City of NY. I spent a hour trying to locate her before transporting the kid to a juvenile detention facility, which due to the kid’s emotional state was probably best for both of them at that time.

        Not that many are concerned with spending/wasting government money, but this mom’s refusal to love, nurture and accept responsibility her child being released to her custody cost the City of New York four hours of overtime that evening. Four hours of overtime earned while dealing with a unloved, angry, frustrated child who at fifteen-years-old was charged with a crime because he wanted food to feed himself and his siblings.

        Frankly, that was four hours of OT I could have lived without, though what I gleaned from this experience gave me more insight into the mind of a child born to a woman some pejoratively characterize as a “Welfare Queen.”

        Certainly, I wish I could cure the ills and trauma experienced by a child that feels unloved, however I cannot. Though I can relate my thoughts and comments for improving the lives of children born to mothers imbued with a “clueless” mindset for raising children, and toward life in general.

        Society should no longer tolerate people making babies as a means to escape the dysfunction of their own care-givers. Society needs to rethink our policies for rewarding teens and young women with free cash for making babies born out of immaturity and selfishness, not love.

        Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke offers sound advice to all Americans, *”Fix the ghetto!”*

        I’m with Sheriff Clarke. I believe we also need to re-examine society’s child protection and welfare laws.

        I believe a part of the solution for protecting children from “clueless” parenting is to utilize the same camera technologies we are proposing/demanding our police officers use to protect them and the public.

        I am hoping when camera technology proves its mettle in protecting police officers, as well as identifying officers who require further training or officers who have no business serving the public in a LE capacity, we will use that same technology to protect children by monitoring the common area of homes in which caregivers have established a track record for failing to properly raise, nurture and/or supervise their children.

        Especially in communities with higher crime rates where kids are more often exposed to some/many depressed or “living wild” neighbors with a mindset for lawlessness.

        Recently I watched a video that saddened me as well as enlightened me when I learned child welfare investigators test the hair of child abuse victims for “ambient” exposure to drugs.

        Holy smokes, the numbers were critical. At the least cameras would expose signs of intoxication in homes identified as requiring extra care to prevent children from being emotionally and or physically harmed.

        Crystals, in my opinion if we do not take affirmative action to protect children, “the ghetto” will continue to thrive, fueled by poor parenting, resulting with depressed kids maturing into depressed teens and adults who often vent their angers and frustrations on their peaceful neighbors, instead of the person(s) responsible for introducing them to a life of hardship, pain and struggle.

        #TakePrideInParenting
        #EndChildAbuseNeglect
        #ProtectKidsFromIrresponsibleCaregivers

  • Reminder. NewsCut rules require providing a real name (first names OK and a real email address)