“Kids that come from my old neighborhood these days have no heart. When I was young and coming up, I still respected the lady down the street was innocent. Not the kids coming up these days, they are heartless.”

This was part of a conversation I had with a retired gang member from Tacoma recently. I didn’t really put much thought into until late at night. Heartless kids? What does that even mean?

After much thought I realized what he meant. He was talking about kids being raised in an environment where heroes are the most violent. Emotionless about human life. This is the generation that is being raised right now…

The 20 year old gang member taught his/her child ruthless, emotionless behavior is what is respected. By the time the child is a teenager respect for human life is nearly forgotten and prison is a right of passage into manhood and a quality rather than a mistake.

How do you combat that? The government needs to take very special interest in creating success from the impoverished neighborhoods that they try so hard to avoid. I’m not talking about putting in neighborhood gardens and co-op’s (though they aren’t bad), stuff they don’t have to oversee. I’m talking about real, legitimate mentorship. Daily talks with kids, walking the streets with them every day, talking to them by phone every day.

More than that though, college, improve the schools. Start advertisements that combat that mentality to boot.

Just my thoughts

With Love
Jeff Utnage