Outrage and a Little Headscratching

On the morning of May 12th I was quietly reading the Boston Globe as I do every morning before descending into this hellish madness of everyday life, when I happened upon a headline that I thought was a belated April Fool’s joke. “Nine accused of mob attack on disabled teen.” As I read on I could feel the rage and bile rising up in my throat.

The incident, which took place in Dorchester, goes like this: eight teens along with a 20 year old grown man jumped then beat down a teen who is developmentally disabled. The teen’s level of disability is severe enough that he had a difficult time explaining to the Boston Police what happened to him. The story that was told is that these fine upstanding kids—as both youth counselors and their attorneys called them—left this poor kid in the middle of the street beaten and bloody.

The Boston DA stated, “This is a crime that just shocks the conscience.” No sir, it’s a little more than that. This is a crime that just compels you to lock these idiots up in a 5×7 room, handcuffed, and with the Joker from Batman (the Heath Ledger version) off his meds and with a baseball bat, and let them feel what it’s like to get their ass kicked handicapped.

But I digress. Street level violence is against the law. I really get a kick out of lawyers and youth counselors who defend kids when they engage in this type of behavior. With regards to the good kid statement I talked about earlier: in fact the 20 year old involved in this incident worked as a basketball coach at the same exact youth program that the victim attends. The Director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative told the Globe that the 20 year old was an “excellent employee.” Really? And of course their lawyers are saying that the youths are innocent and one may have just been caught up in the police sweep and arrested at random. Sounds like they have as much respect for the victim as their clients did.

Haven’t you heard folks? It’s always the victim’s fault. You really have to wonder what goes on in the mind of a group of punks who would attack a disabled person in broad daylight. Even more, what goes on in the minds of their parents, or those of the so-called youth counselors. Don’t they teach simple values like compassion to these kids? Or is their attitude one of “well its OK to beat up on a disabled person, at least their not shooting people”?

I sometimes think that’s what goes through the minds of a few of them. Just get the gun out of their hands and get them playing basketball. Someone (probably me) would see that problem solving technique as closet racism. But seriously, someone needs to stand up and teach these kids and others like them that you don’t do stuff like this. Where are they learning their values from, “Family Guy”?

I hate to sound like one of those old get-off-my-lawn guys, but come on. The problems of youth need to be addressed realistically. And not with an “if you build it they will come” attitude. Get them away from in front of the idiot box, put down the video games and teach them some real values. Educate them, teach them that picking on people with disabilities is wrong. As for these 9 punks, the new bully law should apply.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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