Happy In Bag

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Independence Dependence

After completing some business at the Jackson County Court House Annex in Independence yesterday, I decided to sit in on a trial. After peering into various courtrooms, I selected a case that I hoped would distract me from my own petty concerns. Instead, it scared me straight.

A group of Independence-area teenagers had been on an alcohol and drug-filled night of aimless carousing. Around three in the morning, one boy stabbed another, apparently in a dispute over a girl. One of these losers was already facing 23 years in jail for crimes including possession and armed robbery. He was offered a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against his friend.

I can’t stand it any more. 2005 has been "The Year of the Knucklehead" for me. I’ve been forced to deal with the consequences of bad decisions by family members, new friends, and a number of casual acquaintances. And now I see this. What’s wrong with these dopes?

Some of these disasters are caused by sheer stupidity. Other messes can be pinned on pure selfishness. And sure, I understand that meth is lethal. But in many instances, wrecked lives are the ultimate consequence of the standard litany of societal ills. The tired laundry list includes broken families, absentee fathers, poor parenting, ruthless poverty, no moral or religious foundation, and perhaps most significantly, a criminally ineffective public educational system.

The dead-end kids in this Independence court room had less life in them than Harry Truman. It’s as if they realized years ago that they were doomed from the day they were born. And none of their limited experiences ever disproved that notion. These kids are broken, and as escalating crime statistics indicate, they occasionally take breaks from attacking each other to turn their senseless violence on innocent bystanders.

It’s enough to make a do-gooder like me give up and move to Idaho.


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