Zero tolerance needed
The community at large, and African-American citizens in particular, under no circumstances should accept any excuse for the continuing premeditated attacks by young people on innocent Florida State Fair attendees.
You can call them juvies, miscreants, lost adolescents, tweeners, whatever — these “troublemakers” must be dealt with as forcibly as the law permits.
They come to the fair to cause mayhem, physical injuries, property damage and goad law enforcement officers into a confrontation.
It’s all planned before they get to the fairgrounds, and if you listen to them as they come in a wilding formation after they enter the gates, it’s clear as day what their objectives are.
Middle school-age females have become just as aggressive as the boys.
I strongly suggest that in order to keep an innocent fairgoer from being permanently disabled or killed, the following steps be taken.
1. No students allowed in free after 4 p.m. on school days designated by the fair authority.
2. Random security screenings with metal detectors or other viable tools.
3. Immediate arrest regardless of the level of incident, and a trespass warning issued for at least one year.
I know some will cry out that the kids are being profiled. Well, so be it.
We can’t keep ignoring the facts that this ever-growing group of gangbangers, wannabes, etc., is a real menace and a long-term obstacle that won’t just stop at fair events, but whatever else public event forthcoming. Making quick examples of a few leaders will send a strong message of “zero tolerance.”
No excuse, parents. Monitor your children and who they associate with more closely than ever.
Robert Pete Edwards
Leading from behind
What Joe Henderson left out of his recent column “Wilding is a difficult issue to resolve” is the response given by the local head of the NAACP, Dr. Carolyn Collins, who admitted that this has been going on since 1990. Of course, this begs the question: What has the NAACP done about this problem in the past 23 years?
The NAACP has shown itself, in the past, to quietly sit back and let others take on their problems, then once a solution is offered, quickly ridicule the suggestions and usually those suggesting change.
Two other clerics without churches, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, travel similar roads. This leading from behind is the hallmark of this great organization, originally founded by concerned white citizens. It now feels that controlling its numbers is someone else’s business.
Collins should be pressured to come up with a viable program to urge members and others to crack down on these offending teenagers and teach them to respect one another and particularly the law.
Until these youngsters learn the responsibilities of good citizenship, they should be banned from large social events unless accompanied by an adult family member.
Roger H. Oddson
Sun City Center
A young man is tragically killed while running across an interstate highway at night.
As the story is told in the news, the young man had been kicked out of the fairgrounds along with many other young people. They had been menacing fairgoers, and therefore police had to evict them from the fairgrounds to ensure the safety of fair visitors. Three hours later, he attempted to run across Interstate 4 in the dark and was struck by a passing vehicle, causing his death.
Television news reporters interviewed the parents, who can only wonder, “Why didn’t the police call them, to come and pick him up?”
Again, parents think places like the fair are babysitters for their children. This happens over and over again — children getting into trouble, injured or even killed at such places as malls, theaters and even the fairgrounds. Then the parents want to know, “Why?”
Why was a 14-year-old child out at night without a parent there to supervise him?
It was a tragic accident, and we will all grieve over the loss of this child, but I think this accident was preventable if parents followed the old parenting standards of actually supervising their young.
James D. Blair
Where is society headed?
As I read about two tragic situations involving deaths of local youth, I am deeply saddened. Needless loss of life is a true deficit to our troubled society. Today, more than ever, we need our young members to grow up and make a difference.
With grief hanging thick in the air, questions are many. The very difficult questions are hard to ask and usually avoided because of the rawness of the wound.
My parents always told me, “Nothing positive happens past midnight.” They also knew who I was with when I was not with them. This was all in a time prior to cellphones, computers, social media, etc., etc.
The questions I find glaringly unanswered are:
Why is a 14-year-old out at night, without an adult, in a venue known to be plagued with youth violence?
Why were four young men on the road in the early morning hours?
These questions are not meant to dishonor the young lives that were unnecessarily lost. Instead, they are posed as questions about where our society is headed.
Wherever the path leads, a void will be forever present with the needless loss of five upstanding young men who would have certainly contributed further to the betterment of our community.