A Plague of Unruly Children

On Halloween in National Review, the estimable David French opined that the Spring Valley High School video of a deputy dragging a child out of a chair wasn’t “disturbing,” I beg to differ; it’s very disturbing, but not for the reasons he listed.

As Mr. French noted, the “child” was told by the teacher to leave the class, then by an administrator, and finally by Deputy Ben Fields.  She refused each time.  The initial video showed only a teenager being pulled back and forth and assaulted by a man twice her size.  Based on this limited knowledge, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott terminated Deputy Fields less than 48 hours later. 

It is disturbing that a senior law enforcement executive fired a man when the situation was not fully known at the time.  However, what I saw in the video is greatly disturbing but a multiple levels.  To borrow the phrase from our president’s favorite pastor, “America’s chickens…have some home…to roost!”

We have generations of children now who were born but not raised.  I don’t know the particular circumstance of this student’s family, but in far too many black families (and a growing number of white and Hispanic families) the norm is a single mother.  The stats are three out of four black children are born out of wedlock.  While there is no question this is the worse situation for the child and the “parental unit,” it’s been encouraged since the “Great Society,” an oxymoron almost as bad as “rap artist.”  The federal government told one generation after another, “Young ladies, have kids, Uncle Sam has become Uncle Sugar, we’ll pay for the kid.  We’ll send you money, a rent voucher and food stamps.  Young men, have as many kids as you want, don’t worry about supporting them, we’ll ‘raise’ them and you don’t have to worry about getting a job.  We got disability for that, you can chill….”  Professor Thomas Sowell said it best, “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state.” 

We’ve given birth to generations (and imported others) of people who were not raised to be respectful and functional citizens of this nation.  In ages past, the parents knew the primary duty to raise their children was theirs, but this was also reinforced by other adults outside the house.  Part of the raising was the respect given to teachers and other school officials, police, and adults in general.  A child raised properly would have never had a phone out in class or at least would have put it away immediately after the teacher told her to do so.  As writer and talk show host Mark Levin said, the civil society was reinforced by the parents; children would learn the world does not revolve around themselves and they must show their elders respect.

That notion now seems rather quaint, and the losers are society in general and the children in particular.  They don’t know the discipline that they need to make their way in the world, delay gratification, and that they must prepare to support themselves.  I’ve been in law enforcement for almost two decades, mostly on patrol and often in “Da Hood”.  I’ve seen the disaster these types of policies have brought upon society.  In one family after another, the child is not disciplined or told “No,” accustomed to delayed gratification and or told there are things more important to himself.  In years past in a similar Spring Valley situation, the parent would be called and actually be embarrassed by the way her child acts.  Now as we see with later videos the 16 year old refused to leave and struck the deputy, the family is still proceeding with a lawsuit.  Money and 15 minutes of fame are very enticing things and they don’t care the child is the worse for it.

On patrol I’ve had calls where a mother is reporting to the police, “My children won’t do their homework.…”  I must explain to this “adult” that it’s not the job of law enforcement to raise her child, and where is the father to assist you?  But this is a symptom of a bigger issue.  The mother was not raised to by two parents with discipline, guidance and love to steer her to a better life, particularly out of the ghettos of the major cities.  In many public housing projects you have generations of the same family living in a subsidized unit, and they’ve never known anything but this hellhole; and they are quite content to live there. Sad, pathetic and not surprising.

In one particular incident I remember a mother (36 years old) and her daughter (16 years old) in a fight that required medical attention for the daughter.  The issue started over the mother telling the daughter she could not go out and the daughter refusing.  I thought to myself: “Lady the problem is not that you’re trying to discipline your child at sixteen.  The problem is you didn’t discipline her at six.”

Another part of “Da Hood” is what is idolized, what is reinforced, what is shown as your way to a better life.  Education and vocational training?  No, often black students working hard are told they are “acting white.”  Discipline in getting up, going to a job, putting in a full day’s work for a day’s pay, saving for your future? No.  Successful businessmen and women who achieve in small industries, such as the store manager, mechanic shop owner?  Or minorities that made it out of poverty and achieved greatness like Dr. Ben Carson, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice?  Not much.   Who are revered in today’s ghettos?  Sports stars, “rap artists,” people who are famous for “being famous,” or people who made it onto “America’s Got Talent.”

America took generations to get into this fix and it will take decades to get out of it.  The first step for any recovery is to admit you have a problem.  We have to convince young ladies to not start families before they get a diploma, to graduate, to have children only with their husbands.  And we have to insist these young men honor the mother’s of the children, more than their “baby mama.”  Both will require time, reinforcement and the reintroduction of a sense of shame for certain actions.  The future is to be determined but this a critical matter that must be worked on.

Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant.

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