Leaving innocence behind

Is the phenomenon of pedestrians attacking vehicles becoming a fad? Not long ago, I wrote a post about a group of "at least 15" Milwaukee kids who dragged a man from his car and beat him nearly to death.

Today I find a similar story out of Illinois:

(CBS) BELLWOOD, Ill. A UPS driver was savagely beaten by middle school students while delivering packages in the western suburbs Friday.

The attack happened in Bellwood along the 3200 block of St. Charles. A teenager was arrested Monday after admitting he was involved in the incident. Another juvenile is expected to turn himself in Tuesday to appear in a line-up.

In a CBS 2 excusive, Joanie Lum talked to the man who was savagely beaten just trying to do his job.

UPS driver Thomas Murphy says he was beaten by a group of school kids on busy St. Charles Road in Bellwood, the route he has driven for 12 years.

He says a teenager walked out in front of his delivery truck Friday at about 3 p.m. When he stopped the truck, 15 to 20 youths surrounded him.

"Somebody clocked me with a pipe. I took kicks from my right. My eyes caked over. I tried to get up and defend myself as best I could," Murphy said.

He was beaten from his head to his ankles.

Police said the kids were from the Roosevelt Middle School, which means they were pretty young.

And, according to this site, the school isn't doing a very good job of educating them. In 2005, only 15% of Roosevelt Middle School's 8th grade students met or exceeded Illinois' Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) standards in Math.

Such poor academic performance may not be related to criminal attacks, but I think it indicates that either the schools aren't doing their job of teaching, or the kids have little interest in learning. If the latter is the case, does it really make sense to force them to attend school?

Said the driver,

"Somebody should be held accountable for these kids. They run wild like a pack of wolves, where's the parents?"
If the wolf pack analogy is valid (which I don't think it really is), then no one owns the kids, and no one is responsible except the people whose duty it is to control wolves. Unlike wolves, children are considered to be the legal responsibility of parents. The problem is, when children act like animals, parents are not held accountable in the way that they would be held responsible for the behavior of an animal. If an animal attacks someone, the animal's owner can be held responsible, but if his child attacks someone, the responsibility traditionally falls on the child. But because society abhors blaming evil children for their evil (and even indulges in the fiction that no child is evil) that all too frequently means that no one ends up being responsible.

Whether it's the school, the parents, or the children who are to blame, it's a shame these children are being left behind. But there's one thing I wouldn't leave behind if I had to drive past that Illinois holding facility they call a school, and that's a gun.

Easy for me to say. The problem is, incidents like these always seem to happen in states like Illinois and Wisconsin which don't allow concealed carry.

There's hope for Wisconsin, though. The Senate just overrode the governor's veto of the recently passed concealed carry law.

UPDATE: Jeff Soyer has more on the Wisconsin veto override.

posted by Eric on 01.31.06 at 01:06 PM










Comments

No mention of race. Curious.

Mick   ·  January 31, 2006 3:14 PM

From the video, the Bellwood UPS driver appears to be white. (The savagely beaten driver in Milwaukee was black.) The race of the attackers is a matter of speculation, as the stories don't say. Of course, now that it's considered "racist" to say that race is irrelevant, does that mean we should speculate about race?

(However, in light of the growing view that not mentioning race is itself a form of racism, I'm probably wrong no matter what I say.)

Eric Scheie   ·  January 31, 2006 7:16 PM

7th and 8th graders? Geeze... If these kids aren't punished SEVERELY not a one of them will have a chance. Neither will most of their peers.

Harkonnendog   ·  January 31, 2006 7:38 PM

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