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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snakes and Snitches

Do you expect to get anything back when you house or car is burglarized? Me neither. My house has been burglarized at least 4 times in the last 6 months. Only this is not the neighborhood cat burglar. This is kids or young men in the neighborhood, at least one of whom has a beef with our kid. The best way to get even with another kid is to beat him up and if that doesn't work, do something else to let him know you are in charge of him. This kid in the neighborhood has decided that stealing from our house or telling other people in the neighborhood that they should steal from our house, is a fine way to keep my kid in a constant state of anxiety. My kid is pretty tough and fast. So fast, that this bully can't catch him to lay a fist on him.

So today I had enough. Time to go confront whatever guardian there is at this kid's house and see what they want to do. This ain't leave it to beaver where Eddie Haskell is about to get in trouble when Beaver's dad gives him the biz. These adults yelled at the kid and took my phone number. If they see my missing tools they will give me a call. They yelled again as to why their kid was fighting with mine. Young bravado is about 'tude, not talking to the adults. Neither one of these kids knows what the beef is about, but they know the beef is real and they each are staking out a position. The other kid does it through trying to fight my kid and in lieu of that, lifting items from my house. This s not a sneak in the house in the night prowl. This is a run in your house when I get off the bus and take whatever I see type of attack. The adults there had been through this before and one of them threatened to throw the kid out. The other yelled some more then told him to get inside because it was too cold to yell on the porch. Not much is going to come out of that, I'm afraid.

I had to file a police report because a laptop got stolen that is issued by my employer. I named names. I snitched. I'm a snake. I may regret that at some point because you just don't do that. One, the police can't be trusted. They could blow this all out of proportion and end up with a swat team at this kid's house. Two, is that for every kid you try to hold accountable, there are several other kids who have his back and consequently, have it in for you. But from my perspective, you have to have accountability. The adults involved don't seem to have any desire to affect these kids. Or maybe they are just like me - I have trouble with my kid too because he thinks it is all a game, no big deal, and only solved with violence. That's a scary proposition for me to understand. The police will be perfunctory and either charge the kid or not, or investigate or not. We have a restorative justice program for minor offenders in our neighborhood. Maybe this kid can get into that if the police, do in fact, do something. My larger concern is that the police make inquiries, don't actually intervene, and I am left exposed. What will they come for next when they seek retribution.

This is reality in the hood. This is street justice. I don't play by those rules. That makes me a target. I know most of the other people on my block and nearby. I know some people may watch my back if they feel like it. That's the best I can do. I tried to make a resolution that would end the feud, but got no help from the adults in the other camp. Their kid has little retribution to fear and would not fear it anyway. The beef between these 2 young men must be resolved before the bullying and crime wave will stop. Not an easy charge for a 14 year old to take on. If this is not resolved, the damage will escalate. So I sit here and wonder how it all will play out. Not well, I fear. But you can't live in fear; not in this neighborhood. You have to live in what you want - a better neighborhood, relationship with people, living to your word. It is a struggle that the suburbs don't require. Instead the people in the suburbs have alarm companies, motion detectors, and security lights. I would rather take my chances and live my life the way I do.

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