The Washington Times-Herald


March 1, 2014

It starts with the question 'Why?'

It appears that the Devan Burris murder case is beginning to come to a conclusion, at least from a legal standpoint.

However, as our judicial system weighs its options and justice is handed out, one has to look at what is left over after the headlines fade.

One young man is dead, several young people are most likely on their way to prison, and several children will grow up without fathers.

Now, the deck is been stacked against them.

Statistics are readily available to show what happens when children are raised in homes where fathers are incarcerated or with mothers who have not completed their education. Although some do break the cycle; sadly, most are broken by it and cost is paid by everyone.

This situation should make the entire community question the underlying causes that lead young people to gun each other down over baggies filled with battery acid, Sudafed and ammonia.

Our community is not to blame for the death of Burris --- responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of those involved and those closest to them. Some, however, may believe it takes a village to raise a child. We believe it takes a village to identify a child with a problem that could become a community’s problem and help find a solution.

Blame is easy, and excuses like “there is not enough for kids to do,” “the school didn’t do enough to save them,” or “video games desensitize children to violence,” no longer hold water. The majority of our children leave adolescence prepared to make ready contributions to our society. They work hard and they succeed. Most of time, this success starts with engaged parenting.

So here is the question: When and how do our children go from engaged pre-adolescents to those who become entrenched in a life of bad choices and consequences which can’t be reversed? Is there a moment and method of intervention in any one of these youngsters’ lives that could have kept this deadly collision of bad choices from taking place?

The questions are simple --- the answers are not. If we don’t start to ask the questions, we will never get the answers.

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