Friday, March 23, 2007

Taking Responsibility

I love it when people agree with me. I don't watch much TV, especially the news. However, when I do, one of the things that frosts me is the obliviousness and lack of irony parents show when their kids are arrested for crimes, or, conversely, are the victims of some tragic accident.

For example, there was a story here recently, one that's all too common across the country, of a car full of teens that were killed or maimed after the driver (drunk) lost control and crashed after leaving a party at 2:00am. The father of one of those killed, a 14 or 15-year-old girl, was going on about how awful it was, and how could this have happened, etc.

I wanted to jump through the TV and slap this idiot in the head. I wanted to get in his face and shout "How could this happen!? This kind of stuff happens when you don't know where your daughter is at 2:00 in the morning!"

Similarly, we've all seen those TV shots of the mom or dad of some young psycho who just shot up a convenience store or some rival gangbangers. The parent laments "There's some mistake. He's really a good boy." Really? How would you know? If you were doing your job -- being a parent -- maybe you'd wonder why your kid had a semi-auto pistol under his pillow. Or maybe you'd wonder how your kid could pay $200 for gym shoes when he doesn't have a job.

Well, I know this took place a while ago, but I just read some of Bill Cosby's comments from a speech he gave. And I'm glad to see he agrees with me. Here is an excerpt from Cosby's speech:
Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing. ...

[L]adies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have fifty percent drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

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