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‘Wilding’ teens lack parental discipline

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Children learn what they live; Children live what they learn.

— Les Crane

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way early: The young people who will be referred to in this column are not black children, white children, Hispanic children, poor children, children from the west side of town, children of single parents ...

No stereotyping here, so you can detach that special radar used so often hereabouts to detect buzz words or phrases that allow many to disregard meaning in favor of supposed victimhood.

We’re all in this.

During Wednesday’s Fourth of July holiday celebration, I sat with my family among more than 40,000 people in Atlanta and watched an incredible fireworks display that impressed even me, someone who really doesn’t care one way or another about the activity. It was worth the quick trip up and back just seeing the expression of wonder on my child’s face.

Before we even got back to Albany at 2 a.m., though, the Facebook postings about the local fireworks event had already started popping up. It seems our annual fireworks display had been marred — again — by unsupervised and unruly young people out roaming the streets downtown. Despite a heavy police presence, these youngsters were not deterred from their wilding, their random violence that predisposes local citizens to strongly consider even attending any such “family” activity because of the imminent threat.

I’ve learned over the years that it does a disservice to the truly good people in any ethnic, socio-economic or age group to generalize, to tar entire segments of a population with a broad brush. But if I were one of those FBI profilers on “Criminal Minds,” there are some common traits I’d look for in this community when the fists and bullets start flying.

The young people who are invariably involved have, for whatever reason, either escaped or have never been subjected to parental oversight. Whether the supposedly responsible adults in their lives are “too busy” to provide the stability and discipline that are parts of their duty, or whether they just gave up and quit trying, these children are not adequately prepared to withstand the tremendous peer pressure that draws them into such anti-social behavior.

(Forget what sociologists preach: Peer pressure is without a doubt the No. 1 reason “good kids” here, there and everywhere “go bad.” Youngsters from seemingly close-knit families without the self-discipline or confidence to say no when their friends or some other influential peer entices them to join in dangerous, illegal or risky behavior are just as apt to take part in such behavior as the throwaway kids left pretty much to their own devices.)

And, unfortunately, the people who should be applying discipline or serving as role models — parents, relatives, teachers, pastors, social workers, law enforcement agencies and, yes, elected government officials — usually coddle rather than truly discipline the children. It’s so much easier to reward than it is to take a firm stand, to be a child’s “buddy” than to make him adhere to rules that he regularly sees others disregard.

The results? Well, you saw it on Independence Day, when a few thugs, hooligans and street kids — children who not so many years ago would have been sitting on a blanket with other members of their family rather than roaming aimlessly, looking for trouble — shut down an activity that was planned for the enjoyment of some 25,000 people who still believed in the concept of community.

No, I’m no more qualified than anyone else to tell people how to raise their children or law enforcement how to deal with the miscreants who keep wandering in and out of the local criminal justice system. I’m just another person who grows more tired each day of seeing my chosen home being controlled by an undesirable element that seems to expand its growing sphere of terroristic influence with frightening impugnity.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

whattheheck 1 year, 9 months ago

Somebody wake up the Mayor! All problems aren't for Houston to solve. We seem to have an issue with "wilding" that needs some leadership attention.

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agirl_25 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, Carlton, I agree, peer pressure is terrible for the teens of today, much worse than when I was a kid. But I must take exception with one statement you made. You said.... "the people who SHOULD be applying discipline or serving as role models — parents, relatives, teachers, pastors, social workers.........." etc.... Are you serious? You really think it is the job of the ancillary folks to do that? What do they know? I think it is the job of ONLY the PARENTS to do it and if the PARENTS can't do it then make the sorry PARENTS suffer the consequences. Maybe I sound like a mean old crone but when I had my kids I did the best I knew how as far as raising them goes and sure don't want to have to worry about being a role model or applying discipline for my nieces and nephews.

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MisterEd 1 year, 9 months ago

Amen. It doesn't take a village. What a crock of liberal spit. It takes parents willing to do the job that they "signed up" for when they made the decision to engage in the fun part of making a baby.

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agonized 1 year, 9 months ago

And honestly, who do children look upon most as role models during this time? (Well, besides professional entertainers, including pro athletes.) It's the people in front of them or that should be in front of them--their parent(s), grandparent(s), extended family such as aunts and uncles. Let's face it--the nuclear family is in pretty short supply everywhere these days. If none of their immediate relatives care, then why is it up to teachers, pastors, social workers and government officials to be role models? It's not that they shouldn't, because they should, but frankly the kids really don't give a tinker's damn at that point in time. Life is not "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" or "Dead Poet's Society". And now I'm truly dating myself here.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 9 months ago

The REAL ROOT of the problem is babies making babies making babies, creating an exponential problem of kids without any parental guidance because they are kids themselves. There aren't enough grummammas to go around to teach them to do right. Carlton doesn't really offer anything of value here. At least he didn't bash Conservatives with off-topic incidental comments.

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 9 months ago

I know, Sister, like that previous column. I was wondering where them two ending paragraphs even came from!

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Griff 1 year, 9 months ago

"We are all in this." Nope. I've got nothing to do with it.

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waltspecht 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, we're all in this. These are the individuals which shall inherit our Country. Were all in whether we support them in Jail or on the Public Dole. You can't expect Law Enforcement to do. Heck they can't even control the prisons. So how is control established? Make it to expensive for the behavior to continue. In Warfare they want you to win the hearts and minds of the Locals. What that usually meant was make the Locals more afraid of you then they were the Cong. Treat them fairly and provide them with a means to live, but when they stepped out of line, deal with it so the next one won't even consider it. No, not your Politically Correct way of doing things, but realize they will never respect you, but if they fear you enough they won't cross you. Something the Gangs have figured out a long time ago. We are just slow on the uptake.

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Albanite 1 year, 9 months ago

It is a disservice to intentionally avoid discussing the cause of this phenomenon - It is the so-called "black culture." On rare occasions, this happens among whites, but its become the routine among black adolescents. You know this and so do the readers. I don't know how to fix it either, but the first step to solving any problem is to acknowlege it honestly.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 9 months ago

It's become a National Pasttime of black youth. Also called snatch and grab flash mob stealing everything on the shelf in small Mom & Pop stores or beating up on a random white person out on the street minding his or her own business.

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Hawk59 1 year, 9 months ago

With the exception of WaltSpecht, you all should rethink your comments. There is a whole other world outside of Albany, Ga. And either you all don't read or care about whats going on everywhere else. This is not just a Black problem. This is everybody,s problem. I was raised by every grown person in my neighbor hood because they would discipline us, then tell our parents, who would discipline us again when they got home if we did something bad. Sometimes a word of encouragement will go a long way to a child that has no sense of direction. Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares. And that someone does not have to always be a Family member. Once I entered the working world, I was always told that I couldn't do this, or do that. But I listened to the people that said I could, and tuned out the haters.

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agirl_25 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't know what kind of neighborhood you were raised in, but I was raised in a neighborhood where I DID NOT have to be raised by every grown person because I was RAISED BY PARENTS WHO KNEW HOW TO RAISE SEVEN OF US WITH GOOD OLD FASHIONED DISCIPLINE. I was not raised by a grandmother, or some auntie I got dumped off on, but by a loving mother who actually stayed home and took care of us so DO NOT give me your rhetoric about being raised by every grown person in your neighborhood. Some of us, probably many of us, were not raised in the environment you were raised in, and believe it or not, there is a world of difference out there. I was raised on Army bases and when the flag was lowered at 5 PM and we heard the bugle played over the loud speakers by golly you knew to get your butts home, OR ELSE. Our parents wanted to know where we were and what we were doing at 5 PM in the afternoons. When you were out playing at night and the Post street lights came on at 9 PM you knew once again to get your butts home. Our parents felt we did not need to be out prowling around after 9 PM. So don't tell me I need to rethink my comments...I am fine with my thinking. I was raised by I suppose in your mind would be boring white bread parents...not by some grandma who I was tossed to because my mother was too sorry to raise me, or too young or too hooked on drugs to even know I popped out of her, or maybe raised by some auntie so her welfare check could be increased and her food stamps could be increased. There, is that racist enough for you? I am so sick and tired of having to apologize for who I am and what I and my family have achieved in life...because of an accident of birth. GET OVER IT. Like willie said..........."Albany, your biggest problem is yourself and once you get over your racial problems". and Hawk people like you keep on pouring salt into the wound. Yeah you are correct, there is a whole world outside of Albany, Georgia but no one ever seems to go anyplace, which is sad.

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redneckgourmet 1 year, 9 months ago

I like your comment too, agirl. I think you agree with Hawk more than you know. I too was raised by two God-fearing parents who were "boring". And I thank Him for them every day. I don't think he means we should be raised in a commune. People just need to be concerned for their neighbor. And, unfortunately, race plays a big role in our community. That is one of the biggest hurdles that this town must clear, or nothing else will change.

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redneckgourmet 1 year, 9 months ago

I like you comment Hawk59. It doesn't take a village, but it does take people who love and respect one another and want the best for that kid. I grew up in Radium Springs in the '70's. It was such a nice place then. And everyone looked out for the kids that were outside, playing football or sandlot baseball. If you did something wrong in school, on the field or while at a friend's house, you would get reprimanded by someone in authority. Then, they told your parents. Do something like that now and not only will the kid laugh at you, but his/her "parent" will come and give you a smack down for hurting their baby who's never done a thing wrong. That, or they call Montlick & Associates.

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Hawk59 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you redneckgourmet, you got what I meant. I don't know what agirl-25 is talking about. Either she didn't fully read or comprehend my comment. I even stated both of my parents were present. Must have struck a nerve with her or something. Anyway, glad she called herself a racist, so now I don't have to.

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erock 1 year, 9 months ago

let's drop em off on Carltons doorstep and see what kind of brainstorm he comes up with when face to face with the beast. My guess is he'll change his way of thinking, when it is actually HIM,who has to deal with it

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willie 1 year, 9 months ago

Albany, you don't have that much of a problem here with the local youth. Your biggest problem is yourself, once you get over your racial problems, that is grown folks here posting hate and fighting with each other, maybe you can all come together on a level playing field and sort things out. The kids committing crimes and roaming the streets are laughing their butts off as the commnuiny fights among themselves, over yesterday and the way things were. The city is small and old and falling apart, blacks have taken over as the white flight continues. Seems like some of the black elected officials are in way over their heads, as the pulpit ready voters have been conditioned to vote a certain person.

A few years ago in a midwestern big city a 12 year old black kid walks up to a white woman sitting in her car at a stop light, words are exchanged and the kid shoots the lady in the head with a handgun, throws her body onto the street and drives off in her car. People and witness' everywhere and all minding their own business. The kid gets caught in the car days later and in court when asked why he shot the woman, the kid stated "I told the bitc- to give it up and she said no".
The worst ending of this is the BLACK PREACHERS who did not want the kid to go to jail for this crime as the boy has been deprived all of his life. So if you want Albany to turn into that kind of place, move and let the chips fall as they may or the citizens must stand up to uninformed elected leaders and appointed leaders as well and demand change. Voting has not accomplished a thing in the way of controlling THE BEAST THAT ROAMS THE STREETS OF ALBANY.

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agirl_25 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes willie....the poor kid had been deprived all his life by the man..we denied him so very much huh.....let's see....hmm... a free education, free lunches at school....subsidised housing for his momma, food stamps for his family, free medical and dental care...and his family never had to work a day in their lives.....we denied him and his family so much.....aren't we horrible.....sounds like a lot of the troublemakers in Albany, huh? I should not even complain tho..I got out a long time ago.

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willie 1 year, 9 months ago

No need to harp on me as the truth sometimes is painful. All the free's mentioned are meaningless as the kid SHOT a woman in the head because at the young age of 12 he wanted a car.

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