The Facebook Live kidnapping and beating of a young man (with schizophrenia and ADHD) is nauseating and disturbing to watch. The victim was tied up in a corner, with his mouth duct taped, and the teens all felt the need to post this crime online. I was dumbfounded and lost for words. What is happening to our youth?
After taking some time to think about it, I realized that I work with many teens just like the suspects. Often these kids are undiagnosed, overly aggressive, violent, and fall into the cracks of our education system. When they finally get to work with me, they are so jaded and wounded. It is so hard to reach them, to connect with them. It is infuriating at times. They have walls built up from years of abuse and neglect.
Don’t get me wrong, what these teens did was beyond a hate crime. There should be severe consequences, but also rehabilitation is needed. The teens need to understand the implication of their actions, but before they can even attempt to understand, they need to share their own pain. They need to let themselves feel the pain, and understand that it is not normal. These actions are learned behaviors from an abusive environment. It is easy for me to sit back and write about this, but what if we looked at this situation with a different lens.
The teens didn’t show any remorse or empathy towards the victim. They don’t have the ability to show these emotions. They have never been taught or nurtured to model theses emotions. These emotions fundamentally changed it all: showing compassion and kindness. These teens know how to be violent, how to fit in, how to fight, how to protect themselves, and how to survive. As I watch the video, I see that these kids have not been loved, protected, educated, and cared for during their childhood. Our system fails over and over to help these kids, and these same kids are the ones creating violence in our society. We need to start thinking of ways to help get kids off the streets and teach them how to be decent human beings.
If someone had taken the time to teach them about kindness and respect the outcomes would have been different. If someone had showed them love and support, the outcomes would have been different. These are the fundamental pillars for children to develop social emotional skills. These are omitted at home, at school, and within our community. It scares me, we need to push for more education and restorative justice practice to create change. Throwing them into the judicial system will not help us. Life without parole will hurt us! We need to think about proactive and restorative actions to help reduce the violence in Chicago.
Bulldog Solution works with at-risk youth, and we see how this happens in Chicago. These teens get bored and act out violent acts, just because it seemed like fun at the time. Bored someone might ask, surprisingly yes. The word BORED is often heard with my at-risk youth, for their irrational justifications for committing crimes. It sounds absurd but not uncommon. They honestly don’t know any different. They are not raised with values, love, and structure in their homes. They are raised in aggressive, uneducated, and violent homes. We can’t fix violence with violence. We need to start thinking of how we can bring in more compassion into our education system. We need parent workshops that people will actually attend. We need to teach about building a loving home and breaking the cycle of violence.
Stop assuming they know better, because they don’t. Then ask yourself, “Have I spent a day in their shoes and have I seen the world through their lens? ” Sadly, we don’t get it, and we need to show more compassion to find new solutions to our violence problem. We need more love in our streets, we need more love in our homes. Together with kindness we can make a difference!
Until Next Time…
Kortney Peagram, Ph.D
Owner/President, Bulldog Solution
Adjunct Professor, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology[/vc_column_text][product id=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]