Kids Running Rampage

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What to do about the kid killers in Milwaukee? That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

A 10-year-old boy has admitted he took part in the beating death of 36-year-old Charlie Young along with 15 other boys. At his arraignment, his mother and father sat separately in the courtroom. They do not live together.

It's the same old story, irresponsible Americans having children and not being willing or able to control them. The 10-year-old was out on the streets at 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday night unsupervised.

We've heard excuses for this kind of a situation for decades in America, and it is time for those excuses to cease. Some things simply have to be done.

First, the police must enforce the law in poor neighborhoods the same way they enforce it in rich neighborhoods. To allow thugs to deal illegal drugs in public is rank racism. Quality-of-life crimes like vandalism and public intoxication must be prosecuted.

Second, the poor communities themselves must support the police in their zero tolerance crime policy and demand that the judges hold criminals of all ages responsible. If certain Americans continue to hate the police and scream racism at tough law enforcement, then those citizens deserve the chaos they are getting.

Third, public school principals should be forced by law to notify the police and state social services if a child is truant. Failure to do so should result in the dismissal of said principal.

And, fourth, parents that allow their children to wander the streets after a certain city-imposed hour unsupervised or allow their children to skip school should be charged with child neglect and thoroughly investigated by social services.

If a child is uncontrollable, it is up to the parents to contact the police and swear out a complaint.

Those four policies would restore at least some order to American neighborhoods that are out of control, and there are thousands of them.

Society cannot force people to be good parents, but it can punish those who neglect or abuse their kids. And allowing a 10-year-old to wander the streets late at night is neglect, make no mistake about it.

For far too long, American society has tolerated barbaric behavior in public. We now have in this country a class of young people that believe drug dealing and violence are legitimate lifestyles. We have public schools that is refuse to hold kids accountable for their behavior, and we have a justice system that refuses to confront consistent criminal behavior.

All Americans have the right to live in a safe place. The pursuit of happiness does not end below the poverty line. But society cannot help people who will not help themselves. If 15 white kids killed a black man, the African-American community in Milwaukee would have erupted.

But there are no demonstrations when 15 black kids do it. Our pal Jesse Jackson was in Chicago today, just down the highway from Milwaukee. He was demonstrating, against punishing Saddam Hussein.

Meantime, Charlie Young will soon be buried. Maybe Jackson will say a prayer for him.

And that's the Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

A new study in Denmark says that parents should not only not spank their children, they shouldn't scold them either. The Danish Center for Research says that yelling at kids lowers their self-esteem and upsets them. The Center recommends that parents use a calm voice when giving the kids their point of view. Very NPR.

Ridiculous? Not in Copenhagen.

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