Recent Violence May Give Credence To Tough Legislation

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Mar. 24, 2010

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It seems now, more than ever, recent bouts of violent city teens and pre-teens could be used as the context for pushing through potentially dangerous state legislation.

We detailed State Sen. Anthony Williams’ plan to potentially jail the parents of troubled kids last week. This week, the very parents who’d get locked up due to such legislation are getting an earful from the city regarding their childrens’ violence.

WHYY reports Police Chief Ramsey had some tough fightin’ words for the parents of this weekend’s flash mob kids. “Parents need to step up to the plate and stop blaming somebody else,” he said. “Oh it's the schools, oh we don't have enough to do in the rec center. We don't have this, that, and the other. No, find something for them to do…Why don't you try sitting down with them and spending some time with them instead of throwing them in front of a TV or out on the street to find something to do? I mean you had 'em, you raise 'em, you take care of 'em. When they come to me, I've got something else for 'em.”

Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty, who’s conducting the trials for the February flash mob kids, has been giving each a piece of his mind as of late before sentencing. Yesterday he had the mother of a child standing trial arrested for her courtroom behavior. As she was dragged out of the courtroom in cuffs, Dougherty told the boy: "That's the problem. That's why you are here. Your mother thinks of you as the man of the house."

Fox 29 told D.A. Seth Williams that calls into their newsroom indicate outsiders are now (more) scared to come into the city, to which Williams answered with very little substance in terms of a plan to stop the flash mobs. He urged the responsible among Philly’s youth to come forward with what they know before an incident happens again and urged parents to be responsible for their children just as he’s responsible for his own. M. Nutt, too, is delaying a plan, though says he'll have one.

D.A. Williams supports Sen. Williams' Senate Bill 99 so long, he says, as it includes prevention programs, which when enacted, may not.

Problem is, Anthony Williams is the only one in a position of power providing details. His plan, wrong as it is, is at least a plan. And now it could easily gain momentum.

We’re not going to offer a fool-proof strategy here, but it’s hard to imagine how jailing the parents of problem children could do any good whatsoever. It’s also critical to remember two things: 1) This is an election year, and Anthony Williams, though a longshot for governor, wants on the ballot, 2) Williams' plan would take place at the state level and suck less out of the city budget than would an idea proposed by Council.

I t’s possible this sort of public violence could just go away but the city needs to get on this, and quick, before knee jerk legislation becomes state law and ends up doing considerably more damage than could any vicious flash mob.

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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 24, 2010 at 02:25PM

“everyone says parents need to be held accountable for their children's behavior, but we've been saying that for generations. parents aren't magically getting any better. we need to do something other than talk about this issue. some kind of junior military boot camp or work camps could help give these law-breaking teens somewhere to go, but if people are outraged about national healthcare, how socialist does taking kids away from unresponsible parents sound? plenty of communist nations have taken this step, but i don't think it'd go over well here. but maybe we could start by making school all year long (you think flash mobs are bad now? wait till school's out for the summer...) and school should last until 5:30. parents are at work until at least then, what is this school being done at 3:00 bullshit? blaming parents is not an answer; all that will do is put parents in jail and leave their kids even more unsupervised. awesome.”

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