01 August 2006
DC Curfew! What's up with that?
I have to admit that I am incredibly surprised by the public outcry against the 10:00PM curfew on DC kids 16 years and younger. People are really upset over this. There is a group called JUSTICE4DCYOUTH and another who's name escapes me and countless people throughout the community that are crying foul with the curfew component of DC's state of "Crime Emergency."
For those who may not know, The month of July in DC was marked by 17 homicides including a very high profile and divisive throat slashing in one of DC's more affluent communities, Georgetown. This crime was high profile because the man killed was a British citizen with significant political connections, and it was divisive because it seemed to be the sole catalyst for a declaration of a citywide state of "Crime Emergency." Part of this Crime Emergency is a mandatory curfew that requires teenagers 16 and under, who are not with a parent or coming home from work - to be in the house and off the street.
I expected a few people making a fuss, but it seems that a lot of folks are upset about this. ADULTS! Not just the kids!!! You have a lot of people that are saying things like,
"Why are you accusing the kids of committing crimes?"
"Why do the kids have to suffer?"
"Why are you punishing the kids?"
"They're not causing any trouble just hanging out on the corner?"
I personally think these people are missing the point. They're missing the big picture. Certainly there are some sad statistics about juvenile crime in DC (44 teens arrested for serious crimes in the week of June 26th and 82 teens arrested for serious crimes in the week of July 17th), but I believe the heart of this program is for the protection of DC teens. I've driven through parts of DC in the evening hours and it is amazing the number of kids that are hanging on some of the corners. Little kids, too. Just clusters of kids on the sidewalks and in the street itself. Simply put - DC streets [like many in big cities] are dangerous. Several teens have been shot and a few killed at late hours recently in DC and getting these kids off the street by 10:00PM may save a few lives.
Too many people are thinking DC teens are being blamed for ALL of the crime in DC. To these people I say, "Nobody is blaming every DC kid for every DC crime!" These people have to be realistic though, a good portion of DC crime is committed by people under the age of 18. [a 15 year old was one of 4 people involved in that Georgetown killing, and a 13 year old boy was shot to death by a group of three teenaged boys] So, getting some of the more troubled [yes, I mean 'dangerous'] teens off the streets is a side-bonus. The curfew may be saving them from themselves!
For those confused people that think teens under the age of 16 need to be out in the streets after 10:00PM to 'hang out' or 'chill out' or 'relax and unwind' - YOU NITWITS HAVE TO WAKE THE F*CK UP!!! There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING in the streets of the District of Columbia that is of benefit to these kids after 10:00PM! Standing around and dribbling a basketball between their legs; Slap boxing with their homies; Playing 'grab-ass' with the girls; and loudly rapping the profane lyrics of the most recent Paul Wall song - are of no benefit or value to the young people of DC.
Instead of all these bleeding hearts trying to keep hordes of unsupervised kids ON DC's violent and dangerous streets, I wish they'd use this same energy to get drug dealers and hustlers OFF the streets. People - we need to smarten up!!!