The Kids These Days
When I was growing up kids listened to what adults told them. Back then, the kids I knew showed respect for parents, teachers, and especially police. I remember when "bad" kids smoked cigarettes in the alley behind school or shoplifted clothing from cool stores like Millers Outpost or United Colors of Benneton. I'm not sure what happened over the past few decades but the juveniles I run into these days are a whole lot different. In a way they're more mature but at the same time uncaring and clueless. It seems stealing cars, robbing people at gunpoint, and doing drugs are becoming commonplace.
What happens when these teenagers are confronted by police? Forget about respect for authority, shame, guilt, or remorse. Most of the juveniles I've arrested don't give a damn about the monetary, emotional, or physical damage suffered by their victims. And then come the excuses: "That bitch deserved it." or, "You police are always fuc*ing with me.", or most commonly, "What are you talking about -I didn't do nothing." One car thief crashed the stolen vehicle he was driving, ran from the scene and hid in some bushes. When the police dog tracked him down and witnesses identified him as the jacket-wearing driver, he concocted a brilliant defense: "Man, I was just walking down the alley and some dude put a gun in my face and told me to wear this jacket. What would you do? I put it on and hid in the bushes." When asked how his wallet and state issued ID card ended up in the stolen car, he blamed police for setting him up. The lies, excuses and accusations of being set up by police are endless.
Most of you wouldn't believe the way kids talk to cops these days. I've heard the most offensive, vulgar, hateful things from both boys and girls. There are so many uneducated know-it-all teenagers out there with heads full of misguided ideas of entitlement. The worst part isn't what they do, it's the deep seated belief of entitlement that worries me. The "I'm gonna get mine" attitude is spreading and is making it acceptable in certain circles to steal, cheat, and do drugs. My eight year old daughter immediately recognized this the other week while at dinner at a kid's pizza restaurant. A group of teens surrounded the game token machine while one of them repeatedly kicked it to dispense free tokens. Each slam of the machine produced a free token or two followed by giddy laughter from the group. "Daddy, those kids are stealing.", she told me. "Yes they are.", I replied. "And if they keep acting that way, they'll grow up and get into real trouble."
I'd like to think most kids are honest and good and realize my perceptions are influenced by my frequent exposure to the law breakers. Let's hope this trend is nearing its crest and that after the wave of ignorance has crashed down, a calm and settled sea of undertanding prevails.
On the lighter side:
A call came from a frantic woman trapped inside a pharmacy. Apparently, she walked into the drug store and was shopping when the employees locked up, set the alarm, and left. The woman was locked inside and set off the motion-detector alarm. I was on my way to try out my new lock-picking skills when an employee returned and freed the frightened woman. I'm glad she was released but wished I could have seen the look on her face through the tempered glass security door with the alarm siren squealing.