Low-level robbery happened just this last weekend when a young woman, Nichole Lee, stopped to watch a dust-up in the streets between a cop and a woman. She’d been distracted and, when she turned to leave, found her wallet missing. Luckily the culprit hadn’t taken it far, dumping the wallet just around the corner.
“A kid took like a few dollars from me so yeah. That’s all,” Lee stated about the incident, for which no official report has been filed. “What can I say? I don’t want to say no big deal but it is. I mean we got ATM and credit card now. We don’t bring too much cash right?”
This happened just a few days before the alleged attack on an officer while interacting with a group of children outside the gas station. The officer was allegedly heard claiming the attack was the work of some sort of masked adult, however many were quick to blame the youths present. The fact that the popular opinion, and even witness reports, jumped to claim the officer was protecting a child seem odd to this reporter, when considering the bulk of current sources claiming child abuse from the HPD. Then again, we all know not all of the HPD are villains. So, do we take the alleged word of the officer, who could not be reached for comment herself, or do we believe the bulk of the evidence against the transient youth of the city?
The picture is rarely ever that clear; just as the HPD is not itself a corrupt institution but rather houses those with corrupt natures, so too does the youth culture house within it those who are truly dangerous – and those who are simply trying to survive in a city that is consistently hostile towards them.
Largely left on their own and coming from foster care or broken homes, many of these children are learning that adults – especially those in places of power – cannot be trusted. The jaded eyes of too many children watch us, from corners and alley ways, from the side of the streets and even from their own hidden dens, as we act either in our better natures or not. Those eyes, passive and so much more aware than we credit them for, learn from what we are doing. Many of them see abuse at home, and then find more of the same from strangers on the streets, while others simply languish in neglect. While not all of Hathian’s children are in these groups, many are and they spend their days on the streets around us, unseen but aware of the dangers we adults have presented to them. How long before they realize they have power? While they watch, the corrupt elements of the city appear to be taking over and they know it. When their day comes, there wont be anything left for them as adults unless they are ready to take over the roles of those who came before them.
Is it any wonder that they act out with such irreverence, when all they see around them are lies and brutality? These children are the next generation, if they survive; what sort of society will they make, what kinds of adults? We need more good in this city, something to give the youth elements hope for change and goodness, for a world where they aren’t always living in some sort of fear state, real or imagined.
Lee lost only 10$, a measly pittance for the thief, but she didn’t seem worried about it. Perhaps she understood that the child may have had no choice, perhaps starving; or maybe she just knew there were more important things than the money in her wallet.
And that, at it’s heart, is what the children of Hathian no longer have; a community which cares and which fosters kindness and generosity. Greed and immorality have pushed many of those in this city, especially the most vulnerable elements, into corners where they no longer have the luxury of morality or ethics. For the children of the Crack Den it’s often a choice between constantly being disappointed by the world around you or becoming hard enough that it no longer matters, hard enough that the empathy to care for others becomes a weakness to be avoided.
We model the future for them; ask yourselves, what do you want that future to look like? There are many things in this city that go unspoken of; let’s not make our youth one of them