I’ll be turning 31 next month and, even just in the few short years I’ve lived, I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. Honestly, you can’t really be a culture/news blogger, constantly following the national headlines, and not see and hear a lot of wild, bizarre and often ridiculous things, particularly throughout the course of 2016. I’ve written about race riots, blogged about political tensions and offered my two cents on everything from abortion and gay marriage to transgenderism and Harambe the gorilla (God rest his poor soul.) But, this situation — though not particularly unique — is emotionally jarring and highly relevant because of the utter barbarism and brazen savagery on display.
A few days ago, as most of you are undoubtedly aware by now, four African American thugs kidnapped a white, mentally-disabled teenager and brutally tortured him for no apparent reason other than their own sick, twisted, demented amusement. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, forced to drink from a filthy toilet, burned with cigarettes, scalped and drug around by the neck — all while one of his captors filmed the entire thing and broadcast it via Facebook Live for all the world to see. They also forced him to say things like “F*ck Donald Trump.” and “I love black people.” I’ve watched the entire 30 minute video (which obviously doesn’t even show the full extent of two days worth of torture) and, if you haven’t, I will warn you that some may consider this to be graphic and extremely disturbing.
*Warning: Strong language throughout.*
Click here for video.
According to police, the victim — who was found wandering the streets in shock late Tuesday evening — was probably held captive for at least 24 hours, though many reports now say it was even longer than that. And, although law enforcement authorities initially seemed hesitant to pursue hate crime charges — with the chief himself even just chalking it all up to nothing more than “kids making stupid decisions” — we now know that the charges have not only been filed, but the judge has also denied bail for all four of these heartless maniacs.
It’s worth pausing here to mention, as I did on Facebook the other day, that this goes much deeper than four random “kids” making a “stupid decision.” Kids make stupid decisions when they mouth off to their parents or sneak into the movies without paying or shoplift candy bars from Walmart. That’s not quite the same as kidnapping and savagely torturing and abusing an innocent person for 48 hours.
For most of us, myself included, a video like this will either make us nauseous or cause us to cry. Indeed, many of us would weep uncontrollably. Either way, we’re left wondering how anyone could possibly bring themselves to inflict this sort of pain and suffering on a fellow human being. How can this kind of cruelty and raw, unhinged brutality still exist in our supposedly civilized society? And why did they do it? Was it because he was white? Because he was mentally-handicapped? Because they assumed he was a Trump supporter? Or, perhaps, was it because they didn’t feel anything at all? Because there wasn’t a single conscience or moral compass among any of them to begin with?
Let’s face it: We all know that Chicago isn’t exactly a societal utopia. In fact, last year alone there were over 700 documented murders in the Windy City. But, it’s not every day that teen torture videos surface on social media, especially footage showcasing the assailants enjoying their heinous acts of violence. These young barbarians were literally laughing while they physically and emotionally tormented an innocent man for almost two days.
As I watched the video, one of the thoughts that continuously went through my mind was: What about the parents? Where are the parents of these “kids” and what sort of influence, if any, have they had? Where are the mothers? The fathers? The caretakers? Aunts? Uncles? Distant relatives? Who on Earth is or was raising these “kids?" It’s the same thing that I wonder whenever I hear about any case of so-called “police brutality” all because some cop shot a young thug who was robbing a convenience store and refused to drop his weapon. I wonder what kind of events could possibly transpire over the course of any young man’s life that would cause him to stroll into a 7/11 and point a gun at a store clerk in the first place.
Obviously, there can be additional environmental and psychological factors besides a lack of proper parenting, but there’s no denying that by and large, the vast majority of young people — regardless of race — who carry out this sort of senseless violence have received virtually no moral guidance from any sane, rational adults in their lives. They haven’t been taught the differences between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lies. They don’t filter their decisions through any sort of moral criteria because they haven’t been given any criteria. And, perhaps worst of all, they haven’t been taught the value of human life. Not only are they living in a hyper-political culture that doesn’t see a problem with slaughtering almost a million unborn babies a year, but they aren’t even taught to respect and value people who are alive and walking around outside the womb. And when you toss in rap music’s glorification of violence and encouragement of the thuggish lifestyle, it’s just one massive recipe for disaster.
Sadly, when kids are left to their own devices and their own choices, without any moral guidance from their parents or mature adults, they usually transform into depraved heathens. That’s what I saw when I watched the video. I saw the natural, default state of mankind: Depravity and heathenism. It’s in our nature. Our sin nature, to be exact. It’s why children need to be shaped and guided from an early age. Otherwise, they might not see anything wrong with kidnapping and torturing a mentally-handicapped guy for the mere sake of their own sick amusement.
Call me crazy, but I think that if children are raised by parents or caretakers who are grounded in sound morals, values and principles, they’re less likely to wind up in handcuffs.
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