If you’re an adult and certainly a parent, you probably remember hearing a conversation with one or both of your parents – even a grandparent, aunt or uncle – about the need for “tough love.”
Perhaps you snuck out of the house to go to a neighborhood party and when your folks found out, they took away the keys to the car. Maybe, you failed to get home before your curfew and found yourself grounded for the next month. The punishment you received could even have come because you failed to apply yourself and didn’t pass most of your classes in school.
In these, and other cases, those who were in charge at home, whether that was in a two-parent or one-parent home, had to lay down the law and give their child a healthy dose of tough love.
However, children weren’t known for doing such things as robbing seniors, stealing cars at gunpoint from unsuspecting drivers, going to school armed with weapons or participating in drive-by shootings.
But the times they are a-changing. And with these changes we are seeing the frustration, the anger, the anxiety and the feeling of being lost or alone that have overwhelmed so many of our youth, playing out with deadly force.
Curfews should have already been in place in most homes without the Prince George’s County Executive re-invoking such legislation. But even if they weren’t, it’s going to take a lot more than curfews to end the surge in youth violence that has taken hold in communities throughout the DMV.
Are our children crying out for help? In many cases, that is certainly the case.
Still, as difficult as it may be to say, there may be some children (and adults for that matter), who may not want to be saved or may be nearing the point of no return – by human means anyway.
Then what? That’s something community leaders, especially youth advocates, clergy and law enforcement will need to discuss in a collective forum with prudence and prayer.
All is not lost. But curfews are just the beginning of the answer – they are not the solution.